UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all nations, including the United States, Monday to ratify the United Nations-backed treaty banning nuclear weapons.
"Over the course of the Cold War, hundreds of nuclear weapon tests left behind a devastating legacy for local citizens and their natural environment," he said in a release issued from New York. "Current voluntary moratoriums on nuclear weapon tests are valuable, yet they are no substitute for a global ban."
Of the 195 U.N. member nations, 182 have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and 154 have ratified it, the United Nations said. The United Nations' so-called Annex 2 States must ratify the treaty for it to be enforceable. Annex 2 states participated in the treaty's negotiations and had nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time.
Of the Annex 2 countries, China, North Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States have yet to ratify it.
"We urgently need new progress in achieving a world free of both nuclear tests and nuclear weapons," Ban said, noting the document's verification regimen has proven to be a valuable tool for international cooperation.
Approving the treaty so it could be enforceable would be "a bold step towards a safer and saner world for all," Ban said.