Nuclear Centers of Attention

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday signed an amendment to the 1987 agreement that established nuclear risk-reduction centers in Washington, D.C., and Moscow. “The new agreement further strengthens the connection between the two nuclear risk-reduction centers,” states an Oct. 7 State Department release. The signing took place in Bali, Indonesia, on the margins of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. “Today’s NRRC-to-NRRC relationship and communications link continue to provide vital transparency in strategic and conventional forces, facilitate verification of arms control treaties and agreements, and support strategic stability,” states the release. For example, it notes, the two centers have exchanged more than 5,000 notifications since the New START agreement went into effect in February 2011. “The Cold War is now long over, but thousands of nuclear weapons remain, and we both recognize a responsibility to do everything possible to keep each other appraised of important developments in order to avoid misunderstandings and potentially catastrophic consequences,” said Kerry during a joint press conference with Lavrov. (Kerry-Lavrov transcript)