Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo in Mexico for 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco

February 14 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean – also known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

14 February 2017, Mexico City

To mark the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, spoke at the XXV Session of the OPANAL General Conference in Mexico City on 14 February 2017. On that occasion, the Executive Secretary also met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso, and the Secretary-General of OPANAL, Ambassador Luiz Filipe de Macedo Soares. In his speech, Zerbo said: “In our efforts to build a better and safer future for the next generations, I am confident that those who succeeded in making their region nuclear-weapon-free will continue to exercise their leadership by building on a very tangible reality: that of a treaty whose entry into force should be the next step towards achieving a world free from nuclear weapons.”

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo with the President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto
CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo speaks at the XXV Session of the OPANAL General Conference.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco was the first instrument to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in a densely populated area. As Zerbo noted, Latin America and the Caribbean states have always been at the forefront of discussions on how to advance toward a nuclear-weapon-free world. Heralding their regional leadership, the Executive Secretary called on Latin America and the Caribbean to consolidate the region’s resolve against nuclear test explosions and renew their commitment to the entry into force of the CTBT, as well as to the build-up of its verification regime.

As we move beyond our own 20th anniversary, I call upon those represented here to renew your commitment to the entry into force and universality of the CTBT, as well as to the build-up of its verification regime. This is the time to demonstrate the same resolve that has turned the Treaty of Tlatelolco into a model of accomplishment and progress through successful multilateralism.CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo
The Treaty of Tlatelolco was established on 14 February 1967 prohibits the testing, use, manufacture, production or acquisition of nuclear weapons.

At the OPANAL General Conference, the importance of the CTBT was expressed by a number of states. Special emphasis on the need for entry into force were made by Argentina, Ecuador, Guyana and Uruguay. Such staunch support and efforts at keeping the CTBT high on the agenda is key to promoting the entry into force of the CTBT.

CTBTO Executive Secretary with Robin Perry and CTBTO GEM members Foreign Minister of Argentina Susana Malcorra, former US Secretary of Defense William Perry, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Under-Secretary-General Angela Kane and former UN Under-Secretary-General Jayantha Dhanapala

As part of the commemorations of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, OPANAL held an international seminar addressing strategic, political and legal issues relating to nuclear disarmament. Panellists included several members of the CTBT Group of Eminent Persons (GEM): William Perry, former U.S. Secretary of Defense; Angela Kane, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; Jayantha Dhanapala, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs; and Lord Des Browne, former UK Defence Secretary. The CTBTO Youth Group also held a side event during the OPANAL international seminar engaging local young professionals and students and highlighting the role of the CTBT as a vital step towards nuclear disarmament.

The CTBT is [the] only deterrent to resumed [nuclear] testing, and we have reason to believe that it is a real deterrent. So CTBT could play a unique role in deterring this dangerous new step in nuclear armament.William Perry
Former US Secretary of Defense