Rising distrust and Nuclear progress a ‘Recipe for Disaster’: UN Chief


An alarming rise in global distrust and division coupled with efforts by countries to improve the accuracy and destructive power of nuclear weapons is “a recipe for annihilation,” the United Nations chief warned Tuesday.
In a statement marking the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that with nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons stockpiled around the world, “a legally binding prohibition on nuclear tests is a fundamental step in our quest for a world free of nuclear weapons.”
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty has 196 member states — 186 have signed it and 178 have ratified it, including eight in the last 18 months. But the pact has taken effect because it needs ratification by the eight nations that had nuclear power reactors or research reactors when the UN General Assembly adopted the treaty in 1996.
At a high-level meeting of the 193-member assembly to observe the day there was no indication that those eight countries — the United States, China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan — were moving toward ratification. Iranian diplomat Heidar Ali Balouji said his country “shares the frustration of non-nuclear weapon states against any delays in ending nuclear testing,” but he made no mention of ratifying the treaty. He said that “the cornerstone for ridding the world of nuclear threats” rests squarely with countries with nuclear weapons. UN disarmament chief Izumi Nakamitsu told delegates she stood before them “with a sense of urgency” because while the treaty has provided the foundation for “the global taboo against nuclear testing,” trends are undermining it. “The rising tide of nuclear risk threatens to engulf the hard-won gains in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation achieved over the last three decades,” she said. “This includes the gains made against the testing of nuclear weapons” which has been done only by North Korea in the 21st century. Robert Floyd, head of the UN nuclear test ban treaty organization, said, “Globally we’re facing challenging, worrying times.”