Vice President Joe Biden called on the US Senate to ratify an international treaty banning nuclear testing to strengthen a “fraying” international consensus against the spread of nuclear weapons.
The Senate voted in 1998 against the accord the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) — which would ban all nuclear blasts,whether military or civilian in nature.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the CTBT on September 10,1996 but it has not yet entered into force because countries like the United States,Iran and Israel have yet to ratify the treaty.
Biden noted that lawmakers had harboured significant concerns about the treaty 12 years ago,but insisted that many of their reservations have been resolved.
“We’re confident that all reasonable concerns raised about the treaty — concerns about verification and a reliable nuclear arsenal — have now been addressed,” he told an audience yesterday at the National Defense University,a military educational institution in Washington.
The speech was well received by arms control advocates,but it remained unclear how the proposal would fare in a deeply divided Senate to muster the 67 votes needed for ratification.