Washington (CNN) - A key Republican senator cast doubt Tuesday on the Obama administration's chances of passing the nuclear treaty with Russia during the lame-duck session of Congress.
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, who is taking the lead for Republicans on negotiating with the administration on the treaty's ratification, said in a statement he told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, that the accord should not be considered before January, when the newly elected Congress is seated.
Washington (CNN) – The United States and Russia completed a spy swap Friday, exchanging the agents on chartered planes at an airport in Vienna, Austria, a U.S. official and Russian media said.
The plane carrying 10 Russian agents, who were expelled from the United States on Thursday for intelligence gathering, landed at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport on Friday afternoon, the airport press office said.
"The United States has successfully transferred 10 Russian agents to the Russian Federation and the Russian Federation has released four individuals who had been incarcerated in Russia," Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, said in a statement released as the plane landed in Moscow. "The exchange of these individuals ... has been completed."
Washington (CNN) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet U.S. President Barack Obama for talks at the White House on Thursday after taking a technology tour of California a day earlier.
After the leaders have lunch, Obama will attend a U.S.-Russia business summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On Wednesday, Medvedev visited Cisco Systems for the company's announcement of a $1 billion investment in Russian projects. He sent his first Twitter message after the meeting.
"Greetings to everyone, I'm at Twitter and this is my first message," the Russian leader tweeted from Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Medvedev also posted a photograph of the "view outside my hotel window" in San Francisco and another of himself greeting Twitter employees from the new @KremlinRussia account.
Washington (CNN) - The proposed U.S.-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty will enhance U.S. security and diplomatic credibility, and won't compromise U.S. nuclear force levels or undermine its missile defense, top U.S. officials said Tuesday as they urged the Senate to ratify the pact.
"We will strengthen our national security more broadly, including by creating greater leverage to tackle a core national security challenge, nuclear proliferation," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
She joined Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a major nuclear arms treaty Thursday, but critics in the Senate will have their say before anything is put in place. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) – President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a major nuclear arms treaty Thursday, but critics in the Senate will have their say before anything is put in place.
Among them is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, who said in a statement Thursday that the Obama administration "will need to meet three requirements if it expects favorable consideration of the START follow-on treaty."
"The Senate will assess whether or not the agreement is verifiable, whether it reduces our Nation's ability to defend itself and our allies from the threat of nuclear armed missiles, and whether or not this administration is committed to preserving our own nuclear triad," McConnell said in a statement.
The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty - known as START– builds on a previous agreement that expired in December. The agreement reduces the number of nuclear weapons held by the United States and Russia by about one-third, among other provisions.
Washington (CNN) - Two of President Barack Obama's top advisers said Sunday the new nuclear arms treaty with Russia will help bring Russian support for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear ambitions.
David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, two senior White House advisers, said increased trust with Russia through the START treaty expected to be signed on April 8 would bring increased cooperation with Moscow in the dispute.
"I believe we'll have a strong regime of sanctions" against Iran, Axelrod said on the CNN program "State of the Union," adding that he believed Russia would support the sanctions.
Jarrett, on the ABC program "This Week," said the new START treaty helps pave the way for cooperative steps against Iran.
Washington (CNN) - The United States and Russia have reached "the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades," President Barack Obama said Friday.
The agreement cuts by about one-third "the nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia will deploy," the president said.
The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will last 10 years, and builds on the previous agreement that expired in December.
"It significantly reduces missiles and launchers," Obama told reporters at the White House. "It puts in place a strong and effective verification regime. And it maintains the flexibility that we need to protect and advance our national security, and to guarantee our unwavering commitment to the security of our allies."
Moscow, Russia (CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Russia on Thursday to jump-start talks on two diplomatic fronts: a new nuclear treaty between the countries and the stalled Mideast peace process.
Clinton will spend Thursday in talks with senior Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Both sides have expressed optimism that they can reach a long-delayed agreement to reduce their nuclear warheads to about 1,500 each before an international summit on nuclear non-proliferation in Washington next month.
The two sides have been trying to negotiate a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expired in December.
MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed Tuesday that Washington and Moscow are working together to make sure Iran's controversial nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, but Russia has stopped short of committing to Iran sanctions.
Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking to reporters after a closed-door meeting, indicated that there has been no agreement between the countries on any sort of sanctions plan, even though Russia is not opposed to sanctions in principle.
The United States is using a two-track approach, pursuing diplomacy with Iran and going on to stronger measures - such as sanctions - if that fails.
"We are aware that we might not be as successful as we need to be. So we have always looked at the potential of sanctions in the event that we are not successful, that we cannot assure ourselves and other that Iran has decided not to pursue nuclear weapons," Clinton said.
Clinton quoted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recent comment that sanctions might be "inevitable" but not at this stage. While the Obama administration has been cautiously optimistic about the "inevitable" comment, Russia has long believed that sanctions are not yet necessary, even though they may be a factor to consider down the road.
MOSCOW (CNN) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has invited U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to his private residence in suburban Barvikha for a discussion Tuesday of a broad range of issues in what one senior State Department official called a "relaxed setting."
Issues on the agenda for the two-hour meeting include the next steps on Iran, the Mideast conflict, cooperation on Afghanistan, possible joint work on a missile defense system, Russia's "neighborhood" and climate change.
Clinton also will meet with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, following up on many of the same issues, as well as getting progress reports on the new bilateral presidential commission they jointly chair. The commission, created by presidents Medvedev and Barack Obama during Obama's July visit to Moscow, has 16 working groups dealing with a number of aspects of the relationship, from arms control to health care.
A key issue during Clinton's two-day visit to Russia will be arms control and reaching an accord to replace the 1991 Start II arms control agreement, which expires in December.
Also at the top of the agenda are Iran and international efforts to induce Tehran to end its nuclear program. A senior administration official, briefing reporters on background because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the
talks, said Clinton will speak with Medvedev and Lavrov "about what specific forms of pressure Russia would be prepared to join the U.S. and other nations in."