I am pleased to greet this important observance.
I thank the Government of Kazakhstan for its continued leadership on nuclear disarmament, including President Nazarbayev’s courageous decision to close the Semipalatinsk test site and renounce nuclear weapons.
I visited the site two years ago.
I learned more about the terrible impact – but also about how people are working together to restore the area and improve the health of the people.
I came away with a feeling of hope for the future.
Nuclear tests are a threat to human health and global stability. Their effects are both harmful and long-lasting.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty enjoys near-universal support.
But it has yet to enter into force.
I urge States that have not yet signed and ratified it to do so without delay.
Pending the Treaty’s entry into force, I urge all States to uphold the existing moratorium on all nuclear test explosions.
At the same time, let us be clear: voluntary moratoriums are essential, but they are no substitute for a total global ban.
The Treaty’s verification mechanism has been proven effective.
I reiterate my offer to visit any State that remains unconvinced of the reliability of the Treaty’s monitoring and inspection systems to answer their questions and address their concerns.
As we mark this International Day against Nuclear Tests, let us also recognize the continued danger posed by the tens of thousands of nuclear weapons in global arsenals -- and let us strengthen our efforts to achieve the widely shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Thank you for your commitment to this effort.