On the occasion of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests (29 August) the government of Kazakhstan held today in Astana the International Forum for a Nuclear Weapons Free World. The participants, state dignitaries and high-level officials from around the world and representatives of civil society, called for a permanent end to nuclear testing and urged world leaders to bring the CTBT into force at an early date.
Earlier this month the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statementon the 29 August International Day. “The importance of bringing the CTBT into force cannot be overemphasized. The world has endured over 2,000 nuclear tests since 1945. Such tests poison the environment—and they poison the political climate as well. They breed mistrust, isolation and fear,” said Ban Ki-moon in his statement.
The Federal Foreign Minister of Germany Guido Westerwelle, speaking earlier today at the Astana conference, also focused on importance of the CTBT and its early into force.
Excerpt from the speech:
“Existing nuclear test moratoria are important, but not sufficient. I am confident that the eight countries whose ratification is mandatory for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will eventually assume their responsibility. This is an essential step on the path towards a world free of nuclear weapons. I am proud that Germany is the third largest contributor to its budget. Thanks to its monitoring system, the institution can detect nuclear tests anywhere on the planet. States are deterred from clandestine testing. The development of new nuclear weapons becomes more difficult. The world is a safer place.”
The full text of Guido Westerwelle’s statement here.
Representing Russia at the Astana Forum, Valentina Matviyenko the Speaker of the Russian Federation Council (parliament) called on the United States to ratify the CTBT. Matviyenko is quoted by RIA Novosti saying “we are worried by the lack of progress in the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. We are convinced that the treaty’s ratification by the U.S. would significantly speed up the process of the document coming into force.”