Ministerial meeting to urge early entry
into force of the CTBT

Vienna, 22 September 2010

Vienna – On 24 September 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test- Ban Treaty (CTBT) opened for signature and 14 years later it is approaching universal acceptance, supported by nearly all the countries of the world.

From 195 sovereign nations, 182 have signed the Treaty. It has been ratified by 153 of them.

Tomorrow, Thursday 23 September, on the eve of its anniversary, foreign ministers of States belonging to the Treaty will meet at the United Nations in New York to promote its early entry into force.

The Treaty was adopted in 1996 and requires the endorsement of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States to enter into force. Indonesia has announced that it intends to ratify in the fall.

Tomorrow’s meeting, convened by Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Morocco, and the Netherlands, will produce a joint ministerial statement which will subsequently be opened for endorsement by other interested countries. (The statement will be posted on as soon as it is launched.)

"A CTBT in force would be a giant step towards the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.  Australia played an instrumental role in the development of the Treaty and is an enthusiastic advocate for its entry into force," said Kevin Rudd, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, and chair of tomorrow’s meeting.

“Abolishing nuclear weapons is common sense. It's either that or the status quo: an endless reliance on nuclear deterrence; a constant arms race; unbridled military spending,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon , who is the depositary of the CTBT and who will also speak at tomorrow’s meeting.

“We cannot pass these challenges to succeeding generations. We must each do our part to build a safer, more secure world today,” he said.

A central pillar of the strategy to rid the world of nuclear weapons, he said, is the CTBT. “Constraining research and development on nuclear weapons is a potentially powerful tool in strengthening the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.”

The Treaty is catalyst for nuclear disarmament, said Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO), who will address the meeting.

“It provides a firm legal barrier against nuclear testing, thereby curbing the further development of nuclear weapons by nuclear and non-nuclear weapon States alike. The CTBT is a strong confidence and security building measure and could serve regions such as the Middle East and Asia,“ he said.

In May at the five yearly review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, its nearly 190 Member States reaffirmed the vital importance of the CTBT’s entry into force, said Tóth. “With adequate political leadership such a step is “virtually around the corner.”

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