Speakers Highlight Treaty’s Role in Non-Proliferation, Text’s Failure to Detail Obligations of Nuclear-Weapon States towards Full Disarmament
Marking the twentieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the Security Council today called for the instrument’s early entry into force and for all States to refrain from and maintain their moratoriums on nuclear-weapon tests or any other nuclear explosions.
Adopting resolution 2310 (2016) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Egypt), the 15-member body urged all States that had either not signed or ratified the Treaty — particularly the eight remaining Annex 2 nuclear-weapon States — to do so without further delay. The Council encouraged all State signatories to promote the instrument’s universality, affirming that its early entry into force would help enhance international peace and security.
The Council further noted the Joint Statement on the Treaty last week by its five permanent members — China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States — in which they noted that, among other things, a nuclear-weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion would defeat the Treaty’s object and purpose.
Also by the text, all States were called upon to provide the support required to enable the Treaty Organization’s Preparatory Commission — the body tasked with building up the instrument’s verification regime — to complete its tasks in the most efficient and cost-effective way. States hosting International Monitoring System facilities were encouraged to transmit data to the International Data Centre on a testing and provisional basis, pending the Treaty’s entry into force.
Members of the Council took the floor to voice their positions on the resolution, with a number of speakers emphasizing the document’s tangible contribution to nuclear non-proliferation. Still others, however, raised concerns that the text failed to explicitly highlight the responsibilities of nuclear-weapon States to pursue complete disarmament.
John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, spoke before the resolution’s adoption, stressing that today Member States had a chance to reaffirm the Test-Ban Treaty’s promise of a more secure and peaceful planet. Recalling that he had grown up in a world full of fear of nuclear war, in which the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in a tit-for-tat arms race that had ultimately led to those States pointing 50,000 nuclear warheads at each other, he said the world had since moved in a different direction. The Council’s action today could further reaffirm to people everywhere that a world without nuclear weapons was possible and that States were doing everything possible to make that future a reality.
Hisham Badr, Deputy Foreign Minister for International Institutions and Organizations of Egypt, also spoke prior to the vote, outlining six concerns over the resolution. Emphasizing that the Council was not the appropriate forum to address the Test-Ban Treaty in the way the text had attempted, he said the document failed to highlight the importance of the Non-Proliferation Treaty or address the urgency and criticality of steps towards nuclear disarmament. Among other things, he warned that the absence of nuclear disarmament from the text severely undermined its credibility and sent the wrong message to the international community — that the Council had engaged in a “cherry picking” approach to disarmament.
Venezuela’s representative said his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution as it marked a positive step towards nuclear disarmament. While he would have liked to see the text include more categorical language on the specific obligations of nuclear-weapon States, he called on the eight remaining Annex 2 States to ratify the instrument without further delay. Emphasizing that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was a violation of the Charter and international law, as well as a crime against humanity, he called on all States to abstain from carrying out tests of such weapons including simulations aimed at perfecting their use.
The representative of New Zealand, Council President for September, spoke in his national capacity, stressing that while the anniversary of the adoption of the Test-Ban Treaty was reason to celebrate, it was deeply disappointing that the Treaty was still not in force. New Zealand shared the reservations of other Council members about the reference in the resolution to the Joint Statement by five nuclear-weapon States who also happened to be permanent Council members, he said, adding that “we are uncomfortable with this Council being used to validate the perspectives” of any group.
Japan’s delegate was among speakers who drew attention to the activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which had recently conducted its second nuclear test in a single year. Such actions were flagrant and unacceptable violations of relevant Council resolutions, including resolution 2270 (2016), he said, strongly condemning them and demanding that the country end its provocations and comply with its international commitments. Noting that the Council had begun work on a resolution addressing those actions, he said his delegation looked forward to working closely with other Member States in that regard.
Also speaking were ministers, secretaries and representatives of Ukraine, Senegal, Spain, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, China, France, Angola, Malaysia and Uruguay.
