Comoros becomes 170th state to ratify the CTBT

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The Union of the Comoros has become the 170th state to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), bringing the Treaty yet another step closer to universal recognition and marking a fresh milestone on the road to end nuclear testing for all time.

The Indian Ocean nation – one of 185 countries that have signed the CTBT – deposited its instrument of ratification with the United Nations Secretary-General in New York on 19 February 2021.  

“The Union of the Comoros is keeping its promise by becoming the 170th state to ratify the CTBT,” Comorian Foreign Minister Dhoihir Dhoulkamal said in a symbolic virtual meeting with Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo on 23 February.

“This ratification expresses our firm commitment to contribute to the efforts of the community of nations to guarantee a world free from nuclear threats, in conditions that favour international peace and security and harmonious sustainable development.”

The fight against the proliferation of nuclear weapons is everyone’s concern.

The decision of Comoros to ratify the CTBT – a sign of renewed momentum behind the Treaty after Cuba’s signature and ratification on 4 February 2021 – follows several years of constructive dialogue with the CTBTO, including a visit to Moroni by Zerbo in December 2018.

It also reflects the active engagement of national parliaments, particularly of Madagascar, facilitated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF) in its international campaign for the CTBT’s entry into force.

Zerbo expressed his appreciation to the Comorian President, HE Azali Assoumani, his government, and the country’s parliament, praising their work alongside the APF and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) to build a safer world.

“Allow me to warmly congratulate the Union of the Comoros and share my hope that others will follow your example soon,” he said.

By adopting the CTBT, Comoros is helping to build peace and security and sending a strong message to the international community – particularly to the remaining states that have yet to sign or ratify the Treaty.

Jacques Krabal, Parliamentary Secretary General of the APF, welcomed the ratification. “As a watchdog to advance peace wherever it can, the APF had the pleasure to take part in this collective adventure of peace and fraternity,” he told the meeting. “Let me also express my sincere gratitude to the CTBTO for their tireless efforts for a more secure and peaceful world. There is no universalism without peace.”

Ambassador Malik Sarr of the OIF congratulated Comoros, noting that the President had honoured a commitment he had made to La Francophonie. “This success bears witness to Comoros’ commitment to the values upheld by La Francophonie and the strong links forged by CTBTO Executive Secretary Dr. Zerbo,” he said.

Comoros, which signed the CTBT on 12 December 1996, hosts a National Data Centre, the Centre national de documentation et de recherche scientifique (CNDRS), where experts receive monitoring data and analysis from the CTBTO’s International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna to advise the government on the verification of the Treaty.

The data, registered by the CTBTO’s unique International Monitoring System (IMS), can also be used for disaster mitigation and scientific research in numerous fields, including tsunami warnings and monitoring of earthquakes and volcanic activity. This is particularly relevant for Comoros, where eruptions of the active volcano Mount Karthala pose a threat and in 2005 forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions everywhere, by everyone, for all time. Adherence to the Treaty is nearly universal, but it has not yet entered into force. To do so, it must be signed and ratified by all 44 States listed in the Treaty’s Annex 2, of which eight are still missing.

The CTBTO has established the IMS to ensure that no nuclear explosion goes undetected. Currently, 302 certified facilities – of a total of 337 when complete – are operating around the world.


Comoros Minister of Foreign Affairs Dhoihir Dhoulkamal and officials mark the ratification in a virtual meeting with the CTBTO

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo welcomes the ratification in a symbolic call

Jacques Krabal, Parliamentary Secretary General of the APF

Ambassador Malik Sarr of the International Organisation of the Francophonie

Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo with Comorian officials in Moroni, 2018

Mariama Madi of the Comoros’ National Data Centre, the CNDRS, in 2018

Executive Secretary Zerbo visits the CNDRS, 2018

Executive Secretary Zerbo meets students of the University of Comoros, 2018