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U.S. Secretary Of State Urges Senate To Ratify New START Treaty

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (file photo)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (file photo)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she is confident that the Senate will ratify the United States' New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia, but called on lawmakers to move quickly on the agreement in order to protect national security.

The old U.S.-Russia arms-reduction treaty expired in December.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week pushed back the vote on the new agreement to mid-September.

Clinton today said she believed there was enough Republican support to pass the treaty, which was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April.

Speaking at the State Department in Washington, D.C., today, Clinton called on lawmakers to act quickly.

"When the Senate returns, they must act, because our national security is at risk," Clinton said.

"There is an urgency to ratify this treaty because we currently lack verification measures with Russia, which only hurts our national security interests."

Senator Richard Lugar is the only Republican yet to publicly express support for the treaty, which needs 67 votes for ratification.

The new treaty would give the United States and Russia a maximum of 1,550 deployed warheads, which is down from the 2002 limit by about 30 percent.

It also restricts the number of air, ground, and submarine-launched nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles the two countries can possess.

compiled from agency reports