Welcoming today's statement of 42 countries in support of the global pact banning nuclear tests, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged those countries which have not yet signed or ratified the treaty to do so immediately so that it takes effect.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is still not in force, seven years after it was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in a bid to bring to an end half a century of nuclear testing.
The CTBT contains an international monitoring system, unannounced on-site inspections and other verification provisions to ensure countries comply with the convention.
So far 172 nations have signed the CTBT and 116 have ratified it, but it will not have force until all 44 States which have nuclear power or research reactors have ratified it. Only 12 of those States have not ratified: China, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, the United States and Viet Nam.
In a message to the launch of the joint ministerial statement of the 42 nations, delivered on his behalf by Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Nobuyasu Abe, Mr. Annan said the longer the treaty's entry into force "is delayed, the more likely that nuclear testing will resume.
"Were this to happen, it would be a major setback in non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament efforts. In the era in which we live, we cannot afford such a setback."