States to press for early entry into force of treaty banning nuclear tests at UN event

24 September 2012

Senior government officials will press for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) when they meet later this week at United Nations Headquarters in New York, where the treaty first opened for signature 16 years ago today.

The CTBT is the only treaty to ban all nuclear tests, everywhere and by everyone. The treaty also has a unique global alarm system to detect nuclear explosions.

With the combination of the treaty and its verification system, the international community has “virtually pushed the genie of nuclear explosions back in the bottle,” the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Tibor Tóth, told a news conference at UN Headquarters ahead of Thursday’s high-level event.

The CTBTO is tasked with building up the treaty’s verification regime so that it is fully operational when the treaty enters into force, and with promoting signatures and ratifications.

Out of a total listed number of 195 States, 183 have so far signed the CTBT and 157 have ratified it. For the treaty to enter into force, ratification is required from the so-called Annex 2 States. Of these, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States, have yet to ratify it.

In addition to the high-level event on Thursday, there will be a staged reading of the play ‘Reykjavik,’ followed by a panel discussion in New York City.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Rhodes, the play is a dramatic reconstruction of those two intense days of debate, drawing extensively on the actual transcripts of the meeting held in the Icelandic capital, as well as on the memoirs of both US President Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev.


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