Obama proposes further US, Russian nuclear arms cut

Washington, June 19 (IANS) US President Barack Obama, currently on an official visit to Berlin, Wednesday proposed plans for America and Russia to further cut their strategic nuclear warheads.

During a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Obama renewed his call to reduce the world's nuclear stockpiles, and said the US would ultimately strive toward eliminating nuclear weapons, Xinhua reported.

"After a comprehensive review, I have determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one third," he said.

"I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures," Obama said.

"We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation, but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe," the US president said.

A one-third cut of the 1,550 atomic weapons agreed in the last Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) treaty between the US and Russia will leave each country with just over 1,000 nuclear weapons.

In response, Russia confirmed Wednesday that Obama had offered to discuss new rounds of nuclear disarmament.

However, President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said in Moscow that other countries that possess nuclear arms should be included in this process.

During his speech, the US president also announced that he would host a nuclear security summit before he leaves office in 2016 to address the international flow of nuclear weapons and material.

Obama said he would push for domestic support to pass a nuclear test ban treaty.

The US has about 1,700 nuclear weapons. Under START, which Obama signed with Russia in 2010, Washington and Moscow are committed to cutting their existing warhead ceilings by 30 percent over the next 10 years from the current 2,200 to 1,550. Each side is limited to 700 deployed long-range missiles and heavy bombers.

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