‘PRECIOUS, BUT FLEETING’ OPPORTUNITY TO FREE WORLD OF NUCLEAR-WEAPON THREAT, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, AS CONFERENCE ON NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY OPENS

11 November 2001
DC/2815

‘PRECIOUS, BUT FLEETING’ OPPORTUNITY TO FREE WORLD OF NUCLEAR-WEAPON THREAT, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, AS CONFERENCE ON NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY OPENS

11/11/2001
Press ReleaseDC/2815

Conference on Facilitating Entry

into Force of the Comprehensive

Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

1st Meeting (AM)

‘PRECIOUS, BUT FLEETING’ OPPORTUNITY TO FREE WORLD OF NUCLEAR-WEAPON THREAT,

SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, AS CONFERENCE ON NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY OPENS

Twenty Speakers Address Opening Session;

Thirteen More States in Treaty Annex Must Ratify for Entry into Force

As the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty opened today at Headquarters, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the delegates a “precious, but fleeting” opportunity existed to render the troubled world a safer place, free of the threat of nuclear weapons, and “We must not let it pass.”

To anyone who thought that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) had been overshadowed or marginalized by the events of 11 September, "think again", he told participants at the three-day Conference.  The world could not afford further proliferation of nuclear weapons nor could it afford to lose momentum in efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.  Everything must be done to reduce the risk of those weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.  Ratification by 13 more States was needed for the Treaty’s operation; it was within their power to do so.

The Treaty, which bans all nuclear tests in all environments, will enter into force only when all 44 States listed in annex 2 of the Treaty have ratified it.  Those are the 44 States that participated in the 1996 session of the Conference on Disarmament and possess nuclear research and power reactors, according to data compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  So far, 31 of them have ratified the Treaty, including three of the five nuclear-weapon States:  France, Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom.  Two more nuclear States -– China and the United States -- have signed, but not ratified the CTBT.

The Conference is convened under article XIV of the Treaty to provide States with an opportunity to review progress and consider ways to accelerate the ratification process and advance the entry into force.  During a general exchange of views, that began this morning, several "annex 2" States that have already ratified the CTBT urged the Treaty’s speedy ratification by other annex 2 States.

Among them, the Russian Federation’s representative, read out a statement on behalf of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.  The President was convinced that both the early entry into force of the CTBT and its universal adherence would meet the interests of all in the world community.  That was why Russia had done its best to promptly ratify the CTBT.  The current situation surrounding the Treaty’s entry into force was of concern.

The European Union, according to a statement made by the representative of Belgium on behalf of that country’s Foreign Minister, urged the United States to reconsider its position not to ratify the Treaty and to participate in joint endeavours to implement the nuclear-test ban.  The countries that had not yet signed the Treaty had deliberately chosen to isolate themselves from the international community.  He appealed to them to join in the struggle to build a safer world towards ridding it of nuclear weapons.

The representative of Mexico -– another annex 2 State ratifier – hailed

the CTBT as a cornerstone for disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.  With the growing interest in developing and upgrading nuclear weapons and their emphasis in national security policies, as well as the terrifying prospect of their use by terrorists, the goal of making the CTBT operational had acquired its full meaning.  He, thus, appealed to the United States to reconsider its position -- and to those other annex 2 States that had not yet ratified the Treaty, to accelerate that process.

The representative of Indonesia announced that its ratification could be expected in the “foreseeable” future.  The Treaty, together with the global verification mechanism, had evolved a “no-testing” norm deserving of universal support, he said.  Ending all nuclear testing was critical to preventing the horizontal and vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Delaying the Treaty’s operation increased the risk of a resumption of nuclear testing and its ominous implications of a renewed nuclear arms race and its attendant instability and confrontation.

Also addressing the Conference today, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization (CTBTO) said it was his task to oversee the build-up of the infrastructure for the Treaty’s implementation and the Treaty’s verification regime for entry into force.  He detailed considerable progress in that regard, including work on the establishment of a global network of 337 facilities in some 90 States capable of monitoring nuclear explosions.

Presenting a progress report on cooperation among States to facilitate the Treaty's entry into force, the Japanese representative said that the Conference must issue a strong message urging “non-signatories” and “non-ratifiers” to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.  It should call on all nuclear-weapon States, and the two that carried out nuclear-test explosions after the Treaty’s opening for signature, not to carry out any more nuclear-weapon-test explosions.

In a number of procedural and organizational matters, participants elected the Conference President, Marin Bosch (Mexico).  Hannelore Hoppe, Chief, Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch, Department for Disarmament Affairs, will serve as the Secretary.  Mr. Bosch addressed the meeting this morning.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Austria, Malta, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Peru, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Lesotho, Iceland, Australia and Bangladesh.

The Conference will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its exchange of views.

Background

The Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty (CTBT) began this morning in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.  It was the second such conference since the Treaty's opening for signature on 24 September 1996.

The CTBT commits States parties not to carry out any nuclear weapon-test explosion or any other nuclear explosion in any environment and to prohibit, prevent, and refrain from, in any way, participating in the carrying out of such explosion.  The Treaty also provides for a complex global verification regime, and measures to ensure compliance and redress a situation contravening it.

The CTBT's opening for signature in September 1996 marked the successful conclusion of one of the longest negotiations in the history of arms control.  With 161 signatories and 84 ratifications, it is now approaching the status of a universal treaty, but, under its article XIV, it must be ratified by the 44 States listed in its annex 2 before it can enter into force. At present, 31 have done so.

