Russia Asked To Give Up Nuclear Arms

WASHINGTON — A new international group committed to eliminating nuclear weapons over the next 25 years has enlisted scores of world leaders as its campaign gets under way at a conference in Paris on Tuesday.

"The aim is to get to zero," said Richard Burt, chief strategic weapons negotiator for President George H.W. Bush.

The group, Global Zero, is proposing deep cuts in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, a verification and enforcement system and phased reduction leading to the elimination of all stockpiles.

After the kickoff meeting, delegations will go to Moscow for talks with Russian officials on Wednesday and to Washington to see Bush administration officials and possibly advisers to President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday.

Ultimately, the planners are hoping to stage a world summit in January 2010.

More than 100 political, military, business, religious and civic leaders have lent their support to the campaign. Listed supporters include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

There are an estimated 20,000 or more nuclear weapons around the world. The nuclear-armed nations are the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and, presumably, Israel.

Global Zero envisions U.S.-Russian negotiations to cut back nuclear stockpiles to roughly 1,000 weapons apiece, from current arsenals of about 5,000 warheads each.