Powerful Statement by Council of the European Union in Support of the CTBT

Powerful Statement by Council of the European Union in Support of the CTBT

According to a press release (PDF, pg 10-12) of the Czech Presidency of the European Union (EU), the Council of the EU (the main decision-making organ of the EU's 27 Member States) has issued a statement in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at its meeting in Luxemburg on 27 April 2009.

Text of the EU Council Statement

"1. The Council recalls the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, European Security Strategy and the Council Statement on tighter international security of 8 December 2008 and calls on the international community to reflect on promotion of the concrete and realistic disarmament initiatives that the EU submitted at the United Nations General Assembly last year. The international community should not miss the opportunities presented by the 2010 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to do more in taking forward the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

2. The EU strongly believes that world's peace and security must be further strengthened. Therefore, the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (Treaty) at the earliest possible date is at the top of the EU priorities in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament. The EU is convinced that universal ratification of the Treaty and completion of its verification regime, as well as dismantling as soon as possible of all nuclear testing facilities in a manner that is transparent and open to the international community are crucial elements for achieving not only the NPT objectives but also for nuclear disarmament in general.

3. A new momentum in support of the CTBT's entry into force is being felt. In this connection, the Council welcomes the announcement by the US Secretary of State, as early as her confirmation hearing at the Senate on 13 January, that the new US Administration intends to work towards ratification of the Treaty. The EU is intent on confirming this momentum, notably ahead of the 2009 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (Article XIV Conference) and of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. To that end, the EU has adopted an Action Plan for the promotion and entry into force of the CTBT that aims to address in particular, systematically and at high level, the issue of ratification and, where necessary, of signature of the CTBT, at EU meetings with the relevant partners.

4. Within the frame of broader efforts of the three successive French, Czech and Swedish EU Presidencies to foster the process of the Treaty coming into force, the Czech EU Presidency sent in February 2009 a letter to all the remaining ANNEX II states of the Treaty and appealed to them to sign and/or ratify the Treaty expeditiously, so that its entry into force would be possible.

5. The EU welcomes the fact that adherence to the Treaty is now virtually universal, with 180 States having signed it and 148 having ratified it.

6. Pending the entry into force of the CTBT, the EU welcomes the moratorium on nuclear testing voluntarily observed by several States that have not yet ratified the Treaty and calls on all States to comply with a moratorium of this type and to refrain from conducting any action contrary to Treaty's obligations and objectives.

7. The EU has supported the PC CTBTO since 2006 by more than €5 million. It contributed to strengthening the Treaty's verification regime as well as to provision of a technical assistance to third countries.

8. The EU appreciates the action conducted by Mr. Tibor Tóth, PC CTBTO Executive Secretary, by Austria and Costa Rica in their capacity as CTBT-Article-XIV-Coordinators and by Mr Jaap Ramaker, Special Representative of States having ratified the Treaty, in charge of promoting the CTBT ratification process.

9. In conclusion, the Council appeals to Treaty's ratifiers and signatories to demonstrate their support for the Treaty by their participation at the Article XIV Conference in September 2009 in New York at the ministerial level or higher.

10. The Council calls on the States that have signed the Treaty to pay their full contributions to the Preparatory Commission for the Treaty's Organisation (PC CTBTO) within the prescribed time limit and without setting conditions, in order to ensure its financial stability as well as consolidation and credibility of its verification regime."