Obama Pursuing a UN Security Council Resolution on Test Ban

U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking approval for a UN Security Council resolution to reinforce the norm against nuclear testing, in a move that would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which the United States signed in 1996.

The Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin quoted National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price as saying that while the administration would like to see the Senate ratify the CTBT, they are “looking at possible action in the UN Security Council that would call on states not to test and support the CTBT’s objectives. We will continue to explore ways to achieve this goal, being careful to protect the Senate’s constitutional role.”

The Obama administration has made it clear in congressional hearings, including on Dec. 1, 2015 and July 14, 2016, that it is not pursuing a legally binding “prohibition of nuclear testing through a UN Security Council resolution,” but is seeking to reinforce the global norm against nuclear testing that already exists.

Washington-based non-governmental organizations have repeatedly proposed the idea of a UN Security Council resolution and a parallel General Assembly measure to urge states to refrain from testing and continue to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). This idea was described at the civil society presentation at the Ministerial meeting held at the CTBTO in Vienna on June 13.