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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 24, 1998


CTBT and LTBT Anniversaries

Two years ago today, I was proud to be the first world leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - first proposed by President Eisenhower over forty years ago. Since then, 150 states have signed this historic treaty, including all of our NATO allies, Russia, China, Israel, Japan and South Korea. Twenty states already have ratified the CTBT, including Britain, France, Germany, Australia and Brazil. It is my strong hope that India and Pakistan will join the list, and thereby reduce nuclear tensions in South Asia. I discussed this with Prime Minister Sharif on Monday and I welcome his commitment yesterday to adhere to the treaty by next fall. I look forward to further discussion with the leaders of Pakistan and India as we emphasize our common obligation to build peace and stability.

Today also marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Senate bipartisan vote, 80-19, to approve the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which President Kennedy considered his greatest accomplishment as President. In 1963, Senate approval of the LTBT took place less than two months after it was signed and within seven weeks of its submission to the Senate. Contrast that with the CTBT. A year after it was submitted, the Senate has yet to take any action toward ratification.

The CTBT will ban all nuclear weapons explosions. As a result, it will constrain the development of more sophisticated and powerful nuclear weapons and give us a powerful new tool in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The American people understand that Senate approval of the CTBT is the right thing to do. I strongly urge the Senate to give its advice and consent as early as possible next year.

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