Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Nuclear Issues: Indonesia to ratify pact banning nuclear testing

UN - Indonesia has announced that it intends to ratify the United Nations-backed treaty banning nuclear testing, pushing the pact one step closer to fruition.

Indonesia’s declaration means the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) needs only eight more ratifications – China, Egypt, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States – before it can enter into force.

So far, there are 182 signatories to the CTBT, which has been ratified by more than 150 countries.

Since Indonesia signed the pact in 1996, its Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters in New York today that “we’ve been absolutely clear in expressing our support to the noble objectives of the CTBT.”

But, he said, in the years since, the South-East Asian nation has deliberately not ratified the agreement “with a view to encouraging others, especially the nuclear-weapon States,” to take steps to bring it into force in their countries.

Mr. Natalegawa said that Indonesia has taken note of the “serious effort” on the part of the current United States Administration in promoting disarmament.

“We do feel that at this time, what is needed is positive encouragement rather than pressure of a different type that we’ve been trying to impart in the past,” he said, voicing hope that the US will follow suit from his country’s actions.

Also addressing journalists today, Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization, hailed Indonesia for its “leadership role” in ratifying the treaty and for its contributions to global monitoring.

Indonesia’s announcement comes against the backdrop of the five-yearly review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with more than 100 nations gathering at UN Headquarters to discuss how to further full implementation and enhance the universality of the pact.

At the start of the nearly month-long gathering yesterday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon exhorted countries to take decision action to build a safer world.

“We have a choice: to leave a legacy of fear and inaction… or to act with vision, courage and leadership,” he told the conference.

“We all know it is possible,” the Secretary-General said of disarmament and non-proliferation, which have been among his top priorities since taking office in 2007.

He characterized the NPT, the cornerstone of the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime, as one of the most important global treaties ever reached.

With the nuclear threat still real, “we need this regime as much as ever,” Mr. Ban underscored. The last NPT review conference in 2005 was a failure, he said, having wrapped up without any substantive agreement having been reached. “This time, we can – and must – do better.”

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