World News

Indonesia to ratify nuclear test ban treaty

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Indonesia announced on Monday it plans to ratify an international treaty banning all nuclear explosions, bringing the pact a step nearer to entering into force.

Indonesia is one of nine remaining nations whose ratification is required for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to come into effect. The others are the United States, China, North Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel and Pakistan.

“I wish to inform the present august assembly that Indonesia is initiating the process of the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference at the United Nations.

Natalegawa last week said his country had been “holding off the ratification process since 2002 as we expected the U.S. and other nuclear weapon states to ratify first,” local media reported.

Indonesia’s move is of “crucial importance,” said Tibor Toth, executive secretary of the agency implementing the treaty, said in a statement on the agency’s website.

The United States signed the treaty in 1996 during the administration of President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. When George W. Bush took office in 2001, his administration said it did not want its options limited by such a treaty and never asked the Senate to vote on the pact.

President Barack Obama, as part of a new push for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, has vowed fresh efforts to secure Senate ratification.

Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Eric Walsh