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American and Russian|
accord to reduce their nuclear arsenals
New York, July 7, 2009 – Nearly 46 years after the United States and the Soviet Union signed the first limited nuclear test ban treaty, a new generation has agreed to continue the agonizingly slow process of reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world.
President Obama, on his first visit to Russia since taking office, and Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev agreed Monday to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in each country by at least 25 percent.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, praised the agreement. "So long as there are nuclear weapons in the world," Kinnamon said, "no one's safety can ever be assured."
Although the focus on disarmament has been less intense since the end of the Cold War, the need to eliminate nuclear weapons has never been greater," Kinnamon said. "At least nine nations have nuclear arsenals: the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and -- though it has not been officially acknowledged -- Israel."
In addition, there are widespread fears that fissionable material or weapons formerly under control of Soviet satellite states are not adequately secured, and may be attainable by terrorist organizations, Kinnamon said.
In an address Tuesday to the graduation of the New Economic School in Russia, President Obama expressed the same sentiments.
"Without fundamental change, do any of us believe that the next two decades will not bring about the further spread of these nuclear weapons?" the President asked. "That's why America is committed to stopping nuclear proliferation, and ultimately seeking a world without nuclear weapons ... And while I know this goal won't be met soon, pursuing it provides the legal and moral foundation to prevent the proliferation and eventual use of nuclear weapons."
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