Exchange of New START Instruments of Ratification

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Munich, Germany
February 5, 2011

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary of State of the United States of America Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov are signing a protocol and exchange of instruments of ratification of the treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on measures for reduction and modification of strategic offensive arms. With this exchange, the treaty will enter into force.

(Signing of the treaty.) (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: First, let me thank the hosts and organizers of this conference. It is fitting that we celebrate this moment here in Germany, a country that once embodied the divisions of the Cold War, but now brings us together on behalf of global security.

I also want to acknowledge, Minister Lavrov, there are a number of members of Congress who are here for the event. I want to thank all of them. Some were very strong supporters of the treaty, and others helped to make our efforts even better.

When we met two years ago not long after the 2009 Munich Conference, we exchanged gifts, ideas, and pledges to repair relations between our countries, and today we exchange the instruments of ratification for a treaty that lessens the nuclear dangers facing the Russian and American people and the world.

Two years ago, we all laughed about the translation of the ceremonial “reset” button that I gave to the foreign minister in Geneva. But when it came to the translation that mattered most, our two countries, led by our two presidents, turned words into action to reach a milestone in our strategic partnership.

And when it comes to the button that has worried us the most over the years, the one that would unleash nuclear destruction, today, we take another step to ensure it will never be pushed. With the exchange of these instruments, we commit ourselves to a course of action that builds trust, lessens risks, and improves predictability, stability, and security. Our countries will immediately begin notifying each other of changes in our strategic forces. Within 45 days, we will exchange full data on our weapons and facilities. And 60 days from now, we can resume the inspections that allow each side to trust, but verify.

I thank both of our negotiating teams that worked so far for so long for their professionalism and seriousness of purpose, and I congratulate the Russian chief negotiator, Anatoly Antonov, who has now become a deputy defense minister. And our Under Secretary Ellen Tauscher and our Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller stand ready to continue the cooperative relationship that this treaty demonstrates.

So Minister Lavrov, I thank President Medvedev, I thank you, I thank your team and your country for the leadership that this moment represents, and we look forward to working together as we continue to build on the positive relationship that we have developed.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter.) (Inaudible) today is a very important date. (Inaudible) but today the (inaudible) reduction treaty has added (inaudible). I would like to emphasize that (inaudible). And we’ll see how (inaudible) be implemented together as (inaudible) are going to – in the favor of (inaudible). I would like to (inaudible) once again that this (inaudible) interests of Russia and the United States continues to be (inaudible). And once again, I would like to add to the kind words that (inaudible). There were two things that (inaudible). Thanks for their contribution. I think that we would not be able to achieve (inaudible). But of course, it was only possible through the (inaudible). As a result, (inaudible) both Russia and the U.S.A. share responsibility for security in the whole world and (inaudible) move forward into (inaudible). (Inaudible) negotiations, we have discussed all relationships in our agenda (inaudible). I hope that we will (inaudible). Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/T40-3