Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes Following the President's Meeting With Ambassador Donald S. Lowitz on the Conference on Disarmament

June 5, 1986

The President met today with Ambassador Donald S. Lowitz, United States Representative to the 40-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, which resumes its 1986 session on June 9. He expressed to Ambassador Lowitz the importance that he attaches to effective multilateral arms control measures as a means of strengthening United States security as well as enhancing the security of other nations.

The President stressed, in particular, that at his November meeting in Geneva with General Secretary Gorbachev of the Soviet Union the two leaders had reaffirmed their support for a global ban on chemical weapons, which the United States is seeking at the Conference on Disarmament, and that they had agreed to accelerate efforts to conclude an effective and verifiable agreement. The President attaches great importance to this commitment and has, therefore, instructed the United States delegation to continue to seek mutually acceptable solutions to the outstanding issues in the negotiations on a chemical weapons ban, both in the Conference on Disarmament and in the accompanying bilateral talks with the Soviet Union.

At the President's request, Vice President Bush addressed the Conference on Disarmament in 1983 and 1984. On both occasions he introduced U.S. initiatives in the chemical weapons negotiations. The Vice President continues to take great interest in our efforts to successfully complete the negotiations on a treaty at an early date.

The President asked Ambassador Lowitz, in their meeting today, to continue to keep him fully informed on the progress of these negotiations as well as on other important issues under consideration in the Conference on Disarmament. He also requested that Ambassador Lowitz convey to the representatives of the other member states of the Conference his sincere hope that a spirit of dedication and vigorous work would result in a successful agreement on a comprehensive chemical weapons ban and his conviction that the Conference is fully capable of achieving such an agreement, which the peace-loving nations of the world greatly desire. He stated that, for its part, the United States again stands ready to intensify even further these negotiations when the Conference reconvenes and called upon the other members of this unique body -- the sole arms control negotiating forum in which all regions of the world participate -- to do likewise.