Obama returns to U.S. with nuclear arms treaty - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Obama returns to U.S. with nuclear arms treaty

PRAGUE (ABC)-- President Barack Obama is on his way home Friday morning, proudly carrying a historic nuclear arms treaty with Russia.  Mr. Obama traveled all the way to the Czech Republic for barely 24 hours to meet with Russia's president Dimitry Medvedev.

President Obama thanked the Czech president for hosting the biggest nuclear disarmament agreement in two decades. In the ornate Prague castle, President Obama and President Medvedev agreed to slash American and Russian nuclear stockpiles by a third over the next seven years.

Obama says, "This ceremony is a testament to the truth that old adversaries can forge new partnerships."

Now, each needs to convince lawmakers at home to ratify the agreement, a potentially tough task for both men.  The president told ABC's George Stepanopolous that fewer nuclear weapons will boost national security. 

Obama says, "I will also say to those in the Senate who have questions, is that this is absolutely vital for us to deal with the broader issues of nuclear proliferation, that are probably the number one threat that we face in the future."

Beyond their own arms reductions, the two presidents are getting closer to a multilateral agreement on sanctions to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran.

That issue will be the front and center next week when the two presidents, along with leaders in 45 other countries, meet for a nuclear summit in Washington. 

President Obama got word last night that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will skip the summit and is sending his deputy in his place.  His absence is a big blow to the president.  Analysts say it could indicate a growing rift between the U.S. and Israel.

Online Reporter: Jill Courtney

Powered by Frankly