Europe’s Foreign Ministers Unite Behind START

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From the International Herald Tribune:  Ratification and implementation of New Start would be a major contribution to enhancing the goals of peace, security and disarmament. Reintroducing legally binding limitations on the numbers of nuclear warheads and an effective verification regime would make a positive contribution both to European security and the global non-proliferation regime.

At present there are no legal requirements either on reductions or on verification. The existence of considerable numbers of Russian and U.S. nuclear weapons and their means of delivery not under a regime of mutual control does, in our view, make Europe less safe. …

We recognize that New Start is a bilateral agreement between the United States and Russia. However, the treaty will have an impact far beyond the relation between the U.S. and Russia. …

The E.U. has a long-standing strategic relationship with the United States and today it regards Russia as a strategic partner as well. The recent NATO summit in Lisbon turned out to be a historic event in Euro-Atlantic relations. The summit could very well herald the beginning of a new relationship between Russia, the United States and Europe based on mutual confidence, transparency and predictability. …

In this we — as European foreign ministers — give our full support to the efforts of the governments of the United States and Russia.

We urge a swift ratification and implementation of the New Start treaty.

Michael Spindelegger, Austria Steven Vanackere, Belgium Nickolay Mladenov, Bulgaria Markos Kyprianou, Cyprus Lene Espersen, Denmark Urmas Paet, Estonia Alexander Stubb, Finland Michèle Alliot-Marie, France Guido Westerwelle, Germany Dimitrios Droutsas, Greece János Martonyi, Hungary Micheál Martin, Ireland Franco Frattini, Italy Girts Valdis Kristovskis, Latvia Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg Tonio Borg, Malta Uri Rosenthal, Netherlands Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland Luís Amado, Portugal Teodor Baconschi, Romania Mikulás Dzurinda, Slovakia Samuel ŽZbogar, Slovenia Trinidad Jiménez, Spain Carl Bildt, Sweden William Hague, United Kingdom

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