End of nuclear tests is key to achieve safer world, says UN officials

Friday, September 07, 2012
New York: United Nations officials said that the end of nuclear tests is one of the key means of achieving a safer and more secure world, as the General Assembly met to observe the third annual International Day against Nuclear Tests.

The President of the Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, told the gathered delegates in his address that stronger political commitment and leadership are needed in order to promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

He highlighted that over one billion dollars has been invested on the establishment and operation of the CTBT's verification system and said "this investment has proven most valuable for an extremely important cause that is connected almost directly to the very survival of the human race", but added "much remains to be done."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a recorded message, urged states that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay. Pending the Treaty's entry into force, he urged all States to uphold the existing moratorium on all nuclear test explosions. 

He said voluntary moratoriums were essential, "but they are no substitute for a total global ban."

He stressed that the Treaty's verification mechanism has been proven effective and offered "to visit any State that remains unconvinced of the reliability of the Treaty's monitoring and inspection systems to answer their questions and address their concerns."

The International Day against Nuclear Tests is observed annually on 29 August, the date in 1991 when Semipalatinsk, located in north-eastern Kazakhstan and one of the largest test sites in the world, was closed for good. The observance draws global attention to the need to abolish nuclear weapons and achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Timur Zhantikin, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Agency of Kazakhstan told the meeting it was regrettable "that some fairly influential countries have so far refrained from signing and ratifying the CTBT," a situation which "allows the official nuclear states to continue testing nuclear weapons and threshold states with impunity to work on their own missile and military nuclear programmes."

The CTBT, which aims to establish a verifiable, permanent global ban on all types of nuclear explosive tests, has been signed by 183 States and ratified by 157.

Ratification by eight so-called Annex 2 States is required for the treaty to enter into force. They are China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States.
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