Support arms treaty with Russia: Hillary to Republicans

Hillary says Senate has enough time to review detailed information of treaty.

Last Updated: Aug 12, 2010, 09:26 AM IST

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday urged Republican Senators to support the passage of nuclear arms treaty with Russia, warning the failure of approval could hurt the country`s national security.

Hillary said the Senate has enough time to review the detailed information of the treaty, it must act because the national security is at risk, Xinhua reported.

Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had delayed a vote on ratification of the treaty until the middle of September.

The treaty needs 68 Senate votes to be ratified, meaning at least eight Republican Senators` support is necessary. But so far, Richard Lugar is the only Senate Republican who openly supports the treaty.

"There is an urgency to ratify this treaty because we currently lack verification measures with Russia, which only hurts our national security interests," she said.

Hillary said so because after the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), a nuclear arms treaty signed by the US and Russia in 1991, expired in December last year, the US on-site inspections on Russia`s nuclear arsenal were suspended.

In April this year, President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev signed a nuclear arms treaty which is designed to replace the START. The new treaty puts the cap on nuclear war heads at 1,550 for each country, a roughly 30 percent down from the current limit.

However, the Republicans, who are expected to deal a serious blow to the Democrats in the mid-term elections, have been reluctant to support the treaty which is a key part of Obama`s nuclear initiative.

IANS