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Signatories to UN-backed test ban treaty vow to 'spare no effort' to bring it into force

Signatories to UN-backed test ban treaty vow to 'spare no effort' to bring it into force

With eleven crucial States still not aboard the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, signatories to it agreed at United Nations Headquarters today to spare no effort and use all avenues to get those countries to sign and ratify the treaty, allowing it to come into force.

In the declaration concluding the fourth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which began on Wednesday, the parties also reiterated that the cessation of all nuclear weapon tests was a meaningful step in the effort to achieve nuclear disarmament.

The 1996 treaty, which seeks to ban all nuclear tests for all time, has so far been signed by 176 countries and ratified by 125 States.

However, of the 44 countries whose ratification is essential for the treaty to go into force, 11 States have still not ratified, including China and the United States, as well as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), India, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel, Indonesia, Iran, Viet Nam, and Colombia.

Of those 11 countries, only China, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia and Israel attended and spoke at the conference, said Australian Ambassador Deborah Stokes, President of the CTBT Article XIV Conference.

“[The conference was still] very successful in terms of demonstrating the very wide political commitment to this treaty and that was demonstrated, very, very clearly,” she added.

However, citing heightened global anxiety over weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed alarm earlier this week that countries whose ratification is essential for the CTBT to enter into force had still not acted.

“The longer entry into force of the treaty is delayed, the greater the risk that someone, somewhere, will test nuclear weapons. That would be a major setback for the cause of non-proliferation and disarmament,” he added.