CTBT support at NPT conference:
A powerful and overwhelming verdict on the part of the international community
As one of the central components of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime, progress on achieving entry into force and universality of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) represents a barometer with which to gauge success at the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT / Review Conference Website). In this light, the first week of the Conference was a great success, with a couple of countries pledging to ratify the CTBT in the near future and an overwhelming majority of delegations stating their support for the Treaty.
“I would like to thank all delegations that have expressed their support for the CTBT in their statements during the past few days,” Tibor Tóth, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), told the NPT Review Conference on 6 May 2010 [statement]. “This is yet again a powerful and overwhelming verdict on the part of the international community in favor of a legally binding and effectively verifiable global nuclear test ban.”
Appreciation for Indonesia’s announcement
Numerous States expressed their appreciation of Indonesia’s announcement that it had formally initiated the ratification process in Jakarta. New Zealand described the news as “a cause for celebration,” [statement] while Singapore was quick to applaud its Southeast Asian neighbour for its decision [statement]. Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa expressed hope that with his country’s demonstration of commitment to the NPT regime, other countries that have not ratified the CTBT would be encouraged to do so.
“This announcement is of crucial importance in moving the Treaty closer to entry into force, and underscores the leadership role of Indonesia in regional and global non-proliferation and disarmament efforts,” said Tóth.
Further steps towards ratification
Following on the heels of the announcement by Indonesia, the South Pacific Island State of Papua New Guinea revealed that its government was now in the process of “formally ratifying the CTBT,” and commended Indonesia for its own efforts to make progress on the Treaty’s entry into force [statement]. Reiterating its support for the CTBT, Guatemala expressed its wish to “promptly” ratify the Treaty and intention to “undertake all possible efforts, in order to overcome the obstacles that have prevented its ratification of the Treaty” [statement].
P5 committed to early entry into force
In another display of high-level support for the CTBT, the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council (P-5), designated as nuclear weapon States (NWS) under the NPT, reaffirmed their determination to “abide by [their] respective moratoria on nuclear test explosions before entry into force of the CTBT” and called on “all States to refrain from conducting a nuclear test explosion” [statement]. Emphasizing the urgency of bringing the test ban into legal standing, the P-5 States also asserted that the moratoria, “though important, are not a substitute for legally binding commitments under the CTBT.” All five NWS are committed to continuing their “efforts aimed at early entry into force of the CTBT and achieving its universality.”
Strong support for universal adherence
Earlier in the week, the statement of the Pacific Islands Forum, of which Papua New Guinea is a member, called attention to the importance of achieving entry into force and universalization of the CTBT in light of the history of nuclear testing in the region. “Every ratification is a step towards universalization and further strengthens the international norm against nuclear testing,” Stephen Smith, Australia’s Foreign Minister, said on behalf of the Forum [statement].
Echoing this sentiment, Ghana asserted that “it is necessary for all states, whether powerful or weak, rich or poor, to sign and ratify the CTBT” [statement]. Universal adherence to the international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes is the only way to ensure that the “spread of nuclear weapons can be curbed and the preservation of mankind can be guaranteed.”
Countless delegations from every corner of the globe underlined the importance of the CTBT within the disarmament and non-proliferation regime during the General Debate. Moldova described the CTBT as constituting a “top priority for all States Parties” [statement] and the Philippines labelled it a “crucial complement to the NPT” [statement], while the New Agenda Coalition (NAC), comprised of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden, stated that the Treaty’s entry into force is a serious matter “that deserves our urgent attention” [statement].
CTBT a key element for international consensus
“I am convinced that the CTBT represents one of the key elements on which effective international consensus can be built at this Review Conference,” concluded Tóth. “Its entry into force and full implementation is achievable and within reach. Progress towards this goal bridges the divide between NPT parties on each of the three pillars.”