Stephen Smith, Australia's Foreign Minister, will encourage other nations in the Asia Pacific to sign up to the Treaty and to ratify it.

Vienna, 17 February 2010

There’s more Australia can do to win support from countries in the Asia Pacific region for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Stephen Smith, its Foreign Minister told a Vienna press conference today (Wednesday).

“One of the conversations that we have had is how Australia can persistently encourage other nations in our region and in the Asia Pacific to sign up to the Treaty and to ratify (it).”Smith told reporters after a meeting with Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Vienna based Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

“Of course we see the CTBT as one of the most fundamental things that the global community can do to reach the ultimate objective of abolition of nuclear weapons.” Australia takes very seriously its “role as a country deeply committed to nuclear non-proliferation and to disarmament,” Smith said.

Nine so-called Annex 2 countries that were nuclear technology holders at the time the Treaty was drafted, China, the DPRK, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the USA, have still to ratify the Treaty before it enters into force.  The Treaty has been ratified by 151 countries and 182 have signed it.

Tóth said he wants to see the number of states that have ratified the Treaty increase to 160. Support for the Treaty is making it a universal norm and expectations are “loud and clear.”

Smith said he and Tóth also discussed how the CTBTO monitoring system also provides humanitarian benefits such as early warning for tsunamis.

Tóth told the press conference Australia was “a superpower for nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation,” because of its historical investment in peace. After the United States and Russian Federation, it is the country with the highest number of monitoring facilities in the CTBTO network of 337 seismic, infrasound, hydroacoustic and radionuclide stations around the world.

Links to audio from the press conference available here: http://www.ctbto.org/index.php?id=2455

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