- WASHINGTON - The Senate on
Wednesday voted to reject ratification of a global treaty banning nuclear
testing, handing an embarrassing defeat to the Clinton administration,
which had fought for U.S. endorsement of the accord.
- Ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
failed by a vote of 48 to 51 with one voting present. The Senate's Republican
majority overwhelmingly opposed the pact.
- The final vote fell far short of the two-thirds majority
--67 votes -- needed to ratify the treaty.
- "With this fateful vote tonight, the world becomes
a more dangerous place," said Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat.
It was the first time the Senate has voted down a major arms control accord
since the Treaty of Versailles after World War I and means the test-ban
pact is now effectively doomed.
- The Senate's refusal to endorse the landmark treaty was
a stinging setback for President Bill Clinton, who was the first world
leader to sign the treaty in 1996 and has set nuclear non-proliferation
as a major foreign policy goal.
- The treaty has been signed by more than 150 countries,
but cannot go into force unless 44 nuclear-capable countries, including
the United States, ratify it.