The meeting began at 10:09 a.m. and ended at 11:21 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2310 (2016) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolution 1887 (2009), and reaffirming its firm commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in all its aspects,
“Reaffirming the statement of its President adopted at the Council’s meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government on 31 January 1992 (S/23500), including the need for all Member States to fulfil their obligations in relation to arms control and disarmament and to prevent proliferation in all its aspects of all weapons of mass destruction,
“Underlining that the NPT remains the cornerstone of the nuclear non‑proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,
“Reaffirming that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
“Recalling that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (Treaty), adopted by the General Assembly by its resolution 50/245 of 10 September 1996, was opened for signature on 24 September 1996, and that States Signatories, by their resolution on 19 November 1996, including paragraph 7 thereof, established the Preparatory Commission (PrepCom) for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization,
“Recognizing that a universal and internationally and effectively verifiable test ban treaty that has entered into force is the most effective way to ban nuclear-weapon test explosions and any other nuclear explosions, and that an end to all such nuclear-weapon test explosions and any other nuclear explosions will constrain the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and end the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons,
“Recognizing that early entry into force of the Treaty will constitute an effective nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measure that would contribute to the achievement of a world without nuclear weapons,
“Welcoming progress made towards universalization of the Treaty, noting that 183 States have signed the Treaty and 166 States have deposited their instruments of ratification, and further noting that of the 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty, whose ratification is needed for its entry into force, 41 have signed and 36 have both signed and ratified the Treaty, including several nuclear weapons States,
“Welcoming the efforts of Member States of the PrepCom and its Provisional Technical Secretariat to build all elements of the Treaty’s verification regime, unprecedented in its global reach, recognizing the maturity of and progress achieved in the establishment of the International Monitoring System (IMS), as well as the satisfactory functioning of the International Data Centre (IDC) that has demonstrated its ability to provide independent and reliable means to ensure compliance with the Treaty once it enters into force, and emphasizing the continuing progress in developing, exercising, and demonstrating the advanced technologies and logistical capabilities necessary to execute on-site inspections,
“Stressing the vital importance and urgency of achieving the early entry into force of the Treaty,
“1. Urges all States that have either not signed or not ratified the Treaty, particularly the eight remaining Annex 2 States, to do so without further delay;
“2. Encourages all State Signatories, including Annex 2 States, to promote the universality and early entry into force of the Treaty;
“3. Recalls the statements by each of the five nuclear-weapon States, noted by resolution 984 (1995), in which they give security assurances against the use of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon State Parties to the NPT, and affirms that such security assurances strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime;
“4. Calls upon all States to refrain from conducting any nuclear-weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion and to maintain their moratoria in this regard, commends those States’ national moratoria, some of which are established by national legislation pending entry into force of the Treaty, emphasizes that such moratoria are an example of responsible international behaviour that contributes to international peace and stability and should continue, while stressing that such moratoria do not have the same permanent and legally binding effect as entry into force of the Treaty, and notes the Joint Statement on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty by China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America of 15 September 2016, in which those States noted that, inter alia, “a nuclear-weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion would defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT”;
“5. Underlines the need to maintain momentum towards completion of all elements of the Treaty verification regime, and in this regard, calls upon all States to provide the support required to enable the PrepCom to complete all its tasks in the most efficient and cost effective way, and encourages all States hosting International Monitoring System facilities to transmit data to the IDC on a testing and provisional basis, pending entry into force of the Treaty;
“6. Welcomes the voluntary information in the national statements in the PrepCom by States listed in Annex 1 to the Protocol to the Treaty as responsible for one or more facilities of the IMS on the status of completing the construction of those facilities as well as regarding the status of transmission of data from their facilities to the IDC, encourages States hosting IMS facilities to complete construction of the IMS facilities in a timely manner as provided for by the Treaty and text on the establishment of the PrepCom, and invites the Provisional Technical Secretariat to provide a report to all State Signatories within 180 days of the adoption of this resolution on the status of States Signatories assessed contributions to the PrepCom and any additional support provided by State Signatories for the completion of the Treaty’s verification regime and for the maintenance and operational needs for the IDC and IMS;
“7. Recognizes that even absent entry into force of the Treaty the monitoring and analytical elements of the verification regime, operating on a testing and provisional basis, are at the disposal of the international community in conformity with the Treaty and under the guidance of the Preparatory Commission, and that such elements contribute to regional stability as a significant confidence-building measure, and strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime;
“8. Affirms that entry into force of the Treaty will contribute to the enhancement of international peace and security through its effective prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects and through its contribution to nuclear disarmament and recognizes that the Provisional Technical Secretariat has demonstrated its utility in bringing tangible scientific and civil benefits to States, for example through early tsunami warnings and seismological monitoring, and in this regard encourages the PrepCom to consider ways to ensure that these benefits can be broadly shared by the international community in conformity with the Treaty, through capacity building and the sharing of relevant expertise on the verification regime;
“9. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
Statements before Action on Draft Resolution
JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State of the United States, said today Member States had a chance to reaffirm the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty’s promise of a more secure and peaceful planet. The resolution before the Council was a strong and necessary statement in support of the global community’s principles, reaffirming the de facto norm against nuclear testing and acknowledging the legitimate interest of States to receive assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Next month the international community would mark the thirtieth anniversary of a meeting between former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former United States President Ronald Reagan in Iceland, where they had declared plans to move in a new direction on nuclear issues. Recalling that he had grown up in a world full of fear of nuclear war, in which the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in a tit-for-tat arms race that had ultimately led to those States pointing 50,000 nuclear warheads at each other, he said that the Iceland meeting had marked a turning point in reversing that dangerous course.