Thirteen "annex 2" countries whose ratification is critical to the Treaty's success have not ratified the Treaty, including two nuclear-weapon States -– China and the United States.  Three of the "annex 2" countries have not signed it -- Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India and Pakistan.

The purpose of the so-called "Article XIV" Conference is to decide, by consensus, what measures consistent with international law might be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the Treaty's early operation.  Such a conference can be held if the Treaty has not become operational three years after its opening for signature, and at subsequent anniversaries, until its entry into force.

The first such Conference was held from 6 to 8 October 1999 in Vienna, Austria.  A Final Declaration was adopted, which reiterated that the cessation of all nuclear-weapon-test explosions and all other nuclear explosions -- by constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons -- was an effective nuclear-disarmament and non-proliferation measure and a meaningful step in the realization of a systematic process to achieve nuclear disarmament.  

It called upon all States that have not yet signed the Treaty to sign and ratify it as soon as possible and to refrain from acts that would defeat the Treaty's object and purpose in the meanwhile.  It called on States that had signed but not ratified the Treaty, in particular those whose ratification is needed for its entry into force, to accelerate their ratification processes. 

[At the time of the convening of the 1999 Conference, 154 States had signed the CTBT and 51 signatory States had ratified it, including 26 annex 2 States.  Since then, 33 more States have ratified the Treaty, and seven more have signed it.]

Annex 2 States

The 31 annex 2 countries that have ratified the Treaty are:  Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

The following 13 States are required for ratification, but have not yet done so:  Algeria, China, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, United States and Viet Nam.

(For 161 signatories and 84 ratifiers, see background Press Release DC/2814 issued 9 November.)

Documentation

The Conference had before it a background document by the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), prepared for the Conference (document

CTBT-Art.XIV/2001/3).

The document contains background to the Treaty’s adoption, as well as a description of its article I.  It also explains article XIV, which concerns the requirements for the Treaty’s entry into force.  The unique global verification regime, consisting of an International Monitoring System (IMS), is also described, as well as the mission of the International Data Centre.  Details are also included on the Global Communications Insfrastructure, which plays a critical role in the acquisition of IMS data, as well as its dissemination to States signatories.  The document also discusses the on-site inspections.

Statements

In his opening remarks, KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that he had convened the Conference at the request of the 84 States that had already ratified the Treaty.  He hoped anyone who thought the Treaty or the Conference had been overshadowed by the events of 11 September and their aftermath would think again.  Those events should have made it clear that the world could not afford the further proliferation of nuclear weapons, or to lose momentum in efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world’s arsenals.  The world must do everything it could to reduce the risk of such weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.

The CTBT, he said, was a crucial element in the non-proliferation regime.  The longer its entry into force was delayed, the greater the risk that nuclear testing would resume -- and that would make non-proliferation harder to sustain.  The Treaty named 44 States whose ratifications were required for its entry into force, 31 of which had ratified it so far.  The main purpose of the Conference was to find ways of encouraging all remaining States to sign and ratify the Treaty, particularly the 13 needed for it to enter into force.  Why should that be so difficult?

Many of the States that had not signed or ratified had, for years, voiced their support for nuclear disarmament.  Many had worked long and hard to conclude the Treaty.  It was now within their power to bring the Treaty into force.  He implored them to do so, and encouraged all at the Conference to focus on finding arguments and taking steps that would allay the doubts still felt in those States.  “We have a precious but fleeting opportunity to render this troubled world a safer place, free of the threat of nuclear weapons”, he said. “We must not let it pass.”

Newly elected Conference President, MARIN BOSCH (Mexico), noted that the Conference had originally been planned for 25 to 27 September, but the terrorist attacks against the United States had forced it to be rescheduled.  He conveyed to the United States Government his most sincere condolences for the loss of so many thousands of lives.  With those horrendous acts, the international community had expressed its decision to tackle, through all possible means, any threats to peace and international security flowing from those acts of terrorism, and step up cooperation in order to prevent them in the future. 

Today, he said, 161 had acceded to the CTBT and 85 countries had ratified it, including, yesterday, the Government of Singapore.  Those figures reflected solid support for the purposes of the Treaty.  That support had been strengthened by commitments adopted by nuclear-weapon States to maintain their test moratoriums, pending the Treaty’s operation.  The world was consolidating the standard that banned any nuclear explosion, but while those advances had been encouraging, acceleration of the ratification process should be examined.  The historic opportunity of the Conference should not be wasted.

WOLFGANG HOFFMAN, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO, said that, since the Treaty’s opening for signature in 1996, the General Assembly and other multilateral forums had called for the Treaty’s signature and ratification as soon as possible.  The 2000 Millennium Summit had provided further momentum to that process, with five more States signing the Treaty and two more depositing their instruments of ratification during the Summit.  Much remained to be done, however, to advance universality.  Without the ratification of the remaining 13 “Annex 2” States, entry into force would be elusive.

He said that, as one of the negotiators who had brought the CTBT to a conclusion, it was now his task to turn words into deeds, to oversee the build-up of the infrastructure for the Treaty’s implementation.  Considerable progress had been made since the Provisional Technical Secretariat opened its offices in Vienna in March 1997.  The Treaty provided for the establishment of a unique global verification regime, which must be capable of meeting the Treaty’s verification requirements upon its entry into force.  The build-up of the IMS, comprising seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound, and radionuclide stations, as well as radionuclide laboratories, was a major challenge.

