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1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
2. Today, at this High-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on the occasion of the International Day against Nuclear Tests, we recall that the cessation of all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions, by constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, constitutes an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects.
3. This session is an opportunity to highlight the need for entry into force and universalisation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is reaffirmed through UNSC Resolution 2310. The fact that the Treaty is not yet in force is deeply disturbing, and this situation must be rectified. We urge all States which have yet to sign or ratify the CTBT, in particular the eight remaining Annex 2 States, to do so without further delay. Pending entry into force of the CTBT, we call on all States to refrain from conducting any action contrary to the object and purpose of the Treaty. In this context, we look forward to the upcoming Friends of the CTBT Ministerial meeting on 27 September in the margins of the high-level segment of the UN General Assembly, and encourage and anticipate progress on signatures and ratifications of the Treaty. We welcome that Thailand has completed its internal legal process to ratify the CTBT and with the deposition of the instrument to the UNSG, Thailand will become the 167th State Party to the Treaty.
4. In line with several UNSC Resolutions we once again call upon on all states to refrain from conducting nuclear test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.
5. The CTBTO's response to the six nuclear tests conducted by the DPRK has demonstrated its invaluable role in quickly providing reliable and independent data, something that no single country alone could do, enabling the international community to react appropriately and swiftly. The recent inter-Korean high-level talks, the Panmunjom Declaration, and the Joint Statement after the Summit in Singapore between the US and the DPRK are positive steps that can contribute to easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The EU urges the DPRK to engage seriously in the follow-on negotiations and to take concrete steps to embark on a credible path towards a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation and maintain its declared suspension of testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Until the DPRK does take these concrete actions, we will continue to strictly enforce existing sanctions. We urge the DPRK to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay, giving legal effect to the suspension of nuclear tests and to the statement by the DPRK on their interest to "join the international desire and efforts for the total halt to the nuclear test".
6. The EU, as a strong supporter of the international nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, hopes that the positive momentum will bring about tangible progress leading to the verifiable closure of the DPRK’s nuclear test sites. This verification could benefit from relevant technical assistance, potentially including CTBTO expertise.
7. The response of the International Monitoring System and the International Data Centre to the DPRK's nuclear tests confirmed that their capabilities are nearing full maturity. We therefore reiterate our full confidence in the CTBT's verification regime, which has demonstrated its ability to provide independent and reliable data that will help to deter non-compliance with the Treaty once it enters into force, and respond to threats to international peace and security. We urge all States Signatories to build all their stations and transmit their data without delay. We recognize that even absent entry into force of the Treaty the monitoring and analytical elements of the verification regime are at the disposal of the international community in conformity with the Treaty and under the guidance of the Preparatory Commission, and that such elements contribute to regional stability as a confidence building measure, and strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.
8. All EU Member States have signed and ratified the Treaty. Promoting universalisation and prompt entry into force of the CTBT is a top priority for the EU. The commitment of the EU is underscored by our 7th voluntary contribution of over 4.5 million Euros, approved earlier this year, placing us among the most significant financial contributors to the CTBTO, thus enhancing verification technologies and funding capacity building and outreach activities of the CTBTO. The EU and its Member States also contribute to the maintenance and strengthening of the CTBT verification regime through the provision of technical support and advice at Working Group B and other workshops and seminars.
9. Regular financial contributions of our Member States to the Organisation amount to roughly 40% of its total annual budget. We would like to remind State Signatories that paying assessed contributions is not optional, and the failure to do so amounts to non-compliance with the Resolution establishing the Preparatory Commission. It is essential to provide appropriate funding to all verification activities to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the verification system established by the Preparatory Commission.
10. The International Day against Nuclear Tests highlights the urgency of entry into force of this Treaty, not only as a political imperative but also as a concrete contribution to further strengthening international peace and security.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.