The Buffalo News|
September 23, 1997
IN U.N. SPEECH, CLINTON VOWS ACTION ON TREATY
BYLINE: John F. Harris
One year after he came here to sign a global treaty banning nuclear weapons
testing, President Clinton Monday told the General Assembly that he is ready to
send the treaty to the Senate for ratification, beginning what senior
administration officials said could be a hard-fought, months-long debate with
arms control skeptics.
Clinton last year signed the treaty with a flourish, boasting that his
administration brought to fruition an idea that had eluded arms control
negotiators for nearly four decades. But other priorities, including the need to
lobby the Senate to approve a chemical weapons treaty, delayed action on the
test ban treaty.
At his annual appearance here, Clinton told the 52nd session of the General
Assembly that "our common goal" should be for the testing ban to enter "into
force as soon as possible." The United States and the four other major nuclear
powers -- Russia, China, Britain and France -- have pledged to abide by terms of
the treaty, although seismic readings recorded last month have raised questions
about whether Russia conducted a secret test.
Clinton also said pending legislation makes him more confident than ever that
the United States will soon repay its long overdue bill to the United Nations,
but warned the money will come with strings attached. He and U.S. lawmakers want
other nations to pay a larger share of U.N. costs in the future.
But Clinton's linkage of back dues -- the United States pays the largest
share of U.N. costs but is in arrears by more than $ 1 billion -- to an
agreement on a "more equitable" funding formula puts him at odds with U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Moments before Clinton spoke, Annan lectured
nations that are behind in payments to "do what your legal obligations require:
to liquidate your arrears, and to pay your future assessments in full, on time,
and without conditions."