FRANCE’S FOREIGN MINISTER URGES STATES CRUCIAL
TO NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY’S SUCCESS TO
RATIFY IT WITHOUT DELAY, AS HEADQUARTERS
Twenty-two More Speakers Address Conference;
NEW YORK, 12 November (UN Headquarters) -- The Foreign Minister of France this afternoon said his country had been the first nuclear-weapon State, along with the United Kingdom, to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and he urged those other countries whose ratification was critical to the Treaty’s success to sign and ratify it now, as the Conference to facilitate its entry into force continued at Headquarters.
Accelerating the Treaty’s entry into force was fully in line with the promotion of disarmament and non-proliferation, he continued. It had taken the international community more than 40 years to develop a legal instrument to ban nuclear tests. With 161 signatory States, including the five nuclear Powers, and 85 ratifications, the CTBT could pride itself as a success. Also, the foundations for a credible verification system had already been laid.
The test-ban Treaty’s entry into force requires ratification by 44 States listed in an annex 2, including the five nuclear-weapon States. The United States and China have not ratified the Treaty, and three annex 2 States have not yet signed it: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; India; and Pakistan.
The representative of Viet Nam, an annex 2 State that has not yet ratified the Treaty, told the Conference that his country would soon do so. He joined in calling on those nuclear-weapon States that had not ratified the Treaty to do so without further delay. Delayed operation of the Treaty might deepen the risk that nuclear testing would resume, thus triggering a new and more costly nuclear arms race. Under those circumstances, he sincerely hoped that the "changing" positions of certain nuclear-weapon States would be seriously reconsidered.
Another annex 2 State -– Colombia -- would soon ratify the CTBT, its representative said today. The validity of instruments underpinning the edifice of the non-proliferation and disarmament regimes had taken on added importance in light of present circumstances, he said. The reduction of nuclear weapons had been "disquietingly" slow; there was sound evidence of nuclear-weapon programmes in some non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT); and trafficking of radioactive material had increased.
The representative of Brazil, an annex 2 State ratifier, said that the risk to humanity of the very existence of nuclear weapons had been reinforced, when one considered the possibility that the "technology of destruction" could spread even to non-State entities, including international terrorist organizations. The only way to avoid that ominous possibility was to rid the world of that class of weapons. The entry into force of the CTBT would be one highly significant step towards the progressive abandonment of nuclear weapon-based policies.
Standing together in the struggle against terrorism would also strengthen common efforts towards non-proliferation, the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Yugoslavia said. A great stride in that direction would be a call to all countries that had not signed, or declared their intention so sign, the CTBT to do so as soon as possible. Yugoslavia’s signature, and ongoing ratification process, had demonstrated its commitment to current global efforts to improve international peace and security, and part of its overall efforts to reintegrate the country into the international community.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Spain, Hungary, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Philippines, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Chile, Denmark, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua and South Africa.
The Conference will meet again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 13 November, to conclude its discussion and adopt a final declaration and report.
The Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) met this afternoon to continue a general exchange of views among ratifiers and signatories on facilitating the Treaty's operation.
The CTBT commits States parties not to carry out any nuclear-weapon-test explosion or any other nuclear explosion in any environment; and to prohibit, prevent, and refrain from, in any way, participating in the carrying out of such explosions. The Treaty also provides for a complex global verification regime, and measures to ensure compliance and redress a situation contravening it.
With 161 signatories and 85 ratifications (84 in previously issued materials; Singapore ratified on 10 November), the CTBT is now approaching the status of a universal treaty, but, under its article XIV, it must be ratified by the 44 States listed in its annex 2 before it can enter into force. At present, 31 have done so. Thirteen "annex 2" countries that have still not ratified the Treaty include two nuclear-weapon States -– China and the United States. Three of the "annex 2" countries have not signed the Treaty, namely, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India and Pakistan.
The 31 annex 2 countries that have ratified the Treaty are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
The following States whose ratification is required, but who have not yet done so, are: Algeria, China, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, United States and Viet Nam.
