MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER


FA93

10 July 1998

 

Australia Ratifies Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty

I am pleased to announce that Australia ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) on 9 July (New York time) .

The CTBT bans all nuclear weapons test explosions and all other nuclear explosions for all time. It marks a watershed in international efforts to address the global threat posed by nuclear weapons proliferation and is an indispensable component of the international nuclear arms control regime.

Australia holds a long-standing and well-deserved reputation as a leading international player on arms control issues. The pivotal role we played in the negotiation and adoption of the CTBT is a reflection of our commitment to the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime. This regime is central to our national security.

The recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan highlight the importance of the CTBT. One of the great achievements of the CTBT is to provide a codified international benchmark against which the actions of individual members of the international community in the area of nuclear testing can be judged. Countries which defy this code of behaviour, as India and Pakistan have done, know that they can expect to feel the full weight of international opprobrium.

The Government strongly condemned India's and Pakistan's actions which are in flagrant defiance of international non-proliferation norms and have serious implications for global and regional security. I call again on both India and Pakistan to sign and ratify the CTBT without conditions or further delay.

I signed the CTBT on behalf of Australia on 24 September 1996. 149 countries have already signed the CTBT and 15, including two nuclear weapon states - France and the United Kingdom - have ratified. Australia is one of the 44 countries whose ratifications are necessary before the CTBT enters into force.

Australia is encouraging other countries, particularly those in our region, to sign and ratify the CTBT as soon as possible so that the powerful international norm against testing which the Treaty represents is made as strong as possible. Australia is also playing a leading role in helping to build the institutional fabric of the CTBT at its headquarters in Vienna. This includes developing the International Monitoring System and the establishment or upgrading of key monitoring facilities on Australian territory.

 

JAKARTA

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