Executive Secretary visits Central
America and the Caribbean

Mr Wolfgang Hoffmann, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, has just completed a ten day visit to Central America and the Caribbean. The Executive Secretary visited Guatemala, Haiti and Jamaica.

In Guatemala from 22 to 27 November 2002, Mr Hoffmann met with Ambassador Ramiro Ord??ez Jonama, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Urbano Franco Cabrera, Chairman of the External Relations Committee, Congress of the Republic, and Deputy Carlos Rosales Rom?n, a member of the Opposition in the Congress of the Republic. The Vice-Minister and Deputy expressed their support for the national process of ratification of the Treaty. The Executive Secretary also undertook a visit to the National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology.

An International Monitoring System Facility Agreement was signed during the visit to Guatemala on 26 November 2002 by the Executive Secretary and H.E. Juan Francisco Reyes L?pez, Acting President of the Republic of Guatemala, at the Presidential House. The Facility Agreement regulates the conduct of activities and post-certification activities at the International Monitoring System auxiliary seismic station (AS037) in El Apazote, and authorizes the Commission to carry out necessary work on the facility.

In Haiti, the Executive Secretary met with Mr Joseph Philippe Antonio, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Vice-Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies to discuss ratification of the Treaty, cooperation activities and the accreditation of an Ambassador to the CTBTO. Mr. Hoffmann also met Mr Harry Clinton, Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications, and offered support to Haiti in establishing its national data centre.

In Jamaica, Mr Hoffmann met Mr K. D. Knight, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is responsible for international agreements. Mr Hoffmann also toured the Earthquake Unit and International Centre for Environment and Nuclear Sciences at the University of the West Indies.

Also in Jamaica, on 3 December, the Executive Secretary spoke at the opening session of the Workshop on CTBTO International Cooperation and National Implementation. This international cooperation workshop is being hosted jointly by the Government of Jamaica and the Preparatory Commission. The workshop focuses on enhancing understanding of the Treaty and assessing national implementation needs, promoting cooperation among States in the region, and considering the possible civil and scientific benefits of the CTBT technologies. Representatives from 17 States in the region are attending.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans all nuclear weapon test explosions. Drafted at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, and opened for signature on 24 September 1996, the Treaty must be ratified by 44 named States before it can enter into force.

*******************

The 97 States that have deposited their instruments of ratification of the CTBT are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Latvia, Lao People?s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

For further information on the CTBTO, please see www.ctbto.org or contact:
Annika Thunborg, Chief, Public Information  
T    +43 1 26030-6375  
E    annika.thunborgping@ctbtopong.org
M    +43 699 1459 6375       
I    www.ctbto.org