Kerry to Push for CTBT Ratification in Senate

(Mar. 30) -The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization has established hundreds of detection stations in anticipation of the treaty taking effect (CTBTO image).
(Mar. 30) -The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization has established hundreds of detection stations in anticipation of the treaty taking effect (CTBTO image).

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Friday that a campaign is under way to persuade lawmakers to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Reuters reported (see GSN, Feb. 23).

President Barack Obama has expressed his support for U.S. ratification of the treaty banning nuclear test explosions, which would require affirmative votes from two-thirds of the Senate.

"We are very close. ... We don't have that many votes to win over to win," Kerry said during an event in Washington. "But they are serious folks and we are going to have to persuade them."

The United States voluntarily suspended nuclear tests in 1992, but treaty proponents say that ratification could help draw other holdout nations into the fold. The pact cannot enter into force before being ratified by 44 nations that had nuclear power programs at the time the treaty was opened for signature. Nine nations have yet to sign on -- China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea and the United States.

The Senate rejected ratification in 1999. Critics question whether verification measures were adequate to catch potential violators, while some say testing is a necessary option to ensure the viability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

"We're going to look at this clinically, realistically, as dispassionately as possible," Kerry said. "We are going to do our best to get this passed" (Susan Cornwell, Reuters/Washington Post, March 27).

March 30, 2009
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U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Friday that a campaign is under way to persuade lawmakers to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Reuters reported (see GSN, Feb. 23).