MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
14 October 1999
US Senate Failure on Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
I am deeply disappointed and concerned by the US Senate's decision today to vote down US ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
The US Senate's decision is a significant blow to efforts to bring about the CTBT's early entry into force. The Treaty's entry into force requires ratification by the 44 states with relevant nuclear facilities, 26 of which have ratified so far. However, key countries such as Russia, China, India and Pakistan have not ratified. Without US ratification, the pressure on these other countries to ratify is significantly less.
The Government made intensive efforts to persuade Senators to vote in favour of ratification. I wrote to 12 key Republican Senators urging them to support the Treaty, while Ambassador Peacock made personal representations to many of these Senators.
My representative at the recent Entry-Into-Force Conference in Vienna, DFAT Deputy Secretary, Miles Kupa, addressed the specific question of US ratification in his speech.
The governments of France, the UK, Germany and Canada also made high-level efforts to urge the Senate to vote in favour of ratifying the Treaty.
I encourage the US Administration to continue its efforts to build support for the Treaty's ratification.
The CTBT will bring about a halt to nuclear testing for all
time and is a key component of international efforts to prevent
the spread of nuclear weapons. Australia has worked consistently
to build support for the Treaty, including its early entry into
force. In 1996 I led the exercise which took the CTBT from the
Conference on Disarmament, where it had stalled, to the UN General
Assembly where it receive overwhelming support from UN members.
I would not want that effort to go to waste.
Ministerial - Innes Willox (02) 6277 7500
Departmental - Matt Francis (02) 6261 1555
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