Vatican Appeals to U.N. for Global Banning of Nuclear Tests

«A Dangerous Morass of Tensions» Looms Otherwise, Aide Says

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NEW YORK, NOV. 13, 2001 ( The Vatican appealed to all states worldwide to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as soon as possible.

The petition was made Sunday by Archbishop Renato Martino, the Vatican´s permanent observer at the United Nations, in his address at the opening of a three-day conference to accelerate the enforcement of the treaty.

«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,» the archbishop said.

The U.N. conference opened Sunday — without the United States, which reiterated last week that it did not support the pact.

The pact was opened for signature in 1996. Since then, 161 states have signed it and 85 of those ratified it. The treaty has not yet entered into force because it needs ratification by 44 states deemed nuclear-arms capable.

To date, 31 of those 44 countries, including nuclear powers France, Russia and Britain, have signed and ratified the pact. Of the rest, India, Pakistan and North Korea have neither signed nor ratified the treaty, while the United States, China and eight others have signed but not ratified.

The Vatican ratified the treaty last July 18.

The treaty prohibits all nuclear experimentation and establishes a global network of 337 monitoring facilities, of which 121 have been constructed and upgraded. Ninety other stations are under construction.

«A weakened Non-Proliferation Treaty and an inoperable Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will force the world to continue wandering through a dangerous morass of tensions and recriminations,» Archbishop Martino said. «The security of all states and, more importantly, the people of the world will continue to be severely jeopardized.»

«It is the solemn duty of all states to work actively for peace,» he urged.

In the wake of the «acts that claimed so many innocent lives just two months ago today, here in New York, in Washington, D.C., and in the farmland of Pennsylvania, and the continuing violence that plagues the peace and harmony of countless numbers of people in so many places throughout the world, let us use the occasion of this conference to renew our common desire for an enduring peace, justice, and security for all peoples,» the archbishop stressed.

«The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty gives the family of nations a valuable instrument to guide and direct that work,» the Vatican aide concluded.

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