May 03, 2010

Chairman Kerry Welcomes Efforts To Strengthen The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John F. Kerry (D-MA) today issued a statement in support of the Obama Administration’s efforts to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Senator Kerry emphasized that ratifying the New START treaty and strengthening the NPT are two critical steps toward improving our national security:

“As Secretary Clinton said today at the United Nations, nuclear proliferation can be stopped, but it will take strong leadership by the United States, said Chairman Kerry.” “The Obama administration has demonstrated such leadership in negotiating the New START Treaty, pressing the world to secure all vulnerable weapons-usable nuclear materials in four years, and now through its efforts at the NPT review conference.”

“The Senate also needs do its part to enhance our security,” said Chairman Kerry. “Ratifying New START will not suddenly solve our conflicts with Iran and North Korea, but failing to do so will certainly hurt our ability to get the international cooperation we need to bring them back into compliance with the NPT. New START is an essential step that demonstrates we are reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons, while still preserving American security. These are bipartisan goals that Republicans and Democrats alike can support.”

Former Secretaries of Defense James Schlesinger and William Perry echoed these points last week in testimony at a hearing on the new arms control treaty before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “For the United States at this juncture to fail to ratify the treaty in the due course of the Senate's deliberation would have a detrimental effect on our ability to influence others with regard to particularly the nonproliferation issue,” Schlesinger said. Perry agreed, saying, “Most certainly, if we fail to ratify this treaty the United States will have forfeited any right to provide any leadership in this field throughout the world.”

New START, which was signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on April 8, lowers the legal limit on U.S. and Russian deployed strategic warheads by nearly one-third.

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