THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
The President welcomes the amendment adopted by the U.S. Senate today expressing its view that the Senate should promptly ratify the START II Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
`We must reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction, whether uclear, chemical or biological,' the President declared. `START II and the CWC are critical steps on the road toward reaching this objective.'
Together with START I, START II will reduce by two-thirds the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed at the height of the Cold War. START II will also enhance strategic stability by eliminating all MIRVed and heavy ICBMs, including the Russian SS-18 missile. The Chemical Weapons Convention requires the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles around the world and severe penalties for those who assist others, including terrorists, in acquiring chemical weapons. It will make chemical terrorism like the tragic attack on the Tokyo subway last March far more difficult in the future.
Both START II and the CWC were negotiated and signed under the Bush Administration and submitted to the Senate by President Clinton. The President urges the Senate to complete its deliberations on these two treaties and to provide its consent to their ratification as soon as possible. As the President noted in his May 31 commencement address at the U.S. Air Force Academy, `Both START II and the Chemical Weapons Convention will make every American safer, and we need them now.'
# # #