Most recently, he continued, the United States and Iran had spent two long years negotiating what many had seen as improbable: the decision of a nation to give up its nuclear programme and make it clear it was willing to take steps to make the world safer. Responsible Governments everywhere were committed to addressing the dangers posed by nuclear materials and weapons. Describing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s most recent nuclear test as a challenge to the Council’s leadership and international norms, as well as a threat to international peace and stability, he said the Council must address that reckless and dangerous act of provocation. Indeed, the episode was a stark reminder of why the Test-Ban Treaty was so important. An affirmative vote on the resolution before the Council today would be a sign of the body’s unwavering commitment to a safer world in which nuclear energy was used solely for peaceful purposes. With today’s technology, “we don’t need to blow up weapons to see what we can do”, he said, adding that the Council’s action today could reaffirm to people everywhere that a world without nuclear weapons was possible and that States were doing everything possible to make that future a reality.
PAVLO KLIMKIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, recalled the Budapest Memorandum. Emphasizing that the document had recognized the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, he pointed out that the Russian Federation had taken known actions, which had posed a fundamental problem. Asking if it was possible to have confidence in security guarantees contained in the text adopted today and the Test-Ban Treaty, he said it was critical that all commitments were honoured.
HISHAM BADR, Deputy Foreign Minister for International Institutions and Organizations of Egypt, outlined six concerns over the resolution, emphasizing that the Council was not the appropriate forum to address the Test-Ban Treaty in the way the resolution had attempted. The text failed to highlight the importance of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the mention of which was absent in its operative paragraphs. “Why is there eagerness to achieve the universality of the CTBT, but complete silence when it comes to the NPT?” he asked, calling on all Non-Proliferation Treaty member States to promote that instrument’s universality. The text, he said, also failed to address the urgency and criticality of steps towards nuclear disarmament and turned a blind eye to the outcome documents from the Non-Proliferation Treaty review conferences of 1995, 2000 and 2010.
Further, he said, the absence of nuclear disarmament from the text severely undermined its credibility and sent the wrong message to the international community – that the Council had engaged in a “cherry picking” approach to disarmament. In that vein, he said the text unreasonably placed nuclear-weapon States on equal footing with non-nuclear-weapon States. Calling the resolution’s intrusive nature in the work of the Preparatory Commission and the Provisional Technical Secretariat counterproductive, he said the text reflected a puzzling dilemma. While some States had expressed enthusiasm in the Council for the urgency of the completion of the verification regime, they did not shoulder their responsibility to ratify the Test-Ban Treaty, with their respective legislative branches repeatedly refusing to do so. Despite those reservations, Egypt had decided to abstain from the vote.
The Council then adopted resolution 2310 (2016) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Egypt).
Statements after Action on Draft Resolution
MANKEUR NDIAYE, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of Senegal, said the resolution must be celebrated. Senegal wanted to see a world free of nuclear weapons, he said, hoping that today a new era would begin to move in that direction. The final goal was not only non-proliferation, but nuclear disarmament. Moving towards that objective, it was important to strengthen non-proliferation among nuclear-weapon States, who must provide negative security assurances.
IGNACIO YBAÑEZ, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, said his delegation had co-sponsored today’s resolution as it was an important step towards ensuring a more peaceful world. Despite the fact that it had yet to enter into force, the Test-Ban Treaty was a critical part of the international nuclear regime. Recalling that his country had ratified the Treaty in 1998, he called on States that had not yet signed or ratified it — particularly those listed under Annex 2 — to do so as soon as possible. Today’s resolution was a step towards the complete prohibition of nuclear testing, he said, condemning in that regard the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent tests in January and September. Those acts were direct violations of Council resolutions as well as serious threats to international peace and security and regional stability. Noting that the resolution should serve to strengthen the Test-Ban Treaty Organization’s Preparatory Commission, he said it would also provide a final push to complete the international vigilance system.
ALOK SHARMA, Minister of Parliament for Asia and the Pacific of the United Kingdom, welcomed today’s adoption, which was both well-timed and essential to the continuation of the goals of the Test-Ban Treaty. It represented a tangible step towards a safer world, he said, adding that his country — as one of the Treaty’s first signatories — regretted that the agreement had not yet entered into force. Further ratifications would send a clear message to the global community that explosive testing would not be tolerated. The Treaty’s entry into force would have a number of benefits, including through its on-site inspection element, which would ensure that any State tempted to conduct a nuclear test could not do so without detection. It was regrettable that some States had chosen not to vote in favour of the text. While the world had come a long way in ending explosive nuclear testing, one country, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, continued to engage in such tests. He supported a robust response to those activities, in order to make clear that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must engage constructively with the international community. He also called on States that had not yet done so to ratify the Treaty, bringing it into force and ending nuclear-testing forever.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said his Government was wedded to the resolution’s principles. He hoped the next President of the United States would be more strident in the Test-Ban Treaty’s ratification. In closing, he said the delegation of Ukraine had continually transcended the parameters of the Council.
