|SLUG: 2-271076 US-Test ban (L-only)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=U-S Test Ban (L only)
INTRO: President Clinton is urging the U-S Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,
or C-T-B-T early this year. The President issued his appeal after receiving a report warning that the United States would be less effective in halting the spread of nuclear weapons without the pact. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from the White House.
Text: President Clinton received the report from General John Shalikashvili, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who briefed the president on its contents in a half hour meeting at the White House.
Mr. Clinton - who had asked General Shalikashvili to study the risks and benefits of the treaty after the U-S Senate rejected the pact in 1999 - said the report's conclusions make a strong case for ratification. White House spokesman Jake Siewert read a statement from the president.
/// SIEWERT ACTUALITY ///
The report argues persuasively that ratifying the C-T-B-T would increase our national security and that the security benefits outweigh any disadvantages. The report's recommendations address concerns raised during the October 1999 Senate debate over C-T-B-T. I urge Congress and the incoming Bush administration to act on them.
/// END ACT ///
But President-elect George W. Bush has criticized the treaty as unverifiable and unenforceable, although he has promised to continue the Clinton administration's ban on nuclear testing for the time being.
Mr. Bush's advisors are divided on the issue. Secretary-of-State designate Colin Powell, who is also a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, supports the treaty, while Mr. Bush's choice of Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, is against it.
The report by General Shalikashvili recommends several measures aimed at easing the concerns of treaty critics. It calls for increased spending on verification, greater efforts to maintain the United States nuclear arsenal and a joint review by the Senate and administration every 10 years to determine whether the treaty is still in American interests.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, General Shalikashvili argued that U-S ratification is essential to persuade other nations to accept the treaty and to strengthen other measures to curtail the spread of nuclear weapons.
/// SHALIKASHVILI ACTUALITY ///
This treaty has an important part in an overall strategy of dealing with nuclear proliferation. It is one of the tools that we ought to consider in our toolbox that would help us deal with what after all is one of the recognized important dangers to our security and that is nuclear proliferation.
/// END ACT ///
The test ban treaty, which was completed in 1996, has been signed by 160 countries and ratified by 69. But it cannot take effect until is has been approved by the United States and 43 other nations that have nuclear capabilities.
Britain, France and Russia have signed and ratified the pact. China has signed but not ratified. North Korea has not signed it. India and Pakistan which have engaged in a nuclear arms race in South Asia also have not signed it. (signed)