Newsday (New York, NY)|
September 23, 1997
SENATE. TEST. WEAPONS. RESTRICTION. BACKING THE BAN/NUCLEAR TREATY
GOES TO SENATE
BYLINE: By Josh Friedman
United Nations - President Bill Clinton announced yesterday he had formally
asked the U.S. Senate to ratify a global nuclear test ban treaty that has eluded
world leaders since the Kennedy administration.
As if assessing the historical impact adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty would have, Clinton called it "our commitment to end all nuclear tests
for all time, the longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of arms
He chose his annual speech at the opening of the UN General Assembly session
to announce he had sent the treaty to the Senate. He signed the treaty just
after he spoke to the United Nations last year, the first of 146 leaders who
have signed the bill.
Senate debate on the treaty is expected to be heated, but U.S. ratification
is necessary to push other nuclear powers like Russia, France and China to
ratify, arms control experts say. Then-President John F. Kennedy signed the
documents of ratification for a nuclear test ban treaty with Britain and the
Soviet Union in 1963.
While Clinton was exhorting other UN members to follow the U.S. lead, he
pleaded with them to approve his administration's request to reduce the U.S.
share of UN costs by adopting "a more equitable scale of assessment."
He linked a reduction of U.S. dues to U.S. support for enlarging the Security
Council, a quid pro quo sought by Germany and Japan in exchange for making up
for the shrinking U.S. financial role.
Clinton is virtually the only leader of a major country at this year's
General Assembly session. At a luncheon given yesterday by Secretary General
Kofi Annan, Clinton was flanked by President Milan Kucan of Slovenia and
President Arnaldo Aleman Lacayo of Nicaragua.
Clinton was accompanied by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who will
spend two weeks in New York meeting with other foreign ministers to persuade
them to go along with a U.S. plan to change the way the United Nations is run
Ratifying the treaty and shrinking the U.S. role at the United Nations are
linked to a delicate relationship between the Clinton administration and
outspoken Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC).
Reducing the U.S. share of UN general costs from the present 25 percent to a
proposed 20 percent is one of the prices Helms exacted in exchange for going
along with at least partial payment of the $1.5 billion the United Nations says
the United States owes in back dues. A congressional conference committee is now
working on a bill that would pay about $900 million of the debt, "an opportunity
to put the questions of debts and dues behind us once and for all," Clinton said
But there is little support for allowing the United States to shrink its role
as the UN's biggest patron. Robin Cook, the foreign minister of Britain, one of
Washington's closest allies, plans to demand in the General Assembly today that
the United States pay everything it owes and continue to pay more than a
20-percent share, an aide said yesterday.
And in opening yesterday's session, Annan, Clinton's choice to lead the
United Nations, said, "Some of you I ask to do what your legal obligations
require: to liquidate your arrears and to pay your future assessments in full,
on time and without conditions."
Despite nearly killing the recent chemical weapons ban, Helms is not likely
to be able to block the Senate from voting on ratification of the test ban
treaty, said John Parachini, a senior analyst and expert on the treaty at the
Henry L. Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank.
He said that Sen. Pete Dominici (R-N.M.) is already planning to hold hearings
on the treaty in his appropriations subcommittee. While the major economic
impact of a test ban would be on huge weapons laboratories in New Mexico,
Dominici apparently has worked out a deal with the administration to keep the
labs busy with other tasks, Parachini said. "This test ban treaty may turn out
to be another struggle over ideology within the Republican Party," he said.
As if to underscore Clinton's belief that Congress is limiting his role at
the United Nations, the president hailed TV mogul Ted Turner yesterday for
promising last week to give $1 billion to the United Nations. Clinton said there
is a potential in the private sector for more contributions. ***** OWING THE
MOST. Here is the UN's calculation of the member nations with the highest
outstanding contributions to the regular budget, peacekeeping operations and
internationals tribunals. Figures are as of Aug. 31 and are in billiions of
dollars. 1. United States $1.552 2. Russia $.259 3. Ukraine $.252 4. Japan $.105
5. Belarus $.063 6. Brazil $.036 7. France $.033 8. Iran $.0243 9. Germany $.024
10. Italy $.0236