The Russian federation and the United States have agreed on an arms deal which will reduce the number of active nuclear warheads in both countries by two thirds, burying the legacy of the Cold War.
Negotiators in Moscow, preparing the way for a treaty to be signed by Presidents Putin and Bush in ten days’ time, agreed that the reduction to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads each will take place over the next ten years. President Putin expressed his satisfaction at the agreement, while President Bush heralded the deal as “a new era of US-Russian relationships”, one of “enhanced mutual and economic security”. The agreement is a victory for both sides, since it indicates that the hostility to the Nuclear Missile Defence shield (NMD) has been overcome and it provides President Putin with a treaty, rather than an informal agreement, previously the position of the United States. However, there is still one issue to remain: that of storage or destruction of the warheads. The Russian position is that decommissioning a warhead means its total destruction, while the United States side considers that the warheads could simply be stored (and brought out again when needed). Russian defence Minister Sergey Ivanov stated that Russia continues to declare its “objections to the US plans to store and not to destroy a part of the warheads”. Both countries will retain land-based, submarine-based and air-deployed nuclear strike forces, both capable of destroying each other many times over. The symbolic agreement, however, moves beyond symbolism and points towards a serious attempt by both countries to live in the same world, in peace and in a spirit of mutual cooperation, where their great resources can be pooled not only to their mutual benefit but for the development of mankind on the threshold of a new era.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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