There has been a widespread welcome for the announcement by the US and Russian Presidents that they have reached a new agreement over a reduction in nuclear weapons. The world's nuclear warheads are likely to be cut by nearly a third, but campaigners emphasise that there is still a long way to go.
US President Barrack Obama said that both governments were “committed to leaving behind the suspicion and the rivalry of the past” after signing the agreement with Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev.
The two governments agreed to put in place by December a treaty that will see them cutting their nuclear warheads to below 1,700 each within seven years. As they own over 90 per cent of the world's nuclear weapons between them, this will mean a significant global reduction.
The news has disproved the predictions of those who suggested yesterday morning that Medvedev would withhold agreement at the last minute.
However, Obama is continuing to face criticism over his plans for a nuclear missile 'shield' in Poland and the Czech Republic. His claims that it is aimed at preventing an attack by Iran, not Russia, have been met with scepticism.
Peace campaigners are also likely to be disappointed that Medvedev agreed to allow US military equipment to be transported through Russia on the way to Afghanistan, where Obama is committing to continuing with war.
In Britain, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) warmly welcomed the agreement over reduction in nuclear warheads but pointed out that the UK government appeared to be going in the opposite direction by renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system.
CND chair Kate Hudson said that the renewal “cuts against the ever-strengthening trend of world opinion” and called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to “put Trident replacement on hold and begin a full review of the issue”.
Barrack Obama's visit to Moscow will continue tomorrow, when he will hold talks with the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.