21 September 2006

Secretary-General Welcomes Launch of Ministerial Statement Supporting Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; Urges Ratification by Key States

NEW YORK, 20 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the launching of the Third Joint Ministerial Statement of support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), delivered today in New York by Nobuaki Tanaka, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs:

I welcome the launching of the third Joint Ministerial Statement of support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on this, the tenth anniversary of the treaty's opening for signature.

Each additional signature of this treaty will bring the world closer to achieving its longstanding goal of outlawing all nuclear tests, thereby advancing both nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  Far-reaching verification provisions under the Treaty will contribute to ensuring full compliance with the test ban.

Although there is an international norm against nuclear testing and continuing moratoria on testing, I am concerned that the treaty has yet to enter into force.  Indeed, no one can guarantee that nuclear testing might one day resume, particularly when the modernization of weapons continues.  Moreover, a resumption of nuclear testing by one State could well lead to a single cascade of States seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, but also, a variety of cascades, with other States conducting their own nuclear tests, additional States acquiring nuclear devices, and existing nuclear-weapon States racing to expand or improve their nuclear capabilities.  Avoidance of such a series of events is a mission we must pursue with the utmost urgency.

At the fourth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT, which I convened in New York in September 2005 in my capacity as Depositary of the Treaty, the ratifying and signatory States reaffirmed the importance of the Treaty and its early entry into force.  Three months later, an overwhelming majority in the United Nations General Assembly again adopted a resolution stressing the importance and urgency of new signatures and ratifications of this treaty.

The CTBT has now been signed by 176 States, and 135 States have ratified it.  Of the 44 States identified in the Treaty's annex II, whose ratifications are required for the Treaty to enter into force, 34 have done so.  I urge all such States that have not yet ratified the treaty to do so, and I call upon all other States to work on behalf of this goal.

This meeting is well timed to generate renewed momentum for bringing the CTBT into force.  All States, indeed all peoples, will benefit from the success of your efforts, and I thank you for your commitment.

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