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US Senate does “right thing”; ratifies New START

December 22, 2010

[IPPNW has released the following statement, following the announcement that the US Senate, by a vote of 71-26, has ratified the New START agreement between the US and Russia.]

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War praised the US Senate for “doing the right thing” today in ratifying the New START agreement between the US and Russia, and called on the Russian Duma to quickly follow suit and bring the treaty into force.

IPPNW chair Bjorn Hilt of Norway said the treaty is a modest but welcome step toward a world without nuclear weapons, and urged the leaders of the two largest nuclear-weapon states to waste no time in negotiating much deeper cuts in their arsenals in the new year.

“Even with the New START,” Dr. Hilt said, “the US and Russia continue to deploy thousands of nuclear weapons that contribute nothing to the security of their people, endanger the rest of the world, and give other countries an excuse to retain or acquire nuclear weapons of their own.

“Presidents Obama and Medvedev deserve credit for pushing this treaty through to a successful conclusion. We hope they will now take bold new steps to make good on their promise that the small reductions guaranteed by this Senate vote  are merely a ‘down payment’ on the nuclear-weapons-free world to which they have pledged their leadership. The sooner all the nuclear powers can get to work on a global nuclear disarmament agreement, the better.”

IPPNW warned that modernization of the large arsenals still possessed by the US and Russia would undermine the progress made by the New START, and criticized US plans to spend more than $85 billion over the next 10 years to rebuild its nuclear weapons research and production complex.

“The focus after today must be on ways to accelerate the liberation of the world from these weapons of mass annihilation,” said Dr. Hilt, “not on programs to ensure that they will continue to endanger us for decades to come.”

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