Fifth Biennial Ministerial Meeting in Support of the CTBT Produces Joint Statement

Yesterday, foreign ministers from many different countries assembled at the United Nations to discuss the future of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. They released a Joint Ministeral Statement (PDF) reaffirming their "strong support" for the CTBT.

Here are some of the highlights of the Statement:

The CTBT is Necessary

The entry into force of the Treaty is vital to the broader framework of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation.

Test ban will help preserve the nonproliferation regime

[T]he CTBT will make an important contribution by constraining the development and qualitative improvements of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, as well as preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects.

The CTBT is widely supported, holdouts remain

[T]he CTBT has achieved near universal adherence with signature by 182 States and ratification by 153 States as of today

...

We call upon all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without delay, in particular those whose ratification is needed for its entry into force.

Unilateral testing moratoria step in right direction, insufficient

We call upon all States to continue a moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions. Voluntary adherence to such a moratorium is a welcome step, but does not have the same permanent and legally binding effect as the entry into force of the Treaty.

North Korean nuclear tests highlight need for CTBT

The nuclear tests announced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 9 October 2006 and 25 May 2009, internationally condemned as in UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009), highlight the urgent need for the entry into force of the Treaty as soon as possible.

...

We note that the CTBT verification regime successfully detected the aforementioned nuclear tests.

CTBT verification regime continues to improve

We welcome the progress made in building up all elements of the verification regime, which will be capable of verifying compliance with the Treaty at its entry into force.

...

In addition to its primary function, the CTBT verification regime’s International Monitoring System provides scientific and civil benefits for States, including for tsunami warning systems and possibly other disaster alert systems, through civil and scientific applications of waveform and radionuclide technologies and other uses of the data

Statements from the foreign ministers of individual countries can be found at Reaching Critical Will.