treaties

Getting to Zero Update

NATO proceeded quietly with its Strategic Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, while U.S. and Russian disagreements over missile defense continued. The United States was also conducting a review of nuclear targeting. In the United Kingdom, the “successor” to the Vanguard-class submarine that carries Trident missiles officially entered “Initial Gate,” or the initial design phase.

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Russia ratifies New START

The Russian parliament completed on January 26 its process of advice and consent for ratifying the New START nuclear arms treaty, and President Dmitry Medvedev signed the ratification bill on January 28.

Both houses of the Russian parliament were required to approve of the treaty. The Duma (lower house) provided its final approval on January 25, by a vote of 350-96, with one abstention. The 137 members of the Federation Council (upper house) voted unanimously for the treaty a day later.

Getting to Zero Update

The Obama Administration was hoping for the U.S. Senate to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) now that the U.S. mid-term elections are over. If the treaty is not brought to the floor before the end of the year, then prospects for the treaty dim in a Senate where more members will be reluctant to hand the President a foreign policy achievement, and votes in favor of the treaty will be more difficult to muster.

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UK and France sign landmark defence agreements

At the UK-France summit in London earlier today, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy issued a declaration and signed a formal Defence Treaty that signalled a new era of defence cooperation. Letters of intent were exchanged and a Road Map agreed for deeper cooperation in the future. Three years in the making, the arrangement focuses on joint capabilities and procurement, but also to a limited extent, operations. There are two areas of specific note in the nuclear field:

Nuclear Security after the Washington Summit

The Washington summit on nuclear security delivered some positive outcomes. But it is imperative that states do not now become complacent; there is much still left to do to ensure that nuclear weapons and material do not fall into the wrong hands. The ultimate gauge of the summit’s success will be whether actions now follow words. Published originally in the RUSI Journal, June/July 2010, Vol. 155, No. 3.

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