UN chief urges all countries to join treaty against nuclear tests

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UNITED NATIONS, Aug 29 (APP): United Nations Secretary-General Antonio
Guterres has urged all countries to sign and ratify a global treaty that bans nuclear explosions on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground.
“More than 2,000 nuclear tests have been conducted over the past seven
decades – from the South Pacific to North America, from Central Asia to North Africa. They have harmed some of the world’s most vulnerable
peoples and pristine ecosystems,” the Secretary-General said in his
message for the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
To ensure that no country could conduct another test, he urged
all the countries to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
To date, 183 countries have signed the CTBT and 166 have ratified
it. For the treaty to enter into force, ratification is required from
eight more of the so-called Annex 2 states. Of these, China, Egypt,
Iran, Israel, and the United States, have yet to ratify it.
North Korea, India and Pakistan are among the 13 countries that
have not signed the CTBT.
“I urge all countries yet to join the CTBT to do so as soon as
possible,” Guterres said. “For almost 20 years, a global norm has
existed against nuclear testing based on voluntarily unilateral
moratoriums. I applaud this restraint, but it is not enough.”
He noted that continued nuclear tests by North Korea demonstrate
that “even the strongest norm is no substitute for a legally-binding prohibition.”
Overnight, North Korea fired a ballistic missile in violation of
Security Council resolutions, Guterres said in a separate statement condemning the event and urging Pyongyang to fully comply with its international obligations.
The comments come on the International Day against Nuclear Tests,
which is observed annually on 29 August, following the declaration of
that day in a resolution unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly
in 2009.
The resolution called for increasing awareness and education
“about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other
nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the
means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.”
The resolution’s adoption also commemorated the closure of the
Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan in 1991.