Moscow Joins the Test-Ban Treaty

Author: A. Malov

30 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Moscow Joins the Test-Ban Treaty

A. Malov

RUSSIA'S PRESIDENT V.V. Putin signed on 27 May a bill into a federal law "On the Ratification of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty." Ten days earlier, the Federation Council of the Federation Assembly of the Russian Federation approved the bill. The very difficult process of ratification of this most important document by Russia's legislative branch is over. Ratifying the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Russia once again demonstrated convincingly that it keeps its word and abides by its arms reduction and disarmament commitments. The history of accords in this most important sphere of international politics is rather instructive.

When the above treaty was opened for signature in New York 24 September 1996, Russia signed it along with the rest of the nuclear powers.

Banning underground tests, humanity came near a new qualitative state where it became possible to hamper further upgrading of nuclear arms.

The CTBT crowned nearly 40 years of nuclear test-ban talks in various formats started by the 1963 Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty signed in Moscow. It banned nuclear-weapons tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, and underwater.

The process of banning nuclear testing was initiated by the first countries to possess nuclear arms - the United States and the USSR. Despite their military-political standoff and desire to achieve nuclear superiority they came to realize there could be no winners in a global nuclear war. The 1963 Moscow treaty was a practical result of this realization. Despite the fact that it permitted underground testing and was signed by the Soviet Union, the United States, and Great Britain, the 1963 Treaty lacked the most important element for being comprehensive. The Treaty contained no provisions on international verification of compliance. Nor did it mention the possibility for the signatories to use for this purpose their own national technical means of verification.

The new nonproliferation ...

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