(For detailed background, including lists of signatures and ratifiers, see Press Release DC/2814 issued 9 November.)
JOSEP PIQUE I CAMPS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, said that the CTBT was a relevant effort by the international community to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, thus enhancing international peace and security. The relevance of the Treaty had been made all the more obvious by the attacks of 11 September and the bio-terrorist attacks against the United States. The CTBT could play an important role in preventing future terrorist attacks and could contribute to the aim of achieving the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. He associated his statement with the one given by Belgium on behalf of the European Union.
It would be difficult to reach the ambitious goals of the Treaty without the full cooperation of all States to all relevant programmes, especially those concerning the verification regime. All States -- especially annex 2 States -- that had not yet signed or ratified the CTBT should do so without delay. For its own part, Spain had signed the Treaty in 1996 and had ratified it in August 1998. Since then, Spain had contributed to the Treaty’s Preparatory Commission by participating in a wide range of its activities. He was pleased by the rapid progress made by the Provisional Technical Secretariat in developing the monitoring facilities foreseen in the Treaty.
The seismology station in Sonseca, Spain, would soon be fully operative, he said. It was already the first station in the International Monitoring System (IMS) to establish a continuous transmission to the International Data Centre in Vienna. The station’s full functioning would be an important landmark in Spain’s participation in the Treaty. He fully supported the Provisional Technical Secretariat and the work it had done in support of the Treaty’s provisions. The role of its Executive Secretary, Wolfgang Hoffman, was also important.
It was important to remember the value of the 321 stations of the monitoring system, which offered important information for the study of the environment and natural disasters, he said. The entry into force of the CTBT could be extremely beneficial for international peace and security, because its ban could become verifiable. The Treaty’s entry into force was a political priority for Spain. All States that had not yet done so should ratify the Treaty.
JANOS MARTONYI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary, said that he associated his own statement with the one that had been delivered by Belgium on behalf of the European Union. The adoption of the CTBT in 1996 was a significant achievement in global efforts to reinforce the multilateral non-proliferation regime and promote nuclear disarmament. The creation of an international law banning nuclear testing had further strengthened the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and had paved the way for the reduction of nuclear arsenals.
As an annex 2 State, he said Hungary was aware of its responsibility to contribute to the Conference goals. He was proud that Hungary was among the first to sign the CTBT and that it had ratified the Treaty in 1999. At the fifth anniversary of the Treaty’s opening for signature, it was regrettable that it had not yet entered into force. The increase in the number of signatories since 1999 was welcome, but it was a source of concern that 13 annex 2 States -- three of whom had not even signed -- had yet to ratify the CTBT. Those States should accelerate their ratification processes.
The expressed willingness of India and Pakistan to not delay the entry into force of the Treaty was satisfying, he said. Those States, and the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, should sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible. Practical measures to establish an effective verification regime for the Treaty were also highly important. Significant progress had been made in that regard through the efforts of the CTBT Organization (CTBTO). He would lend his full support to the CTBTO’s Preparatory Commission to carry out its responsibilities in elaborating the financial and administrative framework for the Organization’s future.
The international community stood at a crossroads, he said. The security environment was rapidly changing, with more threats and challenges about to emerge. Increased risk of terrorist attacks made the need for multilateral action more clear. The CTBT could be a major building block in those efforts. The international community had a common responsibility to adopt solutions to the problems standing in the way of the early entry into force of the CTBT.
HUBERT VEDRINE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, said that working to speed up the entry into force of the CTBT was fully in line with the shared undertaking to promote disarmament and non-proliferation. It had taken the international community more than 40 years to develop a legal instrument to ban nuclear tests. On 6 April 1998, France was the first nuclear-weapon State, along with the United Kingdom, to deposit its instruments of ratification. It, thus, had followed the commitments it undertook under article VI of the NPT. Also, France closed and dismantled its Pacific test site and its plants for the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons.
