Bush sends Senate nuclear arms treaty
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush Thursday sent to the U.S. Senate the so-called Moscow Treaty, which calls on both the United States and Russia to dramatically reduce their deployed nuclear warhead arsenals.
He urged lawmakers to give "prompt and favorable consideration" to the treaty.
"The Moscow Treaty represents an important elements of the new strategic relationship between the United States and Russia," Bush said in a statement to the Senate.
Ratification requires two-thirds support of the U.S. Senate. The treaty must also be ratified by the Russian Duma.
Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty during a summit in Moscow last month.
Both countries have agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals by about two-thirds by 2012, which, according to the president, will leave the United States and Russia each with "the lowest level of deployed strategic nuclear warheads in decades."
The accord will limit the two countries to between 1,700 and 2,000 deployed strategic nuclear warheads, down from a level of about 6,000 each, within 10 years.
While both Democrats and Republicans have signaled support for the treaty, some lawmakers have raised concerns about the fact that both countries can decide to store, as opposed to dismantle, excess warheads.
Bush, in his statement, said such "flexibility" is needed to allow each country to "determine how best to respond to future security challenges."
The White House pushed for the ability to store some excess warheads, over Russia's objections, in order to protect the United States' ability to respond to any global emergencies.
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