US AND RUSSIA ANNOUNCE DEAL TO CUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Obama: 'Nuclear weapons represent… the darkest days of the Cold War'
US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have agreed a new nuclear arms reduction treaty after months of negotiations.
The treaty limits both sides to 1,550 warheads, about 30% less than currently allowed, the White House said.
The deal replaces the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The leaders will sign the pact in Prague on 8 April.
President Obama hailed the treaty as the most comprehensive weapons control agreement in nearly two decades.
“With this agreement, the United States and Russia – the two largest nuclear powers in the world – also send a clear signal that we intend to lead,” he said at the White House.
“By upholding our own commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we strengthen our global efforts to stop the spread of these weapons, and to ensure that other nations meet their own responsibilities,” he said.
In Russia, President Medvedev's spokeswoman told the Interfax news agency: “This treaty reflects the balance of interests of both nations.”
The treaty must be ratified by the US Senate and the Russian Duma.
In a speech in Prague last April, Mr Obama set out his vision of moving towards a world without nuclear weapons.
Both sides agreed to cut their arsenals last year, but disagreements on verification have held up a deal.