He said that those decisions were in line with the objective of maintaining the credibility of its nuclear deterrent, based on the principle of sufficiency and its constant rejection of any new arms race. With 161 signatory States, including the five nuclear Powers, and 84 ratifications (now 85), the CTBT could pride itself as a success. It was also a success because of the organization established in Vienna to implement it; the foundations of a credible verification system had already been laid. France had "relentlessly" defended the idea of an effective international verification system. He urged the countries whose ratification was critical to the Treaty’s success to sign and ratify it.
GABRIEL ORELLANA ROJAS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, said that when the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), visited his country next month, Guatemala would sign an additional protocol for the application of safeguards, as a contribution to the consolidation of Latin America as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The formalization of that instrument would give Guatemala access to new forms of international cooperation and make available new technologies, which would facilitate better use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The entry into force of the CTBT would be a huge advance in the history of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, he said. Despite the strenuous efforts made to that end, the new millennium had begun without the attainment of the principal objectives -- not only to hold back the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but also their complete destruction.
He urged all parties concerned to intensify their efforts and, with firm political will, move nuclear disarmament out of its present stagnation and fulfil the commitment by certain States to disarm and by others to renounce the possession of nuclear weapons. The present was a time of great international turbulence. When the support of some governments enabled certain groups to use very powerful nuclear and conventional weapons, the fragility of disarmament and peace became evident. Such actions confirmed that the dream of a world free of nuclear weapons was still distant.
GORAN SVILANOVIC, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Yugoslavia, said that the shattering events of 11 September had brought to the fore the possibility that those who committed that atrocity might, one day or this very day, come into possession of nuclear weapons. One result of the Conference should be to prevent such an occurrence. Standing together in the struggle against terrorism should also strengthen common efforts towards non-proliferation, in particular, of weapons of mass destruction. A great stride in that direction would be a call to all countries that had not signed, or declared their intention to sign, the CTBT to do so as soon as possible.
He said that his country’s decision to accede to the CTBT had been guided by the desire to support international efforts in that field. Although Yugoslavia was not a nuclear-weapon State itself, and did not intend to become one in the future, it was well aware of the potential of nuclear power for improving human life and supported its use for peaceful purposes, in full accordance with relevant international standards. Yugoslavia signed the CTBT on 8 June and the ratification process was now under way. Its signature was a demonstration of its commitment to current global efforts to improve international peace and security, and part of its overall efforts to reintegrate the country into the international community.
ROBERTO ROJAS, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica, said his country condemned the use, possession, threat of use and development of nuclear weapons, for which there was no ethical, legal or strategic justification. Costa Rica repudiated any military doctrine that sought to justify the possession of nuclear weapons by a misguided understanding of national security. Of what use would national security be during a nuclear winter? he asked.
He said the nuclear-weapon States had a heightened duty to commit themselves to disarmament negotiations and to show their leading role in the international community. They must adopt a no first-use policy, and deactivate and decommission their offensive systems. States with nuclear capacity must initiate a progressive and systematic dismantling of their arsenals and stop all transfers of technology and materials that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
Costa Rica deemed the strengthening of the IAEA as necessary to bolster its verification capacity and to establish an effective system of physical protection of nuclear materials, he said. Further, Costa Rica proposed that the financial resources currently devoted to weapons, both conventional and nuclear, should be directed to promote real social and economic development, as well as equity among all nations.
HEINZ MOELLER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, said that disarmament was the right path to take for international peace and security. Nuclear disarmament, however, was still a remote goal in the effort for total disarmament. For that reason, world leaders recommitted themselves to eliminating weapons of mass destruction, and especially nuclear weapons, in the Millennium Declaration. The savage power of nuclear weapons meant they lacked any moral justification. Elimination of those weapons would be the embodiment of the aspirations of all who loved peace.
General and complete disarmament, under strict international controls, was the primary goal of international policy, he said. Another of the goals should be to reduce military expenditures, thereby allowing States to spend more on development. The international community had made encouraging advances in establishing the monitoring system called for in the CTBT. It had taken 40 years to get an agreement to ban nuclear tests; it was now heartening to see the number of States that had signed and ratified the Treaty. Two States with nuclear weapons had not ratified the Treaty, and their participation was especially important. It was time to issue a fresh appeal for those States to formalize their participation in the international regime. In the meantime, a moratorium on nuclear testing must be maintained.