The global network of 337 facilities would be set up in some 90 States, with many stations based in remote and inaccessible areas.  The IMS network would be capable of registering vibrations underground, in the sea and in the air, as well as detecting traces of radionuclides released into the atmosphere from a nuclear explosion.  Steady progress had been made in its establishment, and the construction and upgrading of 121 IMS stations had been completed.  Another

90 stations were under construction or under contract negotiation.  Progress had also been made in providing the legal framework required by the Treaty to govern cooperation between the Provisional Technical Secretariat and States hosting IMS facilities.  Such arrangements were currently in place with 71 host States covering 290 of the 337 IMS facilities.

He said that on-site inspection was provided for in the Treaty as a final verification measure.  On-site inspection field experiments provided valuable experience by allowing the testing of procedures and equipment under realistic conditions.  One such experiment had been held in September-October this year in Slovakia and had built upon the experience gained in the Kazakhstan field experiment successfully conducted in 1999.  Also, since the Preparatory Commission’s establishment, it had matured as an international organization.  It also had continued to develop its relations with other global organizations and with the academic and scientific communities.

NOBUYASU ABE (Japan) reported on the progress made on efforts to facilitate the entry into force of the CTBT, as a representative of the country that had been coordinating those efforts.  He reaffirmed the significance of the Treaty’s early entry into force.  First, there was no room to doubt that the cessation of all nuclear-test explosions, as stipulated in the Treaty, continued to be a very effective means in constraining the development of nuclear weapons in the nuclear-weapon States.  Second, the cessation of all nuclear-test explosions and all other nuclear explosions should decisively impede the development and possession of nuclear weapons in the non-nuclear-weapon States.

The CTBT was one of the most important elements for sustaining the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, based on the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which envisaged the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  Since the 1999 Vienna Conference, the nations of the world, including the ratifiers and signatories of the CTBT, recognized the importance of the Treaty and had devoted their resources to its early entry into force. The significance of the early entry into force of the Treaty had been reaffirmed in such documents as the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference.

The Final Declaration of the Vienna Conference had also appointed Japan as the coordinator of those efforts, he said.  Japan had done its utmost to promote the early entry into force of the Treaty and had taken such measures as sending letters from its Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, and dispatching missions to various countries to urge countries to sign and ratify the CTBT.  As a result, seven more States had signed and 33 more had ratified the Treaty since the last Review Conference.  Today the number of signatories stood at 161 and the number of ratifiers at 84.  Among the 44 States whose ratifications were required for the Treaty to enter into force, five --- Turkey, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Chile and Ukraine –- had ratified the Treaty since Vienna.

As could be seen from the number of countries that had signed or ratified the CTBT in the five years since it was opened for signature, the Treaty was universally perceived as an instrument of major importance.  What else could be done to facilitate the early entry into force of the CTBT?  First, it was imperative to call on the two nuclear-weapon-States, that had carried out nuclear- test explosions after the Treaty was opened for signature, not to carry out any more nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.  Second, the steady build-up of the verification regime was of crucial importance.  Since there were some doubts, it would be helpful to have frank discussions about the verifiability of the Treaty among interested parties.

BENITA FERRERO-WALDNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria, said that as the host country for the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO, Austria assumed a special responsibility for the successful preparations for its entry into force.  To date, 161 States had acceded to the CTBT and, by signing, had committed themselves to adhere to the goals and the spirit of the Treaty.  All States, not only those who possessed nuclear capabilities, needed to become members of the CTBT.  First, because nuclear non-proliferation was too important an issue to leave to a small group of States, no matter how powerful.  Second, because to transform the principle of non-testing into a universal norm, the CTBT needed universal adherence.

One could argue that, with 13 ratifications still missing, the CTBT was far from entering into force, she said.  Yet, the internal difficulties that some of those countries were dealing with must be taken into consideration.  Taking that into consideration, as well as the pledges by others not to delay entry into force, she strongly counselled against unreasonable pessimism.  Also, the CTBT stipulated that, at entry into force, the verification regime must be capable of meeting the Treaty’s verification requirements.  Thus, the CTBTO Preparatory Commission and the Provisional Technical Secretariat must be provided with sufficient funding for the timely establishment of the IMS.

She was convinced that the success of the CTBT would also have a positive impact on the international security environment.  By setting an end to the decades-long deadly spiral of developing ever-more sophisticated and, hence, more destructive nuclear weapons, the CTBT contributed essentially to alleviating one of the biggest fears of mankind -- the fear of nuclear destruction.  She agreed, therefore, with the assessment of a former United States Secretary of State that the CTBT was “a real people’s Treaty”. 

In spite of overwhelming popular support, five years after it had been opened for signature the CTBT had not entered into force.  One must think that its comprehensive Monitoring System, with stations in about 90 countries around the globe, thus leaving no white spaces anywhere, must serve the interest of each State supporting nuclear non-proliferation.  No national system, sophisticated as it might be, could compete with the worldwide verification regime provided for by the CTBT.  She, therefore, urged all States that had not yet signed the CTBT to review whether the Treaty might serve its national interests and to accede to it as soon as possible.  She also urged all States that had not yet ratified the CTBT, especially those 13 on the list of 44, to deposit their instruments of ratification as soon as possible.  

JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, read out the statement which was to have been delivered by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium.  Now, more than ever, he said, disarmament and non-proliferation on a multilateral and general basis were indispensable in preventing terrorists and terrorist organizations from gaining access to more powerful means of perpetrating their heinous deeds.  The Union would continue, unreservedly, to support international efforts towards disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, with regard to both weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms. 

He said that the CTBT had been a significant step, both symbolic and practical, in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, in accordance with article VI of the NPT, which was the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.  Its Review Conference last year had urged all States parties to accede to the CTBT without delay.  That Treaty, egalitarian in nature, placed all States under the same obligation and gave them all equal access to a verification regime unprecedented in the history of the campaign for disarmament and non-proliferation.

