Gareth Evans, one of the two chairpersons of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, visited Vienna on 4-5 March:
What were the Commission’s main findings regarding the CTBT?
The Test Ban Treaty itself it must come into force as soon as humanly possible. Those countries which haven’t ratified it should do so, but also, the CTBTO – the organization – has to be continued to be supported financially, technically, and politically. And that means not only the budgetary support but also cooperation for further monitoring stations, being willing to host inspections, and generally to contribute to make this an effective operation reality.
You say that U.S ratification of the CTBT is a “critically needed circuit-breaker”. Why?
It will be a circuit breaker if the U.S. does ratify, because so many countries have said they are waiting for the signal from the biggest and most powerful beast in the nuclear world that it is willing to do just this and to move beyond the voluntary moratorium. It is hugely important if the U.S. does do it, but that should not be the only game in town. I have recently been in China trying to encourage the Chinese political and governmental leadership to move ahead anyway and demonstrate some real global leadership on this issue, not to wait, but to do it. Because it is that kind of signal which I think really would be terribly important for all of these other countries that are dragging their feet. Nobody really seems to disagree with the importance of this treaty coming into force. But everybody seems to have excuses for not actually moving and actually pursuing the ratification sooner rather than later. We have got try to break that mindset.
Also some of the remaining 50 countries worldwide still have yet to ratify the treaty, and if they do so, that would be an important way [to show] that this is central, that this really matters. And without moving down this path, the world is going to be a very, very dangerous place.
The Report targets policy makers. If you had one message to send them regarding the CTBT, what would it be?
My message to the policy makers is, get serious about bringing the test-ban treaty into force. This is something that everybody sees as critical to the ultimate achievement of a world without nuclear weapons. It is also critical to ensuring that before we get there, we have no new players adding to the problem by requiring weapons for themselves. The test-ban treaty is just absolutely central to the achievement of those objectives.