New hopes for nuclear test ban treaty after Obama win

November 19th, 2008 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaVienna, Nov 19 (DPA) The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna said Wednesday that after the election of Barack Obama as the US president, it was hopeful the next administration in Washington would ratify the treaty.Although the treaty has been open for signature since 1996, the global ban on testing nuclear weapons has not come into force because several key countries, including the United States, have not ratified the text.

Ratification by the US would put pressure on the other countries needed to implement the test ban, Tibor Toth, executive secretary of the provisional test-ban organization, told journalists.

Toth said he was optimistic following Obama’s statements during the election campaign that he would work on making the treaty part of US law.

“It will not happen in the next months, but it will happen,” he said.

Toth said he was also encouraged by a letter Obama sent to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September, in which the president-elect said he wanted the US Senate to ratify the treaty as soon as possible, and planned to launch a diplomatic initiative to make other countries follow suit, according to Indian media reports.

If Obama found time to send this letter in the time of financial crisis, “it should be a clear indication” of his plans regarding the nuclear test ban, Toth said.

India, Pakistan and North Korea have not signed the treaty while US, China, Israel and Iran, among others, are yet to ratify it.

The US has balked at provisions in the treaty that would allow international inspections at suspected nuclear testing sites.

146 countries, including nuclear weapons powers Britain, France and Russia, have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

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