CTBTO Preparatory Commission signs relationship agreement with OPANAL

A relationship agreement between the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) was signed at the Vienna International Centre today at a special briefing session for States in the Latin America and Caribbean region. The Commission and OPANAL share the same objective of enhancing international peace and security.

The Commission has concluded relationship agreements with international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization, but the agreement with OPANAL marks the first time the Commission has concluded a cooperation agreement with a regional organization.

The relationship agreement was signed by Mr. Edmundo Vargas Carreno, Secretary-General of OPANAL, and Mr. Wolfgang Hoffmann, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, in the presence of 14 Ambassadors from the region. Cooperation between OPANAL and the Commission in promoting signature and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) will be further developed with the conclusion of the agreement. The agreement also deals with matters such as consultations, reciprocal representation and the exchange of information and documentation.

OPANAL is an inter-governmental agency created by the Treaty of Tlatelolco to ensurethat the obligations of the Treaty be met. The Treaty opened for signature on 14 February 1967 and has been in force since April 1969. It prohibits nuclear weapons and encourages the peaceful uses of atomic energy. It has 32 members, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Cuba is a signatory to the Treaty of Tlatelolco but has not yet ratified. Of these 33 OPANAL States, 26 have signed the CTBT and 18 have ratified it. Six are Annex 2 States, whose signature is required in order for the CTBT to enter into force. All six Annex 2 States have signed the CTBT and five have ratified it. Seven OPANAL States have yet to sign the CTBT.

Under the CTBT, 13 States in the OPANAL region (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela) are to host 43 CTBTO International Monitoring System (IMS) facilities: 41 stations and 2 radionuclide laboratories. Thus far, site surveys for 40 stations out of 41 in total have been completed. Altogether 19 stations have been completed or substantially meet the Commission’s specifications, while 15 additional stations are under construction or in the stage of contract negotiation. The IMS facilities in these States will enhance peace and security in the region, and will also provide substantial technical assistance to their host countries through the provision of equipment for the stations and training opportunities for station operators.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans any nuclear weapon test explosion in any environment. Drafted at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, and adopted by the General Assembly on 10 September 1996, the Treaty was opened for signature on 24 September 1996 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

To enter into force the Treaty must be signed and ratified by the 44 States listed in the Treaty that formally participated in the work of the 1996 session of the Conference on Disarmament and that possess nuclear power or research reactors. So far, 94 States have deposited their instruments of ratification of the CTBT, of which 31 are States whose signature and ratification are necessary for the Treaty to enter into force.

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The 26 OPANAL States which have signed the CTBT are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The 18 OPANAL States that have deposited their instruments of ratification of the CTBT are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Uruguay and Venezuela.

For further information on the CTBTO, please see www.ctbto.org or contact:
Annika Thunborg, Chief, Public Information  
T    +43 1 26030-6375  
E    annika.thunborgping@ctbtopong.org
M    +43 699 1459 6375       
I    www.ctbto.org