28 May 1998
(Glenn Amendment sanctions may begin "as early as today") (410) By Rick Marshall USIA Staff Writer Washington -- White House Spokesman Mike McCurry said May 28 that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called President Clinton early this morning -- just prior to his public announcement that Pakistan had just conducted five nuclear tests -- and that the President expressed his "profound disappointment" at the explosions. Clinton had spoken at length to Sharif late last night and urged him strongly against testing the nuclear devices. McCurry said, however, that Clinton understood the profound pressures Sharif has been under ever since India conducted nuclear tests earlier this month. Further, "Sharif was honest" in describing the pressures and the difficulties he faced in arriving at his decision, McCurry acknowledged. India, on the other hand, had not dealt honestly with the United States about its nuclear test plans, he remarked. As a result of its testing, legislation known as the Glenn Amendment automatically forces the United States to impose economic sanctions on Pakistan, just as it did on India. The sanctions "could be issued as early as today," McCurry said. The Glenn Amendment prohibits the United States from supporting loans from the international financial institutions to any nation that detonates a nuclear explosion except the five that current arms control treaties recognize as declared nuclear powers. These are the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, and China. Thus, the U.S. must oppose lending to both Pakistan and India from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank. In addition, McCurry said, the law will probably prevent U.S. agencies like the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Export-Import Bank, and the Trade and Development Agency (TDA) from supporting U.S. commercial activities with Pakistan. Military sales and training will be halted and the export of dual-use commodities will also probably be affected, he said. The Spokesman said that the U.S. has had "a very important exchange of views" with its allies about Pakistan's tests and he predicted that Pakistan will soon feel the bite of the sanctions which are imposed. At the same time, the United States will continue to press both India and Pakistan to refrain from weaponizing their nuclear devices. Such a move "would be inherently destabilizing on the Sub-Continent," he said. "They understand the consequences that would arise," he commented. "Both governments are well aware of our thinking."