White House to Partially Fund Test Ban Implementing Body

By Bleek, Philipp C. | Arms Control Today, September 2001 | Go to article overview

White House to Partially Fund Test Ban Implementing Body


Bleek, Philipp C., Arms Control Today


NEWS AND NEGOTIATIONS

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION has decided to partially fund the organization responsible for implementing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); and officials say that, despite their opposition to the treaty, they have no plans to work toward withdrawing the U.S. signature from the pact, which bans all nuclear test explosions.

The decision comes just weeks before a major international conference, to be held in New York September 25-27, that will review ways to facilitate the CTBT's entry into force. The treaty opened for signature in 1996 but will not take effect until 44 states designated by the accord as nuclear-capable have ratified it. Thirteen of those countries, including the United States, have yet to do so. The Senate rejected ratification of the treaty in October 1999, and the Bush administration has said it will not ask the Senate to reconsider its action.

In part to prepare for the upcoming meeting, administration officials have been conducting an interagency review of treaty-related issues. According to internal government documents and a State Department official, the administration has decided to continue financing the establishment of a global sensor network, known as the International Monitoring System, intended to detect clandestine nuclear testing. However, the administration does not plan to fund or participate in other treaty activities, notably those related to onsite inspections, which member states will be able to request once the treaty enters into force.

The funding will go to a preparatory commission composed of treaty signatories that are working in Vienna to establish the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which will be responsible for implementing all aspects of the accord once it enters into force.

According to an internal State Department analysis, funding not related to the monitoring system totals almost 4.5 percent of the preparatory commission's budget, which corresponds to about $900,000 of the $20 million the United States is required to provide in 2002. The decision represents a modest pullback from the administration's April budget request to Congress, in which it asked for the full $20 million. Because that request was made before the administration had formulated its new policy, it remains unclear whether officials will work with Congress to reduce U.S. funding for 2002 or will hold off until 2003.

The new funding policy appears to be a compromise position between the views of various administration officials. Some officials argue that the administration has no obligation to fund the treaty's implementing organization if it does not plan to seek ratification, while others contend that the United States can benefit from the implementation of the treaty's monitoring and inspection provisions, even though it does not support ratification of the agreement.

As a treaty signatory, the United States currently has access to data gathered through the treaty's monitoring system. …

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White House to Partially Fund Test Ban Implementing Body
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