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Latest post: Sat 25 Sep 2021

Insights on the work of the UN Security Council

High-level Briefing on the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

On Monday (27 September), the Security Council will hold a high-level briefing marking the 25th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), under the agenda item “Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”. Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, will chair the meeting. The expected briefers are UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) Robert Floyd, and a civil society representative. Italy and South Africa, co-chairs of this year’s Article XIV Conference—a biennial conference aimed at promoting the CTBT’s entry into force—are expected to participate in the meeting under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.

Ireland circulated a concept note ahead of Monday’s briefing, which is one of the signature events of its Council presidency. It says that the meeting will focus on the CTBT’s goals and achievements and will provide Council members with an opportunity to lend impetus to promote the treaty’s entry into force. The CTBT, which prohibits states parties from carrying out “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion”, opened for signature on 24 September 1996. While it is nearly universally accepted, it has yet to enter into force. To date, 185 states have signed the treaty, and 170 have ratified it. Before entering into force, all 44 states designated as “nuclear-capable” and listed in Annex 2 of the treaty must sign and ratify it. Of the 44 specified states, China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and the US have signed but not ratified the treaty, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), India and Pakistan have yet to sign it.

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