I.P.O. Information Service

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty – New Challenges to Implementation and Verification – New Threats to Nuclear Disarmament


Vienna, 18 March 2002/P/RE/17540c-is


At the invitation of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann, the President of the International Progress Organization, Professor Hans Koechler, earlier today attended a Seminar held on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission Secretariat at the United Nations Office at Vienna.

The Seminar dealt with “CTBT Verification: Achievements and Opportunities” and was organized by the London-based Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC). The meeting was inaugurated by Austrian Foreign Minister Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner; papers were presented by the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the International Organizations in Vienna, Ambassador Grigory V. Berdennikov, on “Russia’s role in setting up the CTBT verification system;” by Dr. Hein Haak, Head of the Seismological Division, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, on “Verification and science: Infrasound as an example;” and by Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, Washington DC, on “Maintaining US support for the CTBT verification system.”

In his address to the seminar, the representative of Russia emphasized that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a basic prerequisite to stop the development of qualitatively new types of nuclear weapons.

In remarks made in connection with the meeting, the President of the I.P.O. referred to recent developments in US nuclear strategy and raised his organization’s serious concern about the new “Nuclear Posture Review” (NPR) of the United States and its intention to test qualitatively new kinds of nuclear arms. Professor Koechler stated that not only the verification regime is at stake, but the entire system of nuclear arms control and the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as such are in jeopardy when the leading nuclear power embarks upon a new strategy of developing tactical nuclear arms. The ratification of the CTBT by non-nuclear countries is only of moral significance, as long as major nuclear powers have not ratified the Treaty or are not prepared to commit themselves to a strict regime of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Prof. Koechler added. The CTBTO is undermined in its mission – before the Treaty has even entered into force – and the elaborate verification regime worked out by the Provisional Technical Secretariat in Vienna may become obsolete if the major nuclear power deviates from the originally agreed upon path of nuclear disarmament.

Unilateral steps – outside the framework of the CTBT – towards the development of new nuclear arms are like opening a Pandora’s box, which will effectively lead to the collapse of the entire anti-proliferation regime so carefully developed in multilateral negotiations between the major nuclear powers, the President of the I.P.O. stated.

 END/ Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty – New Challenges to Implementation and Verification – New Threats to Nuclear Disarmament / 2002-03-18 / 17540c-is