CTBT Conference rescheduled 

New York, 11-13 November 2001

One of the immediate consequences of the heightened security arrangements at United Nations Headquarters was the postponement of the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which will now take place in New York from Sunday, 11–Tuesday, 13 November. The dates of the meeting were chosen to coincide with the rescheduled dates of the General Assembly debate of the 56th session of the General Assembly, 10–16 November.

In the light of the terrorist attacks in the United States, the Treaty has taken on added relevance. Its basic obligation— not to conduct nuclear weapons test explosions anywhere is additional protection from the spread of nuclear weapons and their technology, contributing thus to international security. Though not yet entered into force, it is now an established international norm of State behaviour. All five nuclear-weapon States have signed the Treaty and respect its spirit through unilaterally declared moratoriums on nuclear weapons test explosions. The majority of the world’s non-nuclear weapon States have signed and many have ratified the Treaty. A powerful hurdle of global opprobrium has been erected for a State that might violate the norm.

A highly sophisticated monitoring mechanism, based on proven scientific and technical testing, is being created in Vienna to verify that nuclear weapons test explosions do not occur anywhere. Once put in movement, the mechanism will serve as an added deterrent to States that might wish to develop nuclear weapons.