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September 23, 1996

CONTACT: Patricia Savage or Daryl Kimball


Washington, DC (September 24, 1996) -- Today. the 35 year- old nuclear disarmament organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) commended President Clinton and all other signatories to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). In addition. PSR called on the nuclear weapons states to express their commitment not to conduct any further nuclear tests and for all nations to declare that they will immediately seek to ratify the CTBT.

"World leaders have finally agreed to heed citizens' calls for a permanent. zero-yield prohibition on nuclear blasts by endorsing the CTBT -- a decades-long goal of the disarmament movement, " said Robert K. Musil, Executive Director of PSR. "Now they must make it clear that they will obey the CTBT and take the necessary steps to ensure formal implementation of the Treaty. "

On September 10, a special session of the United Nations 50th General Assembly gave ovenvhelming (158-3) support to a resolution endorsing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, overcoming India's strong opposition to the agreement and opening the Treaty for signature at the U.N.

"Now that the CTBT has been signed, the key challenge before the U.S. and the international community will be to effect the early entry-into-force (EIF) of this historic Treaty, which requires ratification by the 44 nuclear capable countries, including India," said Daryl Kimball, Director of PSR's Security Programs. "We hope that President Clinton's next step will be to declare that he will submit the Treaty for ratification to the Senate in eariy 1997 to help complete the task of ending testing," said Kimball.

"President Clinton should also pledge that the U. S. will not conduct any nuclear test during the penod of time between the signing ofthe CTBT and its entry-into-force," said Kimball. "If the U.S., the other declared nuclear weapon states, and Israel and Pakistan were to make such statements, India's unfortunate opposition to the CTBT would become even more difficult to sustain," he added.

"Such statements would also serve to reinforce these nations' intention to obey the letter and spirit of the CTBT, according to the requirements of the Vienna Convention on Treaties," said Kimball. The Vienna Convention stipulates that a state is obligated, upon signature of a treaty. to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty.

"The CTBT is essential to reducing the nuclear threat because it would impede the development and deployment of new and more deadly nuclear weapons," said Mr. Kimball. "The CTBT also sets the stage for dramatic progress in 1997 toward nuclear disarmament. "

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