NZ welcomes US Senate approval of nuclear weapons treaty

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Disarmament and Arms Control

Disarmament Minister Georgina te Heuheu has today welcomed the United States’ decision to ratify the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia.

The New START treaty limits the number of US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 on each side – a 30 per cent reduction on current levels. It also limits the numbers of delivery vehicles (missiles and bombers), and puts in place a system of bilateral inspections to ensure compliance.

“The New START treaty is a step on the road towards New Zealand’s long-held goal: a world free of nuclear weapons,” Mrs te Heuheu said.

“This is a fitting way to round off a year which has seen a number of positive developments in this area, including the consensus outcome of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May.

“We need to ensure the momentum of 2010 continues. New Zealand hopes that Russia will soon be able to ratify this treaty as well, allowing it to enter into force at an early date. We also welcome the US and Russian commitment to follow up on the successful negotiation of the New START treaty.

“We hope that the treaty’s entry into force in early 2011 will be followed by further action – from the US, Russia, and all other states with nuclear weapons – to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons,” Mrs te Heuheu said.