MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER


FA73

3 June 1998

CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT SPECIAL SESSION CONDEMNS NUCLEAR TESTING

International condemnation of India's and Pakistan's nuclear testing has been powerfully reinforced at a Special Session of the Conference on Disarmament (CD). The historic Special Session, convened on 2 June at the instigation of Australia and New Zealand, provided a further opportunity for members of the international community to drive home the message that nuclear testing is unacceptable.

Indicative of the strength of international feeling on this issue, forty-seven countries from all over the world, including the five nuclear weapon states, co-sponsored an Australian/New Zealand statement at the Special Session condemning the tests.

The statement emphasised that India's and Pakistan's nuclear tests blatantly challenged the international regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and threatened the process of disarmament and the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons altogether.

The statement called on India and Pakistan to sign and ratify, without condition, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and to engage in negotiations to conclude a ban on the production of fissile material for weapons purposes.

The Conference on Disarmament's Special Session will leave India and Pakistan in no doubt about the international community's abhorrence of nuclear testing, and the strength of its call for India and Pakistan immediately to announce a cessation of all further testing of these weapons.

Australia will continue to take the lead in regional and multilateral fora to promote urgent consideration of means to address the global security implications of India's and Pakistan's actions, and to defend the integrity of the nuclear non-proliferation regime from the challenges presented by the deplorable spate of eleven tests.

For further information: 

Innes Willox 02 6277 7500 or 04 1141 4695


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