NUCLEAR-WEAPON USE BY TERRORISTS, ‘CHAIN OF SETBACKS’ IN DISARMAMENT AMONG ISSUES HIGHLIGHTED IN TEST-BAN-TREATY CONFERENCE

11 November 2001
DC/2817

NUCLEAR-WEAPON USE BY TERRORISTS, ‘CHAIN OF SETBACKS’ IN DISARMAMENT AMONG ISSUES HIGHLIGHTED IN TEST-BAN-TREATY CONFERENCE

11/11/2001
Press ReleaseDC/2817

Conference on Facilitating the Entry

into Force of the Comprehensive

 Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

2nd Meeting (PM)

NUCLEAR-WEAPON USE BY TERRORISTS, ‘CHAIN OF SETBACKS’ IN DISARMAMENT

AMONG ISSUES HIGHLIGHTED IN TEST-BAN-TREATY CONFERENCE

The persistence of nuclear weapons and the growing risk that they could fall into the hands of terrorists made bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) an essential step towards eliminating a nuclear catastrophe, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of New Zealand told the delegates this afternoon at the high-level Conference to facilitate the Treaty’s operation.

The Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT was opened this morning by the Secretary-General.  Due to conclude on Tuesday, 13 November, the Conference will decide, by consensus, what measures can be taken to accelerate the Treaty’s ratification process.

Under an unusual provision, the Treaty requires ratification by a specific group of States listed in its annex 2, which are believed to possess nuclear research and power reactors.  Among the 44 “annex 2” countries, 31 have so far ratified the Treaty.  The 13 States who have not yet done so include two nuclear-weapon States –- China and the United States.  Three annex 2 States have not yet signed the Treaty:  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, and Pakistan.

Representatives of several annex 2 States addressed the Conference this afternoon, including three from Middle East countries that have not yet ratified the Treaty.  The Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran warned the Conference of a deteriorating international security environment.  He highlighted a “chain of setbacks” in promoting nuclear arms reduction and nuclear disarmament, which culminated with the CTBT’s rejection by the United States Senate in 1999.  “Salvaging” the test-ban Treaty from collapse required multilateralism and consolidation of a security network ensuring the security of all States, he said.

The Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt asserted that the question of ratification of the CTBT could not ignore regional considerations, especially Israel’s position with respect to the Treaty and its positions on nuclear non-proliferation, in general.  The CTBT was not a “secluded” legal instrument, isolated from other nuclear disarmament-related treaties, and, in that light, the role of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) could not be ignored.

The Director General of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, expressed his Government’s firm support for the CTBT and its hope that the conditions for its operation would soon be attained.  Israel’s decision to sign the CTBT had

2nd Meeting (PM)

reflected its long-standing policy of supporting international non-proliferation efforts.  Its decision to ratify it depended upon:  the effectiveness of the verification regime; recognition of Israel’s sovereign equality status; and developments in the region, including adherence to the Treaty by the other States.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom –- one of three nuclear-weapon States that have ratified the CTBT -- said that the events of 11 September had cast a long shadow, not just over New York City, but over the whole world, and had given non-proliferation efforts and the Conference added significance.  In that context, efforts must be stepped up to make the test-ban Treaty operational.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Germany, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Belarus, Greece, Argentina, Morocco, Bulgaria, Thailand, Nauru (on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group), Poland, Slovakia, Norway, and Malaysia, as well as the Observer for the Holy See.

The Conference will meet again at 10 a.m. Monday, 12 November, to continue its exchange of views.

Background

The Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) met this afternoon to continue a general exchange of views among ratifiers and signatories on facilitating the Treaty's operation.

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.

With 161 signatories and 85 ratifications (84 in previously issued materials; Singapore ratified on 10 November), the CTBT 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 that have still not ratified the Treaty include two nuclear-weapon States -– China and the United States.  Three of the "annex 2" countries have not signed the Treaty, namely, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India and Pakistan.

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 States required for ratification, but who have not yet done so, are:  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 detailed background, including lists of signatures and ratifiers, see Press Release DC/2814 issued 9 November.) 

Statements

JOSCHKA FISCHER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, said that

11 September had dramatically altered the basis of security policy.  Resolute action by the international community was required to fight terrorism, as were political responses to crises, conflicts and threats.  That was particularly true for efforts to counter the unforeseeable dangers presented by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Prior to 11 September, the momentum of efforts towards global disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation seemed to have been lost. The CTBT must enter into force as soon as possible, because of its practical value and the vital political signal it would send.

