Secretary William S. Cohen today released the following statement:
"I was glad to learn of the nomination of my friends and former colleagues Senators Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar for the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize. The groundbreaking legislation that bears their names is a lasting testament to the value and power of bipartisan action on foreign and defense policy.
"Under authorities granted by the Nunn-Lugar legislation in 1991, the Department of Defense has made huge strides towards reducing the threat to the United States posed by nuclear weapons in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The Department's Cooperative Threat Reduction program has assisted Russia in accelerating its strategic arms reductions to START levels, and enhanced safety, security, control and accounting of nuclear weapons and fissile materials to prevent dangerous proliferation.
"The foresight and leadership shown by Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar has enabled U.S. assistance to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus to deactivate more than 5,000 strategic warheads, destroy more than 400 ICBMs, eliminate more than 60 heavy bombers and destroy 15 Russian ballistic missile submarines. This is a vast array of weapons that no longer endanger the United States, our allies or our friends.
"I salute Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar for their lasting contribution to our national security and that of the entire world."