I warmly welcome the historic vote of the United Nations General Assembly
on 10 September (11 September AEST) adopting the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty. The UN resolution adopting the CTBT attracted 127 cosponsors
and the support of an overwhelming majority of states. The results of the
vote were: 158 in favour, 5 abstentions, and 3 against.
Australia can be proud of this result. We led international action to
save the CTBT. Following the failure of efforts to achieve consensus at
the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Australia initiated the process
in New York which has now resulted in a new nuclear treaty of great significance
for the peoples of the world.
Australia, in cooperation with other CTBT supporters, worked hard to secure
cosponsorship and support for the resolution from countries in all regions
of the world. I wrote to a wide range of other foreign ministers and
also spoke to a number of my counterparts personally. The breadth of support
demonstrated by the UN vote is clear testimony to the strength of international
feeling against nuclear testing and the desire of the vast majority of the
international community to see a CTBT in place.
The adoption of the CTBT by the United Nations is a milestone in global
efforts to advance nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation objectives.
The CTBT will lock into place an end to nuclear testing by the five nuclear
weapon states - the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France
and China - all of whom are committed to signing the treaty. It will
thus bring the nuclear arms race to a definitive end. It will also attract
the support and adherence of an impressively diverse range of non-nuclear
weapon states. The CTBT has particular significance for the countries
of the Asia Pacific region - the only region of the world where all five
nuclear weapon states have at some time conducted nuclear tests.
The adoption of the CTBT by the United Nations brings to reality an aspiration
held by Australians from all walks of life for decades.
I look forward to signing the treaty on behalf of Australia at the United
Nations in New York on 24 September. I strongly urge all countries to
sign and ratify the CTBT quickly so that the treaty can be implemented without
For further information, contact Peter Collins on 06.277.7500