Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the “Article XIV Conference” on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, in New York today:
If there is something I take very seriously it is the fact that, as Secretary-General, I am the depository of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
Since 1999, this biennial conference has had the challenging task of finding ways to facilitate the Treaty’s entry into force. That is why I join my voice to Minister al-Jafari when he urged the eight remaining states in Annex 2, whose ratification is required to bring the treaty into force, to ratify as soon as possible. It is also important, as was mentioned, that the remaining 30 States join the treaty, as well.
For almost 20 years, with the sole exception of the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea, all countries possessing nuclear weapons have helped to create a global culture against nuclear testing through their voluntary unilateral moratoria. The voluntary moratorium is a pillar of the global norm against nuclear testing.
Sadly and dangerously, the destabilizing and provocative actions by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea seek to undermine this norm — and along with it, global stability.
The unanimous adoption of sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by the Security Council shows the resolve of the international community to punish such transgressions. Security Council resolution 2310 (2017), the first resolution focused solely on nuclear testing, further underscores its determination.
However, and I would repeat what was said, it is time to translate this shared norm into a legally-binding obligation. A comprehensive test-ban treaty that is in force would be a milestone on the road to a world free of nuclear weapons. It has the potential to prevent a nuclear arms race and an escalation of regional and bilateral tensions.
I applaud the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Preparatory Commission for raising awareness about the dangers associated with testing and for its partnership with the United Nations. The Preparatory Commission’s efforts to develop scientific expertise and strengthen its verification capabilities help augment confidence of the international community in the accuracy and reliability of the verification regime.
As always, the United Nations stands ready to assist however we can to bring this vitally important treaty into force. I wish you a very successful conference.