MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER





FA92
11 SEPTEMBER 1996


COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY



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 further delay.


For further information, contact Peter Collins on 06.277.7500