CONFERENCE ON TEST-BAN TREATY CONCLUDES; FINAL DECLARATION CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL RATIFICATION

5 September 2003
DC/2889

CONFERENCE ON TEST-BAN TREATY CONCLUDES; FINAL DECLARATION CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL RATIFICATION

05/09/2003
Press Release
DC/2889


CONFERENCE ON TEST-BAN TREATY CONCLUDES; FINAL DECLARATION

CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL RATIFICATION


(Reissued as received.)


      VIENNA, 5 September (CTBTO) -- The 2003 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) concluded today in Vienna with the adoption of a Final Declaration that stressed the importance of a universal and effectively verifiable comprehensive Treaty as a major instrument in all aspects of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.


The Conference, which took place from 3 to 5 September, reiterated that the cessation of nuclear-weapon tests 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, constituted an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and thus a meaningful step in the realization of a systematic process to achieve nuclear disarmament.


In the Final Declaration, the Conference reaffirmed “the importance of the Treaty and its entry into force for the practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, which were agreed to by the participating States at international forums dealing with nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation”.


The Declaration noted with concern, however, that despite the progress made and the international community’s strong support for the CTBT, the Treaty had not entered into force seven years after its opening for signature.  The Conference stressed the particular importance of prompt signature and ratification by those whose ratification was needed for its entry into force, but who had not yet ratified.


Noting that international developments had occurred since the 2001 entry into force Conference which made the Treaty’s entry into force as urgent today as when it was negotiated, the Conference reaffirmed that the CTBT had an essential role to play in strengthening global peace and security. The prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of the most important challenges facing the world.


According to the Declaration, States parties considered it essential to maintain momentum in building a verification regime capable of meeting the Treaty’s verification requirements at its entry into force.  The verification system would be unprecedented in its global reach after entry into force and would thereby ensure that States were maintaining their Treaty commitments.


The Declaration also contained 12 measures to promote the CTBT’s entry into force.  By one of those steps, States parties would encourage the organization of regional seminars to increase awareness of the Treaty’s important role.  They called upon the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to continue promoting understanding of the Treaty and demonstrating the benefits of the civil and scientific applications of the verification technologies in such areas as the environment, earth science and technology.


By another measure, the Conference recommended that the CTBTO’s Provisional Technical Secretariat continue to provide States with legal assistance with respect to the ratification process and implementation measures and to establish a contact point for better exchange and dissemination of relevant information.  The Conference also encouraged cooperation with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other elements of civil society to raise awareness of and support for the Treaty and its objectives.


The full text of the Declaration will be issued in a separate press release.


In other consensus action today, the Conference adopted its report and that of its Credentials Committee.


Earlier, the Conference concluded its general debate, during which South Africa’s representative said it was regrettable that the Declaration was not more dynamic than the Vienna Declaration of 1999 and the New York Declaration of 2001.  While expressing full commitment to the CTBT, he questioned the effectiveness of Article XIV Conferences as a practical measure to expedite the Treaty’s entry into force, saying that the failure cast doubt on the international community’s seriousness to commit itself to an instrument that would strengthen the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime.


Egypt’s representative said the region had suffered and continued to suffer from insecurity.  Security and peace would not be possible when distinctions were made among States, whereby some were not obliged to comply with international frameworks.  The matter of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East must be dealt with in a universal manner and any comprehensive settlement in the region must include the ratification of the CTBT, he emphasized. 


Israel’s representative also referred to the Middle East, saying that his country’s decision to sign the Treaty reflected its long-standing policy on arms control and non-proliferation, as well as international non-proliferation efforts, with due consideration of the region’s specific characteristics and Israel’s national security needs.  Against the backdrop of non-compliance with non-proliferation regimes, especially in such regions as the Middle East, the importance of the CTBT as a tool to close such gaps was paramount, he added.


Also making statements in the concluding segment of the general debate were speakers representing Morocco, Angola, Belgium, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Chile, Portugal, Nigeria, Viet Nam, Ecuador and Indonesia.


The Conference also heard from a representative of Afghanistan, who spoke as a non-signatory to the Treaty.


A representative of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War addressed the Conference on behalf of NGOs.


Key issues that dominated the three-day Conference included fears raised by most participants that further delay in the CTBT’s entry into force could lead to a resumption of nuclear testing, resulting in the acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorists.  Delegates also emphasized the need for the universal and complementary application of all instruments dealing with nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.


