The US Senate's decision to ratify a nuclear arms reduction treaty has received a positive response from a range of governments and campaigners around the world. In the UK, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said they strongly welcomed the Senate's decision.
The treaty, signed by the US and Russian presidents in April, was approved by the Senate despite significant opposition from right-wing politicians including John McCain, who Obama defeated in 2008 to gain the presidency. He said the treaty would compromise US security, although it involves weapons reductions on both sides.
CND expressed hope that the treaty's successful ratification will “re-open the space for further disarmament measures by the US, Russia and other states - measures we desperately need to reduce and ultimately rid the world of the most deadly of weapons”.
The pact succeeds the 1991 START I treaty and sets warhead limits 30 per cent lower than those in the 2002 Moscow Treaty - the most recent arms limitation agreement.
"This is a significant advance for disarmament, enacting real reductions in the size of the nuclear forces deployed by the US and Russia,” said Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND.
She explained, “They both retain the ability to destroy all life on earth, but reducing the size of their deployed forces lessens the possibility of accidents or unauthorised launches on either side”.
Hudson urged the US administration to “seek to maximise the practical steps it can take immediately, without any need for legislation, for example reducing the 'alert state' of their weapon systems as well as permanently disabling the thousands of retired warheads in their stockpile”.
But CND warned the UK government, along with other nuclear armed governments, that they needed to follow the lead established by the US and Russia.
Hudson said, “Whilst the US and Russia have the biggest cuts to make, the other nuclear states who are signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - Britain, France and China - also made a binding commitment to disarm. All states should be working towards a Nuclear Weapons Convention, which would universally ban nukes in the way that chemical and biological weapons are successfully outlawed."