Didier Reynders chairs Ministerial Conference on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in New York

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders chaired today the Ministerial Conference on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. This Treaty establishes a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing. It was signed in 1996, but will only enter into force after the accession of a specific category of countries. Eight of them have not yet ratified the treaty: the US, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, China, Israel and Egypt. Every two years, a Ministerial Conference is organised to promote the Treaty’s ratification. This year, Iraq and Belgium were designated Co-Chairs of the Conference.

Minister Reynders is pleased with the participation of numerous Ministers from all over the world, which demonstrates the broad political support behind the Treaty’s objective.

Belgium has supported the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty since its signature and welcomes the near universal end of nuclear testing. Only one country, North Korea, has carried out nuclear tests in the 21st century. The ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is essential in order to establish a definitive ban on nuclear testing, verified by an international organisation.  Without the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the risk that new or more powerful nuclear weapons will be developed remains greater. Only a world without nuclear testing can lead to a world without nuclear weapons.

The meeting today was just one initiative to support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Over the next two years, Belgium and Iraq will roll out a comprehensive action plan. Through targeted initiatives, the two countries will encourage countries to accede to the treaty. Irak and Belgium will not only appeal to policymakers, but also to civil society and the youth.

Status quo is not acceptable. Given the current security context and North Korea’s nuclear tests, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty has only gained more importance.