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Joint Ministerial Statement on the CTBT, September 20, 2006

Joint Ministerial Statement on CTBT Presented in New York at the United Nations by Fifty-Nine Foreign Ministers, Co-Chairs Australia, Canada, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, September 20, 2006.

See also: Statement by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, September 20, 2006.


September 20, 2006, New York

1. We, the Foreign Ministers who have issued this statement, reaffirm our Support for the Comprehensive Nuclear- Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would rid the world of nuclear weapons test explosions and would contribute to systematic and progressive reduction of nuclear weapons and the prevention of nuclear proliferation.

2. In this year marking the 10th anniversary of the Treaty's opening for signature, we emphasize that the CTBT is a major instrument in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The Treaty was an integral part of the 1995 agreements by the States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allowing the indefinite extension of the Treaty. The early entry into force of the CTBT was recognized at the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT as a practical step to achieving NPT nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation objectives, and has also been reaffirmed as being of central importance by the UN General Assembly.

3. We recall the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, that adopted in September 2005 a declaration stating that participating states would "spare no efforts and use all avenues open to us in conformity with international law to encourage further signature and ratification of the Treaty" and deciding on a set of measures to progress towards this goal.

4. We affirm that the CTBT will make an important contribution towards preventing the proliferation of materials, technologies and knowledge that can be used for nuclear weapons, one of the most important challenges the world is facing today. Thus, the entry into force of the Treaty, within the broader framework of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, is more urgent today than ever before. Progress on this issue would also contribute to a positive outcome of the preparatory process for the 2010 Review Conference of the NPT, which will start in the spring of 2007.

5. We welcome that the CTBT has achieved near universal adherence with signature by 176 State and ratification by 135 States as of today. Of the 44 States whose ratification is necessary for the entry into force of the Treaty, ten have yet to do so. We call upon all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without delay, in particular those whose ratification is needed for its entry into force. We recognise the extensive range of bilateral and joint outreach efforts by signatories and ratifiers to encourage and assist States which have not yet signed and ratified the treaty. We commit ourselves individually and together to make the Treaty a focus of attention at the highest political levels and to take measures to facilitate the signature and ratification process. We support the efforts by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear- Test -Ban Treaty Organization to facilitate such process by providing legal and technical information and advice.

6. We call upon all States to continue a moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions. Voluntary adherence to such a moratorium is of the highest importance, but does not have the same permanent and legally binding effect as the entry into force of the Treaty. We reaffirm our commitment to the Treaty's basic obligations and call on all States to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the Treaty pending its entry into force.

7. We welcome the progress made in building up all elements of the verification regime, which shall be capable of verifying compliance with the Treaty at its entry into force. We will continue to provide the support required to complete and to operate the verification regime in the most efficient and cost-effective way. We will also promote technical cooperation to enhance verification capabilities under the CTBT.

8. In addition to its primary function, the CTBT verification system will bring scientific and civil benefits, including for tsunami warning systems and possibly other disaster alert systems, through civil and scientific applications of waveform and radionuclide technologies and use of the data. We will continue to seek ways to ensure that these benefits will be broadly shared by the international community.

9. We appeal to all States to make maximum efforts toward the early entry into force of the CTBT. On our part we dedicate ourselves to realizing this goal.

Source: Arms Control Association, http://www.armscontroltoday.org.

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Press Conference on Meeting of Friends of Comprehensive Nuclear-Teat-Ban Treaty, September 20, 2006

The ministerial meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty had served as a "wake-up call" for those States that had yet to sign and ratify the instrument, a legal commitment that would provide the essential pillar of non-proliferation, Bernard Bot, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, said this morning.

At a Headquarters press conference on the meeting, Mr. Bot and his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer, urged the remaining States to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. They were accompanied by Shintaro Ito, Japan's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs.

"We have come a long way", Mr. Bot noted, as he called for all States to do their utmost to "make our common goal of entry into force a reality". Seventy-six States had already signed, and an additional 135 had ratified the treaty. The Treaty's verification system, now in development, would provide scientific and civil benefits, notably tsunami-warning systems.

Mr. Downer said the Government of Australia was honoured to co-chair this morning's ministerial meeting, as the country had brought the Treaty to the General Assembly in 1996. A strong supporter of the Treaty ever since, Australia was glad to see that the number of signatures and ratifications had increased, with Viet Nam having signed in the last year.

The voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing was "insufficient", and the risk of nuclear-weapons testing, particularly by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, was ever-present, he added. "In an era where we remain very concerned about nuclear proliferation, and in particular proliferation to terrorists, the CTBT remains a very important component of the non-proliferation regime."

Mr. Ito emphasized his country's first-hand experience of the incomparable human suffering caused by a nuclear attack, saying Japan had exerted great efforts to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. Though the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty had a considerable deterrent effect, the situation was still unsatisfactory.

Responding to a question about Iran's nuclear intentions and whether the international response had been delayed, Mr. Bot said the European Union had decided to continue with a "twin-track approach", involving dialogue as well as the possibility of sanctions. Mr. Downer, however, said it was impossible to allow indefinite defiance of the Security Council. Iran, which had yet to meet any of its obligations to date, would have to face sanctions if no resolution was reached.

Asked about the nuclear deal between the United States and India, Mr. Bot noted that the United States Congress had not yet approved it, but, if passed, it should be in harmony with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Mr. Downer added that the Australian Government was prepared to support the deal, but welcomed the possibility of the United States and India agreeing to sign the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. So far, however, there had been no indication that either country wished to do that.

Source: United Nations website, http://www.un.org.

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Statement by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Secretary-General welcomes launch of Ministerial Statement supporting Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; Urges ratification by key states, Secretary-General, SG/SM/10648, DC/3044, L/T/4398, September 20, 2006.

Following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the launching of the Third Joint Ministerial Statement of support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), delivered today in New York by Nobuaki Tanaka, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs:

I welcome the launching of the third Joint Ministerial Statement of support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on this, the tenth anniversary of the treaty's opening for signature.

Each additional signature of this treaty will bring the world closer to achieving its longstanding goal of outlawing all nuclear tests, thereby advancing both nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Far-reaching verification provisions under the Treaty will contribute to ensuring full compliance with the test ban.

Although there is an international norm against nuclear testing and continuing moratoria on testing, I am concerned that the treaty has yet to enter into force. Indeed, no one can guarantee that nuclear testing might one day resume, particularly when the modernization of weapons continues. Moreover, a resumption of nuclear testing by one State could well lead to a single cascade of States seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, but also, a variety of cascades, with other States conducting their own nuclear tests, additional States acquiring nuclear devices, and existing nuclear-weapon States racing to expand or improve their nuclear capabilities. Avoidance of such a series of events is a mission we must pursue with the utmost urgency.

At the fourth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT, which I convened in New York in September 2005 in my capacity as Depositary of the Treaty, the ratifying and signatory States reaffirmed the importance of the Treaty and its early entry into force. Three months later, an overwhelming majority in the United Nations General Assembly again adopted a resolution stressing the importance and urgency of new signatures and ratifications of this treaty.

The CTBT has now been signed by 176 States, and 135 States have ratified it. Of the 44 States identified in the Treaty's annex II, whose ratifications are required for the Treaty to enter into force, 34 have done so. I urge all such States that have not yet ratified the treaty to do so, and I call upon all other States to work on behalf of this goal.

This meeting is well timed to generate renewed momentum for bringing the CTBT into force. All States, indeed all peoples, will benefit from the success of your efforts, and I thank you for your commitment.

Source: United Nations website, http://www.un.org.

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© 2006 The Acronym Institute.