He welcomed the declaration by the United States to maintain its moratorium on nuclear testing, but regretted its announcement that it would cease to participate in certain activities arising from the Treaty and that it did not plan to reconsider its position on ratification.  That was all the more worrying, he said, given that, until now, the United States had played a key role in nuclear- arms control, in particular, within the framework of the CTBT.  The Union urged the United States Government to review its position and participate in joint endeavours to implement the ban on all nuclear-weapon-test explosions and all other nuclear explosions.

Accession to the Treaty, thus far, was an expression of the international community’s resolve, he said.  Admittedly, the temptation was sometimes great to concentrate on what remained to be achieved, in particular on those 13 States whose failure to ratify the Treaty was currently blocking its entry into force.  Nevertheless, what was emerging was the extraordinary spirit of cooperation between all signatory States, whether or not they had already ratified the Treaty.  He was delighted that all countries that possessed nuclear weapons had already signed the Treaty, and that France, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom had already ratified it. 

Continuing, he recalled that in 1998 two States had carried out tests, which had alarmed the international community.  He noted with interest the application of unilateral moratoriums by them and their expressed willingness to ultimately accede to the CTBT.  Those countries that had not yet signed the Treaty had deliberately chosen to isolate themselves from the international community -- indeed, to go against the tide by denying recent developments in an increasingly interdependent world.  He was convinced that they would not “remain deaf” to the invitation to join the rest of the international community, unconditionally and on a perfectly equal footing, in its struggle to build a safer world, which would one day be rid of nuclear weapons.

JOE BORG, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta, said Malta had signed the CTBT the day it was opened for signature on 24 September 1996.  Having responded to the personal appeal made by the Secretary-General, Malta had also ratified the Treaty earlier this year.  The CTBT was an essential step towards nuclear disarmament.  It banned all nuclear tests, anytime and anywhere.  It also offered the opportunity to demand on-site inspections, the means to mobilize the world against potential violators, and a set of new confidence-building measures that served to improve transparency.  The ratification of the CTBT was, therefore,

in complete consonance with Malta's support for international efforts aimed at disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

It was his hope that the remaining 13 countries whose ratification was necessary for the Treaty to come into force would soon do so, thus taking a significant collective step towards reducing the risk of nuclear disaster.  Under article XVIII of the Vienna Convention on Treaties, signatory States were bound not to take actions that violated the "purpose or intent" of the Treaty to which they were signatories.  In effect, in the case of the CTBT, that meant they could not conduct a nuclear-test explosion.  The longer it took to implement the CTBT, however, the greater the chances were that some nation might conduct a nuclear test and set off a dangerous political and military chain reaction, which might spiral out of control.

Great leaps in the field of disarmament had never been achieved overnight, he said.  That subject matter lent itself more readily to careful and measured consideration, rather than hurried responses, he said.  Rome was not built in a day.  Nevertheless, Rome was eventually built.  With five years having elapsed since the conclusion of the Treaty, his Government hoped that the same could soon be said of the CTBT.  It was with that in mind that his Government called once again upon those 13 states whose ratifications were necessary for the Treaty to enter into force to do so as soon as possible.

Health and environmental fears associated with nuclear-weapon testing provided the momentum that had led to the singing of the CTBT by Malta, he said.  Those fears remained very real today.  However, they were now further compounded by the threat of terror, a reality only too recently witnessed here in New York and across the globe.  It was his Government's hope that the new sense of urgency and purpose that had characterized the work of the international community in the last weeks would fuel the necessary resolve to bring the CTBT into force.

ANNA LINDH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said that the world must never forget its vision of a world free of weapons of mass destruction.  Nuclear disarmament was a long-standing goal of Sweden’s, but multilateral disarmament stood at a crossroads today.  India and Pakistan had continued nuclear testing --and were called upon to carry out the steps outlined in Security Council resolution 1172 (1998).  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had not yet abandoned its dangerous proliferation policies, which threatened the whole world.  The United States’ plan for a strategic missile defence system risked harm to disarmament, non-proliferation and the whole NPT process.

The threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could not be met by unilateral actions, she said.  That global problem required a multilateral response built on an already existing safety net against proliferation.  New threats also challenged the world’s common security.  Al Qaeda had just claimed to possess nuclear weapons and, whether that was true or not, the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., proved, more than ever, the importance of the process towards disarmament and arms control.

Examples of the threat of an arms race still existed, she continued.  Talks between the United States and the Russian Federation were long overdue and should be accompanied by effective mechanisms of verification and irreversibility. International and national security, to be sustainable, depended on multilateral frameworks and platforms, particularly for small States. The New Agenda Coalition, a group of States concerned with the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament, had been launched three years ago and was an initiative rooted in a strong belief in multilateral disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.  Multilateral arms control had produced impressive results, including the adoption by the 187 States parties to the NPT of a road map towards nuclear disarmament.  There were a number of important instruments to prevent the testing of nuclear weapon, banning production of nuclear-weapon material, and for improving verification. 

The CTBT made sense and all States would benefit from adhering to it.  It made the acquisition of nuclear weapon more difficult, prevented a qualitative arms race, and built confidence with its effective verification system.  She deeply regretted that the United States had not voted in favour of the procedural decision on the CTBT in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) last week, and had stated that it would not support the Treaty.  She also regretted the decision of the United States Senate to reject the Treaty and called on the United States to reconsider its position.  She called on each of the 13 States, whose ratifications were necessary for the Treaty to enter into force, not to hold the Treaty hostage.  The overwhelming majority of States wanted nuclear testing to be a thing of the past.

