The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Travis Sharp
(202) 546-0795 ext. 2105

President Obama Making Good on Nuclear Weapons Promises


In response to President Barack Obama's appearance today before the
United Nations General Assembly, the Center for Arms Control and
Non-Proliferation released the statement below.

"In his historic April 2009 speech in Prague, President Barack Obama
outlined a number of concrete steps the United States would take to
address the nuclear weapons threat head-on. The
President is now taking these steps and leading by example in order to
move the world closer to reducing the danger posed by nuclear weapons

The United States plans to introduce a resolution on nuclear
nonproliferation and disarmament during a special meeting of the United
Nations Security Council to be chaired by Obama on September 24. In
addition, Obama designated Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to lead
the U.S. delegation this week at the conference on facilitating the
entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The
White House also intends to host a global nuclear security summit in
Washington in April 2010.

Obama's September 24 UN appearance will mark the first time that a U.S.
president has presided over a special session of the Security Council.
This sends a clear and powerful signal that the United States will
reestablish its leadership position on arms control. Obama's draft resolution reaffirms U.S. support for key commitments that the Bush administration shunned,
including ratification of the Test Ban Treaty and a pledge not to
target non-nuclear weapons states with nuclear weapons (known as
negative security assurances).

If agreed to, the resolution will be only the second Security Council
resolution in history to call on all states to join the Test Ban
Treaty. It could pave the way for the nuclear- and non-nuclear weapon
states to take steps to reduce nuclear dangers at the May 2010
Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Such steps might include
relaunching negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a treaty
to ban the production of nuclear fissile material for weapons purposes
(known as a fissile material cutoff treaty).

Clinton's appearance at the Test Ban conference this week is a
change from the previous administration, which failed to send a
delegation to the last four meetings of the conference
Ratification of the Test Ban Treaty is clearly in the U.S. national
interest. Since the United States does not conduct nuclear tests and
has no plans or need to do so, the United States should take advantage
of the security and political benefits it would gain from ratification.
A permanent Test Ban Treaty would strengthen efforts to stop the spread
of nuclear weapons and materials by making acquisition harder and more
politically costly. The Test Ban Treaty's provision for a global
network of monitoring stations and on-site inspections would greatly
enhance the international community's ability to deter and detect
potential cheaters.

Finally, Obama will also host a global nuclear security summit in
Washington in April 2010. First announced in the Prague speech, the
summit will work towards raising the global standard for effective
nuclear security. The President noted that the world should not wait
for a terrorist attack to address this looming threat.

These steps to address the world's gravest threats are laudable. Obama
has taken an aggressive stance on preventing nuclear weapons
proliferation and demanding that nations adhere to their international
treaty obligations. An endeavor of this magnitude will take the
leadership of the United States in concert with the other states."

Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan research organization dedicated to enhancing international peace and security in the 21st century. The Center is funded by grants from private foundations and the generosity of thousands of individual donors.