The international community had emerged from the cold war to face a new, equally dangerous challenge, he said.  Part of the response to that challenge must be a new impetus for disarmament and arms control.  It was particularly important to:  avoid new, mainly regional arms races; maintain and enhance the system of disarmament and non-proliferation treaties; and more effectively contain the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to State and non-State actors.  The announcement by the President of the United States that his country would dramatically reduce its nuclear arsenal sent an important signal concerning the disarmament obligations of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  The ongoing talks between the United States and the Russian Federation would result in agreements to drastically reduce their nuclear potential, thereby advancing global stability and disarmament.

The proliferation of biological and chemical weapons also raised concerns, he said.  The Biological Weapons Convention was a weak point in the international non-proliferation framework, so priority task of the fifth Review Conference should be to strengthen the agreement.  Consultations there should concentrate on verification, transparency and practical cooperation.  The Chemical Weapons Convention now faced the challenge of eliminating large Soviet-era stockpiles.  Germany had already spent 25 million euros on those efforts and was willing to contribute further.

Multilateral treaties did not, he said, solve all problems, but global non-proliferation could only be successful if all members of the community of nations were involved.  Germany appealed to all States of the group of 44, whose ratifications were necessary for the CTBT to entry into force, to ratify now, so that a legally binding framework could replace unilateral test moratoria.  He called on India, Pakistan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to sign and ratify the Treaty promptly, thereby showing the world that they were serious about international peace and security.  Two nuclear-weapon States, the United States and China, should ratify the CTBT and help it achieve universality.

HAN SEUNG-SOO, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, said that the terrorist attacks against the United States had revealed the nature and magnitude of the terrorist threat facing the international community in the starkest possible terms.  The potential arsenal available to terrorists was large and included biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.  That underscored the urgency and importance of vigorous and coordinated international efforts in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The overwhelming support for the adoption of the CTBT had raised high hopes for the advent of a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons.

He said he was disappointed that, five years after the Treaty’s adoption, there was still “a long way to go” before its entry into force.  The CTBT could achieve its intended objectives only when all nuclear-capable States acceded to it.  For that reason, he urged those annex 2 States that had not yet ratified the Treaty to sign and ratify it without delay.  It was particularly important that nuclear-weapon States accelerate their ratification processes and demonstrate their leadership in strengthening the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  It was encouraging that, despite the regrettable nuclear-test explosions carried out by two States in 1998, the moratorium on nuclear-test explosions had since been maintained.

The Republic of Korea had been one of the staunchest supporters of the CTBT, and he wished to reiterate its unflagging commitment to the objectives and goals of the Treaty.  He also reaffirmed his country’s continued support for the efforts of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization (CTBTO) in establishing the Treaty’s verification regime in a timely and effective manner.  Realizing a world free from nuclear weapons was a common goal and challenge for all.  The international community should take advantage of the momentum created by its joint efforts five years ago.  That precious opportunity to make the world a safer and more secure place must not be wasted.

MAHMOUD MUBARAK (Egypt) said that in the Middle East all States had adhered to the NPT, while Israel had chosen not to respond to the regional efforts.  It continued to cling to the nuclear option and maintain its nuclear capabilities.  That had led the international community to call on Israel, in numerous forums, to join the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under the comprehensive safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Hence, the question of CTBT ratification could not neglect such regional considerations, especially Israel’s position on the Treaty ratification and its position on nuclear non-proliferation, in general.

He said that the Middle East -- still unable to reach a comprehensive and just peace –- should take precedence during discussion of the dangers of nuclear proliferation.  The fact that Israel’s position had not been forthcoming would not diminish Egypt’s resolve to achieve its goal and strive to preserve it.  The international community must execute its duty to accomplish that objective.  The world’s nuclear security “is a whole that cannot be divided”.  The CTBT was not a “secluded” legal instrument, isolated from other treaties related to nuclear disarmament, and the role of the NPT could not be ignored.  For that reason, his country had been calling for universal adherence to both treaties.

The entry into force of the CTBT faced basic obstacles, which were principally reflected in the ambiguous positions held by a number of States with actual nuclear-testing capabilities.  Such obstacles should be the focus of the international community's effort to facilitate the Treaty’s entry into force.  Through its participation in negotiating a final declaration in Vienna, his delegation had sought to strengthen its essence by giving a clear signal of the direct relation between the CTBT and the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  He had been surprised, however, by the opposition of many States to incorporating that principle.  He regarded the draft declaration, then, as exclusively reflective of the views of the parties that had already ratified the Treaty.  Accordingly, he considered it a document issued by those States as “the sole retainers of the right of decision-making according to the rules of procedure of the Conference”.

