The UN on Wednesday welcomed the extension of the New START treaty between the US and Russia for five years.

“We very much welcome the extension, the five-year extension of the New START as a means of maintaining verifiable limits on the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, and I think it’s a first step of reinvigorating the nuclear arms control regime,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Xinhua news agency reported.

“From our point of view, we encourage both Russia and the United States to use these next five years to negotiate further reductions in their nuclear weapons, as well as new agreements that can address the emerging nuclear weapons challenges of our time and make the world a better place,” he told a daily press briefing.

The spokesman expressed the hope that more countries that have nuclear weapons will join nuclear disarmament efforts.

“It is clear that the more countries that have nuclear weapons engage in disarmament talks and move towards a world free of nuclear weapons, the better we will all be,” he said.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, signed in April 2010 by the US and Russia, limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 and deployed missiles and bombers to 700 for each country. The treaty entered into force on February 5, 2011, and would have expired on February 5, 2021.

The US and Russia on Wednesday officially announced a five-year extension of the treaty, the maximum period allowed by the treaty, two days before expiration.

The former US administration led by Donald Trump tried to conclude a shorter extension of the treaty last year after rounds of negotiation with Russia. But the two sides failed to finalize a formal agreement. Immediately after taking office, US President Joe Biden proposed a full five-year extension, a move welcomed by the Kremlin.

–IANS

int/

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