Statements


OMAR ZNIBER (Morocco) said the adoption of the CTBT had followed complex and difficult negotiations aimed at ending the nuclear arms race and ensuring a peaceful world.  The negotiations had achieved significant results, including the global verification regime.  Those efforts must in no way be weakened or called into question and the momentum for a total banning of nuclear weapons must become irreversible, he stressed, adding that any further delay in the Treaty’s entry into force could only weaken the efforts of the international community.


Despite the international community’s efforts, success in disarmament and non-proliferation remained modest, he noted.  The justification by some States of the need to combat terrorism could not be used as an excuse to weaken the results of disarmament efforts.  On the contrary, disarmament was one of the most effective ways to fight terrorism.  The Provisional Technical Secretariat, as well as States parties, must make extra efforts to ensure the Treaty’s entry into force as soon as possible, he concluded.


FIDELINO LOY DE JESUS FIGUEIREDO (Angola) paid tribute to India’s former Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had proposed a suspension of nuclear tests in 1954.  From 1945 to 1953, more than 50 nuclear explosions had been recorded throughout the world.  He said the absence of a treaty to ban nuclear tests completely had considerably contributed to the increase in the number of nuclear explosions.  Angola had signed the Treaty in September 1996.  The Angolan Government had no problems or reservations concerning the Treaty’s significance. Because of internal problems and difficulties, priorities had to be set.  He assured the Conference, however, that Angola would soon rank among the ratifiers.


He was encouraged by the increase in the number of signatories and ratifiers, but said that in order for the Treaty to become universal, the Provisional Technical Secretariat must continue its activities in international cooperation and, in particular, demonstrate the advantages of peaceful applications of the verification technologies in order to encourage signature and ratification.  Noting the success of the regional workshop on the African continent, he encouraged the Secretariat to help especially less developed countries to participate in important meetings of the Preparatory Commission.


MICHEL DEWEZ (Belgium), associating himself with the European Union statement made on Wednesday, said that the entry into force of the CTBT would help to create an international climate of trust based on transparency.  The will of the international community to work in a multilateral fashion had never flagged and Belgium called upon those States whose ratification was required for the Treaty’s entry into force to do so as soon as possible and without conditions.


He said the CTBT was a practical step towards the implementation of article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  The five nuclear-weapon States had committed themselves to a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing and the three of them that had jointly ratified the CTBT deserved a tribute.  The implications of the Treaty involved not only those States alone, but also a threat to the entire planet and the fears generated by any news of the development of new weapons.  Belgium called upon all States to take their responsibilities in hand.


MANOON ARAMRATTANA (Thailand) said his country had signed the CTBT in November 1996 and ratification was expected in 2004.  In the meantime, Thailand was committed to the development of the verification regime.  His country also remained fully dedicated to its obligations and commitments under the NPT and the agreements reached at the 1995 and 2000 NPT Review Conferences.  In that regard, particular attention should be given to the implementation of the 13 practical steps to advance towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Implementation by the States parties, particularly the five nuclear-weapon States, in that respect was encouraged.


He fully supported the emerging consensus on the final document and pledged his country’s full support for the objectives of the Treaty, whose entry into force would serve as a comprehensive ban on nuclear-test explosions and the qualitative development of nuclear weapons.


VAQIF SADIQOV (Azerbaijan) said his country had ratified the CTBT in December 1998.  It had taken all possible steps to comply with its obligations and to establish closer cooperation with the signatories and the Provisional Technical Secretariat.  In order to identify ways of further strengthening its national capacities to implement Treaty commitments, Azerbaijan had organized a national seminar in Baku in June 2002.  A Workshop on CTBTO International Cooperation for States from Central Asia and the Caucasus had been hosted jointly by the Government and the Preparatory Commission in March 2003, also in Baku.


He said that as a result of close cooperation with and support from the Provisional Technical Secretariat, a National Data Centre had been established in the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan and had recently become operational.  His country was genuinely interested in benefiting from scientific and civil applications of data and products of the CTBT verification technologies.


ARIEL (ELI) LEVITE, Principal Deputy Director-General (Policy) of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, said that his country’s decision to sign the CTBT reflected its long-standing policy on arms control and non-proliferation, as well as international non-proliferation efforts, with due consideration of the specific characteristics of the Middle East and Israel’s national security needs.


