On September 24-25th, the CTBTO held its 6th biennial Article XIV Entry into Force conference at the UN in New York. The CTBT treaty text contains a special mechanism to promote its entry into force through a conference, held every other year, designed to facilitate concrete steps to promote entry into force, which requires a group of 44 specific states to ratify.
The conference was attended by representatives from 103 states, and several NGO representatives. Signaling the Obama administration’s deep commitment to ratification of the CTBT, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represented the United States before the conference. Clinton’s attendance marks the first time the United States has sent a representative since prior to the Bush administration in 1999. Clinton told the conference that the United States was glad to be back at the conference. “After a ten year absence from this conference, America stands ready to renew its leadership role in the non-proliferation regime,” she said. Secretary Clinton also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to ratify the treaty, stating that the U.S. “support[s] the treaty because it strengthens the prospect of a peaceful, stable, and secure world and would enhance the security of the American people.”
The Conference allowed NGOs to make a joint statement to the general assembly. The statement, organized by the Arms Control Association, was endorsed by 40 individuals and delivered by Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mathews applauded President Obama’s public commitments to the CTBT and nuclear disarmament, but cautioned that, “rhetoric alone is not enough to make the entry into force of the CTBT a reality.”
Highlighting the CTBT’s ability to constrain the development of burgeoning nuclear arsenals, the NGO statement called on the United States and China, in particular, to ratify the CTBT, noting that, “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.”
China, in its statement to the conference, touted its “active and steady steps to advance the preparatory work for the implementation of the Treaty, including the construction of IMS stations in China,” and told conference attendees that, “The Chinese government will continue to work with the international community to facilitate the early entry into force of the Treaty.” This is especially notable, given China’s current refusal to allow the transmission of data from the IMS stations within Chinese territory.
For more information on the Article XIV Conference, see the CTBTO’s informational page. And the October 2009 Arms Control Today, “Clinton Makes Case for CTBT at Conference."