JACK STRAW, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said that some 44 per cent of United Nations Member States had signed and ratified the CTBT.  Nearly three quarters of the annex 2 countries were among them, including the Russian Federation, whose ratification since the last Article XIV Conference was most welcome.  The Conference was taking place in circumstances that were different from those when the event was first envisaged.  The events of 11 September had cast a long shadow, not just over New York City, but over the whole world, and had given non-proliferation efforts -- and the Conference, in particular -- added significance.  It showed the unpalatable truth that there were individuals for whom mass destruction held no horrors.  All had an overriding interest to ensure that weapons of mass destruction did not fall into the hands of terrorists.  The best way to do that was to stem the proliferation of those weapons in the first place.

On a more optimistic note, however, 11 September marked a rare moment in world history when the whole world was galvanized to action, he said.  Old cold- war adversaries had emerged as allies in every aspect of the coalition against terrorism -- military, humanitarian, political and diplomatic.  The emerging consensus must go deeper still.  There was now a real chance to establish a balance of trust.  Peace was the best form of security.  He underlined the United Kingdom's commitment to multilateral non-proliferation regimes and to the Treaty.  The cessation of all nuclear explosions would constitute an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. 

For that reason, he added, the CTBT was one of the practical steps noted under the article VI section of the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference.  The United Kingdom strongly supported that Document, which called for early entry into force of the test-ban Treaty and a moratorium on nuclear explosions.  He welcomed the fact that several countries, which had not felt able to ratify the Treaty, were maintaining moratoria on nuclear explosions.

The United Kingdom had shown its commitment to the Treaty and had not tested since 1992, he continued.  While all countries had the obligation to work towards universalizing the CTBT, it was a complex task.  The work of the Preparatory Commission and the Provisional Technical Secretariat were vital to carrying out the necessary practical steps.  An international monitoring system (IMS) was needed to verify the Treaty by detecting nuclear explosions anywhere in the world.  The United Kingdom continued to support the development of the verification regime.  Budgetary commitments to enable the work to continue must also be met.  Most importantly, efforts to bring the Treaty into force must be stepped up.  He urged all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty. 

PHIL GOFF, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, said that three countries -- United Kingdom, United States, France -- had decided to test their nuclear weapons in the Pacific, far from where they lived.  Those early tests had been carried out with little attention paid to their impact on the environment, the people displaced by them, or even those who observed them.  New Zealand had been at the forefront of efforts to prevent further tests in the Pacific and had worked with other countries in the region to implement the South Pacific Nuclear-Free-Zone Treaty that banned nuclear testing.  The closure of the French testing sites in the South Pacific was, he hoped, the end of nuclear testing in the Pacific forever.

The opening of the CTBT for signature had been a major advance, he said.  Banning nuclear testing constrained the development and improvement of nuclear weapon and was an effective step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.  States members of the New Agenda Initiative had been delighted with the outcome to the NPT Review Conference, at which nuclear weapon States made an unequivocal undertaking to totally eliminate nuclear weapons.  The Review Conference had agreed to 13 practical steps towards nuclear disarmament, one of which was the early entry into force of the CTBT.  It was essential for annex 2 States to sign and ratify the Treaty, so that it could enter into force.

India, Pakistan and the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea had yet to sign, he said.  Nuclear capabilities on the Indian subcontinent, together with tensions in the region, made it the most dangerous place in the world.  It was in the interest of both India and Pakistan to sign the Treaty to reduce the risks.  Several States had signed the Treaty, but had yet to ratify it.  China and the United States, as permanent members of the Security Council pledged to make the world a safer place, should demonstrate their leadership by ratifying the Treaty.  Meanwhile, excellent work was being done by the Treaty’s Provisional Technical Secretariat to set up the verification regime.  New Zealand had established six monitoring stations and assisted in setting up others in the Pacific.  National data centres had been established around the globe.  He was confident that when the Treaty entered into force, it would have a fully effective verification system able to detect a nuclear explosion anywhere in the world.

Scientific and technical knowledge had advanced enormously and broadly, developing civilizations to a level never previously seen, he continued.  Also, as a result of that progress, humankind had, for the first time, the capability to eliminate itself.  As long as nuclear weapons persisted, with a growing risk that they could fall into the hands of terrorists, the international community lived with a sense of insecurity -- and under the shadow of nuclear devastation.  That was not a game.  The international community could not be complacent.  The World Trade Centre attack was not a nightmare from which the world could awake.  It happened, and worse may lay ahead.  The tragedy should spur the international community to take decisive action to eliminate the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.  Ratifying and bringing into force the CTBT would be an essential step towards achieving that goal.

