DELEGATES CALL FOR STRONG
FINAL DECLARATION AS
GENERAL DEBATE CONTINUES

PI/2003/32

Several speakers emphasized the need for a strong final document at the conclusion of the 2003 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as delegates continued their general debate this afternoon.

The representative of the Philippines underlined the need to avoid a 'business as usual' kind of outcome and called for a strong Final Declaration with measurable goals. Associating himself with a statement made earlier on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, he said that he hoped the Conference would be a political and not just a diplomatic success. Australia's representative said it was vital that the Conference agree on a strong political declaration that would focus attention on the CTBT and the necessity of bringing about its entry into force. Poland's representative said the Conference should deliver a clear and strong message to the world about the need to take all necessary political and diplomatic steps to invigorate the process of bringing the Treaty into force.

Other speakers emphasized the need for disarmament and non-proliferation instruments to complement each other. Germany's representative said that the CTBT's entry into force was not an end in itself, but rather a central component in a network of instruments on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. It could not on its own achieve complete and global nuclear disarmament, she said. Rather, the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, as the only global disarmament forum with a mandate for negotiations, must overcome its current deadlock and finally enter negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).

The representative of the United Kingdom said that all the tools at the international community's disposal were necessary but none was sufficient in itself. While multilateral treaties and the regimes they established helped to deter and complicate the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction as well as raising the political cost of pursuing them, they were not yet universal and could not on their own prevent determined proliferators from simply not complying with their international obligations.

On other issues, Iran's representative, responding to speakers who had mentioned his country during the debate, stressed that Iran was the only country in the Middle East that had joined every fundamental instrument in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. As a non-nuclear State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Iran had always supported a total ban on nuclear testing or any other nuclear explosion and had been among the first States to sign the CTBT, he pointed out.

The Republic of Korea's representative said that the manner in which the international community met the challenge posed by the Democratic People?s Republic of Korea's nuclear programme would have a long-term impact on the future of the global non-proliferation regime. The recent six-party talks held in Beijing, with the participation of his own country, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Japan, China, the Russian Federation and the United States, were a starting point in a long process and had confirmed the possibility of resolving the issue through dialogue and confidence-building among participating countries.

Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of Croatia, Slovenia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Peru, Haiti, Algeria, Bangladesh, France, Brazil and Tunisia.

The Conference will continue its general debate tomorrow, 4 September, at 9:30 a.m.

 

 

TONINO PICULA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Croatia, said his country fully supported the process of establishing the verification system. International cooperation was crucial for spreading knowledge about the verification system and activities of the Preparatory Commission as well as of the Provisional Technical Secretariat. Taking into account, however, that of the 44 Annex 2 States, only 41 had signed and 32 had ratified it, the possibility of an early entry into force of the CTBT was not encouraging. All countries should contribute to further promotion of the Treaty. He welcomed all multilateral and regional meetings which aimed at acceleration of the ratification process.

He hoped the Conference and the Final Declaration and Measures to Promote the Entry into Force of the CTBT would be the step forward for the CTBT to enter into force as soon as possible. "The shadow of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a threat continuously present in the conscience of mankind," he said. Entry into force of the CTBT would be the crucial advance in the history of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

KERSTIN M?LLER, Minister of State in the Foreign Office of Germany, emphasized that the overdue entry into force of the CTBT was not an end in itself, but rather a central component in a network of instruments on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. While the Treaty's entry into force was an important practical step, it could not on its own achieve complete and global nuclear disarmament. Rather, the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, as the only global disarmament forum with a mandate for negotiations, must overcome its current deadlock and finally enter negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), she added.

The deployment of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons would claim lives and cause injuries on a massive scale as well as making entire expanses of land infertile and uninhabitable, she noted. Until the 1990s, the risk of such a deployment was ascribed only to the strategic warfare of States, but today there was also the danger of non-State actors gaining access to those deadly weapons and using them to achieve terrorist goals.

She called for the prompt signature and ratification of the CTBT by India, Pakistan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as a way to strengthen regional and global trust in their peaceful intentions. Germany also appealed to the United States and China to bring the international disarmament and non-proliferation process a decisive step forward by ratifying the CTBT.

