|COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY|
|5-6,7-8||US has also been discussing transparency measures at nuclear test sites with Russia, which would have application to third countries as well. Secretary Albright will testify to Congress. US failure to ratify will make it harder for countries such as India & Pakistan to sign and ratify.|
QUESTION: Also on the Russians and the arms control - can you tell us about the discussions that are going on sharing technology on detection of underground nuclear tests?
MR. RUBIN: Right. There were a number of discussions about this over the weekend. Let me say that we've been discussing with the Russians for some time a number of bilateral measures - so-called transparency measures, i.e. ways to improve our knowledge of what's going on in Russia and Russia's knowledge of what's going on in the United States - at nuclear test sites. There has been no agreement but we will continue to discuss this with Russia.
Let me be very clear about this. These are confidence-building measures above and beyond the numerous provisions contained in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and people who blithely say that this treaty's verification isn't perfect should bear in mind that without the treaty we lose 300 monitoring stations that the treaty's ratification will allow us to deploy that will give us a whole range of knowledge about what may be going on around the world and that we will lose if we don't have the treaty.
So we believe the treaty as written, if ratified, will provide the verification capabilities that we think is necessary; that is, combining our own intelligence means which are quite formidable in detecting even very, very small potential yields of a nuclear explosion with the on-site inspection measures. In addition, in the case of Russia, there has been some talk about increasing the transparency at these test sites so that not the United States but other countries who would need to ratify the treaty, third countries beyond Russia and the United States, would be able to feel more confident because those countries tend not to have the sophisticated intelligence capabilities that we do. So these would be transparency measures above and beyond the treaty that, if agreed to, would be useful in giving confidence to other countries who don't have the formidable capabilities that we have ourselves.
QUESTION: Can you -- (inaudible) -- the talks on these measures are -- (inaudible)?
MR. RUBIN: Well, they've been going on for quite some time. I don't think they're at a particularly decisive phase. This is the kind of discussion that's been going on for some time.
QUESTION: Also on Russia but a different. Has your concern about the situation in Chechnya deepened at all over the weekend?
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: Last week you said that given time you thought you could probably get a majority in the Senate. That was just about the same time they are making the arrangements for the debate. Are you happy with the arrangements and do you feel that given these arrangements you can get a majority?
MR. RUBIN: Well, we'll have to see. A number of hearings have been scheduled this week. It's possible Secretary Albright will testify. We are now looking towards, I gather, a vote in the middle of next week some time and we are going to engage in a full court press to explain the reasons why this treaty is in the interest of the United States and, in particular, as an example, Secretary Albright will be contributing on the diplomatic front to what would be the diplomatic advantages of ratifying the treaty and what would be the diplomatic consequences of a failure to ratify.
Just today, we saw the new leader of the BJP, or I guess the foreign minister of India, specifically stated that they were moving towards a decision to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty this fall. We think that's a very positive development. If the United States fails to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban it will be that much harder, if not impossible, to get countries like India and Pakistan to sign this treaty.
So anyone who is concerned about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - in particular, nuclear weapons in India, in Pakistan or any other part of the world - should support the ratification of this treaty; and those who oppose it must understand the deep damage they will to do our ability to put pressure on governments around the world to not go down the nuclear road. There are very, very dangerous diplomatic consequences of a failure to ratify, and that is something the Secretary will be spelling out during the course of the week.
QUESTION: You also were pressing for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to have a hearing on that. Are you making any progress on that front?
MR. RUBIN: It's possible there will be a hearing this week at which she will testify, but I don't announce Foreign Relations Committee hearings. I know some of your colleagues have very close relations with the people on that committee who do do that, and I'm sure they'd be happy to help you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:40 p.m.)
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