JOZIAS J. VAN AARTSEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, said the terrible events of 11 September had made clear that all would have to work hard to make the world a safer place.  The possibility that terrorists or States that supported them would seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, could not be excluded.  To prevent them from doing so, effective non-proliferation had acquired even greater urgency.  A well-functioning test-ban Treaty was a key element in stemming nuclear proliferation.  The CTBT constituted a true milestone on the long and arduous road to put the ‘nuclear genie’ in the bottle.  The norm the Treaty was establishing against testing would only be fully effective if it entered into force, which was why all States needed to sign and ratify the CTBT, nuclear-weapon States, in particular.  He called upon China and the United States to ratify the Treaty.

While the twentieth century had been an age of unprecedented advancement, it had also been an age of conflict and threat on a scale never before seen, he said.  Building on the NPT, tremendous progress had been made towards the elimination of the most destructive weapons.  The existing nuclear arsenals of the two major nuclear Powers had been substantially reduced.  The process should continue, eventually involving all nuclear-weapon States.  A web of interlocking treaties on nuclear restraint had gradually been created.  The CTBT was an integral part of that web.  The test ban brought closer a key notion of the NPT -- the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Without it, the entire fabric of global arms control and non-proliferation would unravel. 

The CTBT was a high-tech treaty on global arms control, he said, equipped with the means to ensure effective verification.  An IMS was being put in place.  Once completed, the system would, in fact, extend well beyond the detection capabilities thought possible by the negotiators of the Treaty.  It would also detect nuclear-test explosions carried out by would-be proliferators who thought they could escape the non-proliferation regime by staying outside the CTBT.  Once it entered into force, the international community would have a credible tool to act against proliferators.  The Treaty was also equipped with clear enforcement rules -- any violator could expect sanctions.

While all nuclear-weapon States were now observing a moratorium on nuclear tests, that was not enough, he said.  A legally binding prohibition on testing was needed.  He regretted that two years after the conclusion of the CTBT, India and Pakistan had conducted a series of underground nuclear-test explosions.  Both countries had declared their intention to adhere to the Treaty.  Now was the time to do so.  He called upon all other States that had not done so to sign and/or ratify the Treaty at an early date.  The States whose ratification was necessary for the Treaty's entry into force had a special responsibility.  Resumed testing would revive the urge to refine nuclear weapons and feed a new arms race.  It would also encourage would-be proliferators to pursue the nuclear option.  Finally, it would increase the risk of nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands.

JAVAD ZARIF (Iran) said his country, based on its established security policy of advocating and promoting the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, was an original signatory to the CTBT and had actively participated in the work of the Preparatory Commission since its establishment in Vienna.  It also hosted monitoring stations, which would serve to verify compliance with the Treaty.  States could not act in isolation, however, and the international security environment had deteriorated greatly in recent years.  There had been serious setbacks in promoting practical steps to achieve nuclear arms reduction and nuclear disarmament.  The Strategic Arms Limitation and Reduction Treaty (START) process had essentially halted, and some limited measures aimed at decreasing dependency on nuclear arms had been unmet or even reversed.

He said that the culmination of that “chain of setbacks” had been the rejection of the CTBT itself by the United States Senate.  Withdrawal of the United States delegation from the substantive negotiations on the on-site inspection operational manual might lead to the disruption of all activities of the CTBTO in preparing the ground for the Treaty’s entry into force.  Furthermore, there was little prospect for improving international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  At the regional level, the Middle East was threatened by the Israeli nuclear programme.  In defiance of the calls of the international community, Israel was developing nuclear arsenals in an effort to intimidate the countries of the region. 

That policy of terror had led to more regional insecurity and instability in the region, he said, and created a situation whereby many disarmament and arms control instruments had failed to receive the full support of the countries there. The insistence by some to include Israel in the Middle East and South Asia Group within the Organization had caused a deadlock and deprived an important group of countries from actively participating in certain work of the CTBTO.  Certain steps could “salvage the CTBT from collapse”, but the difficulty lay in security doctrine, not in technical or other issues.  Multilateralism and consolidation of a security network to ensure the security of all States should be the guiding principle in the new environment of international relations. 

MIKHAIL KHVOSTOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said the tragic events of 11 September had shocked the people of his country, which, during the Second World War, had lost nearly one third of its population.  The September tragedy vividly demonstrated the new challenges and threats of the twenty-first century, as well as the link between international security, disarmament and terrorism.  The implementation by States of their obligations in the field of international security, non-proliferation and disarmament was becoming a key factor.  It was necessary to ensure strict control over the existing stockpiles of both weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons. 

