Following is the text of a joint statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approval of the New START Treaty.
We applaud the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s strong bipartisan vote today to approve the New START Treaty.
If ratified, this agreement will advance some of our most critical national security objectives. It will provide stability and predictability between the world’s two leading nuclear powers, reducing the number of nuclear weapons held by the United States and Russia to a level not seen since the 1950’s while retaining a safe and effective deterrent. It will restore crucial inspection and verification mechanisms that ceased when the original START agreement expired last year, allowing U.S. inspectors back inside Russian nuclear weapons bases. And it will help keep nuclear material from falling into the hands of terrorists or rogue regimes.
The Committee’s vote today continues a decades-long tradition of senators from both parties providing advice and consent on arms control accords. We especially appreciate the leadership of Chairman Kerry and Ranking Member Lugar in undertaking a thorough review of the treaty and developing the resolution of ratification that led to today’s successful vote.
Like previous arms control treaties, the New START Treaty deserves broad bipartisan support and prompt ratification by the full Senate. We urge Senators to act quickly and approve this Treaty.