Obama boosts nuclear talks, split remains

Sat May 16, 2009
By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Talks on reforming a 1970 nuclear arms treaty ended on Friday with signs of progress due to President Barack Obama’s vow to reduce the U.S. arsenal, but the wide chasm between rich and poor states remains.

A two-week conference at U.N. headquarters on the landmark nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty defied expectations last week when the 189 signatories unanimously agreed an agenda for the next major review next year. …

The latest conference was the first time in years that the NPT signatories, polarized after former U.S. President George W. Bush backed out of previous disarmament pledges, had reached an agreement.

Obama sent a message to the conference in which he reiterated his vow to take new steps to cut nuclear weapons while urging delegations to bridge differences on strengthening the treaty. Many delegates said it helped break years of deadlock at NPT meetings. …