Ministers call upon remaining
nine countries to clear way
for Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Today, on 24 September 2008, Foreign Ministers from about 40 countries gathered to reaffirm their commitment to promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the highest political level. When in force, the CTBT will ban all nuclear weapons testing on Earth.

The Foreign Ministers issued a joint statement, calling upon the nine countries who still have to ratify before the Treaty can enter into force to do so without delay. These countries are: China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States.

The Ministers also urged all States to continue their moratoria on nuclear weapon tests, while stressing that such voluntary suspension of nuclear weapon testing does not have the same permanent and legally binding effect as the entry into force of the CTBT.

The main instrument for promoting the Treaty’s entry into force are conferences convened by Member States that take place every two years, so-called Article XIV Conferences after the relevant Article of the Treaty. The last such conference took place in Vienna in September 2007.

In the years between the Article XIV Conferences, Foreign Ministers of particularly dedicated CTBT Member States meet to sustain and generate further political momentum for the entry into force of the Treaty. The Joint Ministerial Statements adopted by the Ministers are open for endorsement by other countries. By noon on Wednesday 24 September, over 80 Ministers had already signed up.

Adherence to the CTBT is now almost universal. A total of 179 States have signed the CTBT, the latest being Iraq. To enter into force, however, the Treaty must be signed and ratified by the 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the CTBT. These States participated in the Treaty’s negotiations in 1996 and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at the time. Thirty-five of these States have ratified, including the three nuclear weapon States: France, Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom.