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Media release

12 May 2008

Australian Government Urges Countries to Bring the Ban on Nuclear Testing into Force

The Australian Government has today renewed calls for universal adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Its entry into force is an immediate disarmament and non-proliferation priority. The CTBT offers a vital framework for these disarmament and non-proliferation objectives, but a decade after its negotiation it is not yet in force.

The Australian Government strongly supports efforts to bring the CTBT into force, and to see the completion of its verification system.

I have today discussed how to promote these objectives, with Tibor Tóth, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization. We agreed there is much Australia can contribute to cultivating greater support for disarmament and non-proliferation within our region.

The CTBT has been signed by 178 countries and ratified by 144, but more countries need to confirm their commitment through signature and ratification. Nine particular countries named in the Treaty must ratify to bring it into force. These are: United States, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel and Pakistan.

Australia continues to urge these nine countries to act.

The global network of monitoring stations for the CTBT has already shown its value in providing critical information about the North Korean nuclear test of October 2006.

I also discussed with Ambassador Tóth how the CTBT can contribute to tsunami warning systems in the region.

Australia and the Commission will shortly settle a data sharing MOU that would help strengthen warnings for Australia and the region in the event of a possible tsunami.

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