Hillary urges lame-duck Senate vote on START

US Secretary of State says Obama admin has votes to approve the START treaty.

Wellington: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday urged the Senate to move quickly in a lame-duck session to ratify a new arms control treaty with Russia.

Visiting the capital of New Zealand, Hillary said the Obama administration has the votes to approve the START treaty and said it would be her "preference" for a vote to be held before the new Congress takes over in January. Republicans, who picked up several seats in Tuesday`s midterms, may want to delay the vote until new members are sworn in.

"We are working hard to pass the treaty," Hillary told reporters at a news conference with New Zealand`s Prime Minister. "We believe we have enough votes to pass it in the Senate, it`s just a question of when it will be brought to the vote."

"It may be brought, and it would certainly be my preference that it be brought, in any lame-duck session in the next several weeks, and that is what I am working toward seeing happen," Hillary said. "But we`ll have to wait and work with the Senate and the leadership when they come back for that session."

Some Republicans have expressed concern about the treaty, which would cut US and Russian nuclear arsenals by one-fourth, over issues related to verification. They have also expressed fears, rejected by the administration, that it could limit America`s ability to build a missile defence shield.

Bureau Report