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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Clinton urges Senate to ratify new START treaty after mid-term elections

RIA Novosti

02:58 01/10/2010 WASHINGTON, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the Senate to ratify a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia after the November 2 mid-term elections.

"The support for new START by our entire military leadership, our intelligence community, six former secretaries of state, five former secretaries of defense, three former national security advisors, and seven former commanders of U.S. Strategic Command is an extraordinary endorsement of why this treaty needs to be passed, and passed in the lame duck session," Clinton told reporters after a meeting with John Kerry, who chairs the Senate's foreign affairs committee.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee recommended in mid-September that the Senate ratify a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia signed by the U.S. and Russian presidents on April 8 in Prague as a replacement for the START 1 treaty that expired in December 2009.

"This vote that was in the committee demonstrates unequivocally that national security is a bipartisan commitment. As we have seen with every arms control agreement, going back to the original START 1 treaty that was passed, ratified by the Senate 18 years ago tomorrow, this is an obligation and responsibility that senators addressed without regard for the day-to-day politics," the U.S. secretary of state said.

U.S. President Barack Obama and other top officials also urged the Senate to speed up the ratification of the Russian-U.S. pact.

The agreement is yet to be ratified by both chambers of the Russian parliament and the U.S. Sentate. The Russian and U.S. presidents earlier agreed that the ratification processes should be go ahead side-by-side.

The Democrats currently control just 59 seats in the upper house of the U.S. Congress, while a total of 67 votes are needed to ratify the agreement.

Clinton thanked Kerry and Republican Senator Richard Lugar for being "at the forefront of making the case why the treaty is so much in America's national security interests."

"I thank the chairman for his leadership, for the great vote that we got from the committee, and I look forward to the vote in the lame duck session that will once again demonstrate the Senate joining all of its predecessors in years past to continue to support arms control treaty," she said.

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