Unique Day for Comprehensive
It was a historic and unique day for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Thirteen years after it opened for signature on 24 September 1996, world leaders affirmed their commitment to the Treaty and called on those who had not done so to sign and ratify it.
Nuclear disarmament powerhouse
A two-day high level gathering to promote the CTBT’s entry into force began on the same day as the United Nations Security Council discussed nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament at the Heads of State level. As Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary for the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) said, it was a “nuclear disarmament powerhouse” on the birthday of the CTBT.
High level attendance at CTBT conference
The Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty opened with an unprecedented high level attendance. Representatives from 103 States – including 86 ratifying States, 13 signatory States and two non-signatory States, participated. Among the 13 signatory States were six whose ratification is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force: China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel and the United States. The two non-signatory States were Saudi Arabia and Trinidad and Tobago.
In a strongly worded Final Declaration (PDF) which was adopted in consensus, hold-out States were called on to sign and ratify the CTBT for it to enter into force. A particular appeal was made to those States whose ratification is necessary for the Treaty to become a legally binding instrument.
Message from CTBT conference delivered at doorstep of Security Council
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is the depository of the CTBT, presented the news of the unanimously adopted Final Declaration at the doorstep of the UN Security Council, just before the summit meeting on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Ban was accompanied by the Co-Presidents of the conference, the French and Moroccan Foreign Ministers Bernard Kouchner and Taib Fassi Fihri, UN Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas, and CTBTO Executive Secretary Tóth.
UN Security Council calls for early entry into force of CTBT
The historic UN Security Council summit meeting ended with a unanimously adopted resolution calling for stronger efforts to end the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Security Council also “calls upon all States to refrain from conducting a nuclear test explosion and to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), thereby bringing the treaty into force at an early date.”
Chaired by U.S. President Barack Obama, the meeting was attended by 14 Heads of States. The last such summit meeting on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament took place in 1992.
As the Heads of State of permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council took the floor, the majority also stressed the importance of the CTBT’s entry into force as an important element of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
President Obama: U.S. committed to move forward with ratification of CTBT
“This historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to a goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” Obama emphasized. “The next 12 months will be absolutely critical in determining whether this resolution and our overall efforts to stop the spread of use of nuclear weapons are successful. And all nations must do their part to make this work,” Obama stressed and reiterated the United States’ commitment “to move forward with the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.”
Heads of State call for resisting States to ratify CTBT
“The goal of a world without nuclear weapons must be shared by all States,” said the Federal President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, adding that nuclear weapons States must do more to ensure the entry into force of the CTBT. Fischer also called on those States whose ratification is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force to ratify.
President of Costa Rica, Óscar Arias Sánchez, urged countries that had so far resisted ratifying the CTBT to move forward and do so. Two years ago, Austria and Costa Rica presided over the CTBT conference.
Other Heads of State echoed these appeals. President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry A. Medvedev, called for the earliest ratification of the Treaty by the countries that would ensure its entry into force. President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, welcomed efforts to put the CTBT into effect.
The President of China, Hu Jintao, advocated the entry into force of the CTBT at an early date. He said that this would “consolidate the international non-proliferation regime and strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
“The potential risk of the destruction of our planet is great,” declared Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaoré, adding that the CTBT is an instrument that would help make the planet safer.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, emphasized the importance of the CTBT and expressed his hope that “we can also make more process on securing entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.”
The Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, and the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, supported these calls and urged for the entry into force of the CTBT.
CTBT’s entry into force is vital and urgent say NGOs
The CTBT conference ended with a statement by Jessica Mathews, President of the Carnegie Endowment, on behalf of 40 non-governmental organizations from around the world. “Entry of the CTBT into force is vital and it is urgent,” Mathew stated and added that “nuclear proliferation is the biggest security threat of the 21st century and entry into force is an absolute prerequisite to the steps that have to be taken to plug the dangerous holes in the non-proliferation regime.”