U.S. to Allow START Pact to LapseThe Bush administration will seek to negotiate a follow-on agreement to a major nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, but will not seek to extend the pact’s rigorous verification measures, Reuters reported. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is set to expire in 2009, ending the mutual verification provisions that have allowed the parties to confirm the destruction of nuclear weapon delivery vehicles that once carried thousands of nuclear warheads.
The 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty calls for the United States and Russia to further reduce the number of warheads they deploy, but it has no verification or monitoring provisions.
Under START, the United States and Russia reduced the number of deployed warheads to less than 6,000 each. In a recent data exchange, Russia declared that as of Jan. 1 it had 4,162 deployed strategic warheads and the United States declared having 5,866