Media Advisory - United Nations: Foreign Ministers to call for an end to all nuclear testing
Vienna, 24 September 2015
On 29 September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will open a ministerial-level conference to promote the entry into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty that bans all nuclear explosive testing. The so-called Article XIV conference, named after the relevant treaty article, will be chaired by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan and Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov of Kazakhstan. CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo will address the conference. Foreign Ministers and other high-level representatives from the 183 States Signatories to the CTBT including EU High Representative Federica Mogherini – who is also one of several members of the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) in attendance – will participate in the conference at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Time & venue
Tuesday, 29 September 2015, from 10.00 at UN Headquarters, New York, Conference Room 1 (Conference Building), see agenda (PDF). The Conference is open to accredited media and to non-governmental organizations.
- Photo op at the opening of the conference, Tuesday, 29 September 2015, 09.55, UN Headquarters, Conference Room 1 (Conference Building).
- Interviews opportunities with CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, and other high-level participants throughout the day.
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Key participants’ views on the nuclear test-ban
Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister of Japan
The CTBT has gone a long way in the de facto prohibition of nuclear testing. While the CTBTO is carrying out its mandate, however, only the CTBT's entry into force will create a legally binding international ban on all forms of nuclear explosions. […] Our two countries [Japan and Kazakhstan] are natural allies in the fight against nuclear testing, and we are fully committed to leading international efforts to achieve the Treaty's entry into force.
Erlan Idrissov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan
The tests, which took place between 1949 and 1989, had the combined explosive power of 2,500 atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima…A generation later, deaths, deformities, and cancer from radiation remain all too common in this region. My home town Karkalinsk, some 400 kilometres west of the test site, has not been spared.
Lassina Zerbo, CTBTO Executive Secretary
From 1945 up to the opening for signature of the CTBT in 1996, this world endured well in excess of 2,000 nuclear explosions. As with the Hibakusha of Japan, there are witnesses and victims of nuclear testing who can help us understand the human and environmental cost. 2016 will mark twenty years since the CTBT was opened for signature. The twentieth anniversary of the Treaty will be the time to tear away the abstract and make the nuclear test ban real. Recent events have shown that, with determination and collaboration, States can take giant leaps in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
Members of the CTBT Group of Eminent Persons (GEM)
Nobuyasu Abe, Commissioner, Japan Atomic Energy Commission
We need to bring the Treaty into force as soon as possible to put the world firmly on the road towards the elimination of nuclear weapons, to prevent the proliferation of such weapons until then, and to drastically inhibit the upgrading of nuclear weapons by those who already have them.
Lord Desmond Browne, Former UK Secretary of Defence
The world now has the technical ability to identify any activity that would be a breach of the Treaty – and to get there, the [Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization] CTBTO has built a network of unheralded and enviable engagement among countries…It’s time to be honest about that and remove the word “preparatory” from its name.
Angela Kane, Former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
I am convinced that a legally binding ban on nuclear tests will also bring us considerably closer to outlawing and eliminating nuclear arms altogether. Weapons that are illegal to test should also be illegal to possess.
Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
The nuclear deal signed with Iran in Vienna, Austria, …shows that nothing is impossible if there is enough political will…Now I believe that the entry into force of the CTBT is truly within reach.
Side event: Art for the test-ban
The art project “Against Nuclear Testing – for World Peace” aims to use the universal language of art and artistic expression to raise awareness of the threat of nuclear testing (catalogue [PDF]). A selection of artworks by artists from Austria, China, Kazakhstan, and the United States will be displayed on the margins of the conference on the 3rd floor of the Conference Building (outside Trusteeship Council chamber). The exhibition will be officially opened on Tuesday 29 September 2015 at 13.15 in the presence of some of the artists.
Media representatives wishing to cover the conference who are not already accredited to the UN in New York must apply for media accreditation through the electronic application system. Media are restricted to observing the conference from the booths or the mezzanine floor (entrance to both on 1st floor).
Media Accreditation & Liaison Unit (MALU)
Tal Mekel, Acting Head, Media Accreditation & Liaison Unit,
United Nations Headquarters, Room L-248
New York NY 10017, USA
T: (1-212) 963 6934 or 963 6937
The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions, thus hampering both the initial development of nuclear weapons as well as significant enhancements (h-bomb). The Treaty also helps prevent damage caused by nuclear testing to humans and the environment.
The CTBT has so far been signed by 183 States and ratified by 164 (map). Its entry-into-force formula stipulates that 44 particular “nuclear technology holder” States need to ratify for it to enter into force. Eight of them have yet to ratify: China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States (China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have already signed the Treaty).
The Treaty contains a special mechanism to promote its entry into force – a conference designed to facilitate this objective takes place every other year. While its official designation is the Conference on Facilitating Entry into Force of the CTBT, it is more commonly known as the “Article XIV conference” in accordance with the relevant Treaty article. The 2015 conference is the ninth of its kind.
A verification regime to monitor the globe for nuclear explosions is nearing completion with around 90 percent of the 337 planned International Monitoring System facilities already in operation. The system has proved its capabilities to detect even small nuclear tests during the announced DPRK nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
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