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U.S. VP calls for early passage of new START

11-25-2010 08:47 BJT

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- As part of the Obama administration's continued efforts, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday wrote about the urgency to pass this year in the Senate the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) signed with Russia in April.

"In September 2009, when President (Barack) Obama decided to alter his predecessor's plans for missile defense in Europe, some critics claimed that we had sacrificed our allies in the interest of the 'reset' with Russia," Biden wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "Others thought that we would derail the reset by proceeding with the new plan. The skeptics were wrong on both counts."

He argued that at NATO's summit in Lisbon, Portugal last weekend, President Obama united Europe behind U.S. missile-defense plans and received "strong support" for the new START treaty that is awaiting ratification in the Senate. "In doing so, he proved that missile defense and arms control can proceed hand-in-hand," the vice president added.

He was addressing concerns of some Republican senators that the pact would limit U.S. missile defense programs.

He dwelled on the changes taking place in U.S.-Europe relations after two years of intensive diplomacy, citing examples like the positive atmosphere in Lisbon and the "substantial progress" on priorities like missile defense, arms control and the Russia reset.

"NATO's adoption of territorial missile defense as a new mission shows that President Obama has rebuilt the alliance's underlying consensus about the threats we face and how to meet them," Biden wrote. "The U.S. contribution to this effort will be the European Phased Adaptive Approach, which will include Aegis ships capable of ballistic missile defense, a forward-based radar, and land-based SM-3 interceptor sites in Romania and Poland."

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