Fri 15 Sep, 2006 06:18 pm
SAN FRANCISCO, Sep 13 (OneWorld) - The Bush Administration is objecting to a groundbreaking treaty that set up a nuclear weapon-free zone in Central Asia.
Under the treaty signed Friday, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan committed themselves not to produce, buy, or allow the deployment of nuclear weapons on their soil.
But the United States, along with Britain and France, refused to attend the signing ceremony in the Kazakh capital, Almaty, citing a 1992 treaty that Russia signed with four of the five nations that Moscow claims could allow missiles to be deployed in the region.
In a fresh statement issued Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan warned that "other international treaties could take precedence over the provisions of this treaty, and thus obviate the central objective of creating a zone free of nuclear weapons."
Arms control groups believe the Bush administration is being disingenuous.
"The reason that many of us suspect the U.S. is opposed to this is more fundamental," the independent Arms Control Association's Daryl G. Kimball told OneWorld. "This is a very strategic region. The U.S. is reticent to give up the option of deploying nuclear weapons in this region in the future."
In May, the journal Foreign Policy named Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan one of the six most important U.S. military bases in the world. The base was originally established as a hub for multinational operations following the September 11th attacks five years ago.
"In addition to its proximity to Afghanistan," the Foreign Policy article stated, "Manas is located near the immense energy reserves of the Caspian Basin, as well as the Russian and Chinese frontiers."
According to Jackie Cabasso, who heads up the Western States Legal Foundation in Oakland, California, "the United states had drawn up a battle plan for the potential use of nuclear weapons in Iraq and the Untied States has been involved in planning potential nuclear use scenarios for Iran."
"The United States is now involved in a massive program to overhaul its nuclear arsenal," she added. "In fact they're working to replace every nuclear warhead and all of the existing delivery systems in the arsenal to ensure prompt precision global strike capabilities. So the United States is openly using the threatened use of nuclear weapons around the world."