A regime, including an international monitoring system, was an important part of the Treaty’s aims, he said. In the case of Ecuador, there would be a monitoring station in the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador had taken measures to create its own national authority for the implementation of the Treaty. Ecuador cooperated with the work of the Provisional Technical Secretariat and was prepared to continue that cooperation. Having signed the Treaty in 1996 and ratified it last week, he had been thrilled to deposit the instruments of ratification with the Secretary-General just this morning.
ANATOLIY ZLENKO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said his country was one of the first to sign the CTBT in 1996. Last year, Ukraine had ratified the Treaty. Consistent and rigorous steps aimed at nuclear-threat reduction had become an integral part of its foreign policy. On 30 October 2001, Ukraine had fulfilled its obligations under the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I) by eliminating its last SS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
He said the global threat of terrorism underscored the importance of strengthening and further developing the international legal basis in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. It could be done through the elaboration of efficient international verification mechanisms, as well as universal and comprehensive fundamental treaties. That would be an important contribution to international peace, security and stability.
In the current international environment, he said, the role of the CTBT became increasingly essential. Decisive steps by the international community were needed to ensure its implementation. Among the international community's major tasks were the universalization of the NPT and the entry into force of the CTBT. Ukraine had repeatedly stressed the importance of the CTBT as an integral element of the international security system, and attached special importance also to the global moratorium on nuclear testing.
ABDULAZIZ KAMILOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, said that his country had been among the first 10 States to have ratified the CTBT. That was a manifestation, not only of the importance of the Treaty, but of its wish to make a real contribution to prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons and their proliferation. Its accession to the CTBT had also demonstrated its desire to improve the ecological situation on the planet, strengthen global and regional security and stability, and promote international cooperation with respect to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
He said that a regional interaction among States was a key factor in safeguarding global security and stability. Uzbekistan fully supported the principle of indivisibility of security and, in that context, had initiated the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia. Recent developments had revealed an urgent need for radical measures to strengthen global regimes for the prohibition and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as effective mechanisms to support them. The tendency to expand the scale of terrorist activities had been joined by attempts to possess components of weapons of mass destruction. He urged the elaboration of a convention on nuclear terrorism. The cessation of nuclear weapons tests and abandonment of the modernization of nuclear arms, along with strengthened verification, would promote nuclear disarmament.
LUIZ AUGUSTO DE ARAUJO CASTRO, Under-Secretary-General for Multilateral Political Affairs of Brazil, said he associated himself with the statement made by the representative of Chile on behalf of the Rio Group. In the aftermath of the brutal acts of terror that shocked the world two months ago, the international community must carefully consider a number of questions related to international security and defence. Initiatives in favour of peace, security and the rule of law would be meaningless without the ability to defend nations from the "faceless" enemy of terror.
He said that it was now more evident than ever security requirements could not be met by the possession of weapons of mass destruction. In place of the balance of terror derived from the "mutually assured destruction" doctrine of the cold-war era, the menaces facing the world today were of a completely different nature. The risk to humanity of the very existence of nuclear weapons had been reinforced, as the possibility increased that the "technology of destruction" could spread to non-State entities, including international terrorist organizations. The only way to avoid that ominous possibility was to rid the world of that class of weapons.
The testing of nuclear weapons in South Asia in 1998 had proved that the global non-proliferation regime must be reinforced, he said. He strongly urged the States concerned to abandon that path and renounce their nuclear-weapon development programmes. The progressive abandonment of policies based on the possession of nuclear weapons would sustain the integrity of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes. In that respect, the entry into force of the CTBT would be a highly significant additional step. Universal in its scope and non-discriminatory in its nature, the CTBT, when in force, would promote the abandonment by all of the nuclear weapons option.
He said his country was fully committed to the Treaty’s early entry into force, but was concerned that the installation of the IMS was far more advanced than the actual entry into force of the Treaty. That had resulted in substantial increases in national contributions to the Preparatory Commission, without corresponding legally binding commitments in force. The non-nuclear-weapon States members of the NPT already had legal commitments to that effect, which were, in fact, monitored by the IMS. That situation was not in line with the idea behind the elaboration of a universal and comprehensive test-ban Treaty.
S.K.WALUBITA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Zambia, reminded delegates that the meeting had been postponed because of the events of 11 September. Since then the threat of international terrorism had increased. The international community should, therefore, act in unison to deny terrorists access to nuclear weapons and other nuclear materials.
Zambia was a strong supporter of the NPT, nuclear disarmament and a nuclear-weapon-free world, he said. While he encouraged the efforts of the United States and the Russian Federation, all States had a stake in nuclear disarmament. There was a mandate from more than 180 parties to the NPT to follow up the unequivocal undertaking of the nuclear-weapon States to fully eliminate their nuclear arsenals. It was gratifying that 161 States had signed the CTBT and 85 States had deposited their instruments of ratification. Thirty-one of 44 States whose ratifications were necessary for the entry into force of the Treaty had ratified. The remaining 13 should do so without condition.
Zambia’s Cabinet would be approving ratification of the CTBT soon, he said. The delay in ratification should not call into question Zambia’s firm commitment to the CTBT and general and complete disarmament. If the 13 States whose ratifications were necessary for the Treaty to enter into force did not do so, another Conference should be called. The CTBT must enter into force as soon as possible to ensure global peace and stability.
ENRIQUE A. MANALO (Philippines) said the determination of States to hold the Conference during such a critical time sent an unmistakable message of the common resolve to combat terrorism and ensure peace and security for the world. The timing of the Conference further highlighted the critical role of the CTBT in enhancing international peace and security by banning all nuclear-test explosions in any environment.
Under the Philippine Constitution, he said, the country pursued a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory. From that basic policy emanated the goals of maintaining a stable and peaceful international and regional environment; promoting the creation of a non-nuclear-weapon world; and ensuring the country's protection from the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction by other countries.
At the regional level, he said, the Philippines and its fellow members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) were engaged in parallel activities and efforts in the pursuit of regional peace and international security. The final nuclear tests of the last millennium had been conducted exclusively in the region. Experts had placed five of the last major flashpoints, all with a decidedly nuclear dimension, in the region. The Philippines would, therefore, sustain its efforts to strengthen the foundation and structure of peace and security in ASEAN and in East Asia.
TAN YEE WOAN (Singapore) noted that, while attention had focused on weapons of mass terror and the need to improve homeland security in the aftermath of 11 September, the threat of nuclear destruction had, nonetheless, not abated. The sheer destructive power of nuclear weapons, coupled with the potential for nuclear fallout, were arguably the only weapons capable of annihilating all humanity.
Noting that disarmament experts had often declared the central importance of the NPT as a cornerstone of global disarmament, she said the CTBT was no less important. It played an essential, complementary role to that of the NPT by ensuring that vertical nuclear proliferation did not take place, amid efforts to prevent horizontal proliferation. Such universal, multilateral regimes were critical to addressing the threat of nuclear danger.
Singapore had just deposited its instruments of ratification, becoming the eighty-fifth State party to the CTBT, she said, stressing that its successful implementation depended on the effectiveness of its monitoring and verification regime. Its ultimate value would hinge on the robustness of its mechanism for detecting violations and preventing cheating. Such backsliding could negate all the painstaking progress made to date. Any repudiation or abrogation of the CTBT, or a lapse in the global moratorium on nuclear testing, would do untold damage to the Treaty regime.
Already there were troubling signs of such inclinations, which could spark a renewed global arms race, she cautioned. The impact of such actions might not be confined solely to the CTBT, which was fundamentally linked with the NPT. There was a clear compact between pursuing nuclear non-proliferation, on the one hand, and stopping nuclear testing, on the other. Given those realities, the nuclear-weapons States, who bore a special responsibility, should exercise all possible caution to avoid upsetting the delicate balance.