As a result of the nuclear reactor explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, Belarus was especially sensitive to all nuclear-related problems, he said.  For some 15 years, Belarus had been living under conditions of large-scale radioactive contamination.  Its consequences would affect the lives of many future generations.  In that respect, at the current session of the General Assembly, Belarus, along with the Russian Federation and Ukraine, had submitted a draft resolution on international cooperation in mitigating the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.  He hoped the draft resolution would find wide support among Member States. 

The opening for signature of the CTBT in September 1996 had become a landmark in global efforts to combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons, he said.  It was the first treaty to completely prohibit the testing of the most lethal of all types of weapons of mass destruction.  Although five years had passed since the first conference, Belarus was concerned that Treaty had not yet entered into force.  While a number of States that had not signed or ratified the Treaty observed a moratorium on nuclear testing, it was necessary to advance from political declarations to the implementation of a legally binding document.  Further delay not only threatened progress already achieved, but could also facilitate the resumption of nuclear-weapon tests.  The Conference should accelerate the process of the entry into force.  Belarus called upon all States that had not yet signed or ratified the Treaty to do so at the earliest. 

GEORGE A. PAPANDREOU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, said that, after the events of 11 September, it was important to build a global response to threats in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation -- an essential element of world peace and stability.  Five years had passed since the CTBT was opened for signature.  The CTBT itself had marked the completion of an evolving process within the concept of nuclear security, which was driven by humanity’s fear of nuclear weapons.  The CTBT was both an indicator and component of a new security concept -- of phasing out nuclear fears and ushering in the hope of a new century free from the nuclear-weapon threat.

Greece, he said, had been especially sensitive to nuclear safety challenges and had, together with other States, taken steps to halt further nuclear build-up during the cold war.  Greece had signed and ratified both the CTBT and NPT.  Further ratification of the CTBT was the only way to control vertical and horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons.  He, along with other States of the European Union, urged States to sign and ratify the CTBT as soon as possible.

After almost half a century of efforts to overcome the balance of terror and bridge the gap of trust, the international community had come a long way, he said.  International verification systems like the one called for in the CTBT were the latest and best way to further that progress.  The CTBT was part of a comprehensive nuclear security concept, which constituted the global stability and security system.   This system was created only after long effort.  All concerned should support the CTBT and help free the world of the fear of nuclear weapons.

LUIS ENRIQUE CAPPAGLI (Argentina) said that the adoption of the CTBT in September 1996 had strengthened the non-proliferation and global disarmament regime, based on the NPT.  He hoped, the Conference would reaffirm the importance of the CTBT as a means of ensuring the cessation of nuclear-weapon tests.  His country had helped broaden international consensus in the field of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Despite the progress being made in Vienna, he was concerned about the high cost of the international system of verification, apportioned in the form of assessments.  In certain cases, that had posed enormous difficulties for some Member States.  The budget should be based on the capacity for Members to contribute, as well as on the prospects of the entry into force. 

He said Argentina had supported the Treaty since its inception, as an original signatory and, later, as a ratifier.  Also, eight monitoring stations would be on its territory.  Similarly, Argentina had been taking part in the preparatory process in Vienna on construction of the verification regime.  It was essential to continue moving towards the Treaty’s entry into force, since the Treaty was a suitable means of consolidating the cessation of nuclear-weapon tests and building confidence.  Until it entered into force, however, the States in a position to carry out nuclear tests should observe a moratorium.  He appealed to all States to accede to the Treaty, speedily and unconditionally. 

The Treaty’s early entry into force would send an important signal with respect to other efforts in the field of non-proliferation, among them, the strengthening of IAEA safeguards, he said.  The success of nuclear non-proliferation demanded the commitment of both nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear- weapon States.  He supported the draft final declaration of the Conference, which should be an unequivocal signal that, within the international community, there was no place for nuclear tests.

MOHAMED BENAISSA (Morocco) said the Conference was being held in the context of the tragic events of 11 September, which would surely have an impact on the tone of its work.  The complete ban on nuclear testing was a major aim of those working for international security.  The CTBT had taken 50 years of work to create.  Five years after it was opened for signature, it had still not entered into force.  Despite an increase in the number of States that had signed and ratified, its entry into force still depended upon ratification by the annex 2 States. 

Each year that passed hampered efforts to halt nuclear proliferation, he said.  Indefinite deferral encouraged nuclear proliferation and increasing sophistication of weapons of mass destruction.  He reaffirmed his support of the final document agreed to at the first facilitation conference in Vienna in 1999.  All States that had not yet done so should ratify the Treaty without further delay.

