Welcome to this important gathering.
I thank the outgoing Presidents and Article XIV Coordinators, His Excellency, Mr. Péter Szijártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, and Her Excellency, Ms. Retno L.P. Marsudi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia. You have shown great dedication to the cause of ending nuclear tests.
I again congratulate His Excellency, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and His Excellency, Mr Erlan A. Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, on their election as Presidents of this Conference. My team and I will fully support your critical work.
I applaud the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation for promoting the CTBT and preparing for its entry into force.
Since the last Conference, Angola, the Republic of the Congo and Niue have ratified the CTBT, which now has 164 States parties.
But nearly two decades after its negotiation, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has still not entered into force.
A breakthrough is long overdue.
I welcome all the Treaty’s steadfast supporters here. I am also pleased to see representatives from States that have not yet either signed or ratified the Treaty. I count on you to do so quickly.
We need every person in this room to show leadership on the urgent international imperative of ending nuclear tests.
As a former Chairman of the CTBT Preparatory Committee, I am personally committed to doing everything possible to see this Treaty enter into force.
Using my name “Ban,” spelled B-A-N, I am determined to ban any nuclear tests.
The CTBT is essential to realizing our vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. It will help ensure that the international community is no longer forced to live in the shadow of nuclear weapons.
The Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons failed to reach a consensus outcome this year. That showed the stark differences in position among States.
This was a clear reminder of the urgent need to bridge divides and find common ground on nuclear issues.
The CTBT represents common ground. Its entry into force could act as a ‘circuit breaker’ to end the current stagnation. By ratifying the Treaty, States prove they are willing to back words with action.
The members of the Group of Eminent Persons for the CTBT collectively have vast experience. They have rightly called the Treaty’s entry into force a global responsibility.
Every ratification strengthens the international norm against nuclear tests.
More than twenty States not listed in Annex 2 have either not signed or ratified the Treaty. I call on them to take this step as soon as possible.
The United Nations, together with our partner in the Preparatory Commission, is ready to provide whatever assistance we can to facilitate the ratification process.
Together, we must translate the norm against testing into a legally-binding prohibition.
To the eight remaining Annex 2 States, whose ratification is required to bring the Treaty into force, I say this: You have a special responsibility. You must not wait for others to act before ratifying.
Now is the time for leadership. Now is the time to take the next step on the path to world without nuclear weapons – a safer and more secure world for us all.
This month in Vienna, the CTBTO is hosting an exhibition on nuclear weapons testing.
One artist depicted the words of Lao Tzu dating back to the 6th Century BC: “There is no sickness greater than the desire for gain.”
The artist then updated this for the 21st century, writing: “There is no sickness greater than nuclear testing without end.”
Let us end this sickness once and for all, and usher in a nuclear-weapon-free world.
Thank you for your commitment.