I commend the Senate's action to give its consent to ratification of the Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions that President Putin and I signed on May 24, 2002, in Moscow, Russia. I also thank Senator Lugar and Senator Biden for their leadership in successfully negotiating a unanimous, bipartisan vote in support of the Moscow Treaty.
This historic agreement will reduce the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia to their lowest levels in decades. The treaty will benefit both our peoples and contribute to a more secure world.
The Moscow Treaty helps lay to rest the legacies of cold war competition and suspicion and marks a fundamentally new era in relations between the United States and Russia. The strategic offensive reductions codified and made binding under international law in this Treaty are essential steps toward achieving greater political, economic, and security cooperation between our two countries.
Shortly after assuming office, I pledged to the American people my commitment to achieve a credible strategic deterrent with the lowest-possible number of nuclear weapons consistent with our national security needs, including our obligations to our allies. Under the Moscow Treaty, the United States and Russia will both reduce their operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads to a level of 1700-2200 by December 31, 2012—nearly two-thirds below current levels. At my direction, the United States has already embarked upon its reductions by starting to deactivate the Peacekeeper missiles located at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, and by taking the first steps to remove four sea-launched ballistic missile submarines from strategic service.
I am hopeful that the Russian Duma and Federation Council will soon give their approval to ratification, so that President Putin and I can exchange instruments of ratification and the Moscow Treaty can enter into force.