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Iraq signs Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

[JURIST] The Preparatory Commission [official website] for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) announced [press release; Xinhua report] on Wednesday that Iraq has signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) [PDF text]. Only a few of the world's major nations are not CTBT signatories. The US signed the CTBT in 1996, but has cited national security concerns as justification for withholding ratification, and boycotted [JURIST reports] a 2005 UN conference designed to encourage the treaty's passage. The Preparatory Commission announced Thursday that it is completing advance set-up work for its Integrated Field Exercise [press release] in Kazakhstan, where during September it will search for any evidence of recent nuclear testing. The Exercise is meant to demonstrate the effectiveness of the CTBT's verification procedures.

Last November, Iraq announced its intention [JURIST report] to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) [PDF text] and become a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) [official website]. The CWC prohibits the use or undeclared storage of chemical weapons by member nations. Iraqi President Jalal Talibani [BBC profile] commented that acceding to the Convention would allow Iraq to seek help from other members in eradicating environmental problems caused by the use of chemical weapons during the 1988 Anfal campaign [HRW backgrounder] against ethnic Kurds. Iraq has yet to complete the joining process, and still must deposit instruments of accession with the UN.

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