H.E. Thordur AEgir Oskarsson
Permanent Representative of Iceland to CTBTO
Conference on Facilitating
the Entry into Force of the
Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)
11 November 2001
First allow me to congratulate you Mr. President on your election and on, what is already established an excellent conduct of this Conference.
Furthermore, I want, as other colleagues have done before me, to thank the Secretary General for convening this Conference. It is important to use actively the opportunity provided by Article 14 of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and examine regularly the extent to which the requirements for the Treaty's entry into force have been met as well as consider what actions might be taken to accelerate that process.
Iceland has associated itself with the statement of the European Union, but I would like to make some additional remarks on behalf of Iceland.
It is painfully obvious to all present here today that this meeting is taking place under drastically changed circumstances from those prevailing when the decision to hold it was taken. Iceland strongly sympathizes with all those who have suffered through this terrible ordeal and is fully committed to aid the effort of the International Coalition led by the United States in the fight against terrorism.
Iceland attaches great importance to the early entry into force of the CTBT. It is our view that the tragic events in this very city have only served to reinforce the need for making this treaty fully operational.
During past four decades the international community has slowly but steadily been trying to build a network of agreements aiming at curbing the threat of nuclear proliferation. Nuclear testing has been regarded as the engine of nuclear proliferation. The ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is crucial in halting and reversing this reliance on weapons of mass destruction. This finely woven fabric must not be allowed to unravel at this stage, - to the contrary, it should be further strengthened. It is abundantly clear that all non-proliferation efforts are critical in tackling the menace of international terrorism.
Five years have passed since the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was opened for signature (in this very building). In spite of strong global aspirations, manifested in 161 signatures and 84 ratifications, the entry into force of this important treaty is not in sight. It is to be regretted that some states identified in Annex II have not ratified the Treaty. It is also of great disappointment that some states have not even signed it. It is, however, appreciated that the United States is committed to continue self-moratorium on nuclear testing. We hope will lead to early ratification.
Iceland is not listed in Annex II, but it has the same legal responsibility according to the Treaty as any other participating state. What is even more important is that the principle, which underlies the CTBT Treaty and any other arms control agreements, must be reinforced. This is the principle of a more secure and peaceful world. A fully ratified and implemented Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is an indispensable building block in that effort.
Let me conclude by urging ratification and signature where appropriate, particularly of those states identified in Annex II that have not done so.
Thank you Mr. President