Holy See Formally Ratifies ´96 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Aide Also Takes Aim at Small Arms, Land Mines, Chemical Weapons

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NEW YORK, JULY 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See has formally ratified the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, five years after signing it.

The treaty, first adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 10, 1996, was signed by the Holy See two weeks later.

On Wednesday, Archbishop Renato R. Martino, apostolic nuncio and permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, deposited the Holy See’s Instrument of Ratification of the treaty with the U.N. Department of Legal Affairs.

In ratifying the treaty, the Holy See reaffirms what it stated five years ago, namely, that “the Holy See is convinced that in the sphere of nuclear weapons, the banning of tests and the further development of these weapons, disarmament and nonproliferation are closely linked and must be achieved as quickly as possible under effective international controls.”

Archbishop Martino reiterated the Holy See’s conviction that “nuclear weapons are incompatible with the peace we seek for the 21st century.”

He also expressed Vatican support for ending illicit traffic in small arms that “find their way into the hands of irregular forces, guerrillas and terrorists, and play a nefarious role in drug cartels and organized crime syndicates.”

The nuncio also reaffirmed support for the Convention on the Total Elimination of Land Mines, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Treaty.

“The conscience of humanity must make it strikingly clear that all weapons of mass destruction violate the very principles of peaceful co-existence, collaboration and solidarity among nations and peoples,” he said.

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