LEE SUN-JIN, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, said that at the adoption of the CTBT in 1996 the international community made it clear that all were bound by the spirit and letter of the Treaty. All States should take practical steps to resolve the situation and not just repeat political rhetoric. He therefore appealed to those 'holdout' countries to reconsider their position and to join in endeavours to realize a less dangerous world. Until entry into force, it was important that all States refrain from acts which would undermine the object of the Treaty. He hoped that countries would continue to maintain their voluntary moratoria on nuclear testing. Efforts to build a reliable verification regime should continue as it was central to ensuring compliance with the Treaty obligations. The CTBT verification regime would offer confidence that proliferators could be detected in a timely fashion.

The nuclear crisis prompted by the Democratic People?s Republic of Korea's nuclear programme presented a challenge to the international community. How that challenge was met would have a long-term impact on the future of the global non-proliferation regime. The six-party talks held in Beijing last week, with the participation of the Democratic People?s Republic of Korea, Japan, China, the Russian Federation, the United States and his country, were a starting point in a long process of dialogue and had confirmed the possibility of resolving the issue through dialogue and confidence-building among participating countries. The talks had reaffirmed the principles of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue.

BARONESS SYMONS OF VERNHAM DEAN, Minister of State of the United Kingdom, associated herself with the European Union (EU) statement made earlier in the day. She recalled that since the end of the second entry into force Conference in 2001, her country had emphasized the two main security threats for the twenty-first century ? terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. There was no panacea to counter the threat caused by such weapons, nor was there a 'one size fits all' policy that could be applied. All proliferators, whether from countries of concern or from non-State actors, posed a challenge to the entire international community, she said.

In pursuing the goal of eliminating weapons of mass destruction, all the tools judged to be effective in each case must be used, she stressed. There were a number of tools at the international community's disposal. All were necessary, but none was sufficient in itself. For three decades, the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons had been successfully limited by international arms control and disarmament agreements. Those multilateral treaties and the regimes they established helped to deter and complicate the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction as well as raising the political cost of pursuing them. But they were not yet universal and recent experience had demonstrated all too clearly that, on their own, they could not prevent determined proliferators from simply not complying with their international obligations. Nonetheless, the treaties continued to have an important role to play, she concluded.

SAMUEL ZBOGAR, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ofSlovenia, said that the dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction seriously threatened international peace, security and stability at both the global and regional levels. In the post-cold-war era as well as in the post-11-September period, the non-proliferation of such weapons and delivery technologies, as well as arms control, had become crucial pillars of international security. The response to those new threats, which excluded no region or State, must, therefore, be universal and consistent.

Describing the CTBT and the NPT as the two most important pillars for strengthening the non-proliferation regime, he said that the CTBT's universal character provided security for all and should leave no room for excuses based on national security needs and regional political security. Slovenia supported a positive approach to international security based on confidence and transparency. The country had been among the first to sign the CTBT in 1996 and to ratify it in 1999. As a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Zangger Committee, Slovenia had confirmed its policy of non-proliferation, including the non-proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.

HANS DAHLGREN, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the EU, said the Treaty was now an important part of the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation regime, but its continued failure to enter into force carried a great risk of undermining that very same regime. It was true that there were fewer nuclear weapons around today than twenty years ago, but they were numerous enough. There had never been so many fingers on the nuclear triggers as right now. Non-nuclear countries must have the right to demand that nuclear weapons were never used, that nuclear testing was finally forbidden and that the nuclear weapon States fulfilled their obligation to get rid of those arms.

He said his Government had initiated an independent international commission on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to be chaired by Hans Blix. He hoped that group would give new energy to the international work against those weapons, new impulses to the international debate and new recommendations. Other measures to be taken included: making 'crystal clear' to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea that the price of acquiring nuclear weapons would be very high; and making clear to Iran that it must cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and accede to and implement the Additional Protocol. India and Pakistan must be called on to carry out the steps outlined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172 (1998). Deep concern must be expressed about the ongoing discussions in the United States on creating a new generation of nuclear weapons. He hoped the Conference would give a strong message to the world: that nuclear testing should be a thing of the past.

JAN KOHOUT, State Secretary for European Affairs and First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, associated himself with the EU statement. He said that the complete elimination of nuclear weapons could be attained only by stages. The CTBT's entry into force would be one of those stages towards achieving it. However, the presence of States parties at the present Conference revealed how arduous was the road towards nuclear disarmament.

