British, French parliaments
approve Test Ban Treaty
The British and French parliaments have approved the Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty. Once the ratification resolutions are signed into law in the coming days,
both countries will deposit their instruments of ratification in New York.
France and the United Kingdom are the first nuclear weapon states to complete the
legislative process. For the Treaty to enter into force the five nuclear nuclear weapon
states -- China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the United States -- must ratify the
Treaty, along with 39 other nations who are also members of the Conference on Disarmament
and who have nuclear power or nuclear research reactors on their territories. To date, 149
nations have signed the Treaty, and 10 have deposited their instruments of ratification.
If the CTBT has not entered into force by September 1999, three years after it was
opened for signature, the Treaty provides for an annual conference of countries that
have ratified to consider
how to facilitate early entry into force. This conference
of states must consider and decide by consensus what measures consistent with
international law may by undertaken to accelerate the ratification process. The
conference would be able to exert considerable political influence on a state that
had not signed the Treaty or had signed but not yet deposited its instrument of
The United States should be there. But, to participate, the United States must
ratify. It is essential that the United States continue to demonstrate leadership
with regard to the crucial treaties and regimes that strengthen our global
nonproliferation effort, as it did during the CTBT negotiations.
U.S. ratification will encourage further ratifications, just as U.S. ratification of the
Chemical Weapons Convention facilitated ratification by Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran.
U.S. delays in ratification would compromise our efforts to encourage others, and could
delay bringing into force a treaty that ends nuclear testing for all time, erecting a
further barrier to the development of nuclear weapons by states hostile to our interests.