UN chief says end mad­ness of nu­clear weapons test­ing

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

VI­ENNA—UN chief Ban Ki­moon called Wed­nes­day for the US, China and other nu­cle­ar­armed states to end the “mad­ness” of atomic test­ing by fi­nally rat­i­fy­ing the Com­pre­hen­sive Nu­clear-Test-Ban Treaty, which turns 20 this year.

“I call on re­main­ing states, the eight re­main­ing states, to sign and rat­ify the treaty with­out fur­ther de­lay,” Ban said in Vi­enna at an event mark­ing the an­niver­sary. “Nu­clear test­ing poi­sons water, causes can­cers and pol­lutes the area with ra­dioac­tive fall­out for gen­er­a­tions and gen­er­a­tions to come,” he said.

“We are here to hon­our the vic­tims ... to ban and to stop nu­clear test­ing. First and fore­most we should teach the world to end this mad­ness.”

The CTBT, which opened for sig­na­ture in Septem­ber 1996, bans all nu­clear ex­plo­sions. It has been signed by 183 states and rat­i­fied by 164 in­clud­ing Rus­sia, France and Bri­tain, three of the nine coun­tries which have or are thought to have nu­clear weapons.

But to en­ter in force, the treaty needs 44 par­tic­u­lar “nu­clear tech­nol­ogy holder” states to rat­ify, eight of whom have yet to do so. Th­ese eight in­clude the other six in the nu­clear club - the United States, China, In­dia, Pak­istan, North Korea and Is­rael - as well as Iran and Egypt. The US, China, Egypt, Iran and Is­rael - the lat­ter widely as­sumed to have nu­clear weapons al­though it has never con­firmed it - have signed but not rat­i­fied.

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said in a ma­jor speech on nu­clear weapons in Prague in 2009, shortly af­ter tak­ing of­fice, that he would “im­me­di­ately and ag­gres­sively pur­sue US rat­i­fi­ca­tion”. Seven years later, and Obama leav­ing of­fice in Jan­uary 2017 and the op­po­si­tion Repub­li­cans con­trol­ling both houses of Congress, this step still has not hap­pened.

There has, in fact, been an ef­fec­tive global mora­to­rium in place, with no coun­try ex­cept North Korea con­duct­ing a test since In­dia and Pak­istan in 1998. “The cur­rent vol­un­tary mora­to­rium against the test­ing will never sub­sti­tute for the legally bind­ing CTBT,” Ban said how­ever.—AFP

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