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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release May 16, 1998

REDUCING THE NUCLEAR THREAT

In response to India's nuclear test explosions this past week, President Clinton imposed a range of economic sanctions, in accordance with Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act, also known as the Glenn Amendment. These sanctions include ending assistance to India under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1991 (except for humanitarian assistance), ending military sales and financing under the Arms Export Control Act, and denying any other U.S. financial aid.

India's actions run counter to the efforts the United States and many other nations are taking to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Over the past six years, the Administration has made unprecedented progress in curbing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and reducing the dangerous weapons stockpiled during the Cold War.

In December 1997, the U.S. and Russia successfully completed the first

phase of nuclear arms reductions under the START I Treaty, two years ahead of schedule. As a result, over 4,700 former Soviet and 4,200 U.S. nuclear warheads have been removed from operation and 1,000 former Soviet and 1,077 U.S. long-range missiles and bombers have been dismantled.

The U.S. has ratified the START II Treaty. When ratified by Russia,

START II will eliminate bombers and missiles that carried over 14,000 Russian and American nuclear warheads -- cutting U.S. and Russian arsenals by two-thirds from their Cold War heights. This will pave the way for even deeper cuts under START III, the framework for which was agreed upon by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in Helsinki in March 1997.

Under START, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan have removed all nuclear

weapons from their soil and have agreed to forswear possession of such weapons forever.

In November 1994, the United States airlifted nearly 600 kilograms of

highly enriched uranium (HEU) -- enough for dozens of bombs -- from Kazakhstan for safe disposition in the United States. And in April 1998, the U.S., working with the United Kingdom and the Republic of Georgia, successfully removed from Georgia some 5 kilograms of HEU and transported it to safety.

U.S. diplomacy played a critical role in securing the indefinite and

unconditional extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty -- the cornerstone of our efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons.

India's nuclear test explosions clearly demonstrate the need to move quickly to bring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force. By banning all nuclear explosions, the CTBT will constrain the development of dangerous nuclear weapons; contribute to the prevention of nuclear proliferation and the process of nuclear disarmament; and enhance the ability of the U.S. to monitor suspicious nuclear activities in other countries through a worldwide sensor network and on-site inspections. The President has submitted the Treaty, which 149 nations have signed, to the Senate and has urged the Senate to provide its advice and consent this year.