Concerned that the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is still not in force, Annan calls for urgency

20 September 2006 –

Expressing disquiet that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty still requires 10 more signatures to come into force, despite it being open for signing for exactly a decade today, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Member States to show greater urgency as he highlighted the consequences of further delays.

“Although there is an international norm against nuclear testing and continuing moratoria on testing, I am concerned that the treaty has yet to enter into force. Indeed, no one can guarantee that nuclear testing might one day resume, particularly when the modernization of weapons continues,” he said in a message to a ministerial meeting on the Treaty.

“Resumption of nuclear testing by one State could well lead to a single cascade of States seeking to acquire nuclear weapons... also a variety of cascades, with other States conducting their own nuclear tests, additional States acquiring nuclear devices, and existing nuclear-weapon States racing to expand or improve their nuclear capabilities. Avoidance of such a series of events is a mission we must pursue with the utmost urgency.”

Mr. Annan’s message, which was delivered by Nobuaki Tanaka, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, highlighted that the Treaty has now been signed by 176 States, while 135 States have ratified it.

“Of the 44 States identified in the Treaty's Annex II, whose ratifications are required for the Treaty to enter into force, 34 have done so. I urge all such States that have not yet ratified the treaty to do so, and I call upon all other States to work on behalf of this goal.”

He said that each additional signature will “bring the world closer to achieving its long-standing goal of outlawing all nuclear tests, thereby advancing both nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament,” adding that verification provisions under the Treaty would contribute to ensuring full compliance with the test ban.

At today’s 10th anniversary of the Treaty’s opening for signature, the ministers also launched a joint statement supporting the agreement, a move that Mr. Annan welcomed.

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