31st PrepCom: Member States support entry into force of the CTBT

Successful PrepCom Session Amid New Political Momentum for the CTBT

Under the able chairmanship of Ambassador Hans Lundborg of Sweden, Member States quickly reached consensus on the way forward at the latest session of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the decision-making organ of the Organization’s 180 Member States. Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth, who was reappointed to a second four-year term as head of the CTBTO, attributed the cooperative atmosphere to renewed optimism for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Read the full press release here

Malawi and Lebanon Ratify the CTBT

On 21 November 2008, both Malawi and Lebanon ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). In the critical Treaty-defined region of Middle East / South Asia, Lebanon's ratification brings the number of ratifications up to 15 of 21 countries. On a global scale, 180 countries have signed and 148 have now ratified the Treaty, see interactive treaty status map.

Read the press releases here: Malawi / Lebanon

Obama Seen Helping Put Atom Test Ban Pact In Force

Reuters quotes CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth from the well-attended press conference after the latest CTBTO PrepCom session: "We are turning the corner in a wider political sense ... and the nine remaining dominoes should fall." PrepCom Chairman Hans Lundborg added that he expected U.S. ratification within the next two years: "We have political momentum after the U.S. election ... and Obama's message is extremely crucial to us, and for other countries to pick up that message."

Read the full article here

Diplomatic Sources: If U.S. Ratifies CTBT, Israel Will Follow Suit

Israeli Knesset

Mark Hibbs of Nucleonics Week reports that if the U.S. Senate ratifies the CTBT, Israel will follow suit in an effort to get the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to lift its trade embargo against Israel. According to diplomatic sources, senior officials have urged Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to ratify the CTBT to help make the point that Israel's nonproliferation credentials are stronger than India's. The latter has received an NSG exemption thanks to strong U.S. backing, but has yet to sign and ratify the CTBT.

Nucleonics Week, Volume 49 / Number 48 / November 27, 2008, p. 7 (subscription only)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon: 5 Steps to a Nuclear-Free World

UN Secretary-General Ban at the CTBT Ministerial Meeting in September

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon writes that weapons of mass destruction form one of the gravest challenges facing the world. He proposes a five-point plan for making verifiable progress on disarmament, which includes calling for new efforts to bring the CTBT into force.

Read the full article here

CTBT: Now More Than Ever

In the latest issue of Arms Control Today, Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl Kimball argues that "U.S. ratification of the CTBT is possible, necessary, and long overdue...Prompt action on the CTBT is essential to restoring confidence that the U.S. will fulfill its nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligations and winning international support for tougher nonproliferation measures."

Read the full article here

France agrees to pay damages to nuclear test victims

The French thermonuclear test 'Procyon' at Mururoa atoll on 8 September 1968 yielded 1.28 megatons.

The Guardian reports that the French government has decided to compensate soldiers and civilians who worked on France's nuclear tests sites. The French Defence Minister is quoted as announcing a new law to compensate those suffering illnesses from radioactive exposure among the 150,000 persons who worked on the tests in Algeria and on the French-owned Polynesian atolls. France carried out 210 tests between 1960 and 1996. France ratified the CTBT in 1998.

Read the full article here

Bidwai: India Must Stop Being Defensive about CTBT and Help Bring It into Force

Praful Bidwai reminds readers of The Assam Tribune that former BJP Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was prepared to sign the CTBT in 1999 after a careful strategic assessment that further nuclear testing was not necessary for India to maintain a credible minimum deterrent. Bidwai calls the CTBT an "indispensible step" towards global nuclear disarmament and urges India to be active in helping the treaty enter into force.

Read the full article here

Obama Advisor: U.S. to "encourage India to follow suit"

In an interview with the Indian IBNlive, key foreign policy adviser on South Asia for the Obama campaign Karl F. Inderfurth explains the policy of the incoming U.S. administration on the CTBT: "It’s time for us to say enough to nuclear testing. A long-standing disarmament goal by US and Indian leaders." On the issue of U.S. pressure on India to sign the CTBT, he adds: "I would say the US would encourage India to follow suit. I would also want to make sure China is part of that and I was part of a lot of discussion with Jaswant Singh and Strobe Talbott and I believe that if India were to sign the CTBT, Pakistan would".

Read the full interview here


Kerry to chair U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts)

The Boston Globe reports that Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) will be named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the body responsible for investigating the CTBT and sending it to the senate floor for a vote on ratification. In a September 2008 hearing, Kerry, a staunch supporter of the Treaty, stated: "The new president should urge the Senate to ratify a treaty banning nuclear weapons testing...there needs to be a massive, new commitment to the counterproliferation and testing ban efforts...the nuclear issue has to be much more front and center in the next administration."

Read the full article here