Statement from Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn Regarding New Nunn-Lugar Agreement

“I congratulate President Obama and President Putin for setting aside historical animosities and demonstrating that responsible leadership requires acting together to reduce nuclear risks.  I also applaud Rose Gottemoeller and the team she so ably led from the departments of State, Defense and Energy, as well as Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and his Russian team. While many others despaired that this crucial effort was doomed, they moved obstacles and made today’s progress possible.

“Since the early 1990s, the United States and Russia, and other like-minded nations, have understood that securing materials and weapons of mass destruction, and their safe, step-by-step elimination, is not a zero-sum game, but a win-win for both of our nations and for the world.  For over two decades, I have watched Russia and American defense workers, scientists and members of the military work together and effectively to safely secure and destroy inventories that they helped build during the Cold War. 

“None of us can know or measure how many disasters and catastrophes have been avoided.  We do know, however, that we have dramatically reduced catastrophic risk for U.S. citizens, Russian citizens, and citizens around the globe.

“Certain key elements of what we have known as Nunn-Lugar will not be carried forward under this umbrella agreement, including certain defense work and reducing the very serious risks posed by chemical and biological weapons.  Our two nations know more about the possible catastrophic consequences of chemical and biological weapons than any two nations on earth.  Whether we like it or not, as a legacy of the Cold War, we both have a unique obligation to increase our cooperation and our leadership in this arena to protect God’s universe from all weapons of mass destruction.  So we must find ways beyond this agreement to work together on these critical issues. I believe that we will.

“One of the most encouraging elements of today’s agreement is the fact that we will be moving forward as equal global partners  – sharing both leadership and responsibilities. I am confident that Russia and the United States will lead and inspire a global effort to secure weapons and materials of mass destructions, reduce the risks that threaten humankind and make the world a safer place.”


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