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The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which opened for signature in 1996, is intended to prohibit all nuclear weapon test explosions. The CTBT has achieved near universal adherence, however, Article XIV of the Treaty requires ratification by 44 named states, before the Treaty can enter into force.
Of these 44 states, three - India, Pakistan, and North Korea - have not signed the Treaty. A further six states - China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, and the United States - have signed but not ratified the Treaty.
Published by UNIDIR, Unfinished Business: the Negotiation of the CTBT and the End of Nuclear Testing, by Rebecca Johnson details how the CTBT was fought for, opposed and finally negotiated. It considers how a decade of political and institutional obstacles have prevented the CTBT from entering into full legal effect, including the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests of May 1998, the US failure to ratify the treaty in 1999, and the October 9, 2006 nuclear test by North Korea.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty remains a key piece of unfinished business of the nuclear age. As a growing number of governments and decisionmakers put forward ideas to move the world toward abolishing nuclear weapons, much can be learned from how the CTBT was fought for, opposed and finally negotiated between 1994 and 1996. The treaty's necessity was underlined when the Democratic People's Republic of Korea conducted a nuclear test explosion in 2006, but more than a decade of political and institutional obstacles have prevented the CTBT from entering into full legal effect.
The next Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Article XIV Conference will be held from 24 - 25 September 2009 in New York. Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of the Acronym Institute will attend. For latest analysis and reporting from Disarmament Diplomacy, see below.
Rebecca Johnson observes the CTBT On-site inspection exercise in Kazakhstan.
See also: Acronym's CTBT archive, including Rebecca Johnson's reports on the treaty negotiations.
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