The events that shocked the world two months ago demonstrated the need to strengthen multilateral approaches to international security and disarmament, he continued. Unilateral moratoria declared by nuclear-weapon States were commendable gestures, but could never take the place of formal accession to the Treaty by means of ratification.  Morocco had been among the first to sign and ratify the CTBT.  As a country that had ratified, Morocco was hard at work in implementing the verification measures called for in the Treaty, thereby showing its total support for the principles of the CTBT.

As concerned the Conference, he looked forward to the adoption by consensus of measures that could overcome obstacles to the Treaty’s entry into force.  Those measures could include strengthening of cooperation among States and intensification of consultations among all States concerned.  Efforts by the  CTBTO, the Secretary-General and civil society could also help to build momentum for entry into force.  Collective political will and solidarity must be demonstrated to confront the challenges that threatened the world. 

IVAN NAYDENOV (Bulgaria) said that the new counter-terrorism agenda called for coherent and comprehensive international and national actions.  The scope of the terrorist threat required a strengthening of global norms against the use or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  That included ensuring the universality, verifiability and full implementation of key treaties related to those weapons.  Bulgaria had been proactive in the battle against terrorism and, as a new member of the Security Council, would support all efforts in that fight, including by advancing multilateral non-proliferation agreements.  Five years after the Treaty’s opening for signature, the Conference should send a vital signal to the international community that its entry into force was of “decisive” importance. 

He said that adoption of the Treaty had marked a turning point in the decades-long international effort to curb the nuclear arms race and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Now, its early operation would substantially diminish the risk of nuclear proliferation, including the acquisition and testing of those weapons by terrorist groups.  Bulgaria, being among the 44 countries, whose ratification was specifically required for the Treaty’s entry into force, had been among the first to sign the Treaty.  It ratified it three years later.  The Bulgarian Government highly commended the ratification of the Treaty by two nuclear-weapon States in April 1998 and welcomed the latest signature by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. 

Now, all European countries whose ratification was needed for its entry into force had done so, he said.  Two of the nuclear-weapon States that had signed, but not yet ratified the Treaty, would probably do so in the near future. Regrettably, three States had still not signed the Treaty.  The nuclear-test explosions conducted by two of them in 1998 had caused grave concern.  Opposition to the tests had clearly demonstrated the strength of the norm against nuclear tests.  Those States should join the Treaty without further delay.  Of serious concern was that one of the three non-signatory States had not even declared its intentions towards the Treaty.  Indeed, it should adhere to it as soon as possible.  

CHUCHAI KASEMSARNH (Thailand) said the conclusion of the CTBT, in September 1996, was a historic achievement and a milestone in global disarmament efforts.  Once entered into force, the Treaty would constitute a strong reinforcement for both global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regimes, which had the NPT as their basis.  A ban on nuclear testing was in line with article VI of the NPT and would help prevent further development of nuclear arsenals. It was regrettable that after five years, the CTBT had not yet entered into force.  While some progress had been made towards a universal CTBT since 1999, much remained to be done.  Ratification by all 44 States listed in annex 2 had to be achieved as soon as possible.  The five nuclear-weapon States had a special obligation to demonstrate leadership.  He urged countries listed under annex 2 that had not signed the Treaty to do so without delay. 

He firmly believed that a means to achieving lasting international peace and security was to support the process of arms control and disarmament, as well as non-proliferation of all types of weapons, he continued.  In that respect, Thailand and other countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) had established the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, with the belief that it would contribute to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  Although Thailand was not yet a State party to the Treaty, it had implemented measures contained in it and had established a National Steering Committee on the implementation of the Treaty.  The work completed in Vienna was only the beginning.  Further steps must be taken in New York.  The momentum of the Conference must also be kept alive.

VINCI N. CLODUMAR (Nauru), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group, said the CTBT was a crucial element of any nuclear non-proliferation strategy and would prevent nuclear-weapon States from testing or having confidence in new designs of nuclear weapons.  The region that the Pacific Islands Forum members represented had a long history of supporting disarmament, borne of the region's harsh direct experience with nuclear testing by colonial Powers in the Pacific.  Tragically, the people of the region still suffered the consequences of that testing and, in some cases, were still seeking compensation for the consequences to their health and environment.  Testing in the region had only ceased in 1996 after five decades of atmospheric and underground testing. 

