France and United Kingdom
jointly ratify the CTBT

Today, France and the United Kingdom, the first two of the five declared nuclear-weapon States to have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), jointly deposited their instruments of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. France and the United Kingdom are both States whose ratification is a prerequisite for the Treaty to enter into force. "This is a significant development for our new organization" said Wolfgang Hoffmann, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO PrepCom), on hearing the news, "and will give additional impetus to the ongoing signature and ratification process."

Both France and the United Kingdom have been active in the Preparatory Commission since it started operations just over a year ago, on 17 March 1997. Both countries are providing a number of monitoring facilities (France 17 and United Kingdom 12) to the global verification regime that CTBTO PrepCom is putting in place to monitor and verify adherence to the Treaty. Field investigations to determine the suitability of sites for monitoring stations have been completed at two French locations in the southern Indian Ocean and will be conducted at seven other French locations this year. Three such surveys will also be conducted at British sites this year.

France and the United Kingdom together contribute close to 12 per cent of the budget of CTBTO PrepCom (France about 6.5 per cent and United Kingdom about 5.4 per cent).

The eleven other States that have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty are: Austria, Czech Republic, Fiji, Japan, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Peru, Qatar, Slovakia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Four of them (Austria, Japan, Peru and Slovakia), like France and the United Kingdom, belong to the group of 44 States listed in the Treaty whose ratification is necessary for its entry into force. To date, 149 States have signed the Treaty.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion anywhere in the world. Drafted at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, and adopted by the General Assembly on 10 September 1996, the Treaty was opened for signature on 24 September 1996 at the United Nations in New York.

For further information on the CTBTO, please see www.ctbto.org or contact:
Annika Thunborg, Chief, Public Information  
T    +43 1 26030-6375  
E    annika.thunborgping@ctbtopong.org
M    +43 699 1459 6375       
I    www.ctbto.org