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With an agreement to scale back the weaponry of the world’s two greatest nuclear powers, President Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev signed a long-sought treaty that still will require the ratification of both governments.

One year after unveiling his vision here for a world without nuclear weapons, Obama returned this morning to sign a treaty with the Russian president that both sides call a major step forward on worldwide arms control.

In a ceremony at the medieval Prague Castle, Obama and Medvedev signed a “New START” treaty that administration officials say will bring U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to their lowest levels since the early 1960s.

The White House says the treaty will reduce the number of long-range deployed nuclear warheads by 30%, while also taking the two nations several strides forward in overall relations.

“One year ago this week,” Obama said after the signing, “I came here to Prague and gave a speech outlining America’s comprehensive commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, and seeking the ultimate goal of a world without them. I said then — and I will repeat now — that this is a long-term goal, one that may not even be reached in my lifetime.

“But I believed then — as I do now — that the pursuit of that goal will move us further beyond the Cold War, strengthen the global nonproliferation regime, and make the United States, and the world, safer and more secure,” he said.

Medvedev, who sat by Obama’s side for the signing in an ornate hall of Prague Castle, said: “Here in this room a truly historic event took place. . . . I believe that this signature . . . will create safer conditions for life here and throughout the world. LAT

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