By Dialogo January 17, 2012 Guatemala has ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), suspended for 15 years, the head of the Vienna-based organization said on January 13. “Guatemala’s ratification of the CTBT is an important building block towards a world free of nuclear weapons,” said the executive secretary of the CTBT organization. “It underlines Guatemala’s commitment to outlaw nuclear testing and to enhance non-proliferation and disarmament worldwide.” Guatemala signed the treaty in 1999, and its Foreign Minister Rodas Melgar, ratified it at UN headquarters in New York late on January 12. The treaty, which bans nuclear explosions for either military or civilian purposes, has been signed by 182 countries and ratified by 156 states. The treaty will not take force until ratified by the United States, China, Egypt, Iran and Israel (which have signed but not ratified it) as well as North Korea, India and Pakistan (which have not signed it) — all countries with nuclear technology. In April 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama raised hopes when he said he would seek U.S. Senate ratification of the CTBT, but Washington, D.C. has since put the treaty on hold.