Executive Secretary of CTBTO Preparatory
Commission urges States to
sign and ratify the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on
the occasion of the 59th session
of the United Nations General Assembly

PI/2004/23

Wolfgang Hoffmann, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, today addressed the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The CTBTO Preparatory Commission reports to the UNGA every second year.

In his statement, the Executive Secretary informed the General Assembly that since its adoptionin 1996 the Treaty has been signed by a total of 173 States and ratified by 119 States, including 33 of the 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty whose ratification is required for it to enter into force. Since October 2003 four States have signed (Eritrea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania) and fourteen States have ratified (Bahrain, Belize, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, the Sudan, Togo, Tunisia and the United Republic of Tanzania), including one of the Annex 2 States (the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

"The increasing number of States committing themselves to a complete ban of nuclear explosions should not lead to complacency. 11 States whose ratification is necessary for entry into force of the Treaty have for various reasons not yet done so," said the Executive Secretary. "I am therefore particularly encouraged by the Joint Ministerial Statement on the CTBT, initiated by Australia, Finland, Japan and the Netherlands and adopted on 23 September 2004. It is another example demonstrating the support of States to bring about entry into force of the CTBT, reinforcing the concrete measures to promote signature and ratification of the Treaty that were agreed by the 2003 Article XIV Conference and are being pursued in the Conference follow-up process."

The Executive Secretary highlighted the Commission's position that it is of great importance for the General Assembly to be kept abreast of the rapid development of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission. In times of increasing concern about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the reports of organizations specialized in this field should be of particular relevance to the deliberations of the General Assembly. He underlined the point with reference to the disarmament-related issues in the Millennium Declaration.

He also provided an overview of ongoing activities in the establishment of the CTBT's global verification regime. Delegates were informed that progress in the build up of the International Monitoring System was good, the establishment oftheworldwide network comprising 321 seismic, radionuclide, hydroacoustic and infrasound monitoring stations and16 radionuclide laboratories was steadily progressing and that over 55% of the stations were now operational. "We are confident that the network can be completed within the next three to four years," he stated. "The current phase of testing and evaluation of the monitoring system shows promising results. Already now the system provides for global coverage. "

"The credibility of international disarmament and non-proliferation agreements frequently hinges on the credibility of the verification system associated with them," the Executive Secretary continued. "International verification efforts were heavily and sometimes unfairly criticized for not living up to the high standards required for the job. In retrospect it was found, however, that these international verification efforts were not only working properly but also provided impartial and untainted information on the basis of which the international community could take its political decisions. Verification of international agreements is a difficult, slow and costly enterprise. I would like to thank all States which are supporting the build-up of our verification system technically, financially and politically and promise that we will do our utmost to live up to the high expectations in our monitoring capabilities."

The Executive Secretary closed with the remark that eight years after its opening for signature, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is enjoying a growing support and recognition of the international community as an important instrument in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Mr. Hoffmann also spoke today at a briefing to the non-governmental community, on the topic Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Challenges of Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. The briefing, which also featured statements by H.E. Mr. Luis Alfonso De Alba, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the International Organizations in Geneva, Chairman of the First Committee (Disarmament and Security) and Mr. Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association, took place in observance of Disarmament Week, 24 - 30 October 2004.

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The 119 States that have deposited their instruments of ratification of the CTBT are Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria*, Argentina*, Australia*, Austria*, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh*, Belarus, Belgium*, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil*, Bulgaria*, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada*, Chile*, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo*, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland*, France*, Gabon, Georgia, Germany*, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary*, Iceland, Ireland, Italy*, Jamaica, Japan*, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico*, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway*, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru*, Philippines, Poland*, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea*, Romania*, Russian Federation*, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia*, Slovenia, South Africa*, Spain*, Sudan, Sweden*, Switzerland*, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey*, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine*, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland*, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

* States whose ratification is required for entry into force.

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