It is a pleasure to greet the participants in this conference.
Nuclear disarmament is at a crossroads. There is distrust and renewed competition among nuclear-weapon States. The disarmament and non-proliferation regime is eroding. Divisions are growing over how to achieve our shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.
In such an environment, where the potential use of nuclear weapons is on the rise, a legally-binding prohibition on nuclear testing is needed urgently.
Voluntary moratoria are welcome, but, as I have said repeatedly, they are no substitute for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
As depositary, I warmly welcome the new adherents that have joined since the last Article XIV Conference: Thailand and Zimbabwe, which ratified the treaty, and Tuvalu, which signed it. These new members are further evidence of the overwhelming support for the need to end nuclear testing.
This treaty should be hailed as a near-universal success story. Sadly, the CTBT remains one of the most long-standing pieces of unfinished business in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Its entry into force must be a priority.
The eight Annex 2 States whose ratification is required to bring the treaty into force have varying reasons for not doing so, but the result is the same – the failure to fully operationalize a critical element of our collective security.
I call on those States to sign and ratify the treaty as soon as possible. I also call on all other States that have not yet signed or ratified the treaty, to do so without delay.
The Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization has spared no effort to develop and strengthen the verification regime and to raise awareness about the dangers of nuclear testing. I applaud them and especially Executive Secretary Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for their tireless efforts.
I pledge to work with you to convince those remaining States to sign and ratify, not just for their own security, but for the sake of global security and our common future.