Recalling that his country had been the first in Europe to ratify the CTBT, in September 1997, he said that the continued build-up of the verification regime, including the International Monitoring System, was in itself conducive to the Treaty's entry into force. The Czech Republic had to convince others by the system's technical viability and preparedness, which added to the political arguments. The country was proud that the seismic station situated on its territory had been certified in the first group of six auxiliary stations of the International Monitoring System. Besides that, the Czech National Data Centre (NDC) also provided technical feedback on software tools designed by the Provisional Technical Secretariat for all NDCs, he said.

VICTOR G. GARCIA III (Philippines), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that each new signature and ratification brought closer a better and more secure world, and a situation where weapons of mass destruction would no longer threaten humanity. He expressed the hope that the Conference would be a political and not just a diplomatic success. Citing a prominent academic, he said his country was against the idea of seeing nuclear disarmament "consigned once again to the periphery as a distant, rhetorical objective that did not really impinge on the 'privileges of the' already haves?."

The Philippines did not want the CTBT to become irrelevant, he said. It was concerned that despite the progress made and the international community's strong support for the Treaty, it had not entered into force seven years after its opening for signature. The longer its entry into force was delayed, the more likely it was that certain countries would move irrevocably to acquire nuclear weapons or significantly improve their nuclear arsenals, and the less likely it was that a strong international coalition could be mobilized against such activities. Underscoring the need to avoid a 'business as usual' kind of outcome to the Conference, he called for a strong Final Declaration with measurable goals.

EDUARD KUKAN, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the EU, said the CTBT and the NPT were exceptional multilateral instruments available to the international community and a cornerstone of global nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. The fact that not all declared nuclear weapon States had ratified the CTBT was cause for disappointment and concern. Unfortunately, the relations in international politics were still not free from the concept of the deterrent power of nuclear weapons. Possession of nuclear weapons represented a potential source of regional and global instability.

He said his country had continuously supported the work of the Preparatory Commission and its Provisional Technical Secretariat. In 2001, it had hosted the second on-site inspection (OSI) field experiment and equipment test. Slovakia would also host the OSI field exercise in 2004. He hoped the CTBT would soon enter into force with all its necessary instruments, thus providing for an efficient verification regime.

GRIGORY V. BERDENNIKOV (Russian Federation) said almost one decade had passed since mankind moved away from a fierce ideological, political and military confrontation. However, the threat of a total nuclear destruction of civilization had been replaced by other challenges. The highest priority today was to restore and strengthen the unity of the international community in achieving common objectives in the field of global stability and cooperation on a solid basis of international law. He stressed in particular the importance of the Russian-American Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions which had entered into force, as well as the importance of the Russian proposal tabled at the United Nations on building a global system to counteract emerging challenges and threats. He also noted the importance of substantive preparations for the 2005 NPT Review Conference.

He said the CTBT was an essential component of the international security system, but he was concerned about the prospects of the Treaty's entry into force. The Treaty, signed by an overwhelming majority of nations, remained hostage to the political will of only 12 States. His country had ratified the CTBT three years ago and continued to take an active part in joint efforts aimed at ensuring the earliest possible entry into force of the Treaty. He emphasized the need for all signatory States to fulfil their main obligations, not to violate the spirit and letter of the CTBT in a period preceding its entry into force, and to observe the moratorium on nuclear tests. That was the position his country intended to stick to, on the condition that other nuclear powers took the same approach to their commitments.

He expressed serious concern regarding the plans for developing new types of nuclear warheads. He did, however, consider voluntary support for the moratorium on nuclear tests as an important step, although it could not replace the CTBT. His country was satisfied with progress made in the verification regime, and could not accept arguments of those who delayed CTBT ratification and who referred to insufficient readiness of that regime and its low efficiency.

PIROOZ HOSSEINI (Iran), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said weapons of mass destruction were the most threatening danger to humanity and civilizations. The international community should make the ban against such weapons universal. His country, as a non-nuclear State party to the NPT, had always supported a total ban on nuclear testing or any other nuclear explosion. It had been among the first States to sign the Treaty. Those who had mentioned his country during the debate should recall that Iran was the only country in the Middle East that had joined every fundamental instrument in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.

