Niue signs the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Mr. Talaititama Talaiti, Member of the Niue Legislative Assembly, flanked by Ms. Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, Chief, UN Treaty Section, and CTBTO's Jean Du Preez

Vienna, 9 April 2012

Niue signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) today, becoming the 183rd country to do so. Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said: “I welcome Niue to the CTBT family of nations. Niue’s signature of the CTBT consolidates the Pacific region’s firm stand against nuclear testing and closes the door on nuclear testing a bit further. I also hope that this step will serve to encourage other Pacific Island States that have not yet done so to sign and or ratifiy the Treaty at the earliest opportunity.”

The island nation of Niue is located in the South Pacific, where France, the United States and the United Kingdom conducted a total of 263 nuclear tests, many of which were atmospheric, starting with the U.S. ‘Able’ test in 1946. The region has shown a strong commitment to banning nuclear weapons and their testing by creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone for the South Pacific. This was established through the Treaty of Rarotonga, which was signed in 1985 and entered into force in 1986.

The visit to New York by Niue's Associate Minister for External Affairs, Talatitama Talaiti, as well as a previous visit to CTBTO headquarters in Vienna in August 2011 had been financed by a voluntary contribution by the United Kingdom as part of a project aiming to promote the CTBT in Small Island States.

In 2010, the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum had issued a declaration urging its members to sign and ratify the CTBT. Of the Forum’s 16 members (Australia, Cook Islands, Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), only Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have yet to ratify the CTBT, while Tonga and Tuvalu still need to sign and ratify.

Although the CTBT has now been signed by 183 countries of which 157 have also ratified, it can only enter into force after it has been ratified by the eight remaining nuclear capable countries: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States. Click here for an interactive map of the Treaty’s status.

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions. The CTBTO is building a verification regime to monitor the planet for compliance with the Treaty. Around 85% of the global network of 337 facilities to monitor underground, the oceans and the atmosphere for nuclear explosions have already been established. The stations closest to Niue are located in Samoa, the Cook Islands and Fiji. Verification data from the stations can also be used for disaster mitigation such as tsunami warning. The island of Niue has been struck repeatedly by tsunamis and cyclones in the past.

For further information on the CTBT, please see www.ctbto.org – your resource on ending nuclear testing,
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Annika Thunborg,
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