Rocky Mountain News
(Denver, CO)
September 23, 1997

A test ban plea 'for all time'
Clinton, in U.N. speech, announces he has sent nuclear treaty to Senate

BYLINE: Ron Fournier

President Clinton called on world leaders Monday to ''end all nuclear tests for all time'' and sent the long-delayed global test-ban treaty to the Senate, where he hopes to overcome Republican objections.

Announcing his action in an address to the United Nations' 52nd General Assembly, Clinton called the treaty ''our commitment to end all nuclear tests for all time, the longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of arms control.''

He signed the accord a year ago but did not submit it to the Senate while White House lobbyists tried to build support.

In a 19-minute speech to U.N. delegates, the president also called for a permanent international court to punish human rights violators.

And he pledged that the United States would pay nearly $ 1 billion in past- due U.N. fees to ''put the question of debts and dues behind us once and for all.''

Returning to the theme of his U.N. address last year, Clinton said the nations of the world must unite against ''21st century predators.'' He warned, ''We're all vulnerable to the reckless acts of rogue states and to an unholy axis of terrorists, drug traffickers and international criminals.''

The president met privately with foreign leaders, including Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, before heading to the Metropolitan Opera's season- opening performance of Carmen.

His submission of the test-ban treaty is expected to stir opposition from GOP senators who don't trust arms control agreements or who insist that testing is needed to maintain a nuclear stockpile.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said his Governmental Affairs subcommittee will conduct a hearing next week on whether the U.S. can count on its nuclear weapons to work without testing.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., a supporter of the treaty, said the pact ''is a major part of what needs to be done in order to move into that post-nuclear age.''

The United States has not conducted a nuclear test since 1992.

The treaty would take effect next September. A Senate vote is expected in the spring. Under the treaty, all 44 nuclear-capable countries must ratify it for it to take effect.

Congress is expected to authorize about $ 900 million for the United Nations, provided the organization does not expand beyond current levels and agrees to put in a separate fund an additional $ 400 million that the United Nations claims it is owed but the United States has contested. The U.N. wants U.S. payments with no strings attached.