TOM GRONBERG (Finland) said the CTBT represented an essential building-block in the efforts of the international community to contain the proliferation of nuclear arms.  The Treaty’s concrete significance to the promotion of international peace and stability had led to its ratification by an overwhelming majority of world nations.  By banning nuclear-weapon-test explosions in every environment, the Treaty provided an efficient and credible means of preventing both horizontal and vertical proliferation of nuclear arms.  Indeed, it set a precedent in multilateral arms control treaties by providing for a global verification regime that would make non-compliance practically always detectable.

Finland was fully committed to the obligations of the CTBT and had made every effort to promote its entry into force without delay.  Finland had signed the Treaty on the first day it was opened up for signature and had completed the ratification process in 1999.  A Facility Agreement had been concluded between Finland and the Preparatory Commission, and the Primary Seismological Station, located on Finland’s territory, had already been certified.  Finland also actively supported the Provisional Technical Secretariat in its training activities.  He attached great importance to assisting developing countries in their endeavours to build capacity that was needed to implement their obligations under the Treaty.

As demonstrated by the broad and high-level attendance at the current Conference, the CTBT enjoyed wide support in the international community.  And, by international community, he did not only refer to the support of governments, but even more importantly to the unanimous support of the world’s civil society.  It was, therefore, necessary to ensure that the momentum created behind the Treaty would continue in order to guarantee its early entry into force.  The signatory States must join forces in removing the obstacles still preventing the international community from reaching the final goal, he said. 

By continuing to provide support and adequate financing to the Preparatory Commission, the international community would enable the timely completion of the global verification regime, which, in itself, was essential to the Treaty’s effectiveness and credibility.  By convincing those States still not party to the Treaty of the importance of signing and ratifying it without delay, the international community could ensure its entry into force.  He hoped the Conference would signify a major step forward in facilitating that goal.

BRIAN COWEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland, said that he associated himself with the statement made by Belgium on behalf of the European Union.  The choice to proceed with the Conference was important, because the international community could not be distracted from its work by those who wished to intimidate or inflict injury and death.  The Conference was an important opportunity to reaffirm support for the early entry into force of the CTBT.  The Treaty contributed to non-proliferation and disarmament regimes and protected the environment from the harmful effects of nuclear-test explosions.

He said the NPT had been extended indefinitely in 1995 with the widespread understanding that there would be a renewed commitment by the nuclear-weapon States to conclude and implement the CTBT.  At the NPT Review Conference,

187 States had agreed on the urgency of the entry into force of the CTBT.  The CTBT could help to reduce the risk of dangerous competition between nuclear-capable States by curbing the development of new weapons.  The tests conducted by Pakistan and India in 1998 had set back the drive for the CTBT, but had also made its value more obvious. 

He called on States whose ratification was necessary for the Treaty to enter into force to ratify without conditions or delay.  In the meantime, he added, testing moratoria should be maintained and the establishment of a verification system supported.  To facilitate the Treaty’s entry into force, States that had ratified the CTBT should consider working together to send emissaries to those States that had not.  The entry into force of the Treaty was an essential step in the undertaking of nuclear-weapon States to totally eliminate nuclear weapons.  Progress towards disarmament and non-proliferation were needed, and the CTBT was the international community’s means to achieve it. 

Ireland had long been active in the field of disarmament, he said, focusing particularly on the accomplishment of nuclear disarmament through multilateral agreements.  Under the NPT, Ireland had sought to see that those States in possession of nuclear weapons entered into commitments to take measured, realistic steps towards that goal.  The international community should proceed with steps, such as the CTBT, a fissile material cut-off treaty, and implementation of the understanding at the heart of the NPT —- a foregoing of the possession of nuclear weapons in exchange for their elimination by those who already possessed them. Those challenges could be met, but they required the willingness to take the first steps, such as ensuring the entry into force of the CTBT.

HELI PELAEZ, Director of Multilateral Politics and Security, Ministry of Foreign Relations of Peru, said that his country had maintained a strong political commitment to non-proliferation efforts and to work for the prohibition of  nuclear tests.  In keeping with its pacifism, Peru adhered to all multilateral instruments for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  With the conviction to promote a world free of nuclear weapons, Peru had participated actively in the negotiations for the CTBT from 1993 to 1996 and had been the first Latin American State to sign it in 1997.

Peru, he said, had, on four occasions, held the vice-presidency for the coordination of efforts of the States signatories of Latin America and the Caribbean before the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO.  Since then, Peru had given all possible assistance to the Preparatory Commission to operate its seismological stations in Peruvian territory.  Among other activities, Peru had hosted a regional conference to facilitate the Treaty’s entry into force in Lima in November 2000, at which experts from Canada, the United States and three international organizations had participated.

There had been important progress since the last facilitation conference in Vienna, but the Treaty could not be truly effective until it became universal, he continued.  The basic principles of the CTBT would constitute an important guarantee of international peace and security.  Mexico had introduced pioneering ideas, which had culminated in the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), the first nuclear-weapons-free zone in the world.  In that tradition, Peru, together with other countries of the region, would assume an active role in turning thoughts of disarmament into action.  He would also seek to promote the use of nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes, in accordance with the principles of the Charters of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations.

The Conference was a new opportunity for the international community to put its impetus behind efforts to ensure nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he said.  It would be a concrete step to promote the entry into force of the CTBT.  For those reasons, Peru would strictly adhere to the provisions of the Final Declaration to be approved at the end of the Conference.

