US and Russian presidents sign historic arms deal in Prague

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a new nuclear arms reduction treaty in Prague Castle shortly after noon on Thursday. The treaty should replace the 1991 START treaty which expired in December. It commits both sides to cutting by around 30 percent the number of their nuclear warheads compared with a total agreed in 2002.

President Obama described the agreement as ‘historic,’ adding that it had stopped the drift in US-Russian relations. He said it would help to make the world safe and secure. President Medvedev said the deal marked a ‘new page’ in bilateral ties. The agreement has to be ratified by the US Senate and the Russian Parliament. President Obama said he would press for ratification this year.

Thursday’s signing comes almost exactly a year after President Obama outlined his policies on nuclear weapons in a speech in front of thousands of people at Prague Castle.

Author: Chris Johnstone