UN calls for ‘breakthrough’ in bringing nuclear test ban treaty into force
Sept.1, Geneva: The United Nations spoke up for an early entry into force a global treaty that bans nuclear explosions on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground, with a senior official describing the treaty as a “low-hanging fruit.”
“I urge Member States to do everything possible to facilitate a breakthrough,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a General Assembly meeting to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests in a message read on his behalf by the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Kim Won-soo.
“We welcome any and all efforts to bring about a complete testing ban,” said Mr. Ban in the message.
To date, 183 countries have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and 164 have ratified it. For the treaty to enter into force, ratification is required from the so-called Annex 2 States. Of these, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States, have yet to ratify it.
In the message, the Secretary-General urged immediate action by the eight remaining Annex II countries.
“Any one of them can and should be the first to ratify,” he said. “That will encourage others to follow suit and generate a cascade of benefits for the broader disarmament and non-proliferation agenda.”
Many thousands of nuclear weapons remain in our world today and the proliferation of all kinds of weapons remains one of the biggest threats to global peace and security
He also called for action by the more than twenty non-Annex II States that have yet to sign or ratify the treaty.
According to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), over 2,000 nuclear tests were carried out between 1945 and 1996, when the CTBT opened for signature: by the United States (1000+), the Soviet Union (700+), France (200+), the United Kingdom and China (45 each). Three countries have broken the de facto moratorium and tested nuclear weapons since 1996: India and Pakistan in 1998, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016.
The event was held to mark International Day against Nuclear Tests, which has been observed annually on 29 August, following the declaration of that day in a resolution unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2009.
The resolution called for increasing awareness and education “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” The resolution’s adoption also commemorated the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan in 1991.
The Oslo Times International News Network