The United States is prepared to reduce its strategic nuclear arsenal by as much as one-third if Russia agrees to do the same, President Barack Obama said Wednesday in an eagerly awaited speech at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.
Obama placed his proposal within a vision of a global future based on justice and peace for all and respect for human rights.
In a gesture especially directed at Moscow, he lobbied for reducing the number of strategic nuclear warheads possessed by the two main nuclear powers from the current level of 1,550 - the limit fixed in the latest START treaty - to a little over 1,000.
"As president, I've strengthened our efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and reduced the number and role of America's nuclear weapons," Obama said.
"But we have more work to do. So today, I'm announcing additional steps forward. After a comprehensive review, I've determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third. And I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures," he told the crowd in Berlin.
Obama - speaking without a jacket given the very hot day in Berlin - alluded to the symbolism of the site.
"The wall belongs to history," he said, referring to the barrier that divided Berlin for nearly three decades. "But we have history to make as well."
In an earlier joint press conference with Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel recalled President John F. Kennedy's celebrated June 26, 1963, address at the Berlin Wall, as well as the moment in 1987 when Ronald Reagan, speaking at the Brandenburg Gate, urged then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." EFE