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

Media Release

FA108 - 24 September 2006

Tenth Anniversary of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Today is the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty which I introduced into the UN General Assembly in 1996 – a treaty which would rid the world of nuclear weapons testing forever. Today, near universal support exists for the CTBT. 176 countries have signed the Treaty and 135 have ratified it, the most recent being Ethiopia in August 2006. To enter into force however, the Treaty must be signed and ratified by the 44 States who formally participated in the work of the 1996 session of the Conference on Disarmament and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at that time. 34 of those States, including Australia, have signed and ratified the Treaty; 10 of those countries have not yet done so. I continue to call on all states which have not already done so to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.

An overwhelming number of countries, including Australia, regard the CTBT as a vital contribution to disarmament and non-proliferation. The purpose of the CTBT is clear – it is a treaty concerned with ensuring and verifying the end of nuclear weapons testing. In addition to this primary function, the treaty can bring potential civil and scientific benefits. By way of example, data from the CTBT’s worldwide system of monitoring stations is being provided to national and international tsunami warning organizations on a test basis, and permanent arrangements for this will be considered by the CTBT Organisation’s Preparatory Commission in the coming months.

In New York last Wednesday I jointly chaired a Ministerial meeting in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Australia is one of the co-ordinating countries for this meeting, which is designed to promote the ratification of the CTBT and accelerate its entry into force. I was joined by the Canadian, Finnish, Dutch Foreign Ministers, the Japanese Vice Foreign Minister and UN Secretary-General Annan’s representative, Under Secretary for Disarmament Tanaka.

The importance that Australia and many other countries attach to the CTBT has not diminished over the last ten years. If anything, it has grown and reflects the strong and widely held view that the CTBT can only enhance international security. 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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