United Nations: In a reference to countries like India, US and Pakistan, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday said states that have not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty should do so "as a matter of priority" as voluntary moratoriums are not enough to ensure a global ban on nuclear testing.
In his message on the occasion of 'International Day Against Nuclear Tests', Moon said "we urgently need new progress in achieving a world free of both nuclear tests and nuclear weapons," which are increasingly being viewed as "dangerous relics of the Cold War" and are "long overdue for permanent retirement".
Urging countries to take a "bold step" for a "safer and saner" world, Moon said, "states that have not yet signed or ratified the Treaty (should) do so as a matter of priority.
Achieving that goal would further reinforce the growing movement for a nuclear-weapon free world". Out of a total listed number of 195 States, 182 have so far signed the CTBT and 154 have ratified it.
For the treaty to enter into force, ratification is required from the 'Annex 2' States. Of these China, Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States are yet to ratify it.
While India adheres to a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing, it has refused to sign the CTBT, terming it as discriminatory.
Moon said while "current voluntary moratoriums on nuclear weapon tests are valuable," they are "no substitute for a global ban".
"This is why it is urgent that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty enters into force as early as possible. It is a major element of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime, and it deserves the active support of all States".
He added that over the course of the Cold War, hundreds of nuclear weapon tests left behind a devastating legacy for local citizens and their natural environment.
Citing "the vital importance" of the treaty's entry into force, Ban noted that its verification regime has proved to be a valuable instrument for international cooperation.
"I am fully confident of its future ability to provide an independent, reliable and cost-effective means of verifying, and therefore deterring, any violation of the treaty's provisions".
This year's observance of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests marks the 20th anniversary of the closure of the nuclear weapons test site at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.