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The New Start Treaty: Honoring Rose Gottemoeller

May 17, 2011

By Marianne Comfort, Institute Justice Team

It was a pleasure to be part of a gathering of faith groups gathering the other day to honor Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. We were thanking her for her role as chief U.S. negotiator for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia, which the Senate ratified in December.

Among those joining us to pay tribute to Ms. Goettemoeller were representatives from NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR); the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL); the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

At the time of the ratification, the Sisters of Mercy expressed that this was just the next step, albeit an important one, in building a world free of nuclear weapons. So it was hopeful to hear Ms. Goettemoeller tell us that she is getting ready to start work on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, which the US signed in 1996 but has not been ratified yet by the Senate.

The new START was an agreement between the U.S. and Russia that allows each country to inspect the other country’s nuclear arsenal. It also will reduce the number of deployed nuclear weapons in both of our countries, from 2,200 to 1,550 each.

The Test-Ban Treaty obligates each of the many participating countries not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control. Each country also is obligated to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.

The Test-Ban Treaty will only enter into force after 44 designated “nuclear-capable states” have deposited their instruments of ratification with the UN secretary-general. To date, 182 states have signed and 153 have ratified the treaty. Yet of the 44 specified countries, India, Pakistan, and North Korea still have not signed, and only 35 have ratified the treaty.

Please visit our Facebook page to see more photos of the event. To get more involved with peace-making issues with the Sisters of Mercy, sign up to receive action alerts and advocacy alerts and indicate that you are interested in nonviolence.

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