September 23, 1997
Clinton: Ratify N-arms pact;
BYLINE: Judy Keen; Mimi Hall
U.N. speech sets up clash with Senate
UNITED NATIONS -- President Clinton said Monday that he will ask
the Senate to ratify a controversial treaty banning nuclear test
Speaking at the opening day of debate at the United Nation's 52nd
General Assembly, Clinton called the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
"the longest sought, hardest fought prize in arms control."
He said the treaty will help "to prevent the nuclear powers from
developing more advanced and more dangerous weapons."
His announcement sets the stage for a confrontation with Republicans
in Congress. Many of them oppose the pact, arguing it would put
the United States at a disadvantage in future hostilities. Clinton
was the first of 146 world leaders to sign the treaty a year ago.
Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., chairman of a Governmental Affairs
subcommittee, said he will hold a hearing next week on whether
the United States can count on its nuclear weapons to work without
"If it creates a more dangerous environment and is an incentive
for others to cheat and steal a march on the rest of the world
and puts us at risk, then we would make a bad mistake to approve
the treaty," he said.
But Clinton's arms control adviser Robert Bell told reporters,
"We intend to win this vote. Failure is not an option."
In a 19-minute speech, Clinton also said that the United States
will pay "the bulk" of its $ 1.5 billion in delinquent dues.
Aides said the United States plans to pay about $ 1 billion of
that amount -- about what Congress has said it will pay.
Clinton also endorsed creation of an international court to prosecute
crimes against humanity. He urged a battle against "21-st century
predators" in crime cartels that drain up to $ 750 billion a year
from the world's economies.
Clinton's speech got little response from U.N. delegates. Analysts
attributed the silence to the dispute over back dues. "If he
didn't have the millstone of the dues issue around his neck, he
would have had everyone on their feet and applauding," said Jeff
Laurenti, policy director at the United Nations Association of
the United States of America.
The United States' debt became even more controversial among U.N.
members last week when American media mogul Ted Turner pledged
$ 1 billion over 10 years. In his opening speech, U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan said all members should pay future assessments "in
full, on time and without conditions."
Some world leaders also criticized the United States for failing
to endorse a treaty banning land mines. Luiz Lampreia, Brazil's
foreign minister, called the land-mine treaty "a question of