President Barack Obama talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a phone call in the Oval Office, Jan. 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
CNN: Russia’s lower house of parliament ratified Tuesday the first post-Cold War nuclear disarmament treaty with the United States, the Interfax news agency said.
The sweeping arms reduction pact, known as New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) replaces START 1, which expired in December 2009.
The treaty, considered a critical component of nuclear non-proliferation efforts, was signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last April and approved by the U.S. Senate in December.
It is designed to slash the stockpile of strategic nuclear weapons in both countries to 1,550 warheads — down from a current cap of 2,200 — and 700 launchers.
The treaty also calls for a resumption of inspections of nuclear arsenals that ended when START 1 expired and helps move forward with White House efforts to “reset” U.S.-Russian relations.
Obama has called the treaty “the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades” and the U.S. Senate’s approval in December gave Obama a key victory on what has been considered one of his top foreign policy priorities.