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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Action on nuclear disarmament cannot wait, says Ban

4 May 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tonight opened an exhibition showcasing the history of the global pact aimed at banning all nuclear tests with a call for countries to take immediate action on disarmament to secure a safer world.

“Putting an End to Nuclear Explosions is more than the name of this exhibition – it is one of the longest-standing goals of the United Nations,” Mr. Ban said at the launch in New York of the display highlighting the accomplishments of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

He reiterated the call he made at the start of the five-yearly review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) yesterday that there needs to be a time frame for the ratification of the CTBT, which bans nuclear testing.

“I encourage you to join me in pressing for entry into force without further delay,” the Secretary-General stressed at the launch, which saw the attendance of Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization.

The new exhibit also highlights the CTBT’s global monitoring system and how it promptly detected two recent nuclear tests in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Also taking part in its opening was UN Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas, who appealed to Senators in his own country, the United States, to put aside partisan issues to ensure that the CTBT is ratified.

He emphasized that the leadership of other nations is equally important. “Why wait for the US when your country can make a difference?” he asked.

Mr. Douglas, an Academy Award-winning actor and producer, joined Mr. Ban in congratulating Indonesia, which has announced that it will ratify the CTBT, bringing it one step closer to fruition. The South-East Asian nation’s declaration means the pact needs only eight more ratifications – China, Egypt, the DPRK, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States – before it can enter into force.

The pact, which opened for signature in 1996, has 182 signatories and 151 ratifications.

Entering its second day today, the NPT review conference heard representatives from nearly 40 nations, who touched on issues ranging from the Middle East, Iran and the DPRK to practical measures towards disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear technology.

At the event’s opening session yesterday, Mr. Ban told countries that “we have a choice: to leave a legacy of fear and inaction… or to act with vision, courage and leadership.”

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