Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control of New Zealand visits the Executive Secretary

HE Ms Marion Hobbs, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control of New Zealand, today paid a courtesy call on the Executive Secretary. The Minister was accompanied by Ambassador Bridge of the New Zealand Permanent Mission and Director Griffiths of the Disarmament Division of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Various international and bilateral issues were discussed.

New Zealand ratified the CTBT on 19 March 1999. It has also signed a Facility Arrangement permitting the Secretariat to carry out work on International Monitoring Stations (IMS) on New Zealand's territory. The Facility Agreement entered into force on 19 December 2000. Under the terms of the Treaty, New Zealand hosts seven IMS facilities. These comprise three auxiliary seismic stations at Erewhon (AS69), Urewera (AS71) and Raoul Island (AS70), an infrasound station at Chatham Island (IS36 ), two radionuclide stations at Chatham Island (RN46) and Kaitaia (RN47), and a radionuclide laboratory at Christchurch (RL12).

The Executive Secretary seized the opportunity to brief Ms. Hobbs on the Provisional Technical Secretariat's (PTS) outreach activities for States in the Pacific sub-region, such as the seminar on CTBT legal and technical issues for Pacific States which took place during the 2001 UN Asia Pacific Regional Disarmament Conference in Wellington. The Executive Secretary also informed Ms. Hobbs of the Secretariat's participation in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Summit meetings held in Nauru and Fiji in 2001 and 2002, in which the issue of early entry into force and universality of the CTBT was raised. The Executive Secretary mentioned his own official visits to Fiji and Tonga in 2002, and his discussion with the Secretary General of the PIF. Noting that nine of the 16 Member States of the PIF have yet to ratify the CTBT and 4 have still to sign it, the Executive Secretary briefed Ms. Hobbs on the international cooperation workshop which the PTS is holding in Fiji in June this year.

The Executive Secretary also spoke of the Commission's appreciation of New Zealand's contributions to IMS technical training programmes (TTPs). The National Radiation Laboratory in Christchurch hosted a radionuclide segment of the IMS TTPs in December 2000 and November 2001. New Zealand has also participated in seven IMS TTPs.

The Executive Secretary requested the Government of New Zealand to continue to promote early entry into force and universality of the Treaty as well as to continue its good cooperation in establishing the Treaty verification regime. He noted New Zealand's participation in the Joint Ministerial Statement in support of the CTBT on 14 September 2002 which was issued at United Nations Headquarters. Ms. Hobbs reconfirmed New Zealand's strong support for the Commission.