The CTBT, he said, had a central role to play in coping with non-proliferation in line with relevant United Nations General Assembly resolutions that stressed the role of an effectively verifiable Treaty in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.  Against the backdrop of non-compliance with non-proliferation regimes, especially in such regions as the Middle East, he added, the importance of the CTBT as a tool to close such gaps was paramount.


He described three main factors that would influence his country’s decision-making in considering ratification of the CTBT.  They were:  the level of readiness of the verification regime as attained by the Preparatory Commission, its effectiveness and its immunity to abuse; Israel’s sovereign equality as reflected in actions taken by the Commission, including those relating to the geographical region of the Middle East and South Asia and in the Executive Council of the future CTBTO; and developments in the Middle East, including adherence to and compliance with the Treaty by States in the region.


GUSTAVO MARQUEZ MARIN (Venezuela) said that during the previous Conference in New York in 2001 his country had pointed out that the 11 September attack had shown peace and security to be threatened by forces the fight against which could not depend on unilateral action but depended on cooperation among all nations in the international community. Today, that was even more true.  Support of the Treaty was in line with the goal to give society a greater level of security.


He said there was a close relation between the CTBT and the NPT.  However, various of the 13 steps on nuclear disarmament laid down at the 2000 NPT Review Conference had still not been implemented.  Proliferation of nuclear weapons simply reduced the chances that every citizen could live in peace.  Some countries were even giving those weapons a new role to gain ‘limited “objectives”.  Without the Treaty, a new arms race would be stimulated.  The National Assembly of his country had ratified the Treaty in 2001.  His country had made available two seismic stations to the International Monitoring System and would continue to cooperate with all efforts undertaken by the Provisional Technical Secretariat.


RAIMUNDO GONZALEZ ANINAT (Chile) noted that the CTBT was a necessary supplement to the NPT and that both, in addition to other instruments, formed the cornerstone of the international disarmament process. Having participated actively in all bodies and initiatives seeking the early entry into force of the CTBT, Chile would continue to do so and called upon those States that had not ratified the Treaty to do so.  Similarly, those that had not signed it should join the cause without further delay or conditions of any kind, he said.


The Conference was an important step towards bringing about the Treaty’s entry into force as well as security for all inhabitants of the planet, he said.  International security was indivisible, the more so in today’s era of globalization.  The nuclear-weapon States bore a great responsibility for the success of effective disarmament, he noted, adding that the success or failure of the CTBT to enter into force would depend on their commitment.  A moratorium on nuclear testing could not replace the Treaty, he emphasized.  All disarmament and non-proliferation efforts would lack meaning if the nuclear weapon States that had not yet ratified it failed to do so.


CARLOS NEVES FERREIRA (Portugal), aligning himself with the statement made on Wednesday on behalf of the European Union, said his country was fully committed to the purposes of the Treaty and supported all measures and efforts intended to promote its entry into force.  He was aware of the difficulties faced in striving for the universalization of the Treaty, but strongly felt that, by holding the Conference, participants were reiterating unequivocal support for entry into force and contributing to raising public awareness of the significance of the Treaty.  His country would host three of the International Monitoring System stations in the Azores.


Terrorism and weapons of mass destruction were one of the major threats the world was facing at present and would be facing in the foreseeable future.  The interdiction of nuclear testing was a crucial step in preventing the production of such weapons.  He therefore called on all States that had not yet signed and ratified the Treaty to do so without delay and unconditionally.


ALFRED TOKOLLO MOLEAH (South Africa), endorsing the statement made on Wednesday on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled that his country had signed the CTBT on the day it had opened for signature and had served as the first Chairperson of the Preparatory Commission.  However, its failure to enter into force was a matter of serious concern.  Not only did that failure prevent the Treaty’s implementation, it also cast doubt on the international community’s seriousness to commit itself to an instrument that would strengthen the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime.


While remaining fully committed to the CTBT, he said, South Africa questioned the effectiveness of Article XIV Conferences as a practical measure to expedite the Treaty’s entry into force.  The final document had been agreed by consensus and would inevitably not satisfy all States.  It was, nevertheless, regrettable that it was not more dynamic than the Vienna Declaration of 1999 and the New York Declaration of 2001.


