Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Indonesia Presses Holdouts to Join Test Ban Treaty
Indonesia hopes its plan to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty will encourage eight other key countries to reciprocate, the nation's top diplomat said yesterday (see GSN, April 30).
Indonesia is one of the nine remaining "Annex 2" nations that must ratify the treaty before it can enter into force. There are a total of 44 such states, which participated in negotiations on the pact in the 1990s while operating nuclear power or research reactors. The other holdouts are China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.
"We hope very much that this [ratification] decision will contribute in creating that positive momentum toward the disarmament agenda and help others that are yet to begin the process of ratification to follow suit," the Xinhua News Agency quoted Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa as saying on the sidelines of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference (see related GSN story, today). "This is modest but I think a rather important contribution by Indonesia."
U.S. President Barack Obama's promotion of nuclear disarmament prompted Jakarta to reverse its stance against moving to join the pact ahead of Washington, Natalegawa said.
"I must confess that the developments over the past year, especially in the most immediate past, we've seen a serious effort by the part of the [Obama] administration to truly take the disarmament agenda forward," the official said. "Hopefully our decision to begin the ratification process will provide (the U.S.) a further argument in terms of being able to encourage and obtain the necessary support within its own domestic system to get the ratification done."
The U.S. Senate is expected to address ratification of a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia before considering the test ban treaty. Republicans could pick up additional Senate seats in midterm elections this November, making CTBT ratification less likely in Washington, according to Xinhua (Xinhua News Agency, May 5).
Obama yesterday lauded Indonesia's announcement that it would move to ratify the test ban treaty.
"The United States thanks [Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] and the government of Indonesia for its responsible leadership in the global effort to reinforce the nuclear nonproliferation regime," Obama said in a statement. "This is another signal that nations are joining a renewed effort to reinforce global nonproliferation, which advances the vision I outlined in Prague in 2009, and advances the security of the United States, Indonesia and the world.
"Reinforcing the norm against nuclear testing will help prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and support our efforts to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," he said.
"The United States is committed to the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and to its early entry into force, and we will work with the United States Senate to help achieve advice and consent to this important international agreement. The United States stands ready to work with all states and encourages them to ratify the treaty and to help bring it into force," Obama said (White House release, May 4).
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