17 February 2012Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all countries to press ahead toward realizing the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world, and especially on those who have not yet endorsed the global treaty t hat bans nuclear tests to do so without delay.“We have a legal and moral obligation to rid our world of nuclear tests and nuclear weapons,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks on the 15th anniversary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).“When we put an end to nuclear tests, we get closer to eliminating all nuclear weapons. A world free of nuclear weapons will be safer and more prosperous,” he stated at the commission’s meeting in Vienna.Mr. Ban urged the so-called Annex 2 States, whose ratification is required for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to enter into force, to endorse the treaty as soon as possible. They are China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States.“I urge all governments that have not yet signed or ratified this treaty to immediately do so. I especially call for action by the countries whose ratification is essential for the treaty to enter into force,” he said. The Secretary-General is the depositary of the treaty, which bans all nuclear explosions. As of today, 182 States have signed the CTBT and 157 have ratified it. “The CTBT was a milestone. It is an essential building block in strengthening the rule of law in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” noted Mr. Ban. “That is why it is distressing that this treaty has yet to enter into force… “There is no good reason to avoid signing or ratifying this treaty,” added the Secretary-General. “Any country opposed to signing or ratifying is simply failing to meet its responsibilities as a member of the international community.” Speaking at a press conference with the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission, Tibor Tóth, Mr. Ban said it is “irresponsible” to see the treaty still waiting to come into effect 15 years after it was opened for signature. “Let us work together with a wholehearted commitment to make this world free of nuclear testing, nuclear weapons, so that everybody can live in peace and security without any fear of nuclear explosions,” he stated. Also today, Mr. Ban opened the new Vienna office of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, saying its establishment is a response to the growing need for cooperation in all areas of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.