Emphasizing the inextricable link between the CTBT and the NPT, he pointed out that progress in one area of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament often facilitated progress in other areas.  Similarly, however, obstacles in one area may undermine achievements in others.  Any failure of the CTBT to enter into force would weaken the non-proliferation and disarmament machinery, dealing a blow to the international community’s quest to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, he warned.


ADETUNJI BOLADE (Nigeria) said that since the end of the cold war, one of the most important challenges facing the international community was the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The CTBT constituted the main pillar sustaining the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime of the NPT.  The 2000 NPT Review Conference had recognized that the CTBT was the practical step towards development of the global verification regime to monitor treaty compliance.


He said his country was firmly committed to the policy of nuclear non-proliferation.  It had taken a principled stance on nuclear tests, in general, and in Africa, in particular.  Nigeria had been the second country to ratify the NPT and had also ratified the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty.  The Conference offered a unique opportunity to reinvigorate the Treaty through practical commitments.  He recognized, however, the difficulties that some delegations, especially those from the developing countries, faced in their attempt to sign or ratify the Treaty or even to participate in the activities of the Treaty.


TRAN VAN TUNG (Viet Nam), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the CTBT had to go hand in hand with further enhanced efforts in nuclear disarmament, preventing both vertical and horizontal development of nuclear weapons, as well as prohibiting all types of development of nuclear weapons.  In that area, nuclear weapon States held special responsibilities.  Welcoming the observation of the nuclear-test moratorium by all nuclear-weapon States, he said those countries needed to implement their commitments fully, especially the commitment under article VI of the NPT and the ratification of the CTBT.


His country supported nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he continued.  It firmly supported the principle of banning comprehensively and completely nuclear test explosions and other types of tests to develop and upgrade nuclear arsenals.  Viet Nam had signed the Treaty in September 1996 and was currently establishing an inter-agency task force for the CTBT.  Its relevant agencies were studying the provisions of the Treaty, particularly those on technical and inspection procedures.  It was accelerating preparatory steps for an early ratification.


BYRON MOREJON-ALMEIDA (Ecuador) condemned the violent aggression against the United Nations headquarters in Iraq and conveyed condolences to the families of the victims.  He said the international will to strengthen the framework for banning nuclear tests was reflected in the high number of signatories and ratifiers and in the participation in the Conference.  His country supported the aim of eliminating nuclear weapons.  It had ratified the Treaty in 2001 and supported the activities of the Preparatory Commission and the Provisional Technical Secretariat.  He considered the additional benefits of the International Monitoring System for civil use as fundamental.


He said binding legal instruments must receive the support of all States in the task of building a more secure world.  He therefore supported all measures to achieve entry into force of the CTBT and hoped the 12 “holdout” countries would realize the need for entry into force in order to contribute to international disarmament and non-proliferation.


HASSAN EL-LAITHY (Egypt) said that some nuclear-weapon States were failing to shoulder their responsibilities and stressed the need for States to deal collectively rather than selectively with all nuclear non-proliferation agreements, including the NPT.  Picking and choosing which commitments to fulfil would lead to double standards, confusion and a paucity of clear thinking.  There must be a comprehensive framework for dealing with nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, he added.


He recalled that in 1974 his country had taken the initiative to call for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  Egypt’s commitment to that goal reflected the international community’s awareness of the link between nuclear non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, which was especially important for the Middle East.  The region had suffered and continued to suffer from insecurity, he said.


Security and peace would not be possible when distinctions were made among States, whereby some were not obliged to comply with international frameworks, he emphasized.  The matter of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East must be dealt with in a universal manner.  Any comprehensive settlement in the region must include the ratification of the CTBT, he said. 


THOMAS AQUINO SAMODRA SRIWIDJAJA (Indonesia), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the most effective way to achieve an end to nuclear testing was through the conclusion of a universal and internationally and effectively verifiable comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty.  The level and pace of signatures and ratifications epitomized the strong support for the CTBT by the international community.


He was also encouraged by the momentum developed in building the global infrastructure for verification.  He said the verification technologies of the International Monitoring System and the data, technologies and products of the International Data Centre had the potential to offer a range of useful civil and scientific applications which could contribute to sustainable development and human welfare.  Those civil and scientific applications demonstrated, in part, how signatories could gain additional benefits from participation in the Treaty verification regime.  Aware of its responsibility as an Annex 2 country, Indonesia would continue to expedite the process of ratification that was still under way.


