July 16, 1986

The United States and the Soviet Union have agreed to have experts meet shortly to discuss issues related to nuclear testing. We have further agreed to begin these discussions without preconditions. The United States has long sought a meeting with the Soviets to present our concerns about the verification provisions of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT) and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty (PNET). These treaties were signed in the 1970's, but they have not been ratified. The United States determined in the early 1980's that U.S. ratification could not be considered until verification improvements were made and U.S. compliance concerns were answered. We have made repeated offers to the Soviet Government to present our ideas for improvements that would allow us to move forward on ratification of these treaties.

This upcoming meeting of experts will allow the United States to present its ideas and concerns to the Soviets and to hear Soviet concerns. The United States will be ready to present and discuss our views on verification improvements in existing agreements, which we believe are needed and achievable at this time. We hope the Soviets will be prepared to join in a constructive dialog.

Note: Edward P. Djerejian read the statement to reporters at 12:30 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.