Facility Agreement signed with Turkmenistan

The government of Turkmenistan and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) have concluded a Facility Agreement regarding primary seismic station PS44 hosted by Turkmenistan at Alibeck, situated in the country’s south near the border with Iran.

PS44 at Alibeck, Turkmenistan, is one of few primary seismic stations in the region - click for interactive map.

The Facility Agreement was signed by Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo and Rashid Meredov, Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, on 12 December 2015 in Ashgabat. Zerbo also met with the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, to discuss the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the context of regional and global security and Turkmenistan’s cooperation with the CTBTO.

Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo (right) and President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan

In Turkmenistan, Zerbo also addressed the “International Conference on Policy of Neutrality: International Cooperation for Peace, Security and Development”, Ashgabat, 12 December 2015.
As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ official recognition of Turkmenistan as a neutral State, I am inspired by the principles that underpin Turkmenistan’s much-applauded policy: cooperation, peace, security, development. For the last two decades, similar values have guided the development of the CTBT into one of the principal pillars of the non-proliferation and disarmament regime.

Facility Agreements lay the political, legal and technical basis for cooperation on all issues related to the establishment and maintenance of an International Monitoring System (IMS) station that may arise between the host country and the CTBTO. This includes the transfer of ownership for the station, arrangements with local station operators, assistance with import of spare parts and physical security of the station.

Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo (left) and Rashid Meredov, Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan.

PS44 is a highly sensitive station consisting of seismic arrays (as opposed to three-component stations) – groups of individual sensors deployed in a specific geometric pattern.

PS44 is a Primary seismic station of the International Monitoring System and one of more than twenty arrays that contribute data to the verification regime of the CTBTO. It is an important station for identifying seismic events in the region it is situated, and also on a world-wide scale.

In addition to enhancing IMS coverage in the region and globally, data from PS44 can be used for civil and scientific uses, for example for studying the Earth’s structure or reporting the location and magnitude of earthquakes. Turkmenistan is located in an active seismic zone.

PS44 consists of 10 sets of seismic sensors. IMS seismic array stations can consist of up to 25 such sets.