      Statement by Non-Signatory State


ANWAR ANWARZAI, Director of the Western Europe Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, said that his country, as the neighbour of nuclear-capable States, was extremely concerned about the proliferation of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction.  Afghanistan, fighting alongside the international coalition against terrorism, was worried about the eventual transfer of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction to such groups as Al Qaida and the remnants of the Taliban.  For that reason, Afghanistan encouraged the establishment of nuclear-free zones to eliminate potential nuclear danger in the world, he said.


Announcing that Afghanistan had approved the CTBT on 18 August, he said the instruments of accession had been deposited with the United Nations Secretary-General.  That was a clear demonstration of his country’s readiness to cooperate for the successful implementation of the CTBT.  Afghanistan associated itself with the Non-Aligned Movement and called upon those States whose ratification was required for the Treaty’s entry into force to sign and ratify it in order to ensure a peaceful, secure and nuclear-free world.


      Statement on Behalf of Non-Governmental Organizations


KLAUS RENOLDNER, representative of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, speaking on behalf of 97 NGOs, said more than 2000 nuclear tests had been conducted throughout the world, with direct, serious and long-term adverse health and environmental effects.  It was estimated that atmospheric testing directly produced 430,000 fatal human cancers by the year 2000, a number that could grow to 2.4 million.  If the horizontal and vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons were to lead to new rounds of testing, deleterious impacts on public health and social well-being could only increase.  It was crucial to the stability and future of the non-proliferation regime in its entirety that the CTBT entered into force, as had been unanimously confirmed by all NPT States parties at the 2000 Review Conference.


He said the NGOs were alarmed by proposals of the present United States Administration for research and development of new types of nuclear weapons, as well as proposals to reduce the time necessary to resume underground nuclear testing.  They opposed attempts by some States to delay full construction of the CTBT’s verification system and called on all signatories to provide political, financial and technical support for the earliest possible implementation of all elements of that system.  They encouraged the United States and the Russian Federation, as well as India, Pakistan and China, to increase transparency at their test sites.


They noted that 12 key States had not yet signed and/or ratified the CTBT.  The present United States Administration had declared it was not even seeking Senate approval for ratification.  The Conference must send a strong message to the remaining 12 CTBT “holdout” States and urge their prompt signature and ratification without conditions or reservations.  States parties must also endorse the continuation of the current global nuclear-test-explosion moratorium until such time as the CTBT enters into force.  Through a strengthened network of NGOs, governments, international bodies and the media, one could promote further initiatives, intensify public discussion and exert broad pressure on the “holdout” States.


      Actions


After the conclusion of statements, the Conference adopted by consensus the Report of the Credentials Committee, contained in document CTBT – Art.XIV/2003/4.


The Conference adopted, also by consensus, the Report of the Conference in document CTBT – Art.XIV/2003/CRP.2.


YUKIO TAKASU (Japan), Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, in introducing that Committee’s report, said the Committee’s main task had been to finalize the Final Declaration and announced there was now an agreed text. During informal consultations, modifications to paragraph 3 had been agreed upon.


He said that regarding paragraphs 10 (d) (bis) and 10 (d) (ter) of the draft text, concerning appointment of a Special Representative and establishment of a trust fund, questions had arisen about their implementation.  Agreement had been reached that those paragraphs would be discussed during a meeting of ratifying States in December 2003.


Under the agenda item, “Consideration of specific measures to facilitate the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty”, Colombia had made a proposal that would help the country in overcoming its constitutional impediment to the Treaty.  Signatories had noted that the proposal would have several implications and needed further discussion.


The Conference then adopted by acclamation the Final Declaration and Measures to Promote the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (document CTBT – Art.XIV/2003/CRP.1/Rev.1) as orally amended.


      Closure of Conference


In closing remarks, the President of the Conference, TOM GRÖNBERG (Finland), thanked all delegates for their contributions.  He hoped the Final Declaration would bring entry into force of the Treaty closer.  He thanked all participants for their willingness to cooperate and compromise.  During the last three days, encouraging statements had been heard, he said.  However, before the Treaty would enter into force, much remained to be done.  He counted on the participants’ cooperation during the months and years to come.


He then declared the Conference closed.


* *** *


For information media. Not an official record.