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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

23 September 2005

In a sign of increasing support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the conference held to encourage its entry into force had attracted 117 participants, more than previous similar meetings, disarmament officials briefing on the outcome of the meeting said this afternoon.

Speaking at a Headquarters press conference were Nobuyasu Abe, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs; Deborah Stokes of Australia, the President of the three-day CTBT Conference; and Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary of the CTBT Organization Preparatory Commission.

Mr. Abe noted that the CTBT was an unusual treaty as it required 44 named countries to ratify the treaty before it could come into force. So far, 33 of the 44 countries identified as key to the treaty’s effectiveness, had ratified it. The treaty, which had a total of 125 ratifiers and 176 signatories, contained a provision in its Article 14, that allowed for the convening of periodic conferences to “facilitate the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty”.

To a correspondent who asked how successful the conference could have been if the United States, one of the 11 remaining ratifiers, hadn’t even bothered to show up for it, Mr. Abe acknowledged that there had been no recent change in the position of the United States, but there was the hope that there might be a policy change in the future. Ms. Stokes said that the United States was one of 11, and that all 11 would have to ratify the treaty.

Ms. Stokes added that each of the 11 countries had distinct geographical, security and political factors that influenced its position. Of the 11 countries, China, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia and Israel had spoken at the Conference.

During the conference debate, she said many States had expressed impatience with excuses given by some countries. Speakers also welcomed the adherence to a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing but said that it was not sufficient and certainly no substitute for a permanent and legally binding treaty.

Conference participants had adopted a consensus declaration emphasizing the importance of the treaty and its early entry into force, as well as the importance of the remaining 11 countries ratifying the treaty.

Mr. Abe said the Declaration included a proposal to create an international network of seismological stations to be used for disaster warning and prevention. He also noted that Iraq had announced that it would sign and ratify the treaty, which he said was significant, considering that it was once a country seeking nuclear weapons.

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For information media • not an official record

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