For Second Year Running, U.S. a No-Show at CTBT Conference
Kucia, Christine, Arms Control Today
FOR THE SECOND consecutive time, the United States will not send a delegation to a meeting of states belonging to the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which seeks to ban all forms of explosive nuclear testing. Many member states will meet in Vienna September 3-5 to examine ways to accelerate the treaty's entry into force.
A U.S. official confirmed July 30 that the United States will not attend the September meeting. The United States, which has signed but so far refused to ratify the CTBT, also declined to attend a November 2001 meeting on speeding the treaty's entry into force. The United States did attend a meeting in Vienna October 6-8, 1999, but several days later, on October 13, the U.S. Senate rejected the pact.
However, the decade-long unilateral U.S. moratorium on nuclear testing remains in place, Secretary of State Colin Powell reaffirmed August 7. He said, "The President has no intention of testing nuclear weapons. We have no need to." Yet, Powell noted that the United States-obligated to maintain a safe, reliable stockpile-"can't rule it out forever."
Despite the U.S. absence, organizers intend the meeting's final declaration to promote practical measures that over the next several years will help move the treaty toward enactment. "Now we're underlining a perspective for the future," Ambassador Tom Gronberg of Finland, chair of the meeting's preparatory process, told Arms Control Today July 30. "We have to have a concrete program" to promote the CTBT's entry into force.
A Bush administration official noted that, despite the U.S. decision not to ratify the treaty in the near future, the U. …