Holy See Appeals for End to Nuclear Weapons Testing

Archbishop Migliore Makes Plea at U.N.

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The termination of nuclear weapons testing "should be the aim of every state," says the Holy See.



Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, delivered this message Thursday to a conference aimed at bringing into effect the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The three-day conference ended Friday.

The treaty approved in 1996 has been signed by 176 states and ratified by 125, yet its entry into force "is impeded by the lack of universality," said the prelate in his address. The Vatican press office released a text of the address.

The treaty bans all nuclear tests and establishes a verification network worldwide, which should include 321 control posts and 16 laboratories in 90 countries, capable of detecting nuclear explosions anywhere.

Archbishop Migliore said: "The Holy See adds its voice in appealing to the states whose ratification is necessary for the entry-into-force of the treaty.

"The achievement of universality in ending the development of nuclear weapons would show a courageous leadership and a high sense of political responsibility in advancing the culture of peace based upon the primacy of law and respect for human life."

Growing dangers

The Vatican representative also alluded to the failure of the recent Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference.

"All humanity must be concerned that nuclear weapons are becoming a permanent feature of some military doctrines," he stated.

"We must respond to these growing dangers by increasing our resolve to build a body of international law to sustain a nuclear weapons-free world," he continued, noting as well that "the CTBT, once in effect, would be a pillar of international law."

The prelate mentioned that "the work of the CTBT demonstrates how its verification techniques, designed to detect nuclear explosions, show promise in aiding tsunami warning systems."

On Friday, Vatican Radio noted the 11 states that have rejected the treaty: United States, China, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Israel, Colombia, Vietnam, Egypt, Iran and Indonesia.

The "no" of these states, stated Vatican Radio, is one that "weighs on the international community."

The Holy See ratified the CTBT on July 18, 2001.