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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 22, 1998


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, with Annexes, done at Caracas December 1, 1996, (the "Convention"), which was signed by the United States, subject to ratification, on December 13, 1996. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Secretary of State with respect to the Convention.

All species of sea turtles found in the Western Hemisphere are threatened or endangered, some critically so. Because sea turtles migrate extensively, effective protection and conservation of these species requires cooperation among States within the sea turtles' migratory range. Although the international community has banned trade in sea turtles and sea turtle products pursuant to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Convention I am transmitting is the first multilateral agreement that actually sets standards to protect and conserve sea turtles and their habitats.

In section 609 of Public Law 101-162, the Congress called for the negotiation of multilateral agreements for the protection and conservation of sea turtles. In close cooperation with Mexico, the United States led a 3-year effort to negotiate the Convention with other Latin American and Caribbean nations. Once ratified and implemented, the Convention will enhance the conservation of this hemisphere's sea turtles and harmonize standards for their protection.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Convention and give its advice and consent to its ratification.


                              THE WHITE HOUSE,
                              May 22, 1998.

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