US-Russia START 2 Treaty to Enter into Force February 5

World | January 28, 2011, Friday // 16:12|  views

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov exchange agreements after a signing ceremony at the Nuclear Security Summit, in Washington, DC, USA, 13 April, 2010. EPA/BGNES

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 2) between the USA and Russia will enter into force on February 5, 2011, after a special ceremony in Munich, Germany.

After the upper chamber of the Russian parliament approved the document earlier this week, on Friday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sealed the decision thus completing the ratification of START 2.

A Russian diplomatic source cited by ITAR-TASS has said that the ceremony in which the two parties will exchange their ratification documents will take place during the annual international security conference in Munich on February 4-6, 2011.

The ceremony expected to take place on February 5 will be performed by the top diplomats of Russia and the United States – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US State Secretary Hillary Clinton.

On Friday, Russian President Medvedev indicated that Lavrov and Clinton will exchange the ratification documents during one of their upcoming meetings.

All 137 senators in Russia's Federation Council voted Wednesday in favor of the ratification of START 2.

In late December 2010, both the US Senate and the the lower house of the Russian parliament, the Duma, approved the document.

The new START Treaty was signed in April 2010 by Obama and Medvedev but is viewed unfavorably by the Republican Party in the US Senate; some Republicans, who made gains in the Senate in the mid-terms in early November have been trying to delay the vote on the Treaty until the new Senate convenes in January 2011 when they would have been more likely to defeat the ratification.

The new Russian-US pact obligates both nations to cap their fielded strategic nuclear weapons to 1 550 warheads, while the number of deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles must not exceed 800 on either side.

During the recent NATO Summit in Lisbon, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged the US Senate to ratify the new US-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty warning that any delay in that would hurt the security and stability in Europe.

NATO has welcomed "warmly" the ratification of START 2 by Russia in a statement of its Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Rasmussen went further by declaring that he hoped the ratification of START 2 will serve to facilitate talks between NATO and Russia for the inclusion of latter in the future US/NATO missile defense system in Europe.

At its Lisbon Summit, in the presence of Russian President Medvedev, NATO formally adopted the project for a US missile shield in Europe as its own, and extended an offer to Russia to join it.

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Tags: Russia, START2, USA, nuclear weapons, ratification, NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, Federation Council, Dmitry Medvedev, Sergey Lavrov, Hillary Clinton

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