Clinton urges Senate to ratify nuke pact with Russia
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the Senate on Thursday to ratify the new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, saying the pact will not affect plans to deploy missile-defence systems, DPA reported.
Clinton appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee with Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Michael Mullen to push for a swift approval of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
"We share a strong belief that the new START treaty will make our country more secure," Clinton said. "And we urge the Senate to ratify it expeditiously."
US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the treaty in Prague April 9 to replace its 1991 predecessor, which expired in December. It requires the approval of the Senate and Russian Duma.
The Obama administration wants it to be ratified by the end of the year, but is facing some resistance from Republicans worried START could limit efforts to build a missile-defence system. Russia is deeply opposed to the deployment of missile defence, and issued a statement included in the treaty expressing its reservations.
Clinton said the "unilateral" statement is not a binding part of the treaty and will not impact missile-defence plans."
"That is not an agreed-upon view. That is not in the treaty," Clinton said. "It's the equivalent of a press release, and we are not in any way bound by it."
Sixty-seven votes are required in the 100-seat Senate to approve the treaty. Obama's Democrats only control 59 of the seats so will need Republican support to get it through.
Once ratified, START will require each side to reduce its arsenal of nuclear warheads to 1,550.
"Every previous president of both parties who faced this choice has concluded that the United States is better off with a treaty than without one," Clinton said.