IGOR D. SERGEEV, Assistant on Strategic Stability to the President of the Russian Federation, read out a statement by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir V. Putin.  He said Russia had always considered the

CTBT a most important instrument in the fields of nuclear weapons limitation, strengthening of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and preservation of the world strategic stability.  He was convinced that both the early entry into force of the Treaty and its universalization would meet the interests of all in the world community.  The Russian Federation had done its best to promptly ratify the CTBT.  The current situation surrounding the Treaty’s entry into force was of concern. 

Mr. Sergeev then began his own statement, saying that, until very recently, strategic stability in the nuclear field had been defined by establishing nuclear parity between the Soviet Union and the United States, which had required a continued improvement of nuclear weapons.  In the recent decade, however, that situation had changed drastically.  Now, strategic stability depended not only on nuclear disarmament, but, to a great extent, on the ability to address new challenges, such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles.

He said that the events of 11 September had proved that a “severe and uncompromising” fight against international terrorism lay ahead.  Countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons was undoubtedly an integral component of that fight.  At the same time, the existing system of international treaties in the field remained insufficient and required further improvement.  The CTBT occupied a very important place in that system, and the international community had travelled a long ways towards comprehensively banning nuclear tests.  Indeed, the Treaty had become a very important step in strengthening stability and nuclear non-proliferation, and testified to the intention of many countries to reduce the nuclear threat.

Nonetheless, he continued, the Treaty had not yet entered into force.  Moreover, there were dangerous trends towards its collapse, which might result in a crisis for the nuclear non-proliferation regime and an uncontrolled spread of nuclear weapons.  That would take place against the backdrop of attempts to revise the 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty), disruption of which would allow for the proliferation of missiles as delivery vehicles for weapons of mass destruction.  That was quite alarming and meant, among other things, that the guarantee for strategic stability might, once against, be focused on the nuclear arena. 

Who could guarantee that nuclear weapons would not fall into the hands of terrorists? he asked.  The international community should preclude any opportunity for “nuclear blackmail” and unite in efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.  The CTBT’s entry into force was the “most important” step in that direction.  His country was fully committed to the Treaty and had advocated its expeditious operation.  To the argument that the verification regime was not yet fully developed, or that it did not provide sufficient verification, he would say that that unprecedented global mechanism and modern monitoring means had made it “absolutely impossible” to conceal any violation of the Treaty. 

JAN KAVAN, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, said that the Czech Republic had consistently been in favour of realistic and efficient steps aimed both at preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means and at progressing gradually towards global nuclear disarmament.  That was why, in his view, the effective and verifiable cessation of nuclear-weapon-test explosions and their prohibition, as provided by the CTBT, continued to be indispensable steps.  That was also why the Treaty needed to enter into force as soon as possible. 

He stressed that the CTBT did well for an international treaty that had not yet entered into force.  The Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO regularly convened and deliberated constructively.  Ratifiers and signatories contributed both in terms of human resources, know-how and finance, and the IMS and inspection regime were continuously built up.  The work of the Provisional Technical Secretariat, which had grown into an efficient and well-managed institution, was impressive and commendable.  Perhaps, most importantly, the moratorium on nuclear tests had been respected since 1998.

Nevertheless, those achievements were not irreversible.  Reducing financial support for or even withdrawing from preparatory activities under the Preparatory Commission would undercut the common efforts.  It was important to complete the construction, so that the purposes of the Treaty were fully met.  The entry into force was the most efficient way of deterring anyone from resuming nuclear tests.  He also believed that the ongoing global fight against terrorism, which the Czech Republic supported politically and materially, must also entail increased efforts in nuclear non-proliferation.  The CTBT was an important part of it, and he hoped that the partners would realize that. 

The purpose of the Conference was not only to take stock of the progress made, but primarily to discuss how to maintain and reinforce the political momentum in progressing towards the entry into force of the Treaty.  Certainly, one avenue was for the Provisional Technical Secretariat to continue its commendable outreach activities, including holding international cooperation workshops.  He observed that article XIV of the CTBT provided for a useful mechanism and conferences to facilitate the Treaty's entry into force.  Nevertheless, he continued hoping that they would not need to convene too often, for too long.  All must feel compelled to bring the Treaty into full operation by the next NPT Review Conference.

DIMITRIJ RUPEL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, said that the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction was one of the greatest threats to international peace and security.  The CTBT and NPT were the most important steps in the process of strengthening the non-proliferation regime and the basis for the entire set of efforts to deal with disarmament and non-proliferation issues.  The non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and arms control had been the pillars of international security since the end of the cold war.

As the barbaric attacks of 11 September had made clear, the threat of the possession of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists was of acute concern, he continued.  The response to new threats must be universal and persistent. Existing non-proliferation regimes and controls over the movement of dangerous materials and technologies must be strictly implemented.  In that regard, it was the obligation of the international community to accelerate the entry into force of the CTBT, one of the most important elements in the non-proliferation regime.  Delaying its entry into force would have global consequences, because it could undermine achievement in the systematic approach to arms control and non-proliferation.  The Treaty’s universal character allowed no room for excuses based on national security needs or regional arrangements.

As a proponent of international security based on transparency and trust, he said Slovenia had been among the first sign the CTBT in 1996 and had ratified the Treaty in 1999.  Slovenia had also confirmed its support for nuclear non-proliferation policies and for the non-proliferation of biological and chemical weapons, as well.  The international community had a common obligation to continue the process of non-proliferation, which had resulted in numerous important arrangements.  The opportunity for the Conference to result in the prohibition of all nuclear-test explosions must be seized.  He called on all States that had not yet done so -— especially those listed in annex 2 of the Treaty -— to sign and ratify the CTBT. 

