US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev have spoken on the phone, taking an historic step towards a world without nuclear weapons.
The two have agreed on a “landmark” deal to significantly reduce the strategic missiles each side has deployed.
“In many ways, nuclear weapons represent both the darkest days of the Cold War, and the most troubling threats of our time,” Barack Obama said. “Today, we have taken another step forward in leaving behind the legacy of the twentieth century while building a more secure future for our children.”
The US and Russia hope the new deal will increase pressure on states like Iran to abandon any ambition to develop nuclear weapons.
“We were committed from the beginning to reset the US-Russia relationship because we saw it as essential to making progress on our top priorities from counter-terrorism to nuclear security and non-proliferation,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
The deal replaces the cold-war era START treaty that expired last December. It cuts, by about a third, the nuclear weapons the United States and Russia will deploy.
It has taken a year of intense negotiations to come up with the new ten-year agreement, which will be formally signed in Prague on April 8.