Foreign Ministers call for an end to all nuclear test explosions

Foreign Ministers call for an end to all nuclear test explosions

Foreign ministers and high-level representatives from the 183 Member States of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) issued an urgent call to the eight remaining States – China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States - to sign and ratify the CTBT, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 27 September 2013. Ratification by these eight countries is necessary for the Treaty's entry into force.

The CTBT is a uniting force in the multilateral system. Today, the prospects for entry into force of the Treaty appear much more positive than they did for many years.CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo

“Seventeen years after the opening of the Treaty for signature, its entry into force is of the utmost urgency,” the Final Declaration of the Conference on Facilitating Entry into Force of the CTBT stated. Adopted unanimously, the declaration affirmed “the importance and urgency of achieving early entry into force of the Treaty as a crucial practical step for systematic and progressive efforts towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation." The declaration also described the universal condemnation of the DPRK's announced nuclear tests as "a testament to the normative strength of the Treaty and its contribution to the stigmatization of nuclear test explosions."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who opened the conference, urged all remaining States to sign and ratify the CTBT without further delay: “This is a call I make on behalf of all people in our world who adamantly oppose the development of those indiscriminate weapons and yearn for a safer world,” Ban said.

Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said in his statement: "The CTBT is a uniting force in the multilateral system. Today, the prospects for entry into force of the Treaty appear much more positive than they did for many years. It shall be up to you to seize the moment and to determine the action necessary to realize the dream."

János Martonyi and Marty Natalegawa, the Foreign Ministers of Hungary and Indonesia, jointly chaired the biennial meeting, commonly referred to as the “Article XIV conference.

In his opening remarks, Martonyi said particular effort should be placed on dialogue with the eight remaining countries yet to ratify. “We will therefore spare no efforts to convince these countries that embracing the CTBT can only enhance their own security and standing.”

Referring to his country’s ratification of the CTBT on 6 February 2012, Natalegawa said: “Indonesia decided to ratify the Treaty last year to create new momentum that would encourage the remaining Annex 2 counties to also ratify it. We also wanted to demonstrate our firm commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

“The continuing moratorium on nuclear test explosions is important but this is only a temporary measure. It does not ensure the permanent cessation of nuclear weapon test explosions,” Natalegawa said.

The recent ratifications by Guinea-Bissau on 24 September 2013 and Iraq on 26 September 2013 which increased the total number of ratifications to 161 were welcomed by States attending the conference.

Eleven concrete measures to accelerate the CTBT’s entry into force were agreed on during the conference. These included support for bilateral, regional and multilateral outreach initiatives and cooperation with civil society as well as encouraging a range of other activities designed to increase the number of signatures and ratifications by raising awareness about the importance of the Treaty.

The Final Declaration also welcomed the establishment of the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) on 26 September 2013 to promote the objectives of the Treaty and help secure its entry into force. “The Group will inject new energy and dynamics into the entry into force process,” the CTBTO Executive Secretary said. “As I look to this Group, I am inspired by the sheer magnitude of their experience and expertise.  Through their credibility, credentials and experience, I expect the Group to open new paths for the entry into force of the Treaty,” Zerbo said.

States commended the effectiveness of the CTBT verification regime as demonstrated on many occasions, most recently in response to the DPRK’s nuclear test announced on 12 February 2013.

The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions everywhere, by everyone. The CTBTO is building an International Monitoring System (IMS) to make sure that no nuclear explosion goes undetected. Over 85% of this network has already been established. CTBTO monitoring data also have non-verification uses and can be used for disaster mitigation such as earthquake monitoring, tsunami warning, and the tracking of radioactivity from nuclear accidents.

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