States must remain committed to the Treaty’s basic principles and refrain from acts that could prevent its entry into force, he said.  States must be aware of the consequences if the Treaty were to fail to enter into force.  Global support for the CTBT was overwhelming.  The Treaty already contributed to global security through its extensive monitoring and verification measures.  Together with other signatory and ratifying States, Slovenia expected that States would continue to fulfil their obligation in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

OLGA PELLICER (Mexico) said that the Conference was a link in the chain of efforts in favour of international peace and security.  The CTBT was a cornerstone for disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, which had been a priority for decades in Mexico’s foreign policy.  The adoption of the Treaty five years ago was a clear acknowledgement of the dangers of nuclear testing.  Its comprehensive banning, and impeding the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons, had been an important step forward in the systematic process of achieving nuclear disarmament.  At the beginning of the new millennium, new and complex problems had increased insecurity worldwide. 

In some circles, she said, there was continued interest in developing and upgrading nuclear weapons.  Also, those weapons had continued to play a strategic role in national security.  Moreover, the threat of the use of those weapons and their proliferation had been growing.  The terrifying prospect of their use by terrorist groups now also existed.  In that light, the objective of promoting the entry into force of the CTBT had acquired its full meaning.  The support of a large number of States parties to the Treaty was undeniable.  At the same time, many reasons had been expressed for non-ratification.  Nevertheless, the greatest responsibility for the entry into force lay with the nuclear-weapon States.

In that context, she said, she deeply regretted the announcement by the United States that it would not push for the ratification process.  The world would be much safer if the test-ban Treaty became operational. She appealed, on an urgent basis, for that country to reconsider its position.  Several other annex 2 States had also not yet ratified the CTBT, and she appealed to them to do so.  She also called upon India, Pakistan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea -– annex 2 States -- to sign the Treaty and proceed to ratification.  Meanwhile, the moratorium on nuclear testing must be maintained, as nuclear testing would undeniably threaten peace.  She also sought support for the magnificent work being carried out by the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the CTBTO.

MOTSOHAE THOMAS THABANE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lesotho, said that the Conference could not have taken place at a more opportune moment -— a time when the architecture of strategic stability had deteriorated as the result of a failure to make progress on some critical disarmament and non-proliferation issues.  States had gathered once again to reiterate their commitments to the CTBT and to take measures necessary for its entry into force.

When the CTBT was opened for signature five years ago, 71 States immediately signed it, showing an overwhelming degree of support for an initiative to bring an end to all nuclear-weapon-test explosions.  The primary objective of the Treaty was to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and contribute to the process of nuclear disarmament.  While tangible progress on arms control and disarmament measures had yet to be made, support for the CTBT had continued to grow since the last Conference to facilitate its entry into force.  The number of signatures and ratifications had increased, and the General Assembly had passed a resolution entitled “a path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons” which called for the entry into force of the CTBT by 2003.  The CTBTO should be supported in efforts to ensure that the Treaty’s verification requirements here in place at the time of entry into force.

The 13 States whose signatures were necessary for the Treaty to enter into force were called to expedite their ratification processes, so that entry into force was not delayed beyond 2003, he said.  Without entry into force, it would not be possible to implement the verification regime, which would reduce the Treaty’s deterrent effect. It was particularly worrying that two States that had not committed themselves not to delay the entry into force of the Treaty had not yet ratified it.  More disturbing was that one other State whose ratification was required for the Treaty to enter into force had not yet signed the CTBT. 

Delaying the entry into force of the CTBT could only benefit those who opposed the elimination of nuclear weapon and those who sought to acquire such weapons, he said.  The Conference should prompt a renewed commitment to work for universal ratification.  A high representative should, therefore, be selected to continue informal consultations with all interested countries to facilitate entry into force.  Technical and financial resources were essential to allow for developing countries to benefit from the data, products and services that were becoming available through the data centre.  Special attention should be given to the financial and training needs of developing countries.

THORDUR ÆGIR ÓSKARSSON (Iceland) said it was painfully obvious to all present that the meeting was taking place under drastically changed circumstances from those prevailing when the decision to hold it was taken.  Iceland strongly sympathized with all those who had suffered through the terrible ordeal and was fully committed to aid the effort of the international coalition led by the United States in the fight against terrorism.  In his view, the tragic events in New York City only reinforced the need for making the CTBT fully operational. 

During the past four decades, the international community had, slowly but steadily, been trying to build a network of agreements aiming at curbing the threat of nuclear proliferation, he continued.  Nuclear testing had been regarded as the engine of nuclear proliferation.  The ratification of the CTBT was crucial in halting and reversing that reliance on weapons of mass destruction.  That finely woven fabric must not be allowed to unravel; on the contrary, it must be further strengthened.  It was abundantly clear that all non-proliferation efforts were critical in tackling the menace of international

terrorism.

Five years had passed since the CTBT was opened for signature, he said.  Despite strong global aspirations, the entry into force of the CTBT was not in sight.  Unfortunately, some States identified in annex 2 had not ratified the Treaty.  It was also of great disappointment that some States had not even signed it.  It was, however, appreciated that the United States was committed to continuing its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear testing.  He hoped that would lead to early ratification. 

It was no secret that Iceland was not listed in annex 2, but it had the same legal responsibility according to the Treaty as any other participating State, he said.  What was even more important was that a principle, which underlined the CTBT and other arms control agreements, must be reinforced -– and that was the principle of a more secure and peaceful world.  A fully ratified and implemented CTBT was an indispensable building block in that effort.

JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said that Australia’s strong support for the CTBT,

a central plank of the global non-proliferation regime, was founded on deep opposition to nuclear testing.  Over three decades, successive Australian governments had used every opportunity to oppose nuclear testing, and to create an international norm effectively prohibiting further tests.  Australia did not take that position solely out of idealism.  It was a practical view that a complete ban on all nuclear testing was in Australia’s security interest, and in the security interest of all.

The Treaty placed an effective barrier against the development of nuclear weapons by countries that did not have them, he said.  It also prevented nuclear-weapon States from developing new and more advanced weapons design.  That was a major step on the road towards ridding the world of the means of destroying itself.  He came from the Pacific region which had experience with nuclear-weapon tests, and thus believed that the Treaty must also end further environmental damage caused by testing.  So far, the Treaty had been ratified by only 31 of the 44 States whose ratification was required for entry into force.  Of those, only three of the five nuclear-weapon States -– France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom –- had ratified the Treaty.  Furthermore, neither India nor Pakistan, both of which undertook a series of nuclear tests in 1998, had signed or ratified the Treaty.

His Government had consistently urged those countries to continue their moratorium on nuclear testing, and to sign the CTBT as soon as possible.  His country had made representations to other countries urging them to sign and ratify the Treaty, particularly those in the Asia-Pacific region and annex 2 countries.  Of those countries to which representations had been made, three had indicated possible ratification in the near future.  Like all strong supporters of the CTBT, Australia had been disappointed by recent announcements of the United States that it would not reconsider the CTBT ratification.  He hoped that the United States would reconsider its position and ratify the Treaty.  That said, the United States position must not be used as an excuse by other countries to delay their own signature and ratification.

A ban on any nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosion, for all time, was nearly within reach, he said.  He did not underestimate the obstacles to be overcome, but it was his ardent hope that Treaty supporters would remain steadfast in seeking its early entry into force.  Australia would remain steadfast until the goal was reached.

MAKMUR WIDODO (Indonesia) noted the steady increase in the number of signatory and ratifying States to the Treaty.  Non-signatories had even expressed their intention not to stand in the way of its entry into force.  Progress had also been made in establishing a reliable and effective global verification mechanism that would be ready to ensure detection and location of explosions with a high degree of probability and, thereby, ensure that all States parties adhered to its provisions.  Together, they had established a global “no-testing” norm, which now commanded universal support.  The nuclear-test moratorium had continued to be observed by the nuclear-weapon States, which could serve as stimulus and common ground towards their early ratification.

He said that Indonesia, for its part, would submit its ratification in due time.  The Treaty was currently undergoing the constitutional process and ratification could be expected in the foreseeable future.  The Treaty’s early operation would effectively enhance the credibility of the NPT regime.  Indeed, a testing ban, the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime, as well as the systematic and progressive efforts towards the elimination of nuclear arsenals, were a triad of important commitments.  Repudiation or weakening of either one would negatively affect the other. The Treaty’s early operation would also contribute to global efforts against terrorists seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction, which was a conspicuous threat since 11 September.

Ending all nuclear testing would be an essential prerequisite to preventing horizontal and vertical proliferation, he said.  Delaying the CTBT’s operation increased the risk that nuclear testing could resume, with its ominous implications of a renewed nuclear arms race and its attendant instability and confrontation, as well as its harmful impact on the environment.  He reiterated his conviction that a global “no-testing” norm was an imperative.  In that connection, six seismic stations in Indonesia had been integrated into the IMS to monitor possible non-compliance with the basic obligations of the Treaty. 

IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that this was a time when the sense of security in this country, as well as in many others, had been violated like never before.  The international dimension of the threat to security had heightened concerns all around the globe.  Apprehensions about both conventional and nuclear threats had come to the fore in all minds.  Being among the first signatories and subsequently one of the early ratifiers of the CTBT, Bangladesh had invested heavily in those efforts, with a view to achieving the non-proliferation objectives of the international community.  He was convinced of the importance of the Treaty in outlawing tests and thus preventing the development of new, more advanced weapons by nuclear-weapon States.

First and foremost, he continued, the CTBT constituted an essential part of the nuclear-weapon-State obligations under the NPT to end the arms race and to pursue nuclear disarmament.  The contractual aspect of the issue was of immense importance to those non-nuclear States who had signed off the nuclear option once for all.  He stressed that must be appreciated in the proper context of article VI of the NPT.  Second, the CTBT it attempted to de-emphasize and minimize the importance of nuclear weapons for national security.  Again, that was a very important concept for non-nuclear States.  And finally, the Treaty provided for building an elaborate global infrastructure, on which a substantial verification regime would be founded to meet the verification requirements for the Treaty.

He stressed that the solidarity exhibited by the international community in combating international terrorism must be available for nuclear disarmament, and non-proliferation, as well.  He expressed concern that, after five years of its opening for signature, the Treaty had not entered into force.  That delay was

regrettable.  His country associated itself with the call to strengthen efforts to promote the entry into force of the Treaty at the earliest possible date.  A method must be created to assist those poor countries who shared the spirit of the cause, but found the financial cost too high.  Bangladesh had argued that point for many years.

The vision of a nuclear-free world was realizable, he said.  The progress might be slow, but not necessarily fraught with despair, as the number of new adhering States increased.  He encouraged the sustained endeavours of the global community, evident in the work of the Conference, to bring the aspirations to fruition, and he expressed his hope that the Treaty would, before long, enter into force.

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For information media. Not an official record.