Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
Vienna, 19 August 2009:
On 17 August 2009, Liberia ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Liberia is the 149th State to have ratified the Treaty, bringing the total number of ratifications closer to the hallmark figure of 150. A total of 181 States have signed the Treaty.
Liberia signed the CTBT on 1 October 1996, just a few days after it opened for signature on 24 September 1996. It has shown its support for the Treaty by participating in a number of workshops organized by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO), including the Cross-Regional Workshop for CTBTO International Cooperation in Turkey in July 2008.
With Liberia’s ratification, adherence to the CTBT in Africa now stands at 51 signatures and 37 ratifications out of a total of 53 countries. There has been significant progress in Africa in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation this year with the entry into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, on 15 July 2009.
Liberia’s ratification comes at a time of great political support for the CTBT and its entry into force. On 24 September 2009, a meeting of the UN Security Council will address key issues of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the CTBT. The meeting will be chaired by U.S. President Barrack Obama who earlier this year announced that he would pursue U.S. ratification of the CTBT “immediately and aggressively”. A two-day gathering of States to promote the entry into the force of the Treaty, the so-called Article XIV Conference, will commence on the same day in New York. In light of the current political momentum, the conference, and the period leading up to it, offers a great opportunity for more States to sign and ratify the CTBT.
Adherence to the Treaty is almost universal. To enter into force, however, it must be signed and ratified by the 44 States listed in the Treaty’s Annex 2. These States participated in the negotiations of the Treaty in 1996 and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at the time. Thirty-five of these States have ratified the Treaty, including the three nuclear weapon States: France, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom. The remaining nine States are: China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States. The DPRK, India and Pakistan still need to sign the CTBT.
The CTBTO is mandated to build a verification regime to detect nuclear explosions anywhere on Earth. 337 facilities worldwide will monitor underground, the oceans and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. Today, close to 250 facilities have been certified and incorporated into the network, and send data to the International Data Centre at the CTBTO in Vienna.