Liberia yesterday became the 149th nation to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Thirty-seven states in Africa have now ratified the pact that prohibits members from conducting explosive tests of nuclear weapons. Another 14 of the continent's 53 nations have signed but not yet ratified the treaty, according to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization.
The treaty cannot enter into force without being ratified by the 44 "Annex 2" nations -- those that possessed nuclear power or research reactors while participating in negotiations on the
document in 1996. The pact has been fully approved by 35 of those countries; the holdouts are China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.
"Liberia’s ratification comes at a time of great political support for the CTBT and its entry into force. On 24 September 2009, a meeting of the U.N. Security Council will address key issues of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, including the CTBT," the commission said in a press release. "The meeting will be chaired by U.S. President Barack Obama who earlier this year announced that he would pursue U.S. ratification of the CTBT 'immediately and aggressively.' A two-day gathering of states to promote the entry into the force of the treaty... will commence on the same day in New York. In light of the current political momentum, the conference, and the period leading up to it, offers a great opportunity for more states to sign and ratify the CTBT" (See Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization release, Aug. 19 for more info: