AFCONE special session in Algiers: Enhancing interaction between CTBT and the Pelindaba Treaty

The CTBTO participated in the Africa Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) special session held in Algiers from 12-13 February.

Created by the Pelindaba Treaty, establishing Africa as Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) in 2009, AFCONE plays an important role in regional efforts on disarmament and non-proliferation. It also promotes peaceful and scientific benefits of nuclear technology in Africa.

Hosted by the Algerian Atomic Energy Commission (COMENA), the session aimed, among other objectives, to discuss partnership building as well as ways to create and strengthen specific cooperation programmes between the Commission and partners such as the CTBTO.

OSI Director Vadim Smirnov, delivering a statement on behalf of CTBTO Executive Secretary

As a guest partner, the CTBTO was represented at the meeting by Vadim Smirnov, On-Site Inspections Director, who delivered a statement on behalf of CTBTO Executive Secretary, Lassina Zerbo. In his message, the Executive Secretary underlined the necessity to strengthen regional and global commitments on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and highlighted CTBT-NWFZ nexus. ‘’The CTBT and NWFZ have complementary objectives, shared concerns and a common vision – that is the use of the atom for peace and development. (…) Nuclear Weapon Free Zones can, once the Treaty enters into force, rely on the CTBT verification technologies to enhance their respective verification regimes,“ he said.

A presentation on the CTBTO programme which supports development of knowledge about the Treaty and its verification system, particularly in developing countries, was also made.

H.E. Mustapha Guitouni, Minister of Energy of Algeria

“The CTBT technologies and services serve as an important confidence-building measure by further strengthening regional and global stability, and creating the conditions for peace and security, and development."

In his address to participants, Mustapha Guitouni, Algerian Minister of Energy, also underlined the importance of promoting international cooperation as a factor in preserving peace and security. In this regard, “it is important and urgent to accelerate the CTBT ratification process and its entry into force in order to contribute to a better respect of the fundamental principles that determine the future of international security by refraining a nuclear arms race,’’ he said.

Participants to the AFCONE special session

‘’We strongly support the commendable efforts of Dr. Lassina Zerbo to create and strengthen the necessary synergy between the CTBT and the Pelindaba Treaty’’

Guitouni also expressed Algerian government’s support to AFCONE efforts to establish effective and sustainable cooperation with the CTBTO.

Algerian and AFCONE Officials at the opening meeting