- Check against delivery –
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
2. This High-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on the occasion of the International Day against Nuclear Tests is an opportunity to again highlight the need for entry into force and universalisation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is a top priority for the EU.
3. The CTBT is one of the key pillars of the international disarmament and non-proliferation architecture contributing to global peace and security. The Treaty’s strong legitimacy and vital importance for our collective security is pointed out in UN Security Council Resolution 2310 and the annual UN General Assembly resolutions relating to the CTBT. The EU will continue to rally support for the CTBT and the CTBTO in all relevant multilateral fora, including at the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We also encourage engagement with civil society to promote the CTBT, and in this context, we commend the work of the CTBTO Youth Group.
4. As this year marks the 25th anniversary of the CTBT’s opening for signature, we urge all States to strive for the Treaty’s entry into force, and work constructively towards an early consensus on the draft ministerial declaration for adoption by the Article XIV Conference in New York on 23 September 2021. This event provides a platform to engage at political level with the remaining Annex II States: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and the US that still have to ratify the Treaty and the DPRK, India and Pakistan that still have to sign and ratify it in order to bring it into force. The EU strongly encourages high-level attendance by all States to the Article XIV Conference, and urges non-ratifying countries to step up their efforts before the upcoming NPT Review Conference.
5. EU Member States have done their part by ratifying the Treaty years ago and will continue to call upon the remaining countries to do the same without any preconditions or further delay. We welcome the latest ratifications by Cuba and the Union of Comoros, increasing the number of ratifications to 170. In the meantime, it is also crucial that all States fully observe the moratorium on nuclear test explosions and other nuclear explosions and refrain from any actions contrary to the object and purpose of the Treaty.
6. The EU urges the DPRK to embark on a credible path towards a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation and to immediately comply with all relevant UNSC resolutions. In particular, the EU encourages the DPRK to further engage in meaningful discussions with all relevant parties to achieve lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. We call on the DPRK to give effect to its stated intention to end nuclear testing by signing and ratifying the CTBT. The EU hopes for tangible progress leading to the complete, verifiable and irreversible closure of the DPRK’s nuclear test sites. In this context, the CTBTO and its expertise could make an important contribution.
7. Following the DPRK's nuclear tests the CTBTO demonstrated its invaluable role in quickly providing reliable and independent data, enabling the international community to respond appropriately and swiftly. The CTBTO has provided the world with a truly global, hi-tech monitoring system for nuclear explosions – something that no single country could do.
8. The EU reiterates its confidence in the CTBT's verification regime and looks forward to the completion of the International Monitoring System (IMS). We recognise the deterrence effect against non-compliance with the Treaty and the ability to respond to threats to international peace and security that it provides. The EU and its Member States commend the CTBTO Preparatory Commission and the States Signatories for their demonstrated commitment to keeping the verification regime working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
9. We urge all States Signatories that still have to establish stations to co-operate with the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) to that effect and relevant States Signatories to assist in this process. With IMS construction ongoing for over 20 years, there is no excuse for further delay in certifying and operating all stations. EU Member States are currently operating 44 stations of the IMS network.
10. In addition to the CTBT’s obvious contribution to international peace and security, the CTBTO's Integrated Capacity Building assists States in using IMS data for civil and scientific applications and research associated with Treaty-related verification technologies, including tsunami and volcanic ash cloud warning. To make best use of our collective investment, the EU advocates fully exploiting potential benefits of civil and scientific applications of IMS data and financially supports capacity building for developing countries in this regard.
11. However, the CTBTO can only carry out its mandatory functions, if provided with the necessary funding to support the completion and the sustainability of these tools. We therefore call upon all concerned States to honour their financial obligations and step up their political support for the CTBT and the CTBTO.
12. Since 2006, the EU has provided the CTBTO with voluntary contributions of more than 29.5 million Euro to fund a variety of technical projects to strengthen the verification regime and build capacity in developing countries. The EU's eighth consecutive voluntary contribution amounting to 6.3 million Euro entered into force on 1 December 2020, thus ensuring the EU’s longstanding support for the CTBTO’s monitoring and verification capabilities and the uninterrupted implementation of ongoing activities. We look forward to closely cooperating with the Executive Secretary, Dr Robert Floyd, and assure him of our full support in our collective efforts to promote the universalisation of the CTBT and its entry into force as well as regarding the continued development of the verification regime.
13. As a further sign of our commitment, the EU has become a supporter of 10 actions on the UN Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament, including on promoting the entry into force of the CTBT. EU Members States have consecutively assumed responsibility as co-coordinators for the biennial conference to promote the entry into force of the CTBT, pursuant to Article XIV of the Treaty. We will continue to use every opportunity to call for the CTBT’s prompt entry into force and universalization in all relevant international fora and to actively and persistently advocate for the signing and ratification of the CTBT in meetings with the countries that have not yet signed or ratified the Treaty, notably the Annex-II countries.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.