Executive Secretary’s state visit to Spain
From 27-28 November, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo was in Spain for an official state visit. On 27 November, Zerbo held a meeting with Josep Borrell Fontelles, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation at Palacio de Santa Cruz followed by a brief press meeting. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zerbo was hosted by Enrique Mora, Director General, Foreign Policy and Security, Secretary Director General for Non-proliferation Ignacio Cartagena, and Ambassador Sénen Florensa, Permanent Representative of Spain to Vienna. Spain reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to the CTBT and the role of the CTBT as a key step towards facilitating progress in the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.
We must seize upon the opportunities that have unfolded in front of us in recent months. Let us not be naive or ignorant about the scope of the challenge. But let us also not squander what appears to be the best hope for progress in many years.
Whilst in Spain, Zerbo engaged the diplomatic community, civil society and students at two events in Madrid. On 27 November, the Executive Secretary gave a keynote speech on "Science and diplomacy in the 21st century: the CTBTO model" at the Diplomatic School. Zerbo stressed a few key messages, including that “science drives policies” and that “nuclear disarmament must be tackled holistically”. The Executive Secretary warned that “we must seize current opportunities in order not to regret in future present chances missed”. In line with Zerbo’s commitment to investing in the next generation—including the CTBTO Youth Group—for progress on long-term goals, he reiterated that “the youth of today has to be involved in the discourse on global disarmament, world peace will crucially depend on them”. The following morning, Zerbo gave a keynote speech on “The CTBTO and the Nuclear Non Proliferation Challenges in the XXI Century”at a breakfast discussion hosted by the International Affairs and Foreign Policy Institute (INCIPE).
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is one of the greatest examples of the nexus between science and diplomacy.
During his mission to Spain, Dr Zerbo also visited the seismic station in Sonseca (Toledo), which is part of the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System (IMS). During his visit, the Director of the Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN), Emilio Carreño, presented Zerbo with a commemorative plaque. Zerbo also visited the Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT).