23 September 1997


(CTBT prohibits nuclear explosions of all kinds) (770)

(The following fact sheet on purpose of comprehensive test ban treaty
was issued by the White House on September 22.)

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) marks an historic milestone
in our efforts to reduce the nuclear threat and build a safer world.

The CTBT will prohibit any nuclear explosion whether for weapons or
peaceful purposes.

The cessation of all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other
nuclear explosions, by constraining the development and qualitative
improvement of nuclear weapons, constitutes an effective measure of
nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation in all its aspects.

It will thus contribute effectively to the prevention of nuclear
proliferation and the process of nuclear disarmament and enhance
international peace and security.

The CTBT Parties

The CTBT was negotiated in the Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD),
recently expanded to include 61 member states, between January 1994
and August 1996. The United Nations General Assembly voted on
September 10, 1996 to adopt the Treaty by a vote of 158 in favor,
three opposed, and five abstentions. Since September 24, 1996, the
Treaty has been open to all states for signature before its entry into
force. 146 nations have now signed. Any other state can accede to the
Treaty at any time, enabling its participation to be universal.

CTBT's Central Features

Basic obligations. The CTBT will ban any nuclear weapon test explosion
or any other nuclear explosion, consistent with President Clinton's
August 11, 1995 decision to negotiate a true zero yield CTBT.

Organization. The Treaty establishes an organization to ensure the
implementation of its provisions, including those for international
verification measures. The organization includes a Conference of
States Parties, an Executive Council and a Technical Secretariat,
which shall include the International Data Center.

Structure. The Treaty includes a Protocol in three parts: Part I
details the International Monitoring System (IMS); Part II on On-Site
Inspections (OSI); and Part III on Confidence Building Measures. There
are two Annexes: Annex 1 details the location of treaty monitoring
assets associated with the IMS; and Annex 2 details the parameters for
screening events.

Verification and inspections. The Treaty's verification regime
includes an international monitoring system composed of seismological,
radionuclide, hydroacoustic and infrasound monitoring; consultation
and clarification; on-site inspections; and confidence building
measures. The use of national technical means, vital for the Treaty's
verification regime, is explicitly provided for. Requests for on-site
inspections must be approved by at least 30 affirmative votes of
members of the Treaty's 51-member Executive Council. The Executive
Council must act within 96 hours of receiving a request for an

Treaty compliance and sanctions. The Treaty provides for measures to
redress a situation and to ensure compliance, including sanctions, and
for settlement of disputes. If the Conference or Executive Council
determines that a case is of particular gravity, it can bring the
issue to the attention of the United Nations.

Amendments. Any state party to the Treaty may propose an amendment to
the Treaty, the Protocol, or the Annexes to the Protocol. Amendments
shall be considered by an Amendment Conference and shall be adopted by
a positive vote of a majority of the States parties with no State
party casting a negative vote.

Entry into force. The Treaty will enter into force 180 days after the
date of deposit of the instruments of ratification by all States
listed in Annex 2 to this Treaty, but in no case earlier than two
years after its opening for signature. Annex 2 includes 44 States
members of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) with nuclear power
and/or research reactors. If the Treaty has not entered into force
three years after the date of the anniversary of its opening for
signature, a conference of the States that have already deposited
their instruments of ratification may convene annually to consider and
decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law
may be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to
facilitate the early entry into force of this Treaty.

Review. Ten years after entry into force, a Conference of the States
Parties will be held to review the operation and effectiveness of this

Duration. The Treaty is of unlimited duration. Each State Party has
the right to withdraw from the CTBT if it decides that extraordinary
events related to its subject matter have jeopardized its supreme
national interests.

Depository. The Secretary General of the United Nations shall be the
Depository of this Treaty and shall receive signatures, instruments of
ratification and instruments of accession.