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DISARMAMENT PANEL CONCLUDES TALKS ON A GLOBAL N-TEST BAN

SHARE DISARMAMENT PANEL CONCLUDES TALKS ON A GLOBAL N-TEST BAN

The Conference on Disarmament concluded negotiations on a global nuclear test ban treaty Tuesday, opening the way for a formal signing ceremony despite India's objections.

Negotiators approved a status report on the treaty - including their failure to reach a consensus - which will be sent to the U.N. General Assembly before the body convenes in September.The 61-nation conference had intended to send the actual treaty to New York for signing, but India's rejection makes that impossible: Conference rules require a consensus by its members.

Nonetheless, one or more nations that support the treaty can still present it for signatures by members of the General Assembly. There were indications that a non-nuclear country such as Australia would do so.

Many diplomats believe a U.N. signing ceremony will take place in New York in September.

Ambassador Jaap Ramaker, the Dutch diplomat who presided over negotiations, said the conference had made "tremendous progress" and "reached the very limits of what it could negotiate."

Ramaker said that while it was impossible to find 100 percent support, "a great number of countries have concluded, despite remaining concerns, they can accept the draft treaty as it stands now."

U.S. Ambassador Stephen J. Ledogar said India's objections today meant it "has formally vetoed the treaty text."

Many diplomats have expressed concern that an Indian veto would keep two of its neighbors - China and Pakistan - from ratifying the treaty.