Gottemoeller: U.S. ‘Will Be Patient’ in Pursuing Test-Ban Treaty Approval

Islanders from the nuclear test-damaged Rongelap Atoll on Saturday in Majuro, Marshall Islands, march while holding banners marking the 60th anniversary of the Bravo hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll. A senior U.S. official on Saturday told the small Western Pacific nation the Obama administration would patiently but persistently pursue Senate ratification of a treaty that would ban all nuclear testing.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
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Rachel Oswald
March 4, 2014, 9:46 a.m.

A seni­or Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial on Sat­urday signaled the United States was not in a rush to rat­i­fy a key arms con­trol treaty.

Rose Got­te­moeller, act­ing un­der­sec­ret­ary of State for arms con­trol and in­ter­na­tion­al se­cur­ity, in re­marks giv­en in Mar­juro, Mar­shall Is­lands, said the “United States will be pa­tient in our pur­suit of rat­i­fic­a­tion” of the Com­pre­hens­ive Test Ban Treaty, “but we will also be per­sist­ent.”

The Com­pre­hens­ive Test Ban Treaty must still be rat­i­fied by eight ad­vanced nuc­le­ar-en­ergy coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States, for its pro­hib­i­tion against all nuc­le­ar tests to be­come the law of the land.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has long made pub­lic its de­sire to see Wash­ing­ton rat­i­fy the ac­cord, but has ac­know­ledged that se­cur­ing two-thirds Sen­ate ap­prov­al in the cur­rently po­lar­ized polit­ic­al cli­mate would be dif­fi­cult.

“It has been a long time since the CT­BT was on the front pages of news­pa­pers, so we will need time to make the case for this treaty,” Got­te­moeller said in her speech. The ad­dress was timed for Nuc­le­ar Re­mem­brance Day, a na­tion­al hol­i­day in the Mar­shall Is­lands that hon­ors the vic­tims of U.S. atom­ic test­ing in the re­gion.

From 1946 to 1958, the United States car­ried out 67 at­mo­spher­ic nuc­le­ar tests above the Mar­shall Is­lands’ Bikini and Enewe­tak atolls.

“I can­not em­phas­ize strongly enough that it is pre­cisely our deep un­der­stand­ing of the con­sequences of nuc­le­ar weapons — in­clud­ing the dan­ger­ous health ef­fects of nuc­le­ar ex­plos­ive test­ing — that has guided and mo­tiv­ated our ef­forts to re­duce and ul­ti­mately elim­in­ate these most dan­ger­ous and awe-in­spir­ing weapons,” Got­te­moeller said. “Entry in­to force of the CT­BT is one such es­sen­tial part of our prag­mat­ic, step-by-step ap­proach to elim­in­at­ing nuc­le­ar dangers.”

A Sen­ate con­firm­a­tion vote for Gottmoeller — to per­man­ently take on the role of un­der­sec­ret­ary of State for arms con­trol and in­ter­na­tion­al se­cur­ity — is ex­pec­ted to take place some­time this week.

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