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NCC hails American and Russian START treaty,
and prays for a day when the world is free of nukes

New York, April 8, 2010 -- Earlier today, President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia signed the START treaty to commit their nations to reducing the nuclear stockpiles they have been amassing since the beginning of the Cold War.

Both presidents expressed hope that the treaty is only the beginning of further measures to reduce their deadly arsenals, and the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches praised the agreement as a hopeful sign that the world may eventually be free of nuclear weapons.

Citing a resolution adopted by the NCC in September 2009 and by the General Assembly of the NCC and Church World Service in November 2009, "Nuclear Disarmament: The Time is Now," Kinnamon said, "The end of the Cold War didn't end the nuclear threat, it only changed the character of it.

"Ecumenical opposition to nuclear weapons, a basic stand of the Council since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, has been strongly reaffirmed." he said.

"We praise our president and President Medvedev for taking this step and we pray the U.S. Senate will express a hearty consent."

The governments of the world must now commit themselves to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons as soon as possible, Kinnamon said.

In his opening remarks at the signing, President Obama said, "While the New START treaty is an important first step forward, it is just one step on a longer journey.  As I said last year in Prague, this treaty will set the stage for further cuts.  And going forward, we hope to pursue discussions with Russia on reducing both our strategic and tactical weapons, including non-deployed weapons."

The text of the treaty can be read here.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) ,

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