He said the international community had expressed its grave concern over the Nuclear Posture Review and news about the resumption of nuclear tests for development of new types of weapons. Any development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and the development of new types of such weapons should be abandoned. His country supported the Preparatory Commission and the Provisional Technical Secretariat and was host to five stations of the International Monitoring System. All components of the verification system were equal in importance. A selective approach towards the activities of the Preparatory Commission in establishing the verification system, including on-site inspection and the OSI Operational Manual, would not help the realization of the objectives of the CTBT.

JEAN-JACQUES DE DARDEL, Head of the Centre for International Security Policy of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland, noted that the ratifications of 12 States were still missing, and that three of those States had not even signed the CTBT. The reservations of those countries, some of which claimed that nuclear weapons had a new role beyond mere deterrence, fuelled uncertainty regarding the Treaty's entry into force. Switzerland had chosen to join the CTBT and expected those with a nuclear capacity to demonstrate the necessary political will and commitment with respect to disarmament and non-proliferation.

Noting that his country had always stated its wish to see the enactment of verification regimes, he announced the certification of a verification station in the region of Davos. By adopting a firmly drafted Final Declaration, the Conference would send a clear message to those countries that had delayed their signature and ratification. Multilateral treaties must continue to play a primary role with regard to disarmament and non-proliferation.

JAVIER PAULINICH (Peru) said his country had always been a pacifist one and had founded, with other countries in the region, the first nuclear-free zone in the Latin America and the Caribbean region through the Treaty of Tlatelolco. His country had taken part actively in negotiations leading up to the signing of the CTBT and was the first country of his region that had ratified it. The Treaty had been signed by 168 States, and was therefore approaching universality, which meant that the choice of the people was evident: one did not wish a new spiral of destruction. Yet there were governments that shunned the commitment to peace and security for humankind as a whole. As the CTBT was key for non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, he called upon all States, in particular Annex 2 States, that had not yet signed or ratified, to reconsider their position.

His country had participated in the main bodies of the Preparatory Commission and had made two seismic stations available to the International Monitoring System. It had endorsed the OPANAL Ministerial Statement of 2002, which emphasized the commitment to do whatever was necessary at the national, regional or international level to focus at the highest political level on the Treaty.

JERZY NIEWODNICZANSKI, President of the National Atomic Agency of Poland, associated himself with the EU statement, saying that the effectiveness of non-proliferation and disarmament efforts being made by States and international organizations depended greatly upon the extent to which the international community was able to adapt the existing non-proliferation norms, regimes and procedures to new challenges and threats. The strenuous work carried out by the Preparatory Commission and the Provisional Technical Secretariat had led to a steady strengthening of the verification regime. That had been achieved by providing high-tech equipment to the International Monitoring System, by recruiting skilful and dedicated international staff to the CTBTO and by providing the necessary financial resources. Those resources should be maintained at a sufficient level, he emphasized.

Reiterating his country's proposal, submitted to the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission in 1999, to include Poland?s two seismic stations in the International Monitoring System immediately after the entry into force of the CTBT, he said that as evidence of its long-standing endorsement of the Treaty, Poland had for years actively supported and co-sponsored United Nations resolutions calling for its entry into force. The country would do the same at the fifty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Conference should deliver a clear and strong message to the world about the need to take all necessary political and diplomatic steps to invigorate the process of bringing the Treaty into force.

RENALD CLERISME (Haiti) said his country fully supported the objectives of the Conference. Ratification of the CTBT in the Haitian Parliament was imminent. The third Conference came at a crucial time, when the system of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction might be brought into question. He noted with concern that there was an implicit will by certain countries to develop new nuclear weapons and test them. Beyond the rhetoric, however, he had noted that a leitmotif was emerging in this Conference, namely, the hope that the world would get rid of its weapons of mass destruction. That hope was of great importance. He stressed that his Government supported the monitoring processes as well and wished to cooperate with the CTBTO and other countries with regard to seismological issues.

