Ambassador Hans Lundborg, Sweden, new chairperson of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission
On Tuesday, the Permanent Representative of Sweden, Ambassador Hans Lundborg, was elected chairperson of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) for 2008.
"I am very much looking forward to chairing the Commission in the next year", Lundborg said in a comment. "We have managed to resolve many issues over the last months. The CTBT community needs to display a common sense of purpose and focus on the important challenges we have ahead of us. The next couple of years will be significant for the CTBT and its verification regime."
"Politically, there is clearly a momentum going. Already this year, three additional countries have ratified the Treaty, and one of them is a country whose ratification was necessary for entry into force," he continued, referring to the ratifications by Barbados, Malaysia and Colombia in the first five weeks of 2008. With Colombia's ratification, nine more countries must ratify the Treaty for it to enter into force. The remaining countries are China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States of America. "We expect more ratifications to follow, and there is a real chance that the Treaty can enter into force in the foreseeable future, Lundborg said."
"It is also interesting to follow developments in the United States," Lundborg said, referring to the op-ed entitled "Towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World" by the four former US foreign and defense policy leaders George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn, published on January 15 in the Wall Street Journal. The entry into force of the CTBT figures prominently in the article. The article was endorsed by another 30+ key people from the Democratic and Republican parties. "Bipartisan initiatives of this kind - expressing their support for the Treaty and for the work of the CTBTO - are particularly important," Lundborg said. "Important nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues are widely discussed again in the international arena, and there is a sense of momentum," he noted.
"I also very much welcome that the United States has decided to fund the CTBTO with US$ 24 million in 2008. The United States is a major contributor to the organization. This money is crucial if the CTBTO is to deliver on the build-up of the verification regime. We need to construct another 35 stations, many in areas in which stations are missing. We also need to integrate the stations in China and incorporate several additional stations in Russia into the network. We need to continue building up the noble gas capability that was so crucial in detecting the nuclear explosion by the DPRK in October 2006. It is also essential to consolidate the on-site inspection capability. This will occur with the first integrated field exercise for on-site inspections which will take place at the former Soviet nuclear test site Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan in August-September this year."
"I thank the States that have already paid their assessed contributions for 2008. I encourage other countries to follow suit."
Ambassador Hans Lundborg is a seasoned Swedish diplomat with long UN experience. Most recently, he chaired the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and was a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board. He has also been the President of the United Nations Development Program and was Head of the Department for Global Security Issues at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Stockholm.