Statement by the EUROPEAN UNION


Date:    7 October 1999

Delivered by: Mr. Kimmo Sasi, Minister for European Affairs of Finland

Mr President,

The European Union congratulates you on your election as the Chairman of this important first Conference facilitating the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and pledges its full support.

The following countries associate themselves with this statement: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

In September of 1996, the United Nations General Assembly adopted with an overwhelming majority the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) after long and laborious negotiations. This was a historic achievement. The aspirations for a test ban remained alive throughout decades. The conclusion and opening for signature of the CTBT was an effective and unambiguous response: a treaty that  prohibits all nuclear weapon test explosions once and for all. This prohibition includes also the so called peaceful nuclear explosions. A crucial element of the CTBT is its effective verification mechanism, including a monitoring system with global coverage.

The establishment of this Treaty banning all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions was a long-sought objective and an achievement in itself. Such a ban contributes both to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, in line with obligations under article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and with the Decision on Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the States Parties to the NPT. For the European Union, the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear weapons remains the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.

Mr President,

The European Union has supported the convening of this Conference. We have an important task in front of us as stipulated in Article XIV of the CTBT. We are to consider and decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law may be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the early entry into force of this Treaty. This Conference should further strengthen a process that is to lead to the entry into force of the CTBT.

Nuclear tests in South Asia last year have demonstrated the urgency of increased efforts by the international community towards the early entry into force of the Treaty. While the European Union took note of the unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing by the countries concerned and welcomed their willingness in principle to adhere to the Treaty, it encourages these countries to implement these pledges by signing and ratifying the CTBT.

The European Union calls upon all States that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay - especially those on the list of 44 States whose adherence is required for the Treaty to enter into force, including China, Russia and the United States.

At the same time, we are encouraged that this key Treaty has been signed by an impressive number of 154 States and ratified by 51 States. This represents significant progress towards a universal Treaty.

The European Union is committed to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and promotes actively both its early entry into force and its universal adherence. The European Union established on 29 July 1999 a Common Position to pursue these objectives. All the European Union Member States on the list of 44 States whose ratification is required for the Treaty to enter into force have ratified the CTBT.

Mr President,

As stated, the conclusion of the CTBT was a milestone in global disarmament efforts. However, it is crucial to sustain these efforts in order to ensure that the Treaty will enter into force as soon as possible. This Conference should above all build momentum in support of this endeavour. The broadest possible participation is vital for the attainment of the purpose of this Conference. We have encouraged States to take part in this effort and welcome the participation of over 90 countries - ratifiers, signatories and non-signatories - here today.

The European Union welcomes the final declaration of the Conference which strongly urges all States that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay.

As the success of this Treaty will depend on universal adherence, we should examine possibilities to help other countries in their national ratification and implementation processes. This could include the exchange of information on the establishment of national authorities and implementation legislation. As a part of this cooperative approach, all States Parties should be able to participate in and benefit from the International Monitoring System which is a new kind of mechanism to be established for purposes of verifying compliance with disarmament and non-proliferation obligations. We want to emphasise the importance of active participation by all countries in setting up the global monitoring system.

The European Union underlines its full support for the efforts of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO to establish the Treaty's verification regime in a timely and effective manner and in accordance with the Treaty. We also wish to express our appreciation for the work of the Provisional Technical Secretariat under the leadership of Mr. Wolfgang Hoffmann, the Executive Secretary of the Secretariat. We encourage all States Signatories to participate in the ongoing work conducted by the Preparatory Commission.

Mr President,

We have witnessed remarkable achievements in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation during the past decade. The CTBT provides us a historic opportunity to ban all nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions forever and to add momentum to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The Treaty will enhance both international and regional confidence, stability and peace. Let us work with determination in this endeavour.

Thank you, Mr President.