December 2, 2010 in Nation/World

Powell backs New START ratification

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

President Barack Obama talks with reporters Wednesday after meeting with former Secretary of State Colin Powell on ratifying the New START treaty.
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama rallied support for a stalled nuclear treaty from former Secretary of State Colin Powell Wednesday, as Republican lawmakers indicated a greater willingness to ratify the agreement with Russia by the end of the year.

Both Obama and Powell warned of grave consequences if the Senate fails to ratify the New START pact, which would reduce how many strategic warheads the United States and Russia could hold and set up a system so each could inspect and verify the other’s arsenal.

Powell, a retired four-star Army general and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said he fully supports the treaty and believes Obama has adequately addressed the concerns of Republicans lawmakers over verification and modernization of the remaining U.S. nuclear arsenal.

White House officials were cautiously optimistic Wednesday that momentum was building toward the treaty’s ultimate ratification. Officials specifically pointed to comments this week from Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who both indicated they’d like to finish work on the treaty this year.

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