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Moratorium on nuclear testing urged as UN conference on test-ban concludes

Moratorium on nuclear testing urged as UN conference on test-ban concludes

Ending three days of talks on a key treaty banning nuclear tests, countries party to the accord called today for a moratorium on nuclear testing and stressed their determination to promote its early entry into force.

The final declaration adopted today at the conclusion of the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) noted their concern that the Treaty had not entered into force five years after its opening for signature.

Countries affirmed that any nuclear-weapon-test explosion or any other nuclear explosion was a "serious threat" to global efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. They underlined the importance of signing and ratifying the Treaty, and called upon all States to maintain a moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.

During the course of the Conference, which was held at UN Headquarters in New York, three more countries ratified the Treaty: Ecuador, Nauru and Singapore. A number of others, whose ratification is specifically required for the Treaty's operation, indicated their willingness to ratify it soon. They were Algeria, Indonesia, Colombia and Viet Nam. Libya today expressed its intention to accede to the CTBT.

The Conference was convened by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, at the request of the majority of States parties, to decide what measures might be undertaken to accelerate ratification in order to facilitate the Treaty's early operation. Under article 14, such a conference can be held if the Treaty has not become operational three years after its opening for signature, and at subsequent anniversaries, until its entry into force.

In statements made during the past three days, the CTBT was described as a key part of the regime designed to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and a vital foundation upon which to limit all classes of weapons, including conventional, and promote the ultimate, though remote, objective of total disarmament.

Many speakers hailed the Treaty, which bans all nuclear-test explosions in all environments for all time, as underpinning the hard-won system of disarmament and arms control agreements. In line with its core objective, it would constrain the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and end the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, they said.

Many delegations called for adjustments to the global security framework and vigilance with respect to eliminating the use or threat of use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and ensuring that they, or their components and delivery systems, did not land in the hands of terrorists. As a pillar of global security, the entry into force of the CTBT was described as "urgent and compelling."