STATEMENT BY H.E.Mr.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN
AFFAIRS OF BELGIUM
ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
CONFERENCE ON FACILITATING
INTO FORCE OF THE COMPREHENSIVE
NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY
New York, 11th November
(Check against delivery)
Allow me to address the Conference on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey and the countries of the European Free Trade Association, members of the European Economic Area, Iceland and Norway endorse this statement.
May I congratulate you on behalf of the European Union upon your election to the Presidency of this second Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and assure you of our full cooperation in accomplishing the important task with which you have been entrusted.
I would like to start by mentioning the events of 11 September 2001, which have shocked us deeply. The European Union condemns terrorism in all its forms. It expresses its solidarity with the American people and the government of the United States of America. It considers that disarmament and non-proliferation on a multilateral and general basis are, now more than ever, indispensable if we are to prevent terrorists and terrorist organizations from gaining access to more powerful means of perpetrating their heinous deeds.
The European Union will continue unreservedly to support international efforts towards disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, with regard to both arms of mass destruction and conventional weapons.
Against this backdrop the European Union regards it as important and useful for the Conference to be held this year as planned, despite the tragic circumstances. This is a strong sign of the international community's determination not to let itself be deterred from its objectives by intimidation and threats.
The European Union thanks the Secretary-General of the United Nations for having convened this Conference, in his capacity as depository of the Treaty, and ail the members of his Secretariat who have collaborated in its organization. The work of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission underpins the United Nations' efforts, in particular in the field of international security, arms control and disarmament. The European Union therefore welcomes the adoption of a partnership agreement between the CTBTO Preparatory Commission and the United Nations, as well as the conclusion of cooperation agreements with United Nations specialist agencies and programmes.
The European Union also wishes to thank the governments of Japan and Mexico for their efforts to advance the entry into force of the Treaty since the last Conference, in particular their Permanent Representatives in Vienna, who organized and chaired the informal follow-up meetings to the 1999 Conference and the preparatory meetings for this second Conference respectively.
This year, as we celebrate the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996, we would like to take this Conference, which is intended to consider measures to accelerate its entry into force, as an opportunity to re-emphasize the importance of the Treaty.
The CTBT is a significant step, both symbolic and practical, in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in accordance with Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the European Union would recall is the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Furthermore, the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference held here last year urged all States Parties to accede to the CUBIT without delay.
The CTBT aims to be universal. This is borne out by its egalitarian nature, which I would underline once more. The Treaty places all States under the same obligation and gives them all equal access to a verification regime unprecedented in the history of the campaign for disarmament and non-proliferation.
In accordance with the obligations entered into on signing and ratifying the CTBT, the Member States of the European Union remain committed to the full establishment of the verification régime and the early entry into force of the Treaty. In this respect, the European Union wishes to recall the statement made by the United States of America at the 15th CTBTO Preparatory Commission meeting, on 21 August 2001.
While welcoming the fact that the United States has declared its intention to maintain its moratorium on nuclear testing, we can only regret the United States' announcement that it will cease to participate in certain activities arising from the Treaty and that it does not plan to reconsider its position on ratification. This is all the more worrying given that until now the United States has played a key role in nuclear arms control, in particular within the framework of the CTBT.
The European Union appeals to the
government of the United States, urging it to review its position and participate
in our joint endeavors to implement the ban on all nuclear weapon test
explosions and all other nuclear explosions.
The five-year period that has elapsed since the Treaty was opened for signature allows an initial review of what has been achieved so far and what remains to be done. This review can be summarized in a few figures: 161 signatures, 79 ratifications, a Secretariat of 280 people with an annual budget of almost USD 80 million and a verification network which is being steadily put in place despite numerous practical difficulties. What do these figures tell us?
Firstly, they tell us that the international community's resolve has not weakened - on the contrary - and that it is persevering in its collective efforts to enable the Treaty to enter into force as soon as possible. Admittedly the temptation is sometimes great to concentrate on what remains to be achieved, in particular on those 13 ratifications the absence of which makes itself especially felt since it is currently blocking entry into force, but for all those actively participating in the CTBTO Preparatory Commission's work the picture is encouraging.
What emerges above all is the extraordinary
spirit of cooperation which reigns between all signatory States, whether
or not they have already ratified the Treaty. This spirit of cooperation
can be seen in various guises: in the fact that the Preparatory Commission
is allocated a growing budget each year for it to set up the verification
regime, in the provision of advanced technologies and experts to the PTS,
in cooperation with the PTS by numerous States which are to host stations,
in multiple representations and activities to inform and win over those
who have not yet joined us.
We are delighted that all countries
which have nuclear weapons have already signed the Treaty and that it has
already been ratified by France, the Russian Federation and the United
Kingdom, and we call on those two States which have nuclear weapons and
have not yet ratified the Treaty to do so. We are also pleased that, since
the previous Conference, no State has announced that it has conducted nuclear
tests or intends to do so. Having regard to the purpose and the objective
CTBT, we consider that nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions seriously jeopardize efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
The European Union recalls that in 1998 two States carried out tests which alarmed the international community. It notes with interest that those countries have announced and applied unilateral moratoria and have expressed their willingness ultimately to accede to the CTBT.
We cannot conceive that countries
which have not yet signed the Treaty have deliberately chosen to isolate
themselves from the international community, to go against the tide by
denying recent developments in thinking in a world which is increasingly
conscious of its interdependence. I am convinced that they will not remain
deaf to our invitation to join the rest of the international community,
unconditionally and on a perfectly equal footing, in its struggle to build
a safer world which will one day be rid of nuclear weapons.
All Member States of the European Union have ratified the CTBT. Over the past two years, the European Union has been unstinting in its efforts to promote both an early entry into force of and universal adherence to the Treaty. On the basis of the Common Position adopted by the European Union on 29 July 1999 and an action plan to facilitate entry into force adopted in April 2001, the European Union has made representations on more than 70 occasions and has also spoken out for the Treaty in all appropriate international fora. It is firmly resolved to persevere in its endeavors.
These activities to promote the Treaty, its universality and its entry into force are based on the conviction we share with most countries and, I dare say, with vast majority of the inhabitants of our planet that a full and verifiable ban on all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions remains an essential and indispensable element of any comprehensive policy of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear arms control, regardless of how the political scene or strategic balances may develop in the 21st century. The Treaty, which is the fruit of decades of international efforts, remains more relevant than ever, as the global security objectives it pursues still lie at the heart of our priorities and the means provided for its implementation are tailored to its aims and realistic in terms of their price, but above all because it contributes, in a context of equality between States and populations, to the hope of a world at peace.
It is in this hope and this spirit that the European Union pledges its fullest support for the Preparatory Commissions efforts to set up the verification regime in due tune and in accordance with the Treaty. In order to prevent the international community from losing momentum, the Union caps on all States which have not yet done so to accede to the CTBT without delay and unconditionally, especially those on the list of 44 States whose ratification is required for the Treaty to enter into force, by accelerating their national ratification procedures in accordance with their own constitutional rules.
The European Union hopes, Mr. President, that under your leadership the States participating in this Conference will be able to adopt a powerful final declaration to infect a new impetus into the Treaty and obtain the necessary political support for efforts to bring about its entry into force.
Thank you, Mr. President.