The Pacific Islands Forum had called upon all nuclear Powers that had conducted nuclear tests in the region to accept full responsibility and liability for past nuclear testing, he said.  Forum leaders had also called on all States concerned to fulfil their responsibilities to ensure that sites where nuclear tests had been conducted were monitored and appropriate steps taken to avoid adverse impacts on health, safety and the environment.  In 1985, the Forum leaders adopted the South Pacific Nuclear-Free-Zone Treaty or the Rarotonga Treaty.  That Treaty had been signed and ratified by all Forum members within its original geographical boundaries.  Although the United States had signed all three Protocols, it had yet to ratify them, and he called upon it to do so.

Twelve of the 16 Forum members had signed the CTBT and five Forum members had ratified it, he continued.  That included the only Forum member who was an annex 2 State.  Nauru would be depositing its instrument of ratification tomorrow.  While all Forum countries supported the Treaty, a few had severe resource constraints and were not in a position to sign or ratify it as quickly as they would have liked.  Forum members would be hosting 38 international monitoring stations, two radionuclide laboratories, and a global communications information hub.  He acknowledged the importance of the monitoring stations, particularly because of the vast oceans in the region and their attractiveness in being used for secret testing.  The Forum members supported the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament and recognized the important role of the CTBT in achieving that aim. 

WLODZIMIERZ CIMOSZEWICZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, said the

11 September attacks confirmed the need to enhance security and protective measures in the management of international and national nuclear programmes.  He hoped that the Conference would recognize the need to complement international cooperation in the nuclear sphere with means that were commensurate to new threats and dangers.  There should be no doubt concerning the significance of the Treaty and its positive implications on international security in both regional and global dimensions, and on the non-proliferation weapons.  Though not in force, the CTBT had started partially functioning as it committed signatory States to refrain from nuclear testing during the ratification period. 

The prohibition of any nuclear testing, including for peaceful purposes, would prevent or limit qualitative improvement of existing weapons, he said.  Abandoning nuclear testing would have a positive influence on the environment, particularly in regions adjacent to test sites.  The IMS, enforced by on-site inspections and national technical means of verification, would not only deter possible violations but would also offer participating States the concrete benefits of application of verification technologies for peaceful purposes.

Poland believed that the NPT and the CTBT would create complementary pillars for a nuclear non-proliferation environment, he said.  Poland fully supported efforts by the Preparatory Commission and its Provisional Technical Secretariat to ensure the functioning of the Treaty and its global verification system at its entry into force.  A ban on nuclear-test explosions should be universal to be effective.  He called upon States that had not done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without delay.  The Conference should deliver to the world a clear message that all necessary political and diplomatic steps would be taken to invigorate the Treaty’s entry into force.

ALOJZ NEMETHY (Slovakia) said that the CTBT and the NPT were exceptionally important global instruments.  Slovakia had continued to support the work of the CTBTO and, last month, an on-site inspection field experiment was carried out in Slovakia with the aim of supporting the on-site inspection operational manual.  That experiment, as well as the preparations under way, was extremely relevant to the effectiveness of the CTBT.  Slovakia stood ready to host activities related to the development and practical application of on-site inspection procedures for the future. 

He said that Slovakia, an annex 2 State, had signed the Treaty in September 1996 and ratified it in March 1998.  Remarkable progress had been achieved in terms of the number of ratifications –- an increase by more than 50 per cent since the last Article XIV Conference in 1999.  The Eastern European region was the first region to fulfil its ratification requirements for the Treaty’s entry into force.  Pending that, he applauded the fact that the de facto moratorium on nuclear testing had not been broken since the last conference.  Its observance was an important element of the CTBT ratification process.  Ratification by all nuclear-weapon States would set a powerful example.

JAN PETERSEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, associated himself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union.  He said that close international cooperation and a multilateral approach to non-proliferation and disarmament were essential to reducing the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and the terrorist threat to international peace and security.  There was already framework to build on, consisting of multilateral and bilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.  A fresh effort was needed to achieve universal membership on key existing treaties, like the NPT and the CTBT.

The CTBT represented four decades of hard work and dedication to banning all nuclear tests, he continued.  Ensuring the Treaty’s universality and early entry into force were essential to broader efforts to reduce and eliminate all nuclear weapon, and must be given the highest priority.  He appealed to all countries that had not yet sign and ratified the Treaty to do so without delay.  He commended the lead taken by France, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom, as nuclear-weapon States.

Further sustained efforts were need to complete the verification system of the Treaty, he said.  It was necessary to ensure the full funding and operation of the system in accordance with the requirements set forth in the Treaty.  Norway would continue its dedication to that work and called for cooperation from all States, ratifiers and signatories, to complete the verification system.  Though self-imposed test moratoria were welcome, unilateral measures could not take the place of legally binding and fully verifiable agreements through the signing of international agreements.  In order to succeed in developing regional and global security arrangements, all States should be bound to the norms established by the international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.  The early entry into force of the CTBT and its effective implementation were essential to international trust, stability and peace.

