Russia is concerned with the US’s position on Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). This was reported by RIA ‘Novosti’ referring to a source in the Foreign Ministry. According to this source, namely this treaty is “the most important barrier in the way of spreading and development of nuclear weapon.” While the US, the source stressed, “not only hesitates in ratification of this treaty, but also beforehand prepares a base for its withdrawal from this treaty.” That the US will carry out nuclear weapon tests was clear already when it refused, in contrast to Russia, to ratify Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In 1992, on Nevada proving ground the US has being used since 1951, latest nuclear weapon test took place. Since that time, the US kept moratorium on nuclear weapon tests. At the same time, in the US permanent demands sounded to refuse form the one-side moratorium. These demands became more loud, as the republicans came to power. In general, this was connected with two questions. First, experts sometimes call in question safety of stored nuclear weapon, i.e. some tests are necessary to be sure of this weapon could be still safely stored. Though, what is more alarming, that the US intends to develop a powerful research programme and afterwards, probably, a programme of tests and even production of so-called micro-nuclear charges. US first persons’ comments on this subject, which from time to time appear in the press, where they consider using small-capacity nuclear weapon in fight on terrorism, one more time confirm seriousness of Washington’s intention. With its withdrawal from ABM treaty, the US has set free its hands, all the more that CTBT will be most likely never ratified. The question is probably not in the US that joined this treaty in 1996 and withdrew from it in 1999. Two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, will never ratify it, and all the more now, when war between the two countries can break out any moment. Therefore, nuclear weapon is a containment mean. As for the US’s further plans, according Russian Foreign Ministry’s information, Washington decided it was necessary to intensify nuclear weapon’s preparedness on the proving ground in Nevada. This decision includes works on reconstruction of the object’s infrastructure, that will allow to save time from the moment of taking a decision till the moment when the object’s fighting term is necessary. According to the source, such position “casts a shadow on the very idea of the treaty and could further other states’ confidence in it, i.e. it actually dooms the treaty on dying.” All above-said makes think about Russia’s answer to it. It would not be honest just to present Russia with a fait accompli, as it was in case of ABM. According to a SMI.Ru report, certain preparations are being carried out on Novaya Semlia. So, as the US starts its first test explosion in Nevada, Moscow will withdraw from CTBT according to the 9th article of the treaty (like the US withdrew from ABM).
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/03/28/38951.html