Mrs. Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs

Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

New York, 11 November 2001

Check against delivery

Mr. Chairman,

Let me express my sincere appreciation for seeing you in the chair of this important conference. Mexico had been a traditional co-sponsor of the United Nations resolution, which finally led to the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and I commend your country for all the efforts to facilitate the early entry into force of the Treaty. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his capacity as depositary of the CTBT, for convening this Conference.

Mr. Chairman,

With your permission, I would like to express my country's full solidarity with the host country, the United States of America, and the host City, New York, still struggling to overcome the traumata caused by the most massive attack ever on democracy and freedom. Like others, who have lived in New York, I have always preserved my strong affinities to this most exciting of all cities. By accommodating the United Nations, by attracting many of the most talented minds and by serving as the world's social laboratory combining ingredients from all cultures, it has forced upon itself more attention, and justly so, I may add, than any other city. On 11 September and during the following days, I have suffered, with my Austrian fellow citizens, with the population of New York and of the United States, witnessing the unimaginable scale of human and material destruction.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation fully supports the statement by the Presidency of the European Union on behalf of its members and associated states. As the host country for the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, Austria assumes a special responsibility for the successful preparations for entry into force of the CTBT.

Since the last Article XIV Conference, which took place in Vienna, where the Organisation is established, two years ago, much progress has been achieved. Nevertheless, during this period new obstacles have emerged.

To this date, 161 states have acceded to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and, by signing, have committed themselves to adhere to the goals and the spirit of the Treaty. For two reasons, Austria has always argued that ail states, not only those who possess nuclear capabilities, need to become members of the CTBT. First, nuclear nonproliferation is too important an issue to leave it to a small group of states, no matter, how powerful they might be, and, second, to transform the principle of non-testing into a universal norm, the CTBT needs universal adherence. With 161 states signatories, the CTBT has now achieved close to universal status. In addition, 84 states have deposited their instruments of ratification. Finally, and this is most important, 31 of the 44 states whose ratification is required for entry into force have ratified.

One could argue that, with 13 ratifications still missing, the CTBT is far from entering into force. Yet, the internal difficulties which some of those countries are dealing with must be taken into consideration.

They often face organizational and logistical problems regarding their internal legal procedures. Taking this into consideration as well as the pledges by others, not to delay, entry into force, I would strongly counsel against unreasonable pessimism.

The CTBT stipulates that, at entry into force, the verification regime shall be capable of meeting the verification requirements of the Treaty. While a strong focus should, of course, remain on securing the ratifications still missing for entry into force, the CTBTO PrepCom and the Provisional Technical Secretariat will have to be provided with sufficient funding for the timely establishment of the International Monitoring System.

Mr. Chairman,

Both organizations mandated with the implementation of the two existing pillars of the United Nations' nuclear non-proliferation regime, the NPT and the CTBT, are established in Vienna. Personally, I am very gratified with the support, both organizations - the International Atomic Energy Agency and the CTBTO - PrepCom are receiving from their member states, which is also reflected in their high rate of collection of assessed contributions. This reflects the importance, which is attributed to well-functioning verification systems for the success of multilateral non-proliferation treaties.

Austria attributes utmost importance to nuclear non-proliferation and supports all efforts in the framework of the United Nations to this end. We believe that the success of the United Nations System is based on the complementary inputs of all organisations involved.

Therefore, Austria welcomes the cooperation between the CTBTO PrepCom and the United Nations, established by the adoption of the Relationship Agreement between the Commission and the United Nations in June of last year. We commend the CTBTO PrepCom and its Executive Secretary, for recognizing the values of cooperation with the United Nations, its Specialized Organizations, as well as its Funds and Programs and we support his efforts to identify additional, useful cooperation opportunities and to participate in the United Nations coordinating mechanisms.

I am convinced that the success of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty will also have a positive impact on the international security environnent. By setting an end to the decades-long deadly spiral of developing ever more sophisticated and, hence, more destructive nuclear weapons, the CTBT contrebutes essentially to alleviating one of the biggest fears of mankind, the fear of nuclear destruction. Therefore, I agree with the assessment of a former US Secretary of State that the CTBT is a real people's treaty.

In spite of overwhelming popular support, five years after it had been opened for signature, the CTBT has not entered into force. One should think that its comprehensive Monitoring System, with stations in about ninety countries around the globe, thus leaving no white spaces anywhere, should serve the interests of each state supporting nuclear non-prolife ration. No national system, sophisticated as it might be, could compete with the world-wide verification regime provided for by the CTBT.

I therefore urge all states, which have not yet signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-TestBan Treaty to review whether the Treaty might serve its national interests and to accede to the CTBT as soon as possible. I also urge all states that have not yet ratified the CTBT, especially those 13 on the list of 44, to deposit their instruments of ratification as soon as possible.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the govemment of the United States and the City of New York for ail the additional efforts to provide support for the meetings of the international community at these extraordinarily difficult times and to make this meeting of the states parties to the CTBT possible.