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, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
The EU would like to thank the organisers for having convened this important meeting. We would also like to congratulate Australia for having been elected as the Chair of the Sixth CTBT Ministerial Meeting.
The EU would like to reconfirm that the entry into force and universalisation of the CTBT are strategic priorities to us. All the EU Member States ratified the Treaty, and we remain strongly committed – both politically and financially – to pursuing the achievement of these important objectives, reaffirmed at the NPT Preparatory Committee held earlier this year in Vienna.
The EU has strengthened its efforts to provide full support to the CTBT. We are extremely encouraged by all the recent ratifications, in particular by Indonesia, who is an Annex 2 state. Our Member States have recently adopted revised guidance for further promoting the entry into force of the Treaty. We use every opportunity to insist on the CTBT ratification in relevant international fora and meetings with countries that have not yet signed or ratified the Treaty. We have very recently conducted political demarches to promote the entry into force of the Treaty in those countries, and we have received many encouraging messages. All our interlocutors expressed support for the CTBT principles, and most of them are committed to ratify the Treaty. Some still need to be persuaded of the value added of the CTBT, as compared to various existing regional arrangements, while others are waiting for Annex 2 countries to ratify first. We will be very pleased to hear, on this occasion, from more countries to commit to ratify in the foreseeable future. The EU will continue to actively work with the CTBTO, as well as bilaterally and multilaterally together with all States Parties to the Treaty, to stimulate more positive developments. The Joint Ministerial Statement that will be adopted today is reassuring in view of our future common endeavours. We would also like to thank Ambassador Tibor Tóth for his extremely valuable work as Executive Secretary, and express hope that his successor will productively build on what has been achieved so far.
The EU financial commitment is equally important and reconfirms our political efforts. Through its Joint Actions and Council Decisions, the EU has provided the CTBTO with more than 10 million EUR and is one of the biggest contributors to the CTBTO International Monitoring System. We are working on a significant additional financial support to the Organisation, to be adopted by the EU Council before the end of this year.
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.