MADINA JARVUSSYNOVA (Kazakhstan) said that the world had not yet recovered from the shock of the events of 11 September. Those events confirmed that multilateralism was the only way to approach new challenges and that was only possible with the full cooperation of all States. The current Conference was an important step towards achieving the goal of having the CTBT enter into force.
The entry into force of the CTBT would make it a basic element to complement the NPT, she said. It would also create preconditions for the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Kazakhstan had signed the CTBT in 1996 and since then had made contributions to efforts to monitor compliance with the Treaty. There were four seismic test stations in Kazakhstan, as well as a centre for processing seismic information in Almaty. That centre provided information to the International Data Centre in Vienna.
During the cold war, Kazakhstan had been saturated with military equipment and had been host to the fourth largest number of nuclear weapons, she said. Her country had realized that retaining nuclear weapons could help in the proliferation of that type of weapon, and had thus chosen to forego possession of such weapons. As further proof of a commitment to nuclear disarmament, Kazakhstan’s lower chamber of Parliament had just ratified the CTBT.
Global security could be reached only through multilateral and collective efforts, she said. She appealed to States to sign and ratify the Treaty -- particularly those States listed in Annex 2. In September, the Parliament of Kazakhstan had adopted an appeal to governments around the world to take real steps to eliminate nuclear weapons. She called upon the international community to show political will in achieving the common goal of creating a non-nuclear world.
HECTOR CHARRY SAMPER (Colombia) said that the present circumstances demanded an adjustment of the global security architecture and cooperation mechanisms. The stagnation and slowing down of arms control and nuclear disarmament was manifest, and had gone hand in hand with an environment adverse to the application of safeguards, particularly in countries with undeclared nuclear programmes. The CTBT was a key part of the regime that had articulated a resolve to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. That was a vital foundation upon which to strengthen the limitation of all classes of weapons, conventional and others, and promote the ultimate objective, however remote, of total disarmament.
He said Colombia was among the majority of States that lacked the technology to monitor nuclear tests or verify the Treaty’s implementation and, thus, trusted in the efficiency, transparency and reliability of the CTBT as an expression of multilateral action for the prevention, control and punishment of those violating it. At the same time, he was concerned about the harmful environmental effects of nuclear tests and also the possibility of the use of nuclear materials by terrorists. The decrease in the number of nuclear weapons worldwide had been "disquietingly" slow.
Doctrines of first-use and pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons had been paired with a marked decline in mechanisms to control those weapons, particularly in the context of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) and START II, he said. There was also sound evidence of nuclear weapons programmes in some non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT. Easy access to and undue and improper use of nuclear technology, along with a noticeable increase in the trafficking of radioactive material, should be a "warning bell" for the dangers and threat of the most horrendous kind of nuclear terrorism in all its forms. The unthinkable had become probable. Given those circumstances, the validity of instruments underpinning the edifice of the non-proliferation and disarmament regimes had taken on added importance.
He said that the CTBT was the culmination of a lengthy process designed to prevent nuclear proliferation and move towards the elimination of nuclear weapons, with a view to achieving international peace and security. Colombia signed the CTBT in 1996, prompted by its conviction that complete ban of nuclear tests was vital to security. Colombia was a "non-nuclear" country that believed firmly in the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and, at the same time, in the peaceful use of science and technology. The fact that it was on the list of annex 2 countries whose ratification was required for its entry into force had given it a further responsibility. Its commitment to the Treaty would become evident by the Government’s resolve to ratify it as soon as possible. The bill to do so had been approved by Congress and was now in the process of constitutional monitoring.
JAMAL AL-BADER (Qatar) said that the current important Conference was being held as the international community mourned the victims of a plane crash in New York. It was being held one year after the 2000 NPT Review Conference had been held to follow up on developments likely to effect its universality. At that time, nuclear-weapon States had recognized the need to eliminate nuclear weapons and prevent proliferation of those weapons.
