The CTBT Commission hopes for simultaneous ratification of the treaty by the Russian Federation, China and the United States

Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Robert Floyd expressed hope that the leading nuclear powers – Russia, the United States and China – will simultaneously ratify this agreement, which will allow it to finally enter into force. “I think that some (countries— “Ъ”) will have to take the first step before others follow. I don’t believe in the “domino theory” that if one state ratifies (a treaty— “Ъ”), then everyone else will do the same. I don’t believe this at all. But there are interconnected elements in these nine countries whose ratification is necessary for the treaty to enter into force,” he said during an online conference organized by the Arms Control Association (Washington).

Let us recall that the agreement was opened for signature on September 24, 1996. Since then, it has been signed by 187 states and ratified by 177 (Russia recently withdrew its ratification). Somalia became the 187th country on September 8, 2023. But the agreement is still not in force. For the CTBT to work, the ratification of 44 countries from “Annex 2” that have nuclear weapons or the ability to create them is needed (their list was compiled on the basis of data from the International Atomic Energy Agency). From this list, the document was ratified by 36 states, including the Russian Federation (which subsequently withdrew its instrument of ratification). Of the remaining eight countries, three did not sign the agreement: India, North Korea and Pakistan. Five have signed but not ratified: the United States, China, Egypt, Israel and Iran.

“What is needed now is leadership from the Russian Federation, China and the United States. If they had shown leadership and at the same time taken steps (to ratify the treaty.— “Ъ”), then I think we would soon see it come into force,” said Robert Floyd.

He called Russia’s decision to deratify the treaty disappointing. At the same time, Robert Floyd noted that Russian officials in conversations with him emphasize that Russia is not revoking its signature on the treaty and does not intend to resume full-fledged nuclear tests unless the United States does so first.

Russian President Vladimir Putin first said on October 5 during a meeting of the Valdai international discussion club that Russia could deratify the CTBT in order to equalize the situation with the United States. On November 2, the corresponding federal law came into force, and the Russian Foreign Ministry reportedthat a message from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about Russia’s withdrawal of the instrument of ratification of the CTBT has been sent to the depositary of the treaty, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Elena Chernenko

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