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Ki-moon urges nations to quickly ratify treaty banning nuclear test explosions

Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary-General, urged nations to quickly ratify a global treaty banning nuclear test explosions, saying it would ensure that North Korea's test blast last October is the world's final experiment with atomic weaponry.

Ban relayed his message through an envoy Monday to a two-day conference in Vienna aimed at nudging the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to the point where it will finally take effect.

Although 140 countries have ratified the accord - which bans all nuclear explosions - it will not enter into force until it has been ratified by 44 states listed in an annex that participated in a 1996 disarmament conference and have nuclear power or research reactors.

Only 34 of the 44 have done so. The 10 holdouts are China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the U.S.

On Oct. 9, North Korea claimed to have tested a nuclear weapon.

Ban called the treaty "a major instrument in the field of disarmament and nonproliferation," and said its entry into force would help mankind in its larger goal of ridding the world of nuclear weaponry.