Special Delegation of Indonesian Parliamentarians visits CTBTO as part of process to ratify CTBT

Special delegation of Indonesian parliamentarians with Tibor Tóth, CTBTO Executive Secretary.

Indonesia’s decision to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) will hopefully inspire other States, particularly in Asia, to follow suit, said the head of  an Indonesian delegation of parliamentarians visiting the headquarters of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna on 28 to 29 June.

Kemal Azis Stamboel, Chairman of the First Committee in Indonesia’s House of Representatives, said that the objective of Indonesia’s support for the Treaty was “a nuclear-weapon-free world.”

“We all want a nuclear-weapon-free world. This is the vision of everybody and Indonesia is very committed to achieving that,” said Stamboel who was accompanied to the CTBTO by Enggartiasto Lukita, member of Indonesia’s First Committee, House of Representatives.

“It is important this step [ratification of the Treaty] is taken by everybody. By doing this we can start a programme for nuclear disarmament because we have stopped  testing,”  said Stamboel.

The visit by the parliamentarians was an opportunity for them to familiarize themselves with the Treaty and the work of the CTBTO, “in hopes of facilitating a successful ratification process in Jakarta,” said Tibor Tóth, CTBTO’s Executive Secretary.

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa announced on 30 April 2010 that his country intends to soon ratify the CTBT. It is the responsibility of the Indonesian Parliament to make sure that ratification occurs. During their visit the parliamentarians were briefed by CTBTO staff about the work of the organization, the verification regime, and of the legal framework required for ratification.

The visit provided the parliamentarians with better understanding of the CTBTO and how it functions to take back to Indonesia, Stamboel said.  The parliamentarian also underlined that the Treaty has the potential to contribute to human welfare. He said there was need to draw more attention to the CTBTO’s work, not just its mandate to detect nuclear explosions, but to its civil and scientific benefits: “We need to reach out to others.”

Visit Coincides with 34th Session of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission

The visit by the delegation of Indonesian parliamentarians coincided with the opening of the twice yearly Preparatory Commission (PrepCom) of the CTBTO, the highest decision making body of the organization, consisting of its Member States.  The CTBTO is tasked with building up the CTBT’s verification regime and promoting the Treaty’s universality.

“I am delighted to inform you that with the full support of our parliament, all relevant work is now under way in a serious and orderly fashion, engaging all stake holders in the national level,” Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, Indonesia’s Ambassador to the CTBTO, told the PrepCom’s 34th Session.

The ambassador said that the visit of the two distinguished members of his parliament clearly showed “that the decision to start the ratification process was not just a decision of the government rather one of the entire national stakeholders.” Stamboel said “the timing [of the PrepCom] was so perfect” because being able to attend offered the opportunity to better understand how the CTBTO’s meetings are run.

A Boost to the CTBT’s Entry into Force

Also at the PrepCom, Ambassador Glyn Davies of the United States said that Indonesia’s announcement to move forward with its own ratification was an additional boost to the Treaty’s prospects for early entry into force.

The ambassador said the U.S. administration was committed to seeking the consent of the U.S. Senate to ratify the CTBT and of securing the remaining Annex 2 States necessary for bringing the early entry into force of the Treaty. Ratification by nine outstanding Annex 2 States is still required for the Treaty to enter into force.

“Indonesia’s ratification will be a crucial step towards entry into force of the treaty,” added Tóth. The Executive Secretary warmly welcomed once more the announcement by Indonesia to initiate the ratification process. He said “What has transpired during recent months will have a further positive impact on the future of the Treaty and the work of the [CTBTO].”

Consensus reached on amending Rule 5 of Rules of Procedure; Palestine given Observer Status

Following the “spirit of compromise” demonstrated at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, States were finally able to reach consensus over the issue of Palestine’s representation at CTBTO PrepCom meetings.

In reaching a compromised proposal, the Commission agreed to amend Rule 5 of the Rules of Procedure of the CTBTO. A new paragraph was added to Rule 5 stipulating that entities having been invited to attend sessions of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) would also be included as those who could participate in the CTBTO’s executive meetings and working groups.
Palestine has had observer status at the UNGA since the1990’s. States expressed their support stating the compromised solution would enhance the transparency and accessibility of the CTBT.

PrepCom Approves Directors of the CTBTO

Member States also approved the appointment of Oleg Rozhkov as new director of the On-Site Inspection Division and extended the term of Federico Guendel as director of the International Monitoring System (IMS) Division for another year. Rozhkov has long experience in arms control and international security-issues, and has been the Deputy Director at the Department for Disarmament and Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the Russian Federation since 2005. Guendel has been the director of the IMS Division since August 2006.