Last week, the President sent me to Geneva to underscore the U.S. commitment to achieving a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the earliest possible time.
Based on my consultations in Geneva at the Conference on Disarmament, the Administration is encouraged that diplomatic work is proceeding at a good pace. We look forward to dramatic progress in the negotiations in the next few months. We urge the delegates to move full-speed ahead to produce a text as soon as possible.
Concluding a comprehensive and verifiable ban on nuclear tests is one of the highest priorities of the Clinton Administration. It will strengthen the security of the United States and the world as a whole. This is why the United States has urged completion of a treaty "at the earliest possible time."
Let me be clear. As I told the Conference, the President interprets the phrase "earliest possible time" as meaning to take only the time necessary negotiating with determination and good faith, to conclude a sound treaty.
When negotiations began in January, the President said that a CTBT reflects our common desire to take decisive action that will support and supplement the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and will further constrain the acquisition and development of nuclear weapons.
The U.S. clearly showed further leadership in seeking a CTBT when the President embraced a moratorium on all nuclear testing in July 1993 and subsequently extended that moratorium through September 1995. The President's decisions reversed 12 years of resistance on this issue -- and demonstrated the U.S. commitment to ban nuclear testing for all time.