News

COALITION TO REDUCE NUCLEAR DANGERS -- NEWS RELEASE "Senate Should Avoid Rejection or Indefinite Postponement of Test Ban Treaty Say Proliferation Experts" For Release: October 11, 1999 Contact: Daryl Kimball, 202-546-0795 x136 (WASHINGTON, DC) This afternoon President Clinton wrote to Senate Majority Leader Lott (R-MS) requesting that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) be withdrawn from consideration by the Senate. The letter does not pledge, as Senator Helms and others have demanded, that Clinton will not bring up the Treaty again during the remainder of his term. Nuclear non-proliferation experts and Treaty advocates urged Senator Lott and other Senators opposed to the Treaty to consider the consequences their possible rejection of the Treaty in a vote scheduled for October 12. "Rejection of the Test Ban Treaty would unravel the fabric of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and would leave the door open to other states like India, Pakistan, Russia and China to resume nuclear testing," said Thomas Graham, Jr., President of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security and former U.S. Ambassador responsible for securing the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995. The extension of the NPT was secured on the basis of a commitment by the U.S. and others to conclude the CTBT. "Senator Lott and other opponents of the Treaty who have rushed to judgement on the CTBT should accept the President's very straightforward recommendation," said Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers, an alliance of 17 leading nuclear non-proliferation and arms control organizations. "It is not prudent for the Senate to foreclose the possibility that it will reconsider the Test Ban Treaty when the support for the Treaty may be sufficient to secure its approval," he added. Non-proliferation experts also warn that indefinite postponement of the U.S. ratification of the Test Ban Treaty also has serious and damaging consequences. "If the President and the Senators decide to delay consideration of the Treaty, they must not postpone U.S. ratification for long. The consequences of prolonged U.S. inaction may be as severe as the rejection of the Treaty by the Senate," said Kimball. "The longer the United States takes to ratify and help implement the Treaty, the more likely it is that one nation may break the existing global moratorium and set in motion a dangerous political and military chain reaction," he added. "Knowingly or unknowingly, those who would vote down the CTBT are acting in a manner that will facilitate the acquisition of thermonuclear weapons by additional countries and diminish prospects for international stability and the rule of law. They are, in short, recommending a policy that promotes nuclear weapons proliferation and would severely undermine U.S. and international security," added Kimball. "Such a U-turn in American nuclear policy would be a monumental blunder of historic proportions that must be averted," he cautioned. The CTBT was concluded in September of 1996. Since then 154 nations have signed the pact, which would ban all nuclear weapon test explosions, set up a far-ranging international monitoring system, and allow for short-notice, on-site inspections to ensure compliance. A set of 44 states must ratify the Treaty before it formally enters into force. Thus far, 51 nations have ratified, including U.S. allies Britain, France, Germany and Japan. Of the 44 needed for entry into force, 26 have ratified and 41 have signed. Two more India and Pakistan have made conditional pledges to sign, but are very unlikely to do so if the Senate rejects or otherwise fails approve the CTBT. # # # The Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers is an alliance of 17 nuclear non-proliferation and arms control organizations committed to a practical, step-by-step program of action to reduce nuclear dangers. For more information on the CTBT, see the Coalition's CTBT Web Site ____________________________________ Daryl Kimball, Executive Director Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers 110 Maryland Avenue NE, Suite 505 Washington, DC 20002 (ph) 202-546-0795 x136 (fax) 202-546-7970 website __________________________________