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Article VI

Thank you Mr. Chairman and delegates for affording the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) the opportunity to communicate their views and recommendations. We wish you success in your efforts at this important gathering.

I work with NGOs that seek rapid progress on nuclear arms control and disarmament measures that are essential to creating the conditions for a sustained and effective program of action to reduce and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons. We believe that a combination of pressure for total elimination of nuclear weapons, practical initiatives for achieving deep reductions, as well as broader adherence to the obligations of the nuclear non-proliferation regime is necessary to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons.

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1998 NPT Index

My remarks focus on three vital, immediate steps within the scope of Article VI: bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force; implementing START II; and achieving deeper reductions through START III negotiations. I should add that my remarks do not necessarily represent the views and analysis of the many other NGOs who contributed to this statement.

The Preparatory Committee meeting for the year 2000 Review Conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) offers an important opportunity to help advance Article VI goals. To attain those goals, we call on all states attending the PrepCom to take concrete steps to strengthen the Treaty regime. At this time, we call for strenuous efforts  by NPT states parties and by other states to work together to clear away obstacles to the fulfillment of CTBT and START objectives, which are essential to the reduction and elimination nuclear weapons.

The first issue is the implementation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. While we applaud and recognize the historic United Nations approval of the "zero-yield" Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, its signature by 149 nations, and its ratification by the United Kingdom, France, and eleven other nations, we are deeply concerned about the prospects for its entry into force.

A small handful of states have, unfortunately, failed to sign the CTBT. A number of other states have not yet ratified CTBT. Timely ratification of the CTBT by the U.S. is by no means certain. These obstacles make the Treaty's full implementation unlikely prior to September 1999, when a special conference may have to be convened to expedite the Treaty's entry into force.

We call on all states to promptly sign, and those that have signed, to ratify the Treaty, and if necessary, be prepared to pursue additional steps to ensure its early entry into force after September 1999. The CTBT is a central part of the 1995 NPT "Statement of Principles and Objectives" and is essential for the phased reduction and elimination of nuclear dangers posed by the existence of nuclear arms and their proliferation. As retired General George Lee Butler has said in support of the Treaty, "I think that it [the CTBT] is a necessary, but not sufficient, additional step along the path to abolition"(1).

The CTBT is both a nuclear disarmament measure and a non-proliferation measure: it would  reduce the ability of existing nuclear weapon states to make qualitative improvements in the military capabilities of their arsenals and would create an additional barrier to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear weapon states.

But the declared nuclear weapon states must also acknowledge that the CTBT does not give them a blank check to pursue the development and qualitative improvement of new types of nuclear weapons or modifications of existing weapons types to enhance their military capabilities through means other than nuclear test explosions. Some nations and many non-governmental organizations are concerned that advances in nuclear weapons research and design technology, such as those outlined in the United States' "Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship" program may not allow the CTBT to completely fulfill its objective, as stated in the Preamble, to "[constrain] the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ... development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons."

This objective, which is fundamental to the process of nuclear weapons elimination, cannot be attained without the CTBT, which all five nuclear weapon states have voluntarily signed. Whether or not there is agreement on the capabilities of these new nuclear weapons design programs, additional measures can and should be taken to reinforce the value and the credibility of the CTBT in this regard. Specifically, the nuclear weapons states should also clarify that they will not develop or produce new nuclear warhead types or modifications of existing types that will endow them with new military capabilities.

Pending the entry into force of the CTBT, the nuclear weapon states are obligated to exercise "utmost restraint" in connection with nuclear testing (2) and each CTBT signatory is obligated under Article XVIII of the Vienna Convention on Treaties not to take any action that violates the "purpose or intent" of the Treaty. To build confidence that no such actions occur, the nuclear weapon states should refrain from actions at their tests sites, including underground subcritical experiments, which may also aggravate the global CTBT ratification process. In addition, to clarify any questions that may arise about conformance with the CTBT, all states who have conducted nuclear test explosions should voluntarily adopt new transparency measures at their test sites.

Forty years ago this October, the first formal negotiations to end nuclear weapons test explosions began here in Geneva. We respectfully urge this body and individual member nations to reiterate their commitment to the CTBT and take the actions necessary to ensure early entry into force.

The second and third points concern the fulfillment of the START process. We respectfully call upon NPT states parties to urge Russia to ratify the START II Treaty without further delay, and urge the United States to approve the protocols for START II and the ABM Treaty agreed to by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in 1997. Although implementation of the START II agreement, signed over five years ago, is long overdue, its importance to advancing nuclear disarmament by deep reductions of existing U.S. and Russian strategic arsenals cannot be overemphasized, and its future implementation cannot be assumed.

Further, this body should encourage the United States and Russia to promptly initiate and promptly conclude negotiations on START III. These negotiations can and should achieve reductions in actively deployed strategic nuclear forces far deeper than those provisionally outlined at the 1997 Helsinki summit (2,000-2,500 strategic nuclear weapons). The negotiation and ratification of such an agreement by the beginning of the year 2000 is a worthy objective.

The START III agreement is also important in that it affords the chance for agreement on important questions that have not heretofore been covered by the START process, including: "measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories and the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads;" and "placement in a deactivated status of all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles which will be eliminated under START II by December 31, 2003" (3). In combination with declaring more fissile material as excess and placing this material under safeguarded storage, such measures would build confidence in the irreversibility of warhead elimination, help prevent theft or diversion of nuclear materials, and create barriers to re-use.

Ratification and implementation of START II and negotiation and fulfillment of  START III would greatly reduce the threat of these weapons and facilitate progress toward multilateral talks that could further reduce the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia, as well as the nuclear weapons of the other nuclear weapon states.

The continuing threat posed by nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation, coupled with the obligations of each adherent to the NPT require that renewed focus and energy be directed toward rapid implementation of the CTBT, START II and START III, even as you address other vital nuclear risk reduction initiatives.

We hope you will give careful thought to these points and to our recommendations to improve international efforts to prevent and reverse the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all of its aspects. Thank you for your time and attention.

References:

1. Press Conference, National Press Club, Washington, D.C., February 2, 1998.

2. Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, Decision 2 ("Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament"), Part 4(a), May 1995.

3. Joint Statement by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces, Helsinki, March 21, 1997.

Statement Coordinator: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers,
110 Maryland Avenue, NE, Suite 201, Washington, DC 20002
tel: (202) 546-0795; fax (202) 546-5142, e-mail: coalition@clw.org
web-site: http://www.clw.org/pub/clw/coalition