Obama: After START, tactical arms treaty

Dec. 23, 2010 at 7:18 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- A day after ratification of an arms treaty with Russia, U.S. officials said the White House will seek to limit U.S. and Russian tactical nuclear weapons.

Limiting stockpiles of tactical nuclear weapons -- which include nuclear landmines, artillery shells and short-range missile warheads -- will be just as important and possibly more difficult to accomplish than the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty the Senate ratified in Washington Wednesday, the federal government's broadcasting service, Voice of America, reported.

The smaller weapons pose a greater proliferation risk than the long-range weapons to which the START Treaty applies, the VOA said.

"The Russians have a larger number than we do of these systems," said Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller.

It is believed Russia has several thousand tactical weapons, while the United States may have fewer than 1,000 -- with a fraction of them placed in Europe, the VOA said.

Moscow has said all U.S. tactical weapons must be removed from Europe before talks can begin, but Gottemoeller said Russia may be change that position, the VOA reported. She said she believes negotiations will not get started until the end of next year.

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