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Clinton vows to quickly renegotiate arms treaty with Russia

The other guy and his football team.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 13, 2009
US secretary of state designate Hillary Clinton promised Tuesday during her Senate confirmation hearing to renegotiate quickly the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that expires December 31.

Clinton said the incoming administration of President Barack Obama "will have a very strong commitment to START treaty negotiations" which made little progress under George W. Bush's outgoing team.

"We want to get out of the box early. We want Russia to know that we are serious," Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Comittee.

State Department negotiators said that there was no breakthrough in talks in Moscow last month for a follow-on agreement to replace START-1, which expires at the end of 2009.

They said a new US proposal on START focuses on limiting nuclear warheads, but Russia wants to open up the negotiations to limits on conventional forces and US plans for a missile shield in eastern Europe.

Clinton also pledged to bolster the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) that the Bush administration has been accused of neglecting.

"The non-proliferation treaty is the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime, and the United States must exercise leadership needed to shore it up," Clinton said.

"So we will seek agreements with Russia to secure further reductions in weapons under START, we will work with this committee and the Senate toward ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty," she said.

"And we will dedicate efforts to revive negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT)," she said.

Clinton recalled that Obama was ready to reduce sharply the number of nuclear missiles.

The 61-year-old New York senator said the president-elect is committed to the elimination of nuclear missiles provided Washington has adequate reassurances and it is protected for the future.

While the Bush administration showed little interest in binding and precise documents, the Obama team wants to rebuild a team of disarmament experts at the State Department, she said, calling for the return of those who resigned in recent years.

The START-1 treaty signed July 31, 1991 calls for reducing from 10,000 to 8,500 the number of US nuclear warheads and from 10,200 to 6,450 those in the Russian arsenal.

In 2002, Russia and the United States signed in Moscow a disarmament treaty which calls for reducing by two-thirds their strategic arsenals.

Under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, the United States and Russia may only deploy between 1,700 and 2,000 warheads by 2012.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is an international treaty banning any nuclear tests whether for peaceful or military means.

Though it was ready for signing on September 24 1996, it has still not entered force because some signatory countries have yet to ratify it.

The FMCT is still at the drafting stage.

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Nuclear-related programs cost US 52 bln dollars in 2008: report
Washington (AFP) Jan 12, 2009
The United States spent at least 52 billion dollars on nuclear-related programs last year, most of it to maintain and refurbish its arsenal of nuclear weapons, a report said Monday.

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