7 April 1998

Australia Welcomes Ratification by France and UK of Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

I warmly welcome the ratification by France and the United Kingdom of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on 6 April in New York.

The CTBT - which bans all nuclear explosions for all time - is a milestone in international efforts to address the global threat posed by nuclear weapons proliferation. As a major impediment to the development of new generations of nuclear weapons, the CTBT also promises to bring the nuclear arms race to a definitive end and hasten the process of eliminating nuclear weapons.

Australia played a pivotal role in the promotion and negotiation of the CTBT and its adoption, by an overwhelming majority, by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.

I signed the CTBT on behalf of Australia in September 1996. The Treaty has now been signed by 149 countries and ratified by 13. Like a number of other countries, Australia's ratification and legislation process is well advanced and we hope to be in a position to ratify well before the end of 1998. I will be tabling the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Bill in Parliament tomorrow.

I am optimistic that the ratifications yesterday by two of the five nuclear weapons states will help to accelerate the pace of ratifications and thus consolidate the powerful international norm against nuclear testing which the Treaty represents. I look forward to the early ratifications of the other nuclear weapon states China, Russia and the United States.

Australia is also working hard at building up the institutional fabric of the Treaty at its headquarters in Vienna, including through development of the International Monitoring System (IMS). Twenty one IMS monitoring facilities will be established on Australian territory.

Australia is one of the 44 countries whose ratifications are necessary before the CTBT enters into force. I particularly urge all countries on that list - most notably India, North Korea and Pakistan who have not yet signed the Treaty - to sign and ratify the Treaty at an early date.

For further information: 

Innes Willox - (02) 6277 7500
Tony Melville/Kirk Coningham (02) 62611555

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:38:10 EST

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