U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says a failure by the U.S. Senate to quickly ratify a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia will endanger national security.
Biden said that without approval of the new START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the United States would be unable to inspect Russia's nuclear arsenal.
Biden's comments in a statement late on November 17 came after a key Republican senator said that he does not think the new START with Russia should be considered this year. Senator Jon Kyl cited a busy Senate agenda and the complexity of the treaty.
The new START was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April in Prague. It replaces a START treaty which expired in December 2009.
Obama has said he wants the Senate to vote on the treaty before the Democratic majority shrinks to 51 in January. Treaty ratification requires a two-third majority in the 100-seat Senate.
compiled from agency reports