Executive Secretary meets Secretary of State John Kerry and other world leaders

Renewed commitment by the United States to work towards CTBT ratification

Concluding his two-week visit to the United States, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Lassina Zerbo, met United States Secretary of State John Kerry on 26 September in New York, on the margins of the high-level segment of the United Nations General Assembly.
Kerry and Zerbo discussed the ongoing efforts by the Obama Administration to make progress towards U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the strengths of its verification regime. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, accompanied Kerry.

The Executive Secretary thanked Kerry for the engagement of the United States at the highest levels and in this regard recalled his encouraging meetings during his visit to the United States, including with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, National Nuclear Security Administration, Administrator Frank Klotz, Gottemoeller, as well as former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Secretaries of Defense William Perry and Leon Panetta.

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo (left) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Centre: Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security

[The CTBT] verification regime is one of the great accomplishments of the modern world. The international monitoring system is nearly complete; it is robust, it is effective, and it has contributed critical scientific data on everything from tsunami warnings to tracking radioactivity and nuclear reactor accidents.

"I was inspired by the number of times I heard high ranking current and former U.S. officials express their support for the CTBT, which gives us confidence that the Administration's commitment to advance U.S. ratification of the Treaty remains firm," Zerbo told Kerry.

UN Secretary-General and 30 foreign ministers push for CTBT entry into force

Together with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and foreign ministers and senior officials from around 90 countries, Kerry and Zerbo participated in a Ministerial Meeting chaired by Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. The biennial CTBT Ministerial Meetings are an initiative of the group of “Friends of the CTBT”, whose members include Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and Sweden.

United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

In opening the meeting, Ban Ki-moon called upon the eight Annex 2 States to ratify the CTBT without further delay, underscoring his strong personal commitment to the Treaty and referring to the fact that he previously served as Chairman to the CTBTO’s executive body and during his term as Secretary-General had not missed a single CTBT Ministerial Meeting.

The meeting was chaired by Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Addressing a CTBT Ministerial Meeting for the first time, Kerry stated “I come here to reiterate the Obama's Administration’s unshakable commitment to see this Treaty ratified and enter into force,” But he said there was “no reason for the other Annex 2 States to wait for the United States to complete the ratification process.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

The Annex 2 States are the countries that have yet to sign or ratify the CTBT for the Treaty to enter into force. These are China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.

Zerbo assured Member States that their investments in the CTBT’s verification regime were well placed, and the CTBTO stood ready to prove “that the International Monitoring System works as the deterrent against nuclear testing that it was designed for.”

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo

Consultations at the highest level

While  at the General Assembly, the Executive Secretary held consultations and met with several heads of State and foreign ministers on matters ranging from universalization and entry into force of the Treaty, to the build-up of the IMS and payment of assessed contributions. The heads of State included President Serzh Sargsian (Armenia), Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza (Central African Republic), President Idriss Déby (Chad), President Michelle Bachelet (Chile), President Denis Sassou-Nguesso (Republic of Congo), President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba (Gabon), President Alpha Condé (Guinea), President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (Mauritania) and. President Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan).

Meeting with the President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou-Nguesso (left)

The Executive Secretary also met several foreign ministers including Georges Rebelo Chicoti (Angola), Sebastian Kurz (Austria), Djibrill Bassolé (Burkina Faso), Heraldo Muñoz (Chile), Laurent Fabius (France), Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Germany), Mohammad Javad Zarif (Islamic Republic of Iran), Fumio Kishida (Japan), and Luvsanvandan Bold (Mongolia). He also met with Cardinal State Secretary Pietro Parolin from the Holy See and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who is the designated European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and a member of the Group of Eminent Persons.

Meeting with the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif

Mogherini, who also addressed the CTBT Ministerial Meeting, thanked Zerbo for the "excellent work he and the organization is doing" and expressed the EU’s strong desire to make progress with the CTBT’s entry into force. Mogherini also underlined the EU’s continued financial support for the CTBTO, including through significant voluntary contributions.

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, designated EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and member of the CTBT Group of Eminent Persons

The j oint statement , issued by the foreign ministers at the Ministerial Meeting, stated that the Treaty’s entry into force would “rid the world of nuclear explosions and contribute to the elimination of nuclear weapons by constraining their development and qualitative improvement.”
Although the Treaty is yet to come into force, the nuclear test moratorium has become a de facto international norm. However, without the lasting and legally-binding effect of the entry into force of the Treaty, such a norm remains fragile.

The ministers urged “all States that have not done so to sign and ratify the Treaty, in particular the remaining eight Annex 2 States.” The statement further acknowledged the role of the Group of Eminent Persons in assisting in the entry-into-force process and highlighted the importance of the upcoming on-site inspection simulation, the Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14), in Jordan.

CTBT Ministerial Meeting - Friday, 26 Sept. 2014

State/Chair Speaker
1 Joint Ministerial Statement
States committed to ratify the Treaty
2 Welcome remarks by The Chair
H.E. Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
3 United Nations
Mr. Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General
4 United States
H.E. Mr. John Kerry
Secretary of State, USA
5 Germany
H.E. Mr. Frank-Walter
Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany
6 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
Mr. Lassina Zerbo,
Executive Secretary
7 Netherlands
H.E. Mr. Frans Timmermans
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
8 Statement by the Article XIV Co-Chair - Indonesia
H.E. Mr. Marty M. Natalegawa
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia
9 Republic of the Congo
H.E. Mr Basile Ikouébé
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of the Congo
10 Canada
Ms. Kerry Buck
Political Director and Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security
11 European Union
The Hon Federica Mogherini
EU-High Representative designate and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy
12 Iraq
[PDF - Arabic]
H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Jaafari
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq
13 Australia
Ms. Harinder Sidhu, First Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Policy Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
14 Algeria
[PDF - French]
H.E. Ramtane Lamamra,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria
15 Argentina
[PDF - Spanish]
H.E. Edurado Zuain, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina
16 Finland
H.E. Ambassador Kai Sauer,
Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations
17 Hungary
H.E. Dr Istvan Mikola, State Secretary representing the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in his capacity as the Co-President of the Article XIV Conference.
18 Jordan
[PDF - Arabic]
H.E. Nasser Judeh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
19 Latvia
Ms. Baiba Braže, Ambassador, Director-General for Security Policy and International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia
20 Marshall Islands
H.E. Tony deBrum, Minister of Foreign Affairs Republic of the Marshall Islands
21 Russia
[PDF][PDF - Russian]
Mr. Alexey Yu. Karpov, Deputy Director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation