The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA026 - 17 March 2006

Australia Welcomes Ratification of CTBT by Vietnam

I welcome Vietnam's ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) - a treaty that promises to rid the world of nuclear weapons testing forever.

By constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons, the CTBT will make a vital contribution to global disarmament and non-proliferation, and signifcantly enhance international security.

As the coordinator of efforts to promote the Treaty's entry into force, Australia has a special role to play in urging countries in our region and elsewhere to ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.

Near universal support exists for the CTBT. A total of 176 countries have signed the Treaty, and 132 countries have ratified it. But the Treaty lists 44 countries who must ratify the document before it can enter into force. Of those countries, 34, including Australia, have now done so. Vietnam's ratification reduces to 10, those that have not.

Building the CTBT's verification system is also already well underway, with more than 60% of the global network of monitoring stations operational. In addition to its international security benefits, this system could be capable of bringing scientific and civil benefits, such as for tsunami warning systems. Data from the CTBT's monitoring system is already contributing to national tsunami warning systems, on a provisional basis.

Although entry-into-force is not yet in immediate prospect, Australia's support for the CTBT is unwavering. We will continue to work for its entry into force and a future free of nuclear weapons testing.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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