September 23, 1997
CLINTON TO PUSH GLOBAL TESTING BAN
BYLINE: BOB DEANS
UNITED NATIONS -- Citing the need to build a new strategy of security'' for the
21st Century, U.S. President Bill Clinton on Monday asked the Senate to ratify a
treaty calling for a global ban on nuclear weapons tests.
Calling the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty the longest-sought, hardest-fought
prize in the history of arms control,'' Clinton said the ban would apply needed
brakes to the global arms race.
It will help to prevent the nuclear powers from developing more advanced and
more dangerous weapons,'' Clinton said, and it will limit the possibilities for
other states to acquire such devices.''
Clinton announced his intention to seek Senate ratification of the treaty in a
speech before the United Nations General Assembly, the forum's major annual
business meeting. A year ago the General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty. Since then, the United States and 145 other nations have signed onto
The Senate and the relevant legislative body of at least 43 other countries must
ratify the treaty before it may take effect, a process that could take another
Senate passage is not assured, and Clinton's short-term objective is to begin
lobbying this fall for ratification sometime next year.
Our goal for this is to get the hearings started'' before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, said Bob Bell, a senior arms control adviser to the Clinton
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (Rep.-N.C.) has
expressed reservations about the treaty, but Bell said, We intend to win this
vote, and failure is not an option.''
Developing nuclear weapons requires periodic test explosions, often performed
Such explosions can frequently be detected by seismic gear used to monitor
earthquakes. Banning such tests altogether would make developing or improving
nuclear weapons difficult but would not, White House officials contend,
undermine U.S. nuclear capability.
Opponents of the treaty argue that U.S. weapons development could be impeded by
the ban, while rogue states could find ways to circumvent the treaty.
Clinton said, however, that limiting nuclear testing is a critical element in a
larger effort to deny nuclear technology to outlaw states and terrorist groups
that pose a mounting menace to global peace and security.
We're all vulnerable to the reckless acts of rogue states and to an unholy axis
of terrorists, drug traffickers and international criminals,'' Clinton said.
These 21st century predators feed on the very free flow of information and ideas
and people we cherish. . . We must face them together, because no one can defeat
The rise of such groups has given new urgency, Clinton said, to efforts to
eliminate'' weapons of mass destruction.
We cannot allow them to fall, or to remain, in the wrong hands,'' said Clinton.