Thu, Jun 20, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Obama wants to cut nuclear arms

Reuters and AFP, BERLIN and MOSCOW

US President Barack Obama waves after speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

US President Barack Obama wants to reduce deployed nuclear weapons by up to a third and revive negotiations with Russia to “move beyond Cold War nuclear postures,” he said in a speech yesterday in Berlin.

“After a comprehensive review, I have determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one third,” he said.

“I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures,” Obama said, speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate that once stood alongside the wall that divided communist East Berlin and the capitalist West.

Russia wants the major new cuts in nuclear stockpiles proposed by to be expanded beyond Russia and the US to include other nuclear armed states, a top Kremlin aide said.

“The process of cutting down nuclear potential should include other countries with nuclear weapons,” Russian diplomats told Washington ahead of Obama’s speech, Russian foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said.

“The situation now is not like in the 1960s and 1970s, when only the United States and the Soviet Union held talks on reducing nuclear arms,” Ushakov said at a briefing in Moscow. “Now we need to look more broadly ... and increase the circle of participants in possible contacts on this matter.”

Obama used his speech to propose cutting US and Russian strategic nuclear warheads to about 1,000 each, and also seek reductions in tactical nuclear arms stocks in Europe.

Obama had informed Russian President Vladimir Putin of his proposals, Ushakov said, after the two leaders had a frosty meeting at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland on Monday.

However, Ushakov did not comment on whether Russia would agree to such cuts.

“We need to see what concretely the Americans are proposing. It’s too early to comment on this question,” he said.

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