Strategic Offensive Reductions Agreement

The first signs of SORT can be found during a meeting between Presidents Bush and Putin in July 2001, at the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy. In a joint statement after the meeting, the presidents announced that they would “soon begin intensive consultations on issues related to offensive and defence systems.” [2] The next indication of progress came in November 2001, when Presidents Bush and Putin met at a summit in Washington D.C. At the end of the meeting, President Bush announced that he would inform President Putin that “the United States will reduce its operational strategic warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 over the next ten years.” In response, President Putin announced that Russia would “try to react on substantive issues.” [3] The two sides began formal negotiations on the details of SORT in January 2002. The United States will implement Article I, as President Bush said on November 13, 2001: “… the United States will reduce our operational strategic nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 over the next 10 years, a level that is fully consistent with U.S. security. 2 U.S. negotiators have pointed out to their Russian counterparts that the United States, in implementing the reductions under this treaty for the use of the term “operational nuclear strategic warheads,” they mean re-entry vehicles on their carrier missiles, re-entry vehicles on their launchers in their launchers, and nuclear weapons loaded on heavy bombers or stored in weapons depots by heavy bombers. The United States also indicated that a small number of strategic nuclear warheads (including replacement DICBM warheads) would be deployed on heavy bomber bases and that the United States would not consider these warheads to be operational strategic nuclear warheads. The United States intends to reduce its operational nuclear strategic warheads in a manner consistent with these statements. With regard to this treaty, it is clear that only “nuclear” re-entry vehicles and nuclear weapons are subject to the 1700-2200 limit. We have worked hard with Russia to create a new strategic framework for our relations, based on mutual interests and cooperation on a wide range of political, economic and security issues.

Together, the United States and Russia have made considerable progress in our efforts and look forward to even greater progress in the future. … In these circumstances, a particularly important task is to legally formalize the agreements reached on further drastic, irreversible and verifiable reductions in strategic offensive weapons, which we believe should be at the level of 1,500 to 2,200 nuclear warheads for each part.42 This contract remains in effect until 31 December 2012 and may be extended by agreement of the parties or replaced earlier by a subsequent agreement. Now that the world is facing new threats, a legal vacuum in the area of strategic stability cannot be allowed to emerge. The rules for non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction must not be undermined. RELATIONS WITH THE DEMAREDThe Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) remains unchanged. In its own words, START will remain in force until December 5, 2009, unless it is replaced or extended by a subsequent agreement. The current level of our nuclear forces does not reflect today`s strategic realities. I informed President Putin that over the next ten years, the United States will reduce our operational strategic nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200, a level that is perfectly in line with American security. The Moscow Treaty is an important part of the new strategic relationship between the United States and Russia.

It will lead our two nations on a stable and predictable path towards a substantial reduction in our strategic nuclear warhead arsenals by December 31, 2012.

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