Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo in Moscow

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo visited Moscow, Russia, from 18 to 20 April 2016. He was joined by Hans Blix, former IAEA Director-General and a member of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Group of Eminent Persons (GEM).

At a workshop organised by the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS) on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Zerbo and Blix were joined by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to discuss the current status of the Treaty, as well as practical suggestions for moving towards universalisation and entry into force.

Russia can build the bridges necessary to bring the CTBT into force. By providing leadership, Russia can initiate the international dialogue on the CTBT that is urgently needed.CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo


Participants at the workshop, including academics, Russian officials, and members of the diplomatic community, raised concerns over the lack of progress in the ratification progress of several Annex 2 States, including the United States. They also suggested concrete steps that might be taken by countries such as Russia which sees itself in an international position of leadership regarding the entry into force of the Treaty.

During his visit, Zerbo also had a bilateral meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov during which they discussed cooperation between the CTBTO and the Russian Federation, the situation in the Korean peninsula, as well as the upcoming CTBT High-Level Ministerial meeting to be held in Vienna, Austria, on 13 June. On the occasion of the visit, Zerbo and Ryabkov jointly published an opinion article on the CTBT in Foreign Policy and in Kommersant (in Russian).

The CTBT belongs to all its members and serves all of mankind. In the words of the Russian Foreign Ministry at the time of Russia’s ratification, the CTBT is "an insurmountable barrier … to any attempts to spread or qualitatively improve nuclear weapons."Op-ed by Sergey Ryabkov and Lassina Zerbo

Zerbo and Blix also met with former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov who is also a member of the GEM.


There was widespread media interest and coverage of the visit, including a press conference at Russia Today. “We risk entering a new nuclear arms race” Blix warned the audience. “The nuclear tests of the DPRK risk a cascade of proliferation in nuclear weapons. We need a CTBT in force to counter this threat.”

On the last day of the visit, Zerbo visited the All-Russia Research Institute of Automatics (VNIIA) which, together with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), is in charge of the Russian segment of the International Monitoring System (IMS). He met with General Yuri Sych , as well as with key Institute staff who presented several prototypes which can be deployed in IMS stations. The Russian MoD also confirmed their readiness to complete the Russian IMS segment in 2017. General Sych also conveyed a proposal by the National Research Nuclear University “MEPhi”  to host an International Youth Forum on the CTBT, in cooperation with CTBTO.


Background

Russia signed the CTBT on 24 September 1996, the day it opened for signature. It ratified the Treaty on 20 June 2000.

Russia is the second-largest host country of International Monitoring System (IMS) facilities after the United States. Currently, 27 of the 32 planned IMS facilities in Russia (see interactive map) are certified and sending data to the CTBTO’s International Data Centre in Vienna.

See Russia country page for more background.