The Executive Secretary addresses the First Committee of the General Assembly

The Executive Secretary, Mr Wolfgang Hoffmann, addressed the First Committee of the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 October 2003.

In his statement, the Executive Secretary informed the General Assembly that the Third Conference on Facilitating Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which took place in Vienna from 3 to 5 September 2003, agreed on concrete measures to promote signatures and ratification of the Treaty. He noted that the conference demonstrated the commitment of States to bring about the entry into force of the CTBT and to uphold existing testing moratoria until this ocurred. The Final Declaration of the Conference made ample reference to relevant decisions by the United Nations General Assembly and other international fora.

The Executive Secretary also provided an overview of activities to establish the CTBT's global verification regime. He told delegates that progress in establishing the International Monitoring System (IMS) facilities was good, considering the engineering challenges that face the establishment of this first worldwide monitoring network. Noting that more than 50% of the monitoring stations were now operational, the Executive Secretary said that good progress in establishing the IMS was in great part made possible by those States hosting IMS facilities. He used the opportunity to thank States for their help and flexibility and to express his hope that the good cooperation would continue.

The Executive Secretary underlined the Commission's position that it is of great importance for the General Assembly to be kept abreast of the rapid development of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission. In times of increasing concern about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the reports of organizations specialized in this field should be of particular relevance to the deliberations of the General Assembly. He underlined the point with reference to the disarmament-related issues in the Millennium Declaration.

The Executive Secretary closed with the remark that seven years after its opening for signature, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has the confirmed support of the international community. He noted that the 2003 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT provided new momentum to the quest for a universal and verifiable Treaty, and told delegates that he was convinced that their deliberations would provide further impetus and a conducive environment for further progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.