Washington: US President Barack Obama is for
the ratification and early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty though the administration has no specific timeline for it, a top US official has said.
"The (US) President supports the ratification and early
entry into force of the CTBT. We have no specific timeline for
consideration by the Senate," Under Secretary for Arms Control
and International Security, Ellen Tauscher, said.
She said the administration was doing the necessary
analysis to determine how to best move the treaty forward.
The CTBT, which bans all nuclear explosions, was adopted
by the UN General Assembly in 1996 but it has not yet entered
into force. The US has signed the CTBT, but not ratified it.
"With respect to the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, we
urge the Conference on Disarmament to take up negotiations of
the FMCT. We know that an agreement will not be reached to
either quickly, but we do believe that we must make progress
to ban the production of additional material for use in
nuclear weapons," Tauscher told reporters at a news briefing
held at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
The Obama Administration is taking concrete steps because
it realises there is no greater threat to the American people
than the threat and the spread of nuclear weapons, she said.
Ahead in the month of April, Obama and Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev will sign the new START treaty for reducing
nuclear stockpile by 30 per cent, and the President will host
the Nuclear Security Summit on April 12th and 13th and expects
to release the Nuclear Posture Review in that same timeframe.
The month of May would see the Nuclear Non-proliferation
Review Conference beginning in New York at the UN.
"The treaty does nothing to constrain missile defenses
either. As I said at the White House on Friday, this treaty is
about offensive strategic weapons," she said.
The treaty, she said, also shows that the US and Russia
can work together on many issues of mutual interest, including
top priorities like nuclear security and non-proliferation.
"The real issue at hand is that the treaty increases
transparency and predictability. The lack of both is too
costly and too risky for both sides," she added.
She said the new START treaty demonstrates that the US
and Russia are abiding by the rules of the NPT and are doing
their to revitalise the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
She said the two countries share a number of common
threats that may need cooperation, including proliferation of
short and medium-range missiles which has increased
dramatically over the last four or five years.
"The more we make NPT the cornerstone of non-proliferation
strategy of the world, the more it calls out people like North
Korea and Iran, and the more we can bring people together in a
kind of big tent environment to agree on the NPT principles."