Obama Hails Senate Vote To Back Russia Nuclear Treaty

(BBC)

Barack Obama said the treaty, which will pave the way for new cuts in US and Russian arsenals, was the most important such deal in almost 20 years.

After months of wrangling in the Senate, the New Start treaty was approved by 71 votes to 26. Russia says it may begin ratifying it on Friday.

Under the deal, Russia and the US will cut deployed nuclear warheads by 30%.

"This is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades and it will make us safer and reduce our nuclear arsenals along with Russia," Mr Obama said.

Despite lengthy protests from a number of congressional Republicans, 13 Republican Senators voted with the Democrats during Wednesday's vote.

Top Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Jon Kyl, had opposed ratification of the treaty.

Mr Obama said the vote also showed that the US political process was not doomed to what he called "endless gridlock".