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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 13, 1997


Four years ago today, Secretary of State Eagleburger signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on behalf of President Bush. President Clinton stressed the urgency of U.S. ratification of the CWC and expressed his determination to secure Senate approval of the treaty before it enters into force on April 29, 1997.

"Early CWC ratification by the United States is extraordinarily important," he said. "The security of our soldiers and citizens is at stake, as is the economic well-being of our chemical industry."

The Chemical Weapons Convention will ban an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. The CWC has long enjoyed strong bipartisan support including, from President Bush, General Brent Scowcroft, General Colin Powell and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN).

Senate failure to act before entry into force at the end of April will adversely affect both U.S. national security and economic interests. The U.S. would not be a member of the council that will oversee implementation of the CWC nor would U.S. citizens be eligible to serve as international inspectors or in other key positions relating to verification of the treaty. On the economic front, the U.S. chemical industry, with over $60 billion dollars of exports in 1995, would be subject to punitive measures resulting in the potential loss of as much as $600 million a year in export sales and many jobs. A treaty the United States initiated would take effect with the United States the target of trade restrictions, rather than a leader in tightening the noose on rogue states.

The President concluded: "I urge the Senate to act promptly to ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of international efforts to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the U.S. chemical industry maintains its international competitiveness. I look forward to working with the Senate leadership to get the job done."

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