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Israel May Be Next to Ratify Nuclear Test-Ban Accord: Pact Leader

An Israeli soldier carries a shell during an August 2013 military exercise near the border with Syria, in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. Israel could be the next nation to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a key leader on the accord said. An Israeli soldier carries a shell during an August 2013 military exercise near the border with Syria, in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. Israel could be the next nation to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a key leader on the accord said. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Israel could be the next advanced nuclear state to ratify the pact that bans atomic testing, according to the official who leads implementation of the treaty.

Israel is "probably the one that could ratify first" of eight holdout nations whose ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is necessary for it to enter into force, said Lassina Zerbo in an interview with the Times of Israel. "The message I'm getting is not 'if' but 'when.'"

The head of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization was in Israel for discussions with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Atomic Energy Commission head Shaul Chorev and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz.

The key eight nations that have not yet formally declared adherence to the agreement are: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

Israeli insiders told the newspaper that no concerted effort is presently under way to secure Knesset approval of the so-called "CTBT" pact.

The Middle Eastern country signed the test ban treaty in 1996. Israel is widely understood to have a nuclear stockpile, though the Israeli government has never officially acknowledged possessing the weapons.

"The concerns we see from Israel are concerns that we can deal with," Zerbo said. "The trust Israel should have in this treaty is increasing."

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Country Profile

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Israel

This article provides an overview of Israel's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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