France signs Facility Agreement
France has become the latest State to conclude a Facility Agreement with the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, bringing to eighteen the total of Facility Agreements now agreed. Facility Agreements are concluded pursuant to the provisions of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the text establishing the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. The Facility Agreement was signed on 13 July 2001 by the Permanent Representative of France, Ambassador Bérengère Quincy, and the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Wolfgang Hoffmann at the headquarters of the Preparatory Commission in Vienna. The Agreement, drawn up in both English and French, facilitates the activities of the Provisional Technical Secretariat on French territory in conducting an inventory of existing monitoring facilities, conducting site surveys, upgrading or establishing monitoring facilities and certifying facilities to International Monitoring System (IMS) standards. The IMS is one of the cornerstones of the global verification regime outlined in the Treaty, and data received from its network of 337 monitoring facilities are used to detect possible nuclear explosions. France is responsible for 17 facilities in all - one primary and two auxiliary seismological stations in Tahiti, New Caledonia and French Guiana respectively, six radionuclide stations (Tahiti, Guadeloupe, Réunion, Kerguelen, French Guiana and Antarctica), one radionuclide laboratory in France, two hydroacoustic stations (Crozet Island and Guadeloupe) and five infrasound stations (Marquesas Islands, New Caledonia, Kerguelen, Tahiti and French Guiana). The Facility Agreement will remain in force until implementation is completed or until entry into force of the Treaty, whichever occurs sooner. The Twelfth Session of the Preparatory Commission, held 22 - 24 August 2000, called upon States hosting international monitoring facilities, which had not yet done so, to negotiate and conclude facility agreements or arrangements in accordance with their national laws and regulations as a matter of priority.