DEBORAH STOKES (Australia) noted that a number of countries had indicated that they did not oppose the CTBT's objectives, but had simply not yet undertaken the necessary internal bureaucratic processes. While the onus to sign and ratify the Treaty must be on individual States, Australia would provide, wherever possible, technical assistance for States to complete the ratification process, she said. Her country would also continue to play a strong role in urging ratification of the CTBT wherever it could.

Notwithstanding the efforts made to date, it was vital that new and innovative ways be found to put moral and political pressure on 'holdout' States to accede to the Treaty, she said. For that reason, it was vital that the Conference agree on a strong political declaration that would focus attention on the CTBT and the necessity of bringing about its entry into force. Failure to do so would represent a significant setback, she added.

TAOUS FEROUKHI (Algeria), aligning with statements on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 and China, said Algeria had ratified the CTBT on 11 July and thus had become a  State member of all instruments relevant to disarmament. Among countries referred to in Annex 2, Algeria was bringing its efforts to the collective quest of the international community to accelerate the Treaty's entry into force. She called upon all States that had not yet ratified to follow her country's example. They would thereby also reinforce their commitment to implement the 13 steps on nuclear disarmament of the 2002 NPT Review Conference.

Real progress in disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation was not possible without the political will of the international community, she said. In scrupulous compliance with disarmament instruments, recognized in the NPT in its article VI, the particular responsibility of nuclear States was a constant imperative. The verification system offered technologies that could be used for peaceful purposes, such as in the area of the environment and seismic activities. In that regard, she thanked the Provisional Technical Secretariat for its cooperation during the terrible earthquake in her country on 21 May.

TOUFIQ ALI (Bangladesh), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country had ratified the Treaty in 2000 and had made a conscious decision to become party to almost all major international instruments pertaining to disarmament. The nuclear capability of its two neighbours was a matter of concern, but he was encouraged by their decision to impose a moratorium on further nuclear testing. However, such a unilateral restrictive measure could not be a substitute for an international regime.

He said the resolve of the international community to free the world from nuclear weapons was even greater today. Measures to promote early entry into force, as contained in the draft Final Declaration, should be actively pursued by all member States. He encouraged bilateral, regional and multilateral initiatives to attain that objective. His country supported the development of the International Monitoring System, he said. When completed, the verification regime would represent a most comprehensive work for attaining the objective of the CTBT.

RENAUD MUSELIER, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of France, associated himself with the EU statement. He said that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and regional crises were growing threats to international peace and security. Far from discouraging the world or pushing it towards fatalism, those new challenges should increase the determination of States to work for the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime.

Collective security and strategic stability were being called into question by the efforts of some countries to create their own national arsenals of massive destructive power, he said. A universal efficient verification system was being established, considerably reinforcing the capacity of States to detect the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The International Monitoring System could also provide a precise and viable tool to measure natural geological phenomena, he said.

ENIO CORDEIRO (Brazil) said his country could not fail to express deep concern at the lack of progress in the implementation of the 13 steps on nuclear disarmament agreed upon at the 2002 NPT Review Conference, and was dismayed by the fact that certain countries were now reneging on those commitments, particularly with respect to the early entry into force of the CTBT, the irreversibility of arms reduction measures and the unequivocal commitment to achieve total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. His country was further disturbed by the signs of complacency with regard to continued nuclear proliferation outside the provisions of the NPT. He also expressed concern with the possible consequences of one country's withdrawal from the NPT, and with the unresolved questions regarding another country's safeguards obligations.

He said his country was, moreover, concerned with the fact that the costly completion of the International Monitoring System was advancing at a much faster pace than the prospect for the Treaty to enter into force. The verification regime to be established by the Preparatory Commission should operate only as required for maintenance and testing purposes. As there could be no formal verification regime without legally binding obligations in force under the Treaty, it was undesirable that the monitoring system be brought to full operation before the Treaty entered into force.

AFIF HENDAOUI (Tunisia) endorsed the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. He reaffirmed his country's full attachment to the CTBTO as an instrument for the promotion of international peace and security.

Tunisia also welcomed the progress made in its relations with the Preparatory Commission as well as with the Provisional Technical Secretariat, he said. That had facilitated helpful cooperation, notably in the establishment of two seismic monitoring stations in the Tunisian region of Thala. Concluding, he reiterated his country's full support for the entry into force of the CTBT, which Tunisia signed in 1996 and the ratification of which was under way.

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