Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Conference November 11-13 at UN: Likely to Urge Holdout States to Sign and Ratify

For Immediate Release: November 7, 2001

Contacts: Daryl Kimball or Philipp C. Bleek, ACA, 202-463-8270 or 202-421-0371 (cell)

(New York City, NY) The second "Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty" (CTBT) is scheduled for November 11-13 at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The conference is expected to approve a final document that calls on CTBT holdout states to sign and/or ratify the agreement in order to facilitate entry into force.

The meeting has been convened under Article XIV of the CTBT at the request of a majority of states that have ratified the agreement. The meeting is intended to allow these states parties to consider measures to accelerate the ratification process and advance entry into force of the treaty. High-level governmental representation is expected - a number of states have confirmed the attendance of their foreign ministers at the conference. Non-governmental organizations will participate and address the conference.

The CTBT prohibits all nuclear weapons test explosions and all other nuclear explosions. By barring tests and establishing an extensive global monitoring network and short-notice, on-site inspection regime, the treaty plays a dual role in combating nuclear proliferation. It prevents existing nuclear weapon
states from developing new and more sophisticated types of nuclear weapons, while very substantially hampering acquisition by potential proliferant states.

Under the terms of the treaty, the CTBT will not enter into force until a group of 44 nuclear-capable states have ratified it. Three of those states have not signed the treaty to date, including India, Pakistan, and North Korea, and thirteen have not ratified, including the United States, China, and Israel. President Clinton championed the treaty and was the first to sign it in 1996, but the Senate subsequently rejected the CTBT in a 1999 vote.

President George W. Bush has pledged to maintain the testing moratorium in effect since 1992, but has said that he will not ask the Senate to reconsider ratification. It remains unclear whether the Bush administration will send a representative to the conference.

The entry-into-force conference had previously been scheduled for September 25-27, but was postponed after the tragic events of September 11. The rescheduled conference will coincide with the annual General Debate of the General Assembly of the United Nations, also in New York.

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