CTBTO Hopeful Syria Will Sign Test Ban Pact

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 2, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

The im­ple­ment­ing body of an in­ter­na­tion­al pact that bans nuc­le­ar weapons test­ing sug­ges­ted that Syr­ia could fi­nally sign the treaty fol­low­ing Dam­as­cus’ re­cent an­nounce­ment it would join an­oth­er ac­cord that pro­hib­its chem­ic­al weapons us­age, IT­AR-Tass re­por­ted on Wed­nes­day.

Lassina Zerbo, ex­ec­ut­ive sec­ret­ary of the Com­pre­hens­ive Test Ban Treaty Or­gan­iz­a­tion, said he dis­cussed Syr­ia’s pos­sible join­ing of the pact with Rus­si­an For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lav­rov.

“We should search for a cer­tain plat­form for Syr­ia in or­der to cre­ate trust­ing con­di­tions for our work,” the ex­ec­ut­ive sec­ret­ary said. “If Syr­ia showed its will and read­i­ness to join the CT­BT, it would be very im­port­ant for our work and for the func­tion­ing of the treaty in or­der to pro­mote the com­mon goal — to cre­ate a zone free of weapons of mass de­struc­tion in the Middle East.”

Syr­ia is not one of the eight ad­vanced atom­ic na­tions whose rat­i­fic­a­tion of the test ban treaty is ne­ces­sary for it to be im­ple­men­ted. Still, Dam­as­cus’ past sus­pec­ted de­vel­op­ment of an il­li­cit nuc­le­ar pro­gram with weapon ap­plic­a­tions and its widely as­sumed large-scale Au­gust chem­ic­al weapons at­tack would make its join­ing of the CT­BT ac­cord par­tic­u­larly note­worthy.

The treaty has thus far been rat­i­fied by 161 na­tions, with Ir­aq be­com­ing the most re­cent coun­try to fully join the ac­cord on Fri­day, Agence France-Presse re­por­ted.

Ir­aq form­al­ized its ac­cedence to the treaty at U.N. headquar­ters. Zerbo said Bagh­dad’s ac­tions would also sup­port the goal of es­tab­lish­ing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. Un­der Sad­dam Hus­sein, Ir­aq was secretly de­vel­op­ing nuc­le­ar weapons though it nev­er tested one. The coun­try’s nuc­le­ar arms ef­fort came to an end after the first Gulf War.

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