European Union External Action

Conference on Disarmament - EU Statement on the occasion of the visit of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO)

Geneva, 30/07/2019 - 15:03, UNIQUE ID: 190730_10
Statements on behalf of the EU

Conference on Disarmament Geneva, 30 July 2019 EU Statement on the occasion of the visit of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO)

Mr. President,

I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this statement.

At the outset, I would like to express the EU’s deepest condolences to the relatives of IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and to the IAEA staff and commemorate his legacy.

We are delighted to welcome Executive Secretary Dr. Lassina Zerbo to the Conference on Disarmament and would like to commend him for the outstanding work of the CTBTO Provisional Secretariat which the EU continues to support politically and financially.

The CTBT, negotiated in this Chamber, is one of the key pillars of the international disarmament and non-proliferation architecture contributing to global peace and security. Although the Treaty has yet to enter into force, it has established a de facto norm against nuclear testing, as demonstrated by the fact that only the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has conducted nuclear tests in the 21st century. The Treaty’s strong legitimacy and vital importance for our collective security is manifested in the annual UN General Assembly resolutions. The EU will continue to voice support for the CTBT and the CTBTO in multilateral fora, including at the 2020 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The efforts to promote the entry into force and facilitate signature and ratification of the CTBT remain a priority. All EU Member States have ratified the CTBT and are abiding by its obligations. We reiterate our call on all States that have not yet done so, in particular those listed in Annex II, notably China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States, to sign and ratify the CTBT without any preconditions or further delay. In the meantime, we call on all States to abide by a moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosion, and to refrain from any action that would defeat the object and purpose of the Treaty. We call on the DPRK to give effect to its stated intention to end nuclear testing by signing and ratifying the CTBT. Following the DPRK’s nuclear tests, the quick, reliable and independent data provided by the CTBTO enabled the international community to respond appropriately and swiftly. In this context, the CTBTO and its expertise could make an important contribution to the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation. We welcome the latest ratification by Zimbabwe - the incoming President of the Conference on Disarmament - increasing the number of ratifications to 168.

We appreciate the work carried out by Belgium and Iraq as the outgoing Article XIV co-ordinators to promote the Treaty’s entry into force, and look forward to working together with Algeria and Germany as the incoming Article XIV co-ordinators to conclude a strong Final Declaration at the next Article XIV Conference in New York on 25 September 2019. We encourage all States, signatory and non-signatory alike, to attend the Article XIV Conference at the highest political level. We encourage the PTS to continue to pro-actively promote the CTBT and join forces with civil society. In this context, we applaud the work of the CTBTO Youth Group.

The EU reiterates its full confidence in the CTBT's verification regime to ensure that a nuclear test explosion anywhere on the planet would be detected. The CTBTO has provided the world with a truly global, hi-tech monitoring system for nuclear explosions – something that no single country alone would be able to do. It has demonstrated its ability to provide independent and reliable data that helps deter non-compliance with the Treaty and respond to threats to international peace and security.

We welcome that the network of the International Monitoring System (IMS) is nearing completion and urge all States Signatories that still have to establish stations to co-operate with the PTS to that effect and relevant States Signatories to assist this process. The installation, certification as well as operation of all stations prior to entry into force of the Treaty is imperative. We note that problems with data availability and data quality at some IMS stations persist and invite the hosting States to address the issues without delay. With IMS construction ongoing for over 20 years, there is no excuse for further delay in certifying and operating all stations.

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 and the International Data Centre (IDC) supports 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 supports and contributes to developing countries benefitting from such CTBTO services. We look back with satisfaction on the CTBT: Science and Technology Conference, the largest scientific conference on CTBT verification technologies and their spin-off benefits for disaster warning and science, which took place from 24 to 29 June 2019. We would like to thank the PTS for the organization of this successful event and stress the importance of ongoing cooperation of the CTBTO with scientists worldwide.

However, maintaining a highly sophisticated verification system, including further development of on-site inspection operational capabilities, and related capacity-building activities require substantial financial input. 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.

Since 2006, the EU has provided the CTBTO with voluntary contributions of more than 23 million Euros to fund a variety of technical projects to strengthen the verification regime and build capacity in developing countries. On 26 February 2018, a new EU Council Decision was adopted, worth more than 4.5 million Euros, in order to continue the EU’s longstanding support for the strengthening of the CTBTO’s monitoring and verification capabilities.

As a further sign of our commitment, the EU has decided to become a supporter of four actions on the UN Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament, including on promoting the entry into force of the CTBT. We will continue to use every opportunity to advocate the CTBT’s prompt entry into force and universalization in relevant international fora and in meetings with countries that have not yet signed or ratified the Treaty.

Thank you, Mr. President


* North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.