Ratifying START a 'national security imperative': Obama
US President Barack Obama Thursday warned it was a "national security imperative" for the US Senate to ratify a landmark nuclear treaty with Russia this year, piling pressure on Republicans to act.
"It is a national security imperative that the United States ratify the new START treaty this year," Obama said, surrounded by veteran former US statesmen and women including Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright.
"This is not about politics, this is about national security," Obama said, piling pressure on Republicans in the Senate to relent and allow a vote on the pact, slashing US and Russian nuclear arsenals, this year.
Obama said failure to pass the pact would severely impact US national security, America's relations with Moscow and he warned Washington could not "gamble" on verifying Russia's nuclear stocks.
Asked whether he had the votes in the Senate to pass the treaty, despite Republican delaying tactics Obama replied "I am confident that we should be able to get the votes."
© 2010 AFP