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Libya Ratifies Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Libya has ratified the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to show it is serious about giving up its weapons of mass destruction.

The Vienna-based organization dealing with the nuclear test ban treaty has confirmed that Libya ratified the pact last week.

Executive Secretary Wolfgang Hoffmann says Libya has also agreed to construct a monitoring station that could detect a clandestine nuclear explosion releasing fissile material.

"These are radionuclides, and this radiation that can be measured, and this fissile material gets into the air, travels around the globe and can be caught in stations where you filter the air and look at what the contents of the air is," he said.

Mr. Hoffmann says, eventually, 80 such stations will be built worldwide to verify any violations of the treaty.

But the treaty cannot come into force, until countries like the United States, China, North Korea, Iran, Israel, and Pakistan also ratify. The United States makes the greatest financial contribution to the treaty organization, but in 1999 the Senate voted against ratification.

Analysts say Washington is interested in developing so-called mini-nukes, such as what are known as bunker busters, which could destroy underground facilities. But tests for developing these weapons would be illegal under the terms of the test ban treaty.