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Moscow slams US uncertain stance on nuclear-test-ban treaty ratification

September 21, 2017, 14:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Moscow regrets that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has not become "a valid international and legal tool"

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MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. Washington’s uncertain position on ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty stonewalls the process of the document’s entry into force, the Russian delegation said at a conference in New York.

"The long-drawn process on forming the US position and also doubts that the process’ outcome may be to the benefit of the CTBT, undermine hope that the current situation around the treaty will be reversed in the near future," the delegation said on Wednesday, according to the Foreign Ministry’s website.

The Russian representatives expressed regret that despite almost universal support, the CTBT has not become "a valid international and legal tool." The prospects that the remaining eight countries - the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Iran and North Korea - will ratify the treaty remain uncertain, the delegation said.

"There is such an impression that the current situation satisfies certain countries," it said, according to the ministry. "While having access to the data of the International Monitoring System (IMS), they have no commitments under the CTBT and are not interested in its ratification," it said.

Russia actively supports the CTBT viewing it as the "only and almost universal treaty on comprehensive ban on nuclear tests that is subject to efficient verification and there can be no alternative to it," the delegation stressed.

"The forum participants confirmed the high importance of the CTBT for provision of international security and stability," the Russian ministry reported. "Serious concerns have been expressed about absence of progress in eight states (the US, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Iran and North Korea) the ratification by which is need to launch the CTBT."

More than 150 states took part in the conference. The ministry noted that most participants "stressed critical need to speedily overcome the dead-end situation regarding the Treaty that has not come into force in more than 20 years since the opening day for its signing." "The conference approved the final declaration with a list of measures to support the Treaty entry into force," the ministry said, highlighting "galvanization of direct work with the eight named states" as one of the major tasks.

"The Russian delegation has confirmed its unfailing commitment to the CTBT as the only, almost universal, international treaty on nuclear tests ban that can be effectively checked and has no and cannot have an alternative," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed. "Intention to continue working in its support was expressed."

The CTBT signing was launched in 1996. The treaty sets a ban on all tests of nuclear weapons and is an important nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation tool.

"After ratifying the CTBT Treaty in 2000, Russia has been consistently respecting the letter and spirit of the document," the address reads. Russia also stressed that in the early 1990s, Moscow had imposed a moratorium on nuclear tests and had been abiding by it since then. "We have been closely cooperating with the [Preparatory] Commission [for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty’s Preparatory] and intend to complete establishing the Russian segment of the International Monitoring System in the coming years. As of now, 27 out of the 32 Russian facilities stipulated by the CTBT Treaty have been already put into operation. Several more facilities are expected to be completed and certified by the end of the year," the Russian delegation added.

The Russian diplomats also stressed that Moscow had been facilitating individual and joint efforts to support the CTBT Treaty. "In October, the first international youth conference on the Treaty is scheduled to be held in Moscow, which will involve youth from various countries, particularly from the eight states who still need to ratify the document so that it could enter into force. We expect that the Moscow conference will give a start to active cooperation between the youth aimed at promoting the Treaty," the address said.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral agreement that bans all nuclear explosions. The treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996, but has not entered into force as eight countries are yet to ratify it. Currently, 183 states have signed and 166 states, including Russia, have ratified the treaty.

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