Nuclear Threat Initiative praises Biden plan to extend New START agreement with Russia

The Nuclear Threat Initiative applauded the Biden Administration for extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia for an additional five years.

The New START agreement was reached in 2011 with Russia to reduce nuclear arms in both countries. The 10-year agreement was set to expire on Feb. 5, 2021.

“We welcome the announcement that the United States is seeking to extend the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia for an additional five years. This important step will prevent expiration of the treaty on February 5 and send an unmistakable signal of the Biden administration’s commitment to taking practical steps to strengthen U.S. national security and reduce nuclear risks.

Biden Administration Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Jan. 21 that the United States intends to seek a five-year extension of New START.

“The President has long been clear that the New START Treaty is in the national security interests of the United States.  And this extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is adversarial, as it is at this time,” Psaki said.

NTI was founded in 2001 by former U.S. Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner to prevent nuclear attacks or accidents. The organization supports the plan to extend the treaty,

“Extending New START provides a critical foundation for rebuilding the global arms control architecture to enhance stability and reduce the threats posed by nuclear weapons. An extension to 2026 will preserve the last remaining limits on Russia’s nuclear weapons systems and continue the treaty’s robust verification and inspection regime. It will ensure that Russia’s most powerful weapons—its strategic nuclear arms, including the new Avangard hypersonic vehicle and the Sarmat ICBM—will be subject to the treaty’s limits. And it will provide predictability, as the United States and Russia take on the complex task of negotiating a follow-on agreement and other measures to address the full range of destabilizing weapons, technologies, and systems not covered by New START,” Nunn and NTI CEO Ernest Moritz said.

The United States and Russia hold over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons and have a responsibility and obligation to work together to further reduce their arsenals, they added.

“We urge President Biden and President Putin to formalize the five-year extension of New START as soon as possible, and we call on the U.S. Congress to support this agreement on a bipartisan basis. The work to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, ultimately ending them as a threat to the world, must remain high on the priority list of the Biden administration,” Nunn and Moritz said.

Dave Kovaleski

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