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Test Ban Treaty Gains 183rd Signatory State

The South Pacific island nation of Niue on Monday became the 183rd signatory state to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (see GSN, Feb. 6).

"I welcome Niue to the CTBT family of nations. Niue's signature of the CTBT consolidates the Pacific region's firm stand against nuclear testing and closes the door on nuclear testing a bit further," Tibor Tóth, head of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, said in a press release. "I also hope that this step will serve to encourage other Pacific island states that have not yet done so to sign or ratify the treaty at the earliest opportunity."

The treaty has been ratified by 157 states, including 36 of the 44 "Annex 2" nations that must provide legislative approval before a global prohibition on nuclear testing can enter into force. The holdouts are China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States (see GSN, March 30).

France, the United Kingdom and the United States beginning in 1946 performed 263 nuclear test blasts in the South Pacific, which is now covered by a 1986 treaty that established the region as a nuclear weapon-free zone, the press release notes (Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization release, April 9).

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