Senate Foreign Relations Committee Passes CWC Ratification Resolution
Podlich, Heather, Arms Control Today
ONLY DAYS before the deadline for completing its consideration of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 25 approved a resolution of ratification to the treaty by a vote of 13-5. The full Senate will vote on the resolution after Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) places it on the Senate's executive calendar for action, a step he had not taken by April 30.
The CWC, signed in January 1993 by 130 countries including the United States, bans the use, production, stockpiling and development of poison gas, and requires parties to destroy their chemical weapons and production facilities. The Clinton administration formally transmitted the treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification in November 1993.
In approving the resolution, sponsored by Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Claiborne Pell (D-RI), Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS), Joseph Biden (D-DE) and John Kerry (D-MA), the committee rejected a resolution backed by committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC), who had earlier delayed action on the treaty because of a dispute with the Clinton administration over the reorganization of the executive branch's foreign affairs agencies.
The resolution contains seven conditions, which are binding upon the president, and 11 declarations, which are non-binding but express the intent of the Senate. Included in the conditions are requirements of: full U.S. participation in all CWC amendment conferences to ensure that no amendment enters into force without U.S. approval; presidential certification that Russia has complied satisfactorily with the data declaration requirements of the September 1989 U.S.-Soviet Wyoming Memorandum of Understanding or submission of a report outlining any discrepancies in Russian data; presidential certification, before the deposit of the U.S. instrument of ratification, that the U.S.Russian Bilateral Destruction Agreement has been or will shortly be concluded and its verification procedures will meet or exceed those of the CWC; and an understanding that the deposit of the U.S. instrument of ratification is not contingent on U.S. financial guarantees to pay for the CWC implementation costs borne by Russia or any other party.
Included in the 11 declarations are statements on U.S. retaliatory policy, U.S. chemical defense programs, assistance to Russia, expansion of the chemical weapon arsenals of non-parties and Russian noncompliance. …