Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) congratulates President Joe Biden for having reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend the New START Treaty for the maximum allowable five years.
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New START is the only remaining agreement limiting Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals, following the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. If New START had expired, the United States would have lost valuable data about Russian nuclear weapons systems, as well as the ability to conduct on-site inspections of Russian bases. Without such monitoring systems, each side would have faced increased pressure to build up their nuclear arsenals, at great cost and unnecessary risk.
“Nuclear arms control treaties are essential means for reducing the threat of nuclear war, building trust and cooperation, and avoiding expensive arms races,” said FCNL General Secretary Diane Randall. “We are gratified that President Biden understood the urgency of keeping this treaty in force and was successful in achieving its extension for the maximum five years.”
The Russian Federation has consistently offered to extend New START, but the Trump administration had demanded additional conditions and a “better deal.” Experienced negotiators can now pursue further nuclear arms reductions without the immediate danger that the existing deal will expire.
“Both presidents have exercised good judgment by agreeing to the maximum extension of New START,” said Diana Ohlbaum, Legislative Director for Foreign Policy. “Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to all people – not just Russians or Americans – and the entire planet. We have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to ensure that they are never used.”
The exchange of diplomatic notes memorializing the agreement to extend New START came less than two weeks before New START was scheduled to expire, and less than a week after the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, known as the Nuclear Ban Treaty. While neither the United States nor Russia have signed the Nuclear Ban Treaty, their decision to extend New START acknowledges and reduces the global danger posed by nuclear weapons.
Throughout its history as a Quaker organization, FCNL has been advocating for comprehensive disarmament and the elimination of nuclear weapons. To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.