This past week, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has re-emerged in the international spotlight. On Wednesday, February 13, 2019, the Republic of Zimbabwe deposited its instrument of ratification of the CTBT to the United Nations. Zimbabwe’s accession to ratification status of the treaty follows the Kingdom of Thailand’s realization of ratification on September 25, 2018.
Zimbabwe and Thailand mark progress toward universal ratification of the CTBT. Currently, 184 states have signed and 168 have ratified the treaty. However, the CTBT cannot enter into force until ratification by all forty-four of the states identified under Annex II of the treaty is actualized. Today, thirty-six of the forty-four have executed this endeavor.
Dr. Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) congratulated Zimbabwe’s accomplishment and said, “The world needs Africa’s participation to build peace and safeguard itself against the threats posed by the most devastating kind of weapons by adopting the legal arrangements and technical mechanisms offered by the nonproliferation regime of which the CTBT is an integral part.” Nine African countries have yet to ratify the treaty, of them, Egypt represents one of the fourteen states under Annex II whose ratification is crucial to the treaty’s entry into force.
Similarly, Dr. Zerbo hailed Thailand’s ratification status in stating, “Thailand’s ratification means that all ten ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries have now ratified the CTBT. This is a significant achievement that ASEAN should be proud of. I commend Thailand for its leadership and support for the CTBT. Together we can foster and further strengthen the message of urgency of the entry into force of the CTBT.”
Zimbabwean Foreign Minister, Sibusiso Moyo said after announcing ratification that, “For the sake of humanity, for us and that of our future generations, we, therefore, urge those who possess nuclear weapons to engage in serious negotiations to reduce, eliminate and ban such weapons.”
Additionally, H.E. Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs acknowledged Thailand’s CTBT ratification and challenged the Indo-Pacific region to continue to strengthen arms control and progress toward disarmament, “Today all ten Southeast Asian Nations have ratified the CTBT, why not all countries of the Indo-Pacific region…Southeast Asia has taken the first step towards a Nuclear-Weapon Free Region.”
The recent ratifications of these states reaffirm CTBTO ambitions of cultivating a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons.