Russian and U.S. officals have said that an agreement was close before, only for the negotiations to continue to drag on. This time things look to be different. The news out of Geneva, Moscow, and Washington is that the agreement is nearly completed and that it could be signed in Prague, Czech Republic sooner rather than later (did I hedge enough there!?). One Russian official said earlier today that the agreement is complete, but the U.S. is saying that we’re close though not quite finished.
But perhaps the most encouraging news is what came out of a meeting this morning between President Obama, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, and Ranking Member Dick Lugar. According to a statement released by Kerry after the meeting,
“Once the treaty and its associated documents are completed and submitted to the Senate, Senator Lugar and I look forward to holding hearings and giving the treaty immediate and careful attention. Our role will be to understand the treaty in all its complexity and to assess its implications for our foreign and military policy. To prepare for the submission of this treaty, we intend to begin hearings between Easter and Memorial Day on the historical record of strategic arms control.”
“I assured the President that we strongly support his efforts, and that if the final negotiations and all that follows go smoothly, we will work to ensure that the Senate can act on the treaty this year.”
Strong stuff. And rest assured that NoH will be here to take you from signature to entry into force! And through the NPR, Nuclear Security Summit, and NPT Review Conference as well. Lotta action!