28/7 Tass 14
UNITED NATIONS, July 28 (Itar-Tass) —— The entry into force of the New START treaty was one of last year’s achievements in the field of arms control, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller said.
Speaking at a high-level meeting on disarmament held within the framework of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, July 27, Gottemoeller said the implementation of the New START treaty, which entered into force on February 5, 2011, is under way.
The United States and Russia have exchanged 1,000 notifications, and carried out 13 inspections, including six by Russia and seven by the U.S.
Gottemoeller said earlier the new treaty paved the way for further nuclear arms cuts and stated her country’s readiness to reduce deployed strategic warheads, tactical arms, and warheads in storage.
Russia has already cut its nuclear arsenals to levels below those required by New START, Arms Control Association Research Director Tom Collina said earlier, commenting on the Department of State’s fact sheet on the number of deployed nuclear warheads and their carriers in the United States and Russia as of February 5, 2011.
According to the fact sheet, Russia has 1,537 operationally deployed warheads on 521 carriers, and the U.S. has 1,800 warheads on 882 vehicles.
New START that entered into force on February 5, 2011, allows each country to have 1,500 deployed warheads and 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles, sea-based ICBMs and bombers on combat duty.
Collina believes that if Russia could speed up arms cuts, the U.S. can follow suit without waiting until 2018 in order to reach the levels required by New START.
He urged the Pentagon to ste up nuclear arms reduction.
The State Duma ratified New START in the first reading on December 24, 2010. The U.S. Senate approved the treaty on December 22, 2010, adopting an accompanying statement containing a number of reservations.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that U.S. President Barack Obama and he had agreed to carry out ratification procedures “simultaneously” to avoid awkward situations on both sides.
The new START Treaty was signed by Medvedev and Obama in Prague on April 8. The previous Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) expired on December 5, 2009.
Following the ratification of the treaty, Medvedev said Russia and the United States should continue nuclear arms reduction and should not stop at New START.
U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed in early February that his country hoped to begin negotiations with Russia on the reduction of tactical nuclear weapons not later than a year after the New START treaty enters into force.
“The United States will seek to initiate, following consultation with NATO Allies but not later than 1 year after the entry into force of the New START Treaty, negotiations with the Russian Federation on an agreement to address the disparity between the non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons stockpiles of the Russian Federation and of the United States and to secure and reduce tactical nuclear weapons in a verifiable manner,” Obama said.
He stressed that “it is the policy of the United States that such negotiations shall not include defensive missile systems”.
Obama said he intended “to modernise or replace the triad of strategic nuclear delivery systems: a heavy bomber and air-launched cruise missile, an ICBM, and a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) and SLBM; and maintain the United States rocket motor industrial base.”
At the same time, he made it clear that “these systems do not and will not threaten the strategic balance with the Russian Federation”.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates’ representative to the treaty negotiations Edward L. Warner said earlier that each nation is allowed 18 short-notice inspections a year over 10 years, he added, “giving both sides the opportunity to confirm that the other side is complying with the provisions of the treaty”.
He recalled that no inspections have taken place in either nation since START I expired in December 2009, he said, noting that the first START treaty represented “an enormous step forward in verification”.
The United States and Russia — or its predecessor, the Soviet Union — have signed a variety of strategic arms treaties going back to the early 1970s, Warner said. START I was signed in 1991 and ratified and entered into force in 1994. The Moscow Treaty in 2002 built on START I and lowered critical limits, particularly on deployed warheads, Warner said, noting that it expires in 2012.
“In the original START treaty, the limit was 6,000 warheads. In the Moscow Treaty, the limit was between 1,700 and 2,200 — 2,200 being the legal limit,” he said. “In the new START treaty, which was concluded last April, the limit is now 1,550 strategic warheads.”
The new treaty also limits strategic delivery vehicles, which include intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers, such as the B-52H Stratofortress and the B-2 Spirit. The new treaty requires that each ICBM, submarine-launched ballistic missile and heavy bomber have a unique numerical identifier to aid verification.