UN chief urges countries to ratify CTBT

UN chief urges countries to ratify CTBT United Nations: Referring to countries like India, China and Pakistan, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called on nations to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) saying he is counting upon the "engaged leadership" of the remaining countries to bring the treaty into force.

Ban's remarks came as he welcomed Indonesia's ratification of the CTBT, encouraging the remaining countries that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the instrument to advance its entry into force.

"The Secretary-General encourages all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the treaty and is counting upon the engaged leadership of the remaining eight States," his spokesperson said in a statement.

Indonesia is one of the so-called Annex 2 States, whose ratification is required for the treaty to come into force.

The countries in that group that have yet to ratify are China, Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the US.

The treaty bans all nuclear explosions. As of today, 182 countries have signed the CTBT.

Once Indonesia deposits its instrument of ratification, the total number of ratifying nations will stand at 156, including 36 from the Annex 2 group.

Head of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Tibor Toth said with Indonesia's decision to ratify, "the gap keeping the treaty from entering into force has been narrowed down to eight countries".

Indonesia's House of Representatives ratified the treaty today. At a high-level meeting in September, Ban had urged all remaining nations to "seize the moment" and sign and ratify the CTBT, with the aim of bringing it into force by 2012.

"We know that a comprehensive ban on nuclear tests is an indispensable stepping stone to a nuclear-weapon-free world", he had said.

"My message is clear: Do not wait for others to move first. Take the initiative. Lead. The time for waiting has passed", he said.