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Clinton Says U.S. Can Pass Nuclear Treaty With Russia

Russian Nuclear Missile With Mobile Launcher Next to WoodsNov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the government still has sufficient votes in Congress to ratify a treaty that would reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons after this week's congressional elections.

Both countries are committed to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, Clinton said in a speech today in Wellington, New Zealand's capital. She said she would like to see the treaty passed when Congress returns for a short session before new members are seated early next year.

"We are working hard to pass the treaty," Clinton said. "We believe we have enough votes to pass it in the Senate, it's just a question of when it is brought to a vote."

Republican victories in the Nov. 2 U.S. elections prompted a Russian parliamentary committee yesterday to withdraw its backing for the treaty while it assesses whether America can approve it. Republicans, who generally oppose the START Treaty, narrowed the Democrats majority by gaining at least six seats. They needed 10 seats to gain a majority.

The new START treaty is intended to reduce the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals and increase transparency about what each nation's stockpiles hold.

"Both the U.S. and Russia are committed to passing" the treaty, Clinton said. "We take this treaty very seriously and I know the Russian government does as well."

President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, in April. The original START accord expired in December 2009.

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