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International community marks 50th anniversary of Limited Test Ban Treaty

August 05, 2013, 5:11 UTC+3

The UN rightfully calls the treaty signed in 1963 as the forerunner of the most important agreements in the field of nuclear arms limitation

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UNITED NATIONS, August 5 (Itar-Tass) - The international community on Monday celebrates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water. The UN stresses that this significant date should compel countries to act with renewed energy for the achievement of the most important goal - full renunciation of the use, storage and development of nuclear weapons.

“The current anniversary is an occasion to reflect and to act with renewed energy to achieve this ambitious goal,” UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane said in an interview with Itar-Tass.

The treaty that is marking the fiftieth anniversary, also known as the Limited Test Ban Treaty or the Treaty of Moscow, was signed between the Soviet Union, the United States and the UK on August 5, 1963 and entered into force on October 10 of the same year. The countries signatories of the treaty declared the “earliest agreement on comprehensive and complete disarmament, which will be conducted under strict international supervision” as one of the main goals of the treaty.

Less than six months later, the Soviet Union carried out an underground thermonuclear explosion at the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan, which was regarded by the West as a violation of the Moscow Treaty because of the emission of a radioactive cloud into the atmosphere. In 1970, the United States made a similar violation. An explosion at the Nevada test site that was planned as an underground test was also accompanied by a serious radiation leakage.

Despite this, the United Nations rightfully calls the treaty signed in 1963 as the forerunner of the most important agreements in the field of nuclear arms limitation.

“It was an impressive achievement, which prevented further radioactive contamination of our planet as a result of such tests,” stated Angela Kane. At the same time, she acknowledged that the efforts aimed even at partial disarmament, “are not over yet.” According to her, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that has come to replace the Limited Test Ban Treaty “has not yet entered into force.” “It turns out that 50 years later, the goal set by the Moscow Treaty is still not achieved,” she said. CTBT is a multilateral treaty by which states agree to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes.

To date, the CTBT remains the main hope of the international community to free the world of nuclear weapons. Adopted by the 50th session of the UN General Assembly on September 10, 1996, the treaty has been signed to date by 183 countries and ratified by 159 UN member states worldwide. However, the CTBT has not yet entered into force because of the fact that eight countries possessing nuclear weapons or the capacity to create them (Egypt, Israel, India, Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States) have still not joined it.

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