White House Seeks to Ratify Nuclear Protection Policy

To submit an international arms control agreement to the U.S. Senate for ratification has not always been the Bush Administration’s first instinct. But last month the White House asked the Senate to ratify a 2005 Amendment to the 1980 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

“This Amendment is important in the campaign against international nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation,” President Bush wrote in his transmittal letter.

“It will require each State Party to the Amendment to establish, implement, and maintain an appropriate physical protection regime applicable to nuclear material and nuclear facilities used for peaceful purposes.”

The pending Amendment along with a State Department overview and related materials were recently printed for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. See “Amendment to Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material” (pdf), submitted by the President of the United States to the U.S. Senate, September 4, 2007.

International progress on ratifying the Amendment “remains slow,” lamented Mohamed El Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in a September 10 statement. Of the 128 States that are party to the 1980 Convention, only 11 have approved the 2005 Amendment, he said.

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