Russia says US conventional arms must feature in nuclear talks
Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:3AM
Russia and the United States signed a nuclear arms reduction agreement known as New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) in 2010. The START treaty calls for each country to restrict its nuclear warhead arsenal to 1,550 by 2018.Russia says the conventional ‘prompt global strike’ system in possession of the United States must be taken into account when Moscow and Washington hold talks on nuclear arsenal reductions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said talks on further nuclear reductions than those specified in a 2010 treaty should include discussions on the new types of US weapons, such as the so-called prompt global strike system, which has a capability comparable to nuclear weapons. Lavrov made the remark in response to a speech by US President Barack Obama on June 19 in Berlin, where he called for the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear stockpile by one-third. “Imagine a weapon which is delivered to any part of the Earth in one hour, that is the goal,” Lavrov said.
“It does not have an inhumane effect of a nuclear weapon, but militarily it is much more efficient. We have to take this into account before we decide on any further reductions,” the Russian foreign minister stated.Lavrov also said Washington’s missile defense plans have remained a top concern for Moscow, and the US refusal to draft a treaty that would ban space-based weapons has worried Russia. Moscow is also concerned about NATO’s edge in conventional forces, which Lavrov said should also be addressed during discussions. “And besides, if we speak about further reductions, provided we agree on all these things comprehensively, then the reductions would already be meant at a level which would be very commensurate with the level of the nuclear weapons of other states, not just the Russian Federation and the United States,” Lavrov said. “It has all to be taken into account.” Russia and the United States signed a nuclear arms reduction agreement known as New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) in 2010. The START treaty calls for each country to restrict its nuclear warhead arsenal to 1,550 by 2018. The United States was the first country to build atomic weapons and the only country to drop nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. CAH/HSN