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The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, negotiated by President George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia, expired last night. This treaty came at the end of the Cold War and called for mutual reduction in the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads. The countries reached their expected goals of about 6,000 nuclear warheads each years ago.

For months, U.S. and Russian officials have been working to write another treaty into existence, which would need to be ratified by the U.S. Senate as well as the Russian Duma. Both countries have agreed to abide by the provisions of the 1991 treaty until the new one is approved. Though the new target of 1,600 weapons has been agreed to, the verification measures–whereby each country is to send nuclear monitors to the other–seem to be the biggest sticking point in negotiations. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently negotiating with Russian officials for what she describes as a furtherance of American interest in not maintaining a nuclear arsenal beyond America’s needs.

Read more at NPR


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