CTBTO head pays first official visit to the United Kingdom
The Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Lassina Zerbo, paid his first official visit as head of the organization to the United Kingdom from 10 to 11 February 2014.
Zerbo met with the Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugh Robertson, to discuss cooperation between the UK and the CTBTO. The Minister expressed his country’s full and continuing support for the work of the CTBTO in building up the verification system and underlined the UK’s determination to work closely with the Executive Secretary in seeking the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT).
Zerbo encouraged Robertson and his colleagues to seize all available political opportunities to promote signature and ratification of the Treaty. He also briefed the Minister on recent advances in building up the verification system and expressed his appreciation for the UK’s strong technical, financial and political support.
Entry into force of the Treaty will be a major boost to the global non-proliferation and disarmament architecture, a tangible step towards a safer and more stable world and, ultimately, towards a world without nuclear weapons.
Further high-level meetings were held with London-based members of the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM), Des Browne and John Matthew Patrick Hutton, as well as with John Stanley, Chair of the joint Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) in the United Kingdom Parliament. Ensuing working sessions with senior officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence centred on strengthening collaboration on technical and political issues.
In addition, Zerbo was the key discussant at a round-table on the future of the CTBT held at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House. Participants included members of academia, civil society, and the media. The United Kingdom was the first NPT Nuclear Weapon State to sign and ratify the CTBT, on 6 April 1998, together with France. With twelve International Monitoring System (IMS) stations, all of which are certified and operational, the UK is one of the largest IMS host countries. The UK stations cover all four monitoring technologies, with some in remote locations such as Tristan da Cunha on British Indian Ocean Territory.