At the nuclear security summit hosted by President Barak Obama, participating nations will be pressed for a commitment to securing vulnerable nuclear material in their ambit within four years. The summit is a warm-up for the next five-yearly review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which will be held in May. A new US strategy will reflect Obama's declared wish of seeing a world free of nuclear weapons.
The United States and Russia have more than 20,000 nuclear weapons. The president plans 'dramatic reductions' in the US nuclear arsenal, according to a White House spokesperson. Vice-President Joe Biden sounded optimistic in a recent speech about completing negotiations with Russia on extending the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (START) that expired in December, according to Reuters. The treaty aims to reduce each country's nuclear stockpiles. A New York Times editorial points out that former president George W. Bush disdained arms control as old think, and Washington and Moscow have not signed an arms reduction treaty since 2002. The president hopes to rally support in the US Congress for ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, according to Reuters. A vote on ratification in 1999 fell 19 votes short of the 67 needed for approval by the Senate, which at the time was under Republican control. The newsagency notes that ratification is not expected to be any easier this time round with the Democrats in control. Obama is expected to urge the allies to continue pressing Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear programs, and to seek tougher sanctions on Tehran.
Date written/update: 2010-04-27