Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday urged the Senate to endorse a new U.S.-Russian strategic arms treaty, warning that failure to do so would jeopardize national security.
The U.S. administration will "do everything we can during this lame duck session to get a vote to ratify this treaty."
"We will do whatever it takes literally around the clock," she said.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the treaty on April 8 in Prague to replace the START 1 agreement that expired in December 2009. It will come into force after being ratified by both chambers of the Russian parliament and the U.S. Senate.
"This is not an issue that can afford to be postponed," Clinton said.
The Republicans won a solid majority in congressional elections earlier in November. This means it will be more difficult for Obama to secure the ratification of the treaty after the new Congressmen take up their positions in January.
The new Russian-U.S. pact obligates both nations to cap their fielded strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 warheads, while the number of deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles must not exceed 800 on either side.
The treaty has met strong Republican opposition in the Senate over concerns that it may weaken U.S. anti-missile defenses, while the proponents of the treaty insist that the most important part of the accord is that it continues the verification and monitoring regime that expired with the end of the START 1 treaty.
MOSCOW, November 17 (RIA Novosti)