Members of the Top Level Group yesterday published a letter in the New York Times calling for the US Senate to ratify the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
The bilateral treaty between the United States and Russia will, over a period of seven years, cut the number of US and Russian strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 from the current figure of 2000 as well as reduce the numbers of total land, sea and air-based launchers to 800 with no more than 700 deployed.
The new agreement succeeds the 1991 START treaty, which expired last December, but awaits ratification by the US Senate.
The Top Level Group members in their letter to the New York Times said:
“As clearly stated by NATO leaders at their summit meeting in Lisbon, the security of the United Kingdom and the security of its allies, including the United States, depends on reducing the threat from nuclear weapons, ballistic defenses and improving our relationship with Russia.
The New Start treaty, agreed on between Presidents Medvedev and Obama, was a forerunner of the multilateral consensus that emerged in Lisbon.
Europe owes much to American leadership, and it is in the nature of the New Start treaty that we must look to American leadership again. But through NATO and at Lisbon, Europe delivered its own view to the United States: If the Senate ratifies New Start, it does so not only with strong United Kingdom support, but also with the support of the entire alliance.”
In addition to cutting warhead numbers and limiting the number of deployed launchers ratification of the New START treaty will reinstate the suspended verification and inspection regime, to allow on-site inspections of the nuclear arsenals of both countries.
To date, six former U.S. secretaries of state, five former U.S. secretaries of defense and three former national security advisers have endorsed ratification of the treaty, along with seven former commanders of U.S. Strategic Command and the entire current U.S. military leadership.
To read the letter in the New York Times, please click here.