VIENNA, 7 October - Appeals for a speedy and universal ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) were heard again today at the international conference in Vienna that was called to promote the treaty's entry into force.
Addressing the opening of the forum yesterday, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette said the conference held "historic promise for global peace and security" in its bid to encourage countries to sign and ratify the accord without delay.
The conference brings together ministers and high-level governmental delegates from nearly 90 nations, including ratifying States, Signatory States and non-Signatory States. Representatives from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are also taking part in the forum. The Conference was convened by the UN Secretary-General as the Treaty's Depositary, at the request of ratifying States under an article which provides for the holding of such a forum if the Treaty has not been entered into force "three years after the date of the anniversary of its opening for signature", on 24 September 1996.
As of now, 154 States have signed the CTBT and 51 States Signatories have deposited their instruments of ratification. To enter into force, the Treaty has to be ratified by 44 nuclear-capable States. So far, 41 of those States have signed the CTBT, and 26 them have ratified it.
The Conference is expected to adopt a declaration tomorrow reaffirming the importance of the CTBT and urging its speedy and universal ratification.