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that since its opening for signature five years ago, the CTBT had become the standard by which to judge the of world community’s acceptance of a total ban on nuclear-weapon-test explosions.  Despite the encouraging level of acceptance -- some 85 per cent of Member States had signed the Treaty -- the timely entry into force of the Treaty remained uncertain.

Of the 44 States whose ratifications were necessary for the Treaty’s entry into force, 31 had already ratified.  All 44 of those States had equal responsibility to ensure the Treaty became a reality, and the efforts of Japan in that regard were commendable.  The five nuclear-weapon States had a special responsibility to ensure the Treaty’s entry into force, because they would be looked upon to provide leadership in making the ban a reality.  He praised those five States for refraining from nuclear testing since 1996 and welcomed the ratifications of the Treaty by France, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom.

He was concerned and disappointed that the United States had said it would not ratify the Treaty and hoped that position would be reconsidered.  Progress on their part would have an important and positive effect on the Treaty’s entry into force, he said.  Early ratification by the United States and China would pave the way for the remaining annex 2 States to follow suit, thus enabling the Treaty to enter into force.  Nuclear-weapon States had a positive role to play in that regard and should demonstrate leadership.

The CTBT should enter into force as soon as possible, he said.  Malaysia had signed the Treaty in 1998 and hoped to ratify it soon.  It should be noted that the process of ratification of the Treaty was still ongoing for the majority of States that had signed it.  In the meantime, Member States should support the development of the verification regime, which would be able to detect nuclear explosion anywhere in the world.  When completed, the verification regime would represent the most tangible effort of the international community towards banning all nuclear-test explosions.  The world needed to be made a safer place -- free from nuclear weapons -- and the CTBT would be the first step in that process.

GIDEON FRANK, Director General of the Atomic Energy Commission of Israel, expressed his Government’s firm support of the CTBT and its hope that the conditions for its operation would soon be attained.  The Conference should succeed in advancing that objective.  He fully supported the text of the draft final declaration.  Israel’s decision to sign the CTBT reflected its long-standing policy of supporting international non-proliferation efforts, with due consideration of the specific characteristics of the Middle East and its own national security needs.

He said that since the establishment of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO, his country had actively participated in the development of the verification regime.  One of the two IMS auxiliary seismic stations in Israel was already operational.  The second station was under construction and expected to be operational in the middle of next year.  Global communication infrastructure elements had been installed, as required by the Treaty.  In addition, Israel was in the process of concluding a Facility Agreement with the Preparatory Commission and a successful international calibration experiment had been conducted at the Dead Sea. 

Israel’s decision with respect to ratification of the CTBT would be influenced by three main factors, he said.  First was the level of readiness of the verification regime, its effectiveness and immunity to abuse.  The second factor was Israel’s sovereign equality status, as reflected in actions taken by the Preparatory Commission, including those related to the geographical region of the Middle East and South Asia.  The third factor for consideration concerned the developments in the region, including adherence to the CTBT by States in the Middle East.  It was his country’s expectation that the essential elements of the CTBT verification regime and the full capability to carry out on-site inspections would be ready as soon as possible.  That was a prerequisite for the Treaty’s entry into force.

RENATO R. MARTINO, Observer for the Holy See, was convinced that it was time to end all nuclear-weapon testing for all time and supported all efforts to ensure the entry into force of the CTBT.  The Holy See had signed the CTBT in 1996 and ratified it in July 2001.

Nuclear weapons were incompatible with the peace the Holy See sought for the twenty-first century, he said.  The banning of all tests and the further development of disarmament and non-proliferation were closely linked and must be achieved as soon as possible, under effective international controls.  He appealed to States whose ratifications were necessary for the Treaty to enter into force to do so.  The CTBTO had done a tremendous job in giving the world community confidence that the CTBT would have positive results.  The continued success of the NPT required the entry into force of the CTBT.  If the world was to end the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, then the development of those weapons must be stopped.

A weakened NPT and inoperable CTBT would force the world to wander through a dangerous morass of tensions and recriminations, he continued.  The security of all States and people of the world would be severely jeopardized.  It was, therefore, the solemn duty of all States to work actively for peace.  In the wake of the damnable acts of 11 September and the violence that continues to plague the world, the Conference should be used to renew the common desire for an enduring peace.

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For information media. Not an official record.