The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on nuclear non-proliferation,

A. whereas sub-critical nuclear tests were carried out by the United States on 2 July 1997 and on 18 September 1997 at the Nevada Test Site, and whereas the US plans to carry out four more such tests before September 1998,

B. noting that the US Government has presented the tests as necessary to ensure the safety and reliability of its existing nuclear arsenal, but also noting that critics of the programme claim that the tests also can be used to create new types of warheads as well as to upgrade existing ones,

C. whereas no international verification exists on whether the tests are in fact sub-critical and therefore in compliance with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT),

D. whereas the tests may not be against the letter of the CTBT, but still violate the spirit of the treaty and place in jeopardy its entry into force by creating a “crisis of confidence”,

E. whereas sub-critical tests and new weapons development risk reinforcing India and Pakistan in their refusal to sign the CTBT, thus blocking its entry into force, and also reinforcing opposition to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), especially in these two nations,

F. noting that at least 15 countries, including Norway, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia and Iran, as well as the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and 46 members of the US Congress, have publicly expressed their concern about or opposition to these tests,

G. whereas all EU Member States signed the CTBT after it was opened for signature in September 1996,

H. whereas states who have signed the CTBT are bound to “refrain from any action that could defeat its object and purpose”, by definition of the Vienna Convention on Treaties,

1. Reaffirms its support for the CTBT and its request for early ratification of the treaty, and calls on all Member States to act promptly,

2. Calls on the US Government to halt the series of sub-critical tests and calls on all governments to refrain from carrying out such tests;

3. Calls on the US Government to issue an official declaration stating that the tests in no way form part of a new weapons design programme, and that new nuclear weapons design does not form part of US policy,

4. Calls for increased transparency on-site as well as additional confidence-building measures, in order to allay international concern over possible CTBT violations,

5. Calls on the Council to adopt a joint action under Article J.3 of the Treaty on European Union, to promote signature and ratification by other states, and to include all necessary assistance to enable other states to comply with the provisions of the treaty, particularly the establishment of an effective global verification regime,

6. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the President and Congress of the United States of America.