For Immediate Release: Sept. 23, 2009
Media Contacts: Jessica Jennings, Carnegie Endowment for Intl. Peace (202-939-2265); Daryl G. Kimball, Director, Arms Control Association, (202-463-8270 ext. 107).
(New York, N.Y.) A diverse set of nongovernmental nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament leaders, as well as former government officials and diplomats are urging key governments to ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and bring it into force.
In a statement to be delivered by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace President Jessica Mathews on behalf of the NGOs on the second day of a Sept. 24-25 UN conference on the Treaty, the NGOs say: “CTBT entry into force is within reach. The next two years may represent the best opportunity to secure the future of this long-awaited and much-needed treaty. We strongly urge that like-minded pro-CTBT states work together to develop and execute a common diplomatic strategy to persuade the remaining states to sign and/or ratify the treaty before the next [CTBT] Conference two years from now.” The full text of the statement can be found here <http://armscontrol.org/NGOStatementonCTBT>.
Nine more states including—China, the DPRK, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, and the United States—must ratify before the CTBT can formally enter into force. To date, 181 states have signed the Treaty (including China and the United States) and 150 have ratified.
The UN Conference on Facilitating CTBT Entry Into Force will take place on the same day that the UN Security Council meets for a special meeting on nonproliferation and disarmament that is expected to endorse a resolution that calls upon all states to refrain from testing and sign and ratify the CTBT so it can enter into force “at an early date.”
In the statement, the NGOs note that: “Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Given their existing nuclear test moratoria and 1996 signature of the CTBT, Washington and Beijing already bear most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of CTBT entry into force.”
“By banning all nuclear weapon test explosions,” the NGO statement notes, “the CTBT limits the ability of established nuclear-weapon states to field more sophisticated warheads. Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, it is far more difficult for newer members of the club to perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads.”
With the CTBT in force, global and national capabilities to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will be significantly greater and short-notice, on-site inspections can be used to investigate suspicious events.
“We welcome the Security Council’s call for entry into force ‘at an early date’ and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s participation at the CTBT conference,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the U.S.-based Arms Control Association, which coordinated the NGO statement.
"President Barack Obama's call for the CTBT before the UN General Assembly and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's participation in this week's conference are promising signs of the administration's serious commitment to securing the security benefits of U.S. CTBT ratification and entry into force," Kimball said.
“U.S. ratification is an essential but not sufficient step on the bringing the other eight non-ratifying states on board,” Kimball added.
The United States has not attended the bienial conference since the U.S. Senate rejected the CTBT in October 1999.
“To reinforce their commitment to the purpose and objectives of the CTBT,” the NGO statement also calls upon “all nuclear-armed nations to adopt clear policies not to develop or produce new design warheads nor to modify existing warhead types for the purpose of creating new military capabilities.”
President Obama has already stated on the White House Web site in January that he “will stop the development of new nuclear weapons.”
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