the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Readout of the President's call with Russian President Medvedev

In a phone call this morning, President Obama and President Medvedev agreed to meet in Prague, the Czech Republic, on Thursday, April 8, to sign the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures to Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the “New START Treaty”). 

This landmark agreement advances the security of both nations, and reaffirms American and Russian leadership on behalf of nuclear security and global non-proliferation.  This was the 14th direct meeting or phone call between the Presidents addressing New START, and represents their shared commitment to “reset” U.S.-Russia relations so that we cooperate substantively and effectively on issues of mutual interest along many dimensions.

The new Treaty will contain limits on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces significantly below the levels established by the START treaty signed in 1991, and the Moscow Treaty signed in 2002.  The new START Treaty will specify limits of:

  • 1,550 deployed warheads, which is about 30% lower than the upper warhead limit of the Moscow Treaty;
  • 800 deployed and non-deployed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers, submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear weapons; and
  • 700 for deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear weapons. 

The New START treaty’s verification regime will provide the ability to monitor all aspects of the Treaty.  At the same time, the inspections and other verification procedures in this Treaty will be simpler and less costly to implement than the old START treaty.  In part, this is possible due to the experience and knowledge gained from 15 years of START implementation.

The Presidents agreed that the new Treaty demonstrates the continuing commitment of the United States and Russia – the world’s two largest nuclear powers – to reduce their nuclear arsenals consistent with their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Such actions invigorate our mutual efforts to strengthen the international non-proliferation regime and convince other countries to help curb proliferation. 

As articulated by President Obama in his Prague speech one year ago, this Treaty is one of a series of concrete steps the United States will take to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons and to set the stage for further reductions in global nuclear stockpiles and materials.