Foreign Ministers Call for Action on the CTBT

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and state foreign ministers met in New York on Sept. 27 at the UN headquarters to publicly advocate for the entry into force of the CTBT. The foreign ministerial gathering on the CTBT has been held every 2 years since 2002. The statements from the Secretary-General and the foreign ministers were especially poignant given the widespread references to Iranian nuclear activities in speeches given at the UN General Debate.

In the Joint Ministerial Statement, the leaders noted the significant progress made by the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO on the verification infrastructure of the International Monitoring System and the International Data Centre. The ministers also stressed the importance of the CTBT in promoting eventual nuclear disarmament "by constraining [nuclear weapons] development and qualitative improvement," which would "strengthen the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime."

In his address to the ministerial meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed his support for the entry into force of the Treaty. While noting his support for the current moratorium on nuclear testing, he noted that, "History teaches us that moratoria can and will be broken. The CTBT must become universal law."

The CTBT was opened for signature in 1996 and currently has 183 signatories, while 157 of those states have ratified the Treaty. However, it cannot enter into force until the remaining eight "Annex 2" states ratify the Treaty.