Obama, Medvedev Agree to Limit Nuclear Warheads

The announcement followed hours of talks at the Kremlin.

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A joint agreement signed today by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev aims to limit the number of nuclear warheads the United States and Russia can deploy to as few as 1,500 each.

The pledge followed about three hours of talks at the Kremlin, where both Obama and Medvedev agreed to reduce their supply of strategic warheads to between 1,500 and 1,675. The reduction would also lower the number of lower-range missiles for delivering nuclear bombs to between 500 and 1,100.

"We are confident that we can continue to build off the extraordinary discussions that we had in London," Obama said, "and that on a whole host of issues—including security issues, economic issues, energy issues, environmental issues—that the United States and Russia have more in common than they have differences."

Among these differences are plans by the United States to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe and Russia's war with Georgia, which occurred less than a year ago.

The new agreement by two of the world's biggest nuclear powers would set the stage for a replacement to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in December.

Current treaties limit each country's nuclear stockpiles to a maximum of 2,200 warheads and 1,600 launch vehicles.

Russia also agreed to allow the U.S. military to fly troops and weapons across its territory to Afghanistan. This would help the United States avoid more dangerous supply routes through Pakistan, which are frequently attacked by militants. Both presidents said they were committed to "the goals of the common fight against the threats of terrorism, armed extremism, and illegal drug trafficking" in the country.

The summit meeting marked Obama's first trip to Russia as president. He will meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at his home outside Moscow tomorrow.