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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 51, October 2000

4th Anniversary of CTBT

September 24 marked the fourth anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As the anniversary passed, 160 states had signed the accord and 63 had ratified it, including 30 of the 44 states with nuclear facilities whose ratification is required to enable entry-into-force. The remaining 14 states are: Algeria, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Ukraine, United States, and Viet Nam. Three of these states - India, North Korea and Pakistan - have yet to sign the Treaty. On September 25, the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), based in Vienna, issued a press release detailing recent technical and organizational developments:

"Over the past year, the CTBTO Preparatory Commission has made good progress on the establishment of the Treaty' global verification regime, and work on the International Monitoring System (IMS) network is well under way. ... The first seismological stations that were built in their entirety by the Commission began transmitting data to the International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna in April 2000. The IDC is currently receiving data from 109 IMS stations around the world. ... Both the seismological and hydroacoustic networks are now about 30% operational, and some 10% of the infrasound and radionuclide networks are now functioning. ...The Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI) is now functional. Global satellite coverage has been made possible through the installation of five GCI hubs and a frame-relay infrastructure to link these hubs to the IDC in Vienna. ... The payment of assessed contributions is an important barometer to gauge the commitment and support of the States Signatories to the Organisation' work. Almost 96% of the contributions to the 1999 budget were paid and, to date, some 92% of the contributions for 2000 have been received."

On September 22, Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy announced that his government would be increasing its efforts to accelerate entry-into-force. According to Axworthy: "There was strong reaffirmation of the Treaty...at the NPT Review Conference last spring. We must now move forward with enhanced vigour..." Canada is at the forefront of calls for a second conference to consider the entry-into-force issue - an option available to member states under Article XIV of the treat - to be convened in 2001. The first such conference was held in Vienna in October 1999.

Reports: Canada calls for entry into force of the CTBT, Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Press Release 244/00, September 22; Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty - Four Years Old, CTBTO Preparatory Commission Press Release, September 25.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.