Qatar looked forward to a commitment by States party to this Conference to implement the CTBT, which would ultimately protect humankind, he said. The Conference had bee delayed two months by terrorist actions that had a grievous impact on international peace and security. The scale of destruction and killing at the World Trade Centre were comparable to the effects of a nuclear weapon, reminding the world that any use of a nuclear weapon would be horrific. Genuine efforts to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction were more imperative than ever before.
Qatar had been among the first to ratify the CTBT in recognition of the impact nuclear testing could have on the environment, he said. All States should adhere to the Treaty and ratify it as soon as possible. Nuclear tests led only to arms races and competition. The tests in South Asia were not the very first such tests, but were still unsettling. It was regrettable that Members of United Nations, in the context of a growing number of signatories to the CTBT, were unable to condemn the nuclear policies of certain States. That was a problem that should be addressed.
JUAN GABRIEL VALDES (Chile) said that he aligned himself with both the statement of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and that of the Rio Group. The debates of the Conference were taking place at a turning point of transcendental importance for humankind, which could have a profound impact on efforts to build international security; a security that would permit people to aspire to development, well-being and peace -- which was the fundamental goal of disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.
He said the attacks of 11 September were not only an attack on fundamental principles, such as the rule of law, but upon the efforts of the international community to achieve peace, stability and non-proliferation. The response to the non-conventional threat must be comprehensive and be inspired by and based on justice and law. In a world where the fates of all countries were linked, no one could ignore the fears and concerns of others. Respect for and observance of the principles set forth in the United Nations Charter, together with disarmament and non-proliferation laid down in multinational instruments, were the means of effectively coordinating actions to ensure international security.
Chile had, since the early 1970s, expressed its intention to pursue the goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he said. Evidence of that commitment could be found in their ratification of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Since the 1990s, Chile had become still more active in promoting disarmament and international security. Chile had ratified the CTBT and participated actively in its main area of action. Seven monitoring stations had been built on Chilean territory, further facilitating the early activation of the Treaty’s verification regime. The purpose of the Conference was to promote the early entry into force of the CTBT. Those States that had not yet ratified it should do so without delay. There was a worrying paralysis among the States that had not yet ratified. Future generations should be certain that the nuclear threat had been overcome. The delay in the entry into force of the CTBT underscored the threat weapons of mass destruction posed to mankind, and nuclear-weapon States had a special responsibility in ensuring the Treaty entered into force.
ELLEN MARGARETHE LOJ (Denmark) associated her statement with the one made earlier by Belgium on behalf of the European Union. The adoption of the CTBT in 1996 was a major event in the history of multilateral arms control and disarmament. After four decades of failed attempts, the international community came together to an agreement on a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing. Denmark had been among the first States to ratify the CTBT and participated in its monitoring system.
What had been done in the five years since the Treaty had been opened for signature? she asked. The overwhelming majority of United Nations Member States had signed and many had ratified the Treaty. Work on the international monitoring system had continued at a steady pace. That meant that even while waiting for the entry into force of the CTBT, a strong contribution to international norms of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation had been made. No nuclear tests had been conducted since 1999.
She said that, as the world grew more interdependent, threats to peace and security previously considered to be regional had become global in scope. The CTBT was an important part of a global response to global threats, because it would prevent development of new nuclear weapons and improvements to old ones. The CTBT and NPT were mutually reinforcing instruments that provided the framework needed to counter nuclear proliferation and move towards nuclear disarmament. All States that had not yet ratified the Treaty should do so without delay and without conditions.
EMMANUEL RUNGANGA-GAMBO (Zimbabwe) said that Member States should be thanked for convening the Conference, despite the terrorist attacks on innocent people in the United States. That was a clear indication of the international community’s resolve to keep nuclear materials out of terrorist hands. As the world witnessed a global coalition taking action against terrorists, efforts to put a total ban on nuclear-weapon tests had been redoubled. That was an effort to avert the catastrophe that would occur should terrorists acquire nuclear weapons.
