State Dept. official to talk on nuclear treaty in Fairbanks

A high ranking State Department official will speak Monday night at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on the prospects of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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Rose Gottemoeller  is undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security. While such a treaty has yet to be ratified by the U.S., Gottemoeller says there is broad international support for it.

It took years for a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty to get traction in the United Nations. But with the end of the Cold War, road blocks dissolved and by September 1996 the General Assembly adopted a comprehensive treaty by a greater than two-thirds majority. While the United States signed the treaty, it never ratified it.  We weren’t alone, other key nations also balked. As a result the treaty has languished for nearly two decades.

State Department undersecretary Rose Gottemoeller says the merits of enforcing the comprehensive test ban treaty are growing in a shifting geo-political landscape.

“The countries that have nuclear weapons are really building up those capabilities. And so we remain concerned about what’s going on in south Asia. We also remain concerned, by the way, about China’s nuclear arsenal.”

Gottemoeller says the comprehensive test ban treaty would block the development of new nuclear weapons and use a network of listening posts to ensure compliance. Without the treaty, not so.

“But if a country decides to break it, as North Korea has done, then we don’t really have the monitoring and verification tools to bring them to account.”

Gottemoeller will offer a lecture on the treaty tonight at 7 p.m. at the Murie Auditorium on the UAF campus.