New York

27 September 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at the Eighth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

I am pleased to be here for this important meeting.

I am personally dedicated to ending all nuclear weapons tests. This is essential to eradicating nuclear arms. That is why I am pushing hard for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

I am deeply grateful to the outgoing Presidents, His Excellency Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico, and His Excellency Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, for their outstanding service and leadership over the past two years.

I also congratulate His Excellency Janos Martonyi, Foreign Minister of Hungary, and His Excellency Marty Natalegawa, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, on their election as Presidents of the Eighth Conference on Facilitating the CTBT’s Entry into Force.

I also commend former Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth for providing such visionary leadership during his eight-year tenure at the helm of the Organization.  It may be a coincidence that he is coming from Hungary. And now the new President is coming also from Hungary. It seems to have some Hungary connections.  I hope this will be a good sign.

I also congratulate his successor, Dr. Lassina Zerbo.

We have made progress since the 2011 Conference on the Treaty’s entry into force. Five new countries joined our common cause to achieve a global ban on nuclear testing. I applaud Brunei, Chad, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia and Iraq for taking this important step. The CTBT now has 161 ratifications.

Many of you share my feeling that the international community must give top priority to achieving nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

At yesterday’s High-level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament, we heard renewed calls for the Treaty’s early entry into force.

A comprehensive ban on nuclear tests is an indispensable step on the road to a nuclear-weapon-free world. And it is the only fitting response to the hopes of those people who have suffered most from the production, testing and use of these weapons.

I call on all members of the international community to break the stagnation in the disarmament process. We must secure the CTBT’s entry into force, enforce a complete ban on nuclear testing and take further concrete steps towards creating a world without nuclear weapons.

History teaches that we have to be diligent in pressing for ratification.

The 1919 Convention for the Control of the Trade in Arms and Ammunition never entered into force. Neither did the 1925 Convention for the Supervision of the International Trade in Arms and Ammunition and in Implements of War. After these setbacks, it took 88 years for governments to adopt another multilateral treaty to control conventional arms transfers, the Arms Trade Treaty.

The international community cannot afford anything near this long wait to revive efforts to outlaw nuclear testing if the CTBT fails to enter into force.

The repeated nuclear tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should serve as a wake-up call that now is the time to act.

I urge all remaining States to sign and ratify CTBT without further delay.  This is a call I make on behalf of all people in our world who adamantly oppose the development of these indiscriminate weapons and yearn for a safer world.

The eight remaining States whose ratifications are necessary for the Treaty to enter into force have a special responsibility. And all States should honour existing moratoria on nuclear weapon test explosions. It is our collective duty to advance the purpose of the Treaty – and not undermine it.

Two weeks ago we marked the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s historic last speech at the United Nations.

He said, “We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world – or to make it the last.”

The choice is clear.

I count on your leadership.

Thank you.