MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER


FA 109

7 October 1999

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Australia today called for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and urged those countries yet to ratify the Treaty to do so as soon as possible.

Speaking in Vienna on my behalf, DFAT Deputy Secretary Miles Kupa said the CTBT was a milestone in international efforts to address the global threat posed by nuclear proliferation. He said it was a key component of efforts to eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.

Mr Kupa was delivering Australia's national statement to the "Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty," being held in Vienna from 6-8 October.

Australia played a significant role in the negotiation and acceptance of the CTBT, most particularly in 1996 when I led the exercise which took the CTBT from the Conference on Disarmament, where it had stalled, to the UN General Assembly where it received overwhelming support from UN members. The Treaty has now been signed or ratified by 154 states.

The CTBT will ban for all time any further explosive nuclear tests. The negotiation and entry into force of such a treaty has been a long-standing Australian foreign policy objective.

Before the CTBT can enter into force, it must be signed by 44 countries named in the Treaty. This list includes the five Nuclear Weapon States, as well as countries such as India, Pakistan, Israel and the DPRK. Ratification of the Treaty by the Nuclear Weapon States is an urgent priority because this will set an example others, such as India and Pakistan, hopefully will follow.

I welcomed the ratification of the Treaty last year by France and the United Kingdom. Australia joins the international community in urging bipartisan support in the United States when the U.S. Senate votes on ratification on 12 October. Australia also urges China and Russia to ratify the CTBT as soon as possible.

I am particularly pleased with the progress made in establishing the International Monitoring system, which will be a key component of the CTBT's verification machinery.


Media Enquiries: Minister - Liz O'Neill 02 6277 7500
Department - Tony Melville 02 6261 1555

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:35:36 EST

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