MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER


FA96

16 July 1998

Australia Welcomes Brazil's Ratification Of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty And Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

I warmly welcome the announcement by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso that Brazil has acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). This is a landmark achievement which highlights the seriousness of Brazil's commitment to make every effort to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Brazil's accession to the NPT brings the number of States Parties to the Treaty to 187, making it the most widely-adhered to arms control treaty. This brings us a step closer to universal membership of the NPT and the ultimate goal of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

Australia looks forward to working closely with Brazil for the achievement of this common goal, particularly in the context of the Sixth NPT Review Conference in 2000. The commonality of view which Australia now shares with Brazil on the NPT adds a strong element to the close and cooperative bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The NFIT provides an essential framework for managing proliferation pressures, as well as providing for a high level of cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Brazil's ratification of the CM brings the number of countries which have ratified that Treaty to 16, following Australia's ratification on 9 July 1998. Brazil and Australia are two of the 44 countries whose ratifications are necessary before the CTBT enters into force.

Brazil's accession to the NPT and ratification of the MT are particularly significant coming so soon after the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan which have brought new and complex challenges to the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regimes. The intensity of the global reaction to those tests has highlighted the fact that the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is widely recognised as having become the most serious threat to global security. By forswearing the acquisition of nuclear weapons, Brazil has demonstrated its willingness to take responsibility for upholding international non-proliferation and disarmament norms which provide the fundamental basis for maintaining and enhancing international peace and security.

Australia calls upon the remaining few States not party to the NPT (Cuba, India, Pakistan and Israel) to follow Brazil's example by acceding to the Treaty. Australia also encourages all countries which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the CM as soon as possible to ensure this powerful international regime against nuclear testing is made as strong as possible.

For further information: 

Innes Willox: 04 1920 6890
Tony Melville (02) 6261 1555


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