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Obama Enlists Big Names To Push For Nuclear Treaty

U.S. President Barack Obama (left) hosts a meeting to discuss the importance of the passage of the START Treaty in Washington.
U.S. President Barack Obama says Senate ratification of a pending arms treaty with Russia this year is a national security imperative.

Obama told reporters today the stakes for the United States were clear -- and high.

He spoke during a meeting with top aides and key backers of the pact, including former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker, and Henry Kissinger, and former Defense Secretaries William Cohen and William Perry.

The passage of the treaty has been thrown into doubt by Republican calls to delay consideration until the new Congress convenes in January.

But Obama said, "I'm confident we should be able to get the votes."

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) would slash deployed arsenals on both sides by roughly a third.

compiled from agency reports