Leading international figures join
foreign ministers in call for treaty
banning nuclear weapons testing

The United Nations Secretary-General opened a conference today, on 24 September 2008, at the U.N. headquarters in New York, to promote the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which will ban all nuclear weapons testing on Earth when in force.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry and U.N. Messenger of Peace and actor Michael Douglas joined the Foreign Ministers of around 40 countries in their call to the nine countries that still have to ratify for the CTBT to enter into force. These countries are: China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.

“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.”2008 CTBT Joint Ministerial Statement

Progress towards entry into force would breathe new life into the slackened process of nuclear disarmament and send a positive signal for the 2010 review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“The Treaty's entry into force would be a major step in our effort to build a safer, more peaceful world. It would outlaw all nuclear tests and move us towards the larger goals of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and preventing their proliferation.”United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

The New York conference comes at a time of intensifying discussion about ratification of the CTBT in the USA. Former U.S. foreign affairs and defense policy leaders - George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn, supported by more than 40 others - have called for the CTBT's entry into force from a bipartisan platform. The U.S. Democratic Party nominee, Barack Obama, has made his support for CTBT ratification clear on several occasions and U.S. Republican nominee, John McCain, has pledged to have another look at the Treaty.

“There is no need to test nuclear weapons. It is imperative that the CTBT can come into force, including in my own country the United States. It is a crucial, crucial time for the Treaty to get ratified.”Michael Douglas, U.N. Messenger of Peace and actor

With 80 countries having endorsed the 2008 CTBT Ministerial Statement only hours after its adoption - the highest number that such a statement has ever reached - the increasing worldwide support for the CTBT is clearly reflected.

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OTHER SELECTED QUOTES FROM THE CONFERENCE

(see here for the complete statements)

 

"There is a very strong case for ratifying the CTBT. The elimination of nuclear weapons will take many more years. But, as we say in the WSJ article, it is particularly important to promote steps that can be taken immediately. To make sure that the CTBT enters into force comes very high up on the list."
     Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry

 

“The entry into force of the CTBT would mean a huge security gain for all of us.”
     Frank-Walter Steinmeier,
     Germany's Foreign Minister

 

“Testing nuclear devices is a clear threat. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War the language of threat is no longer the language we want to speak.”
    
Ursula Plassnik, Austria's Foreign Minister

 

“The entire world community needs to rally behind the CTBT. CTBT is an absolute necessity when it comes to stopping nuclear technology proliferation.”
     Bruno Stagno Ugarte,
     Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister

 

“Japan, as the only nation to have suffered atomic devastation…attaches utmost importance to the early entry into force of the CTBT.”
     Yoriko Kawaguchi, Special Envoy of Japan

 

"We need a complete ban on nuclear testing. We need a complete ban on nuclear weapons, and we need complete disarmament. Australia is committed to work hard to persuade countries to make the Treaty come into effect."
     Stephen Smith, Australia's Foreign Minister

 

"In 1996 already I was part of the US comprehensive study on whether the CTBT could be effectively verified. We were convinced already at that time that this could be done. Today, the verification system is much superior to what it was then.”
     Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry

 

[The global monitoring system is] ”a joint effort: embracing by now 179 countries; representing to date 1 billion dollars worth of investment; embodying ten thousands person years of scientific and human endeavor.”
     Tibor Tóth, CTBTO Executive Secretary