Ending nuclear weapon testing should be aim of every state, says Vatican's U.N. representative

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations is currently in New York for the U.N. conference: "Facilitating the Entry-into-Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)," at which, he told participants yesterday that states must clear the way to ending "forever the testing of nuclear weapons."

In his address, the Archbishop pointed that, at the last CTBT meeting in 2003, "168 States had signed and 104 States had ratified the treaty. Today ... 176 States have signed and 125 have ratified. It is clear that the treaty is growing in impact. The growth of the CTBT shows that the great majority of States wants to move toward a nuclear weapons-free world."

He said that "The goal of the CTBT - to put an end forever to the testing of nuclear weapons - should be the aim of every State. ... Yet the movement to CTBT entry-into-force is impeded by the lack of universality.

"The Holy See", he said, "adds its voice in appealing to the States whose ratification is necessary for the entry-into-force of the treaty."

The Archbishop pointed out that next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the CTBT.  He also recalled that the 2003 conference had reaffirmed the importance of implementing the treaty which favors systematic efforts toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

"However," he lamented, "the persisting blockage impedes progress of the world community."

"Nuclear deterrence, as an ongoing reality after the Cold War, becomes more and more untenable even if it were in the name of collective security," he said. "Indeed, it is threatening the existence of peoples in several parts of the world and it may end up being used as a convenient pretext in building up nuclear capacity."

The response to these "growing dangers," the U.N. observer said, is to increase "our resolve to build a body of international law to sustain a nuclear weapons-free world. The CTBT, once in effect, would be a pillar of international law."

"Courage and vision", he stressed, "are required to move forward. Although the century opened with a burst of global terrorism, this threat must not be allowed to dilute the precepts of international humanitarian law, which is founded on the key principles of limitation and proportionality."

The conference is being held in New York City from September 21st to the 23rd.

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