CTBT in the limelight at the
Carnegie Conference on
“To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” United States President Barack Obama, Prague, 5 April 2009.
Many participants at the Carnegie Conference on Non-Proliferation in Washington, D.C, United States, which concluded on 7 April 2009, alluded to the groundbreaking Prague speech of United States President, Barack Obama, and his powerful signal of support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
U.S. Vice-President Biden will lead CTBT ratification efforts in the U.S. Senate
The CTBT figured prominently at the conference, at which Deputy Secretary of State, James B. Steinberg, announced that U.S. Vice-President, Joseph Biden, had been designated to spearhead the efforts for achieving ratification of the Treaty by the United States Senate.
A special session of the conference entitled “The Future of the CTBT” was dedicated to the Treaty. Panelists included the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Tibor Tóth, Dr. Sidney Drell of Stanford University, and Ambassador James Goodby of the Hoover Institution. The well-attended panel was chaired by Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.
Drell outlined the progress in the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program over the past decade, which has led to an increased level of confidence in the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in the absence of nuclear testing.
Small underground tests can now be detected anywhere on the planet
Tóth explained how the progress achieved in the build-up of the CTBT’s verification regime, which was put to a real-life test in 2006 when North Korea declared that it had conducted a nuclear test, has reached a level at which even small underground nuclear tests can be detected anywhere on the planet.
Goodby outlined the role of the CTBT as an essential element of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, whose deterioration could be reversed with the entry into force of the CTBT.
Obama declares: “…it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.”
In the lively discussion that followed, many participants claimed that the prospects for U.S. ratification of the CTBT are now better than ever before. Many alluded to recent expressions of support by the U.S. President. On the CTBT, Obama stated in his Prague speech: “To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.”
U.S. and Russia committed to promoting the CTBT
Obama’s speech calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the ban on nuclear weapon testing was in line with a joint statement of support issued by President Obama together with Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev a few days earlier at the G20 Summit in London, United Kingdom. The two presidents committed their countries to promoting the CTBT in order to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world, declaring: “As a key measure of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, we underscored the importance of the entering into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.”
The Obama-Medvedev joint statement was welcomed by many international leaders, including United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, IAEA Director-General, Mohamed ElBaradei, and Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.