It was an opportune time to bring about the CTBT, he said. The international community owed it to itself and to posterity to create a world free from all weapons of mass destruction. Zimbabwe had acceded to the CTBT in 1999 and had signed a memorandum of understanding with the CTBTO, cognizant of the value of a global verification regime. Ratification of the CTBT was high on the agenda of Zimbabwe’s Parliament, and would soon be completed.
MARIO RODRIGUEZ CASTILLO (Nicaragua) said that nuclear-weapon States had a significant responsibility, because their weapons had the potential to explode either accidentally or intentionally, causing an immense disaster. The best way to prevent such a catastrophe would be to totally eliminate all nuclear weapons. Nicaragua, as a peace-loving nation, had promoted nuclear disarmament in several international forums. That position had been reflected in the decisions to ratify the Treaty of Tlatelolco and the CTBT. Nicaragua understood the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons to mean that nuclear-weapon States had an obligation to enter into good faith negotiations leading to total nuclear disarmament.
The CTBT, which was agreed to in 1996, was the culmination of the longest negotiations in the history of arms control and was a new understanding between the States that possessed nuclear weapons and those that did not, he continued. Until the CTBT became universal or entered into force, States were called on to observe the moratoriums on nuclear-test explosions. The efforts of the CTBTO to make sure that the Treaty’s verification regime would be functioning when the Treaty entered into force should be praised. In addition to supporting the verification regime, each State must make sure the provisions of the Treaty were enforced within their territories.
States that had not yet ratified the Treaty -- especially the annex 2 States -- must accelerate their efforts to sign and ratify it, he said. Equally, all States of the international community should refrain from taking actions counter to the object and purpose of the Treaty. Without a decision to make the Treaty a reality, children would inherit a future they did not deserve. The international community had a responsibility to the great majority of human beings who were defenceless against the effects of nuclear-test explosions. There was no other way, no alternative or excuse, for postponing the entry into force of the Treaty.
ABDUL S. MINTY, Deputy Director-General, Multilateral Security and Governance of South Africa, said his country had always strongly supported the CTBT and the cessation of all nuclear-weapon tests. Sadly, however, the Treaty’s potential towards freeing the world from the threat of nuclear war would not be realized, as long as it failed to enter into force. Even worse, it appeared that some States would not hesitate to delay its operation to serve narrow interests, rather than take the broader global aspirations into account. The world could not afford to let another five years pass before it entered into force.
He said that the Treaty had been negotiated as an instrument of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. It was not only intended to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional "holders" -- or so-called "horizontal proliferation". It was also intended to prevent the development of new and improved nuclear weapons, the so-called "vertical proliferation". Together, those two aspects were intended to lay a cornerstone for the achievement of the common goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons. He commended those States that had signed and ratified it. It would be disappointing, however, if the final declaration of the Conference "merely recycled" the 1999 Declaration.
The Conference should ensure a qualitative difference, and not fall into the trap of taking a simplistic view of the CTBT, he said. Progress should not be exclusively dependent on those States that had not ratified the Treaty. That was of particular importance, given the present apparent juncture of a "rising unilateralist paradigm shift" in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. That shift could seriously undermine agreed international treaty regimes and conventions in the nuclear field.
NGUYEN THANH CHAU (Viet Nam) said he supported the commitments and concerted efforts of the international community towards achieving universal adherence to the CTBT at an early date. He commended the work of the Preparatory Commission in garnering support for the Treaty, and for the creation of a verification regime to monitor implementation. Consistent efforts were being made worldwide in that context, which would surely strengthen the Treaty when it entered into force. That, however, had depended on the ratification by the States listed in annex 2.
He said he shared the foreboding of the international community that delayed operation of the Treaty might increase the risk that nuclear testing would resume, thus triggering a new and more costly nuclear arms race. Under those circumstances, he shared the concerns of various delegations over the "changing" positions of certain nuclear-weapon States regarding the CTBT, and sincerely hoped that they would seriously reconsider those positions. He joined all others in calling on those nuclear-weapon States that had not ratified the Treaty to do so without further delay. In Viet Nam, the necessary steps were now being taken to fulfil the national requirements to soon ratify the CTBT.
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