In 1991, some of the Russians with whom we had maintained ties came to visit Senator Sam Nunn and me in Senator Nunn’s Washington office. They portrayed dire circumstances in which nuclear weapons might not have sufficient security, in which military personnel sometimes were deserting their posts, and circumstances in which the security of Russia and the United States would be jeopardized without vigorous and prompt American assistance. Prompt drafting and passage of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program in the last days of the 1991 United States Senate session provided a timely and vitally necessary response. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program evolved into a very important way in which Russia and the United States provided not only essential action for security of our two countries but reassurance of our leadership to the rest of the world.

It is a personal privilege on June 14 for me to be present with Senator Sam Nunn as we witness Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller and Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States Sergey I. Kislyak sign a new agreement which provides for additional cooperative efforts under terms of a new agreement following the umbrella agreement that expired on June 17.

Russia and the United States have successfully defended against the existential threat initially posed by developments in 1991, and I hope that we will find new ways of working together both in Russia but also in new locations as our two countries deal with new threats and assume additional responsibilities. As a result of our work, together, in Russia, many terrorist groups have moved their efforts to acquire weapons and materials of mass destruction to new places such as Africa and Southeast Asia. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program is not ending but is moving with the threats to our security and to the rest of the world.

I look forward to learning of ways in which Americans including Senator Sam Nunn and I can be helpful and supportive. We look forward to additional cooperative and positive developments.