VIENNA - UN Secretary General has called on the remaining countries that have not yet ratified the comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to come forward and sign it so that it can become global law.
The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth's surface, in the atmosphere, in outer space, underwater and underground. 182 countries have signed the Treaty, of which 157 have also ratified it. An unprecedented global verification regime with over 300 sensors monitors the globe around the clock for nuclear explosions to detect any violations of the Treaty.
Speaking on the occasion of the passing of fifteen years after the treaty was opened for signature, Ki-moon said:
'There is no good reason to avoid signing or ratifying this Treaty. Any country opposed to signing or ratifying it is simply failing to meet its responsibilities as a member of the international community.
'It is irresponsible to see this Treaty still waiting to come into effect 15 years after it was opened for signature. I stand ready to visit those capitals suspicious about the reliability of the Treaty's monitoring and inspection systems', said Ki-moon.
The eight countries that have yet to ratify the CTBT include China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Israel, Iran, Pakistan and the United States.
The UN Secretary-General, the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Austrian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Wolfgang Waldner, Mexican Ambassador Juan Jose Gomez Camacho and CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth, addressed the festivities marking the 15th anniversary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria.
The UN Secretary-General also paid tribute to the victims of the over 2000 nuclear tests conducted worldwide and said: 'Nuclear tests poison the environment – and they also poison the political climate. They breed mistrust, isolation and fear. So today I issue a challenge to all leaders of all countries that have not endorsed the CTBT: Visit the site of a nuclear test. Speak to the population exposed to the fallout. Then take action to prevent this from ever happening again'. (WAM)