LIU JIEYI (China) said the Council’s adoption of the resolution was important, as the Test-Ban Treaty must enter into force. For its part, China had taken steps, including an agreement not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or in nuclear-weapon-free zones.
FRANCOIS DELATTRE (France) welcomed the text’s adoption, which urged States to sign and ratify the Test-Ban Treaty and ensure its early entry into force. The Treaty and testing moratorium were central to non-proliferation. Condemning the recent actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in conducting tests, he said all States must take action to implement the Treaty’s provisions. France was among the first States to sign the Treaty and had already ratified it, having also taken such steps as ending its weapons-grade production of plutonium.
KORO BESSHO (Japan) welcomed the resolution’s adoption, stressing that it would boost momentum towards nuclear disarmament and the Test-Ban Treat’s entry into force and clearly demonstrated the desire of the international community to promote the nuclear test ban. Recalling that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had recently conducted its second nuclear test in a single year, he said such actions were flagrant and unacceptable violations of relevant Council resolutions, including resolution 2270 (2016). Strongly condemning those actions, he demanded that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea stop its provocations and comply with its international commitments. Noting that the Council had begun work on a resolution addressing those actions, he said his delegation looked forward to working closely with other Member States in that regard.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said he had voted in favour of the resolution as it marked a positive step towards nuclear disarmament, although he would have liked the text to include more categorical language on the specific obligations of nuclear-weapon States. In that vein, he asked the eight remaining Annex 2 nuclear-weapon States that had not yet done so to ratify the Test-Ban Treaty without further delay. Emphasizing that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was a violation of the Charter and international law, as well as a crime against humanity, he called on all States to abstain from carrying out tests of such weapons including simulations aimed at perfecting their use. The Latin American and Caribbean region had long supported the Test-Ban Treaty, as reaffirmed in a declaration recently adopted at the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit. Venezuela was also a party to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which banned nuclear testing in the region. Underscoring the importance of negotiating a universal, binding instrument on assurances to non-nuclear weapon States, he called on countries that had not yet done so to sign or ratify the Test-Ban Treaty as soon as possible.
ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said when apartheid had ended, South Africa had taken a wise decision to give up its nuclear weapons triggering the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, known as the Pelindaba Treaty. The text adopted today made sense if it made an effective contribution to advance the Test-Ban Treaty’s goals. Having voted in favour of the text, Angola welcomed the Council’s continued attention to the matter with a view to addressing incidents where testing still prevailed.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) noted with serious concern that the Test-Ban-Treaty had yet to take effect and encouraged its early entry into force. As the Treaty did not contain any provisions which committed States with nuclear weapons and those with nuclear weapon capabilities to total nuclear disarmament, the deed preserved in the Treaty could not be disregarded. The resolution did not sufficiently recognize that fact. Furthermore, it was crucial that States with nuclear capabilities undertook their responsibility to ratify the Treaty, he said urging Annex 2 countries to do so as soon as possible. The challenge ahead, was “ensuring that there should not be precedent on making reference to documents in Council resolutions that can only be agreed to by a handful of States”, the representative added. The text’s authority and credibility would be negated if the concerns of all Council members were not taken on board in a balanced way.
LUIS BERMÚDEZ (Uruguay) said his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution as it believed there was a need to work actively towards the entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty. As a cornerstone of non-proliferation, that instrument could help bring about a safer world, he said, adding that promoting its universality and entry into force was a priority. Calling on Member States that had not yet done so — especially Annex 2 countries – to ratify the Treaty, he said the greatest responsibility for its entry into force lay on the shoulders of nuclear-weapon States. Uruguay was committed to a world free of nuclear weapons, whose simple existence was a threat to international peace and security.
GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand) said that the anniversary of the adoption of the Test-Ban Treaty was reason to celebrate, yet there was cause for deep disappointment that the Treaty was still not in force. Urging all States that had not yet signed and ratified the Treaty to do so as soon as possible, he said until they all did, the international community would not be able to “close the door” on nuclear testing. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s repeated nuclear tests were an affront to the commitment to end the era of nuclear tests. New Zealand shared the reservations of other Council members about the reference in the resolution to the Joint Statement by five nuclear-weapon States who also happened to be permanent Council members, he said, adding that “we are uncomfortable with this Council being used to validate the perspectives” of any group. “For as long as some States retain nuclear weapons - and declare them to be essential for national security - others would seek them as well,” he continued. That paradox highlighted the mutually reinforcing nature of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. “The neglect of one will set back the other,” he added.
The representative of Ukraine, taking the floor for a second time, said today’s discussions had addressed the Test-Ban Treaty. He noted that it was unfortunate if some delegates had failed to see the relevance of his delegation’s statement.