|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Until There Is Universal Adherence to Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, No
Guarantee that Nuclear Tests Will Not Happen Again, Says Secretary-General
Following are Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the seventh Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (Article XIV), in New York on 23 September:
Let me begin by thanking the outgoing Presidents: Minister Alain Juppé [of France] and Minister Taïb Fassi Fihri [of Morocco]. We appreciate your vigorous efforts over the last two years. I also want to congratulate Minister Patricia Espinosa Cantellano [of Mexico] and Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden on their election as Presidents of the seventh Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Let me also commend the leadership and work of [Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization] Executive Secretary Tibor Toth.
We gather at a moment of action. On the international front, the calls for bringing the CTBT into effect are growing. We heard it loud and clear at last year’s NPT [Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons] Review Conference. And it was echoed and gathered force as the world marked the International Day against Nuclear Tests just a few weeks ago.
As Secretary-General, I have travelled the world to meet victims and survivors of nuclear weapons and nuclear tests. Last year, I visited Semipalatinsk, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I came away deeply moved by the stories of sorrow and hardship. But there is something else that came through in all of my conversations — a resolve, a human and humane determination. Again and again, people said: “Don’t let what happened to me ever happen again to anyone else.” That passion to achieve a world without nuclear weapons is my goal as well. Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are among my highest priorities.
When it comes to CTBT, as you may remember, I served as Chairman of the CTBTO in 1999. My name is spelled Ban, it is pronounced “Bahn”, but some people pronounce “BAN”. Therefore my name has a very clear, firm determination — nuclear test ban. I will ban this nuclear test. So you have my personal commitment.
We know that a comprehensive ban on nuclear tests is an indispensable stepping stone to a nuclear-weapon-free world. Since the 2009 Article XIV Conference, five countries — the Central African Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Marshall Islands and Trinidad and Tobago — have joined our common cause to achieve a global ban on nuclear testing. This brings the total number of ratifications to 155. I also welcome indications of the intention to ratify by Guatemala, Iraq, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.
Taken together, these actions clearly reflect the commitment of the vast majority of the international community to the Treaty. I also take note of the expressions of intent of some remaining Annex 2 States, whose signature and ratification are required for the CTBT to enter into force. I look forward to their prompt action.
My message is clear: do not wait for others to move first; take the initiative and lead. The time for waiting has passed. We must make the most of existing — and potentially short-lived — opportunities. That is why I urge all remaining States to sign and ratify the CTBT without further delay.
I commend the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization for its progress in strengthening the verification regime for the Treaty. The Commission continues to develop scientific expertise and bolster its verification capabilities. This boosts international confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the CTBT verification technologies.
And yesterday’s High-level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security further recognized the value of the detection capabilities of the international monitoring system in the case of nuclear emergencies. These developments underscore the effectiveness of the CTBT and the need to bring it into force.
So, here and now, let me repeat my offer to those Member States whose ratification is essential to bring the Treaty into force. As I said at the Nuclear Security Summit last year, Tibor Toth and I are ready and willing to visit those countries to clear up any lingering concerns about the Treaty’s monitoring and inspection capabilities. Just say when.
In the meantime, I urge all States to honour all existing moratoria on nuclear-weapon-test explosions, and to refrain from acting in a manner that undermines the purpose of the Treaty.
We must face facts. Until we have universal adherence to a legally binding global norm against nuclear testing, there is no guarantee that nuclear tests will not happen again. We need no more reminders. We need political will. We need concrete action.
I repeat my call for the international community to set the goal of bringing the Treaty into force by 2012. We simply cannot accept business as usual. So let us keep the momentum. Let us keep the pressure. Let us keep working for an end to nuclear testing and a world free of nuclear weapons. Thank you for your commitment.
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