I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Today, sixteen years following the adoption of the CTBT in September 2006, the General Assembly marks again the International Day against Nuclear Tests observed on 29 August, as established by resolution A/RES/64/35. The EU continues to attach the greatest importance to the entry into force – as soon as possible – of the CTBT, the universality of the Treaty and the completion of its verification regime. All the EU Member States signed and ratified the Treaty. We are pleased that the CTBT was reconfirmed as being a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, while the objectives related to the CTBT are part of the Action Plan agreed upon at that Conference. During the NPT Preparatory Committee held earlier this year, the importance of the entry into force of the CTBT – which remains a strategic priority to the EU and is vital to the NPT – was once more highlighted.
Since the opening for signature of the Treaty, the EU has continuously provided strong political support to the CTBT. We welcome the latest ratifications by the Central African Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Guinea, Guatemala and Indonesia. They are all important. More than that, we are very pleased to see an Annex II country assuming the responsibility of ratifying the Treaty, which makes a difference in the ratification process compared to last year. We are encouraged by these developments and continue to stress that even more efforts are needed in order to significantly move things ahead. We have intensified our engagement by promoting a substantive political dialogue with countries that still need to sign or ratify the Treaty. In the meantime, the EU continues to actively work with the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the CTBTO Preparatory Committee, as well as bilaterally and multilaterally together with all States Parties to the Treaty so that more positive developments could be stimulated. We are looking forward to the upcoming CTBT Ministerial Meeting, to be held in three-week time from now, hoping to hear more good news from other countries ready and able to commit on the ratification path so that the entry into force of the Treaty could become a reality.
In parallel with its political efforts, the EU has continued to provide significant financial assistance to the CTBTO. That assistance has constantly increased over the past years. Since 2006, we have contributed with more than EUR 10 million for the strengthening of the CTBT monitoring and verification system. We are pleased to note that the implementation of the EU Council Joint Action 2008/588/CFSP was completed last June. The EU Council Decision 2010/461/CFSP, currently being implemented, covers aspects related to the improvement of the operation and sustainability of the auxiliary seismic stations network of the CTBT International Monitoring System, the strengthening of the cooperation with the scientific community, the technical assistance provided to various countries and on-site inspections. The EU is determined to maintain its support in order to contribute to the improvement of the relevant CTBTO capabilities and to ensure the credibility and visibility of the Treaty and its Organisation. A new Council Decision is already being negotiated, and – once approved – the EU will be able to provide even more financial support to the CTBTO.
Over the past couple of years, no nuclear test has been conducted. This is reassuring. Pending the entry into force of the CTBT, the EU continues to underpin the moratorium on nuclear test explosions, voluntarily observed also by several States that have not yet ratified the Treaty, and calls on all States to comply with such a moratorium and to refrain from conducting any action contrary to the obligations and provisions of the Treaty. In addition, the EU urges all States that have nuclear testing facilities to dismantle all of these in a transparent process open to the international community. In this regard, the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, as well as the complete and irreversible dismantlement, in an open and transparent manner, of the French Pacific Test Centre Site, continue to serve as highly significant examples.
Such good examples are encouraging but not sufficient. They need to be followed by other similar actions, as well as by the adoption of a legal instrument to demonstrate the full commitment of the whole international community to permanently ban all nuclear explosive tests, and which would constitute – at the same time – a powerful confidence building instrument. The CTBT is an indispensable tool in our fight to stop the spread of nuclear weapons around the world, and the EU strongly believes that the early entry into force of this Treaty is of utmost urgency and importance, not only a political and moral imperative but also a concrete contribution to further strengthen international peace and security.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.