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Remarks by Ambassador Rice on Disarmament, Global Security
April 19, 2010

Ambassador Susan Rice speaks at the UN General Assembly meeting


New York, NY
April 19, 2010

As delivered

Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, distinguished guests, I want to commend you for holding this timely and important event, which takes place at a time of great momentum towards reducing global nuclear dangers.

I am delighted to join my good friend and colleague, Ambassador Churkin of the Russian Federation, to highlight the new Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

The signing of this treaty is a major milestone for nuclear security and nonproliferation, delivering on President Obama’s pledge a year ago to take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. Our joint appearance here today is a sign of the much strengthened relationship between our two nations – a relationship built on candor, cooperation and mutual respect.

Together, the United States and Russia possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. This treaty demonstrates our joint determination to pursue responsible global leadership and meet our commitments under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to pursue good-faith negotiations and make concrete progress towards nuclear disarmament.

The New START Treaty will reduce the strategic nuclear warheads in our deployed arsenals to levels not seen in five decades – setting aggregate limits that are 50 percent lower than the limit for deployed strategic nuclear delivery vehicles in the 1991 START Treaty and 30 percent lower than the limit for deployed warheads established by the 2002 Moscow Treaty.

Just as important as these new lower limits, the New START Treaty also provides for strong verification measures and mutual accounting of actual warheads on each missile. This treaty continues the crucial process of moving our two nations away from the secrecy and suspicions of the past and toward greater transparency and trust.

Mr. President, the United States is setting a new direction for our nuclear policies to meet the threats we face today. In addition to the signing of the New START Treaty, the United States has reduced the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and we will continue to urge others to do the same. President Obama’s recent Nuclear Posture Review makes clear our commitment to maintaining strategic deterrence and stability at reduced nuclear-force levels, while enhancing security for ourselves and our allies and our partners. We have pledged not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear weapons state that is party to the NPT and in compliance with its nuclear nonproliferation obligations.

America’s commitment to the NPT is a cornerstone of our security strategy. We look forward to the NPT Review Conference next month, when the United States and the other NPT signatories will work to reverse the spread of nuclear weapons and to build momentum for their eventual elimination. All nations must recognize that the nonproliferation regime is undermined if violators are allowed to act with impunity.

Yet, success at May’s conference is not assured, but the United States will work tirelessly to ensure that the NPT is strengthened. My delegation pledges to be a constructive, flexible, and consensus-building voice during the Review Conference to make sure that this unique opportunity is not lost. But we cannot do it alone. We encourage all delegations to put aside dated arguments and build on today’s momentum to make real progress on disarmament, nonproliferation, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Let me close by saying again how much I appreciate the leadership shown by President Medvedev and the Russian Federation, which worked with the United States to make the New START Treaty a reality and to forge a new era of partnership, cooperation and progress on these vital security issues.

Mr. President, thank you for this opportunity. Distinguished delegates, thank you for your support.