Statement by Canada


Date:   8 October 1999

Delivered by: Mr. Paul Meyer, Director General, International Security Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Mr. President, Fellow Delegates, Esteemed Guests,

It is an honour to represent Canada as Head of Delegation to this Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  As many here will know, Canada was among those who pushed hardest for the Article XIV provisions that made this Conference possible, and I consider it a special privilege to lead Canada’s effort to ensure its success.

Let me be blunt: there is a great deal at stake here.  The conclusion of the CTBT in 1996 was a seminal achievement.  Once in force, the CTBT will constitute a powerful buttress for the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, which has as its basis the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  A ban on testing will help impede efforts to improve existing nuclear arsenals, and constitute an effective block against states with nuclear aspirations from developing nuclear weapons of their own.  It will bring us one step closer to our shared objective of a world freed of the scourge of nuclear weapons.

It would be nothing less than tragic to leave this promise unfulfilled by failing to secure the CTBT’s entry into force.  That’s what our work together here this week is all about: doing everything we can to ensure that the Treaty’s stringent entry-into-force requirements – ratification by all 44 states listed in Annex 2 – are met as soon as possible.
This is no easy task, a fact that we, as one of the Treaty drafters, recognized when we included the Article XIV provisions that brought this Conference about.  We recognized that ratification could prove problematic for some states for a variety of reasons, whether legal or technical obstacles to complying with Treaty obligations, complex domestic pressures, or the intricacies of strategic calculation.  Time does not permit a full or even partial review of the issues in play but I do want to use this opportunity to highlight a few points to which Canada attaches special importance.

One is the question of verification, which underpins the CTBT.  It bears repeating that the verification mechanisms provided for under the Treaty’s International Monitoring System (IMS) are unprecedented in scope, including a network of 321 monitoring stations and 16 laboratories.  These extensive and intrusive facilities will be able to detect all explosions greater than one kiloton in the atmosphere, underwater, or underground, anywhere on earth.  I remind those few who have expressed concern about the potential for “cheating” under the proposed CTBT verification regime that an only partially operational IMS was readily able to detect and identify the 1998 nuclear test explosions carried out by India and Pakistan.
Those explosions bring me to a second important point.  The nuclear tests in South Asia in the spring of 1998 have been the only such tests as defined by the Treaty to take place since the CTBT opened for signature more than three years ago.  This is in part testimony to the strong global norm against testing established by the very conclusion of the Treaty, but it goes without saying that the international community will be better served by a Treaty that has entered into force.  This cannot happen until India and Pakistan sign and ratify the CTBT, and I take this opportunity on Canada’s behalf to urge these two countries once again to do so without delay.  We also urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, whose ratification is also necessary for the Treaty to enter into force, to sign and ratify as soon as possible.

In Canada’s view, the five Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) have a special obligation to demonstrate leadership in the effort to bring the CTBT into force.  We commend the two NWS who have not only signed but ratified the Treaty, and encourage those who have not yet ratified to engage in dialogue with and draw on the experience of those who have.  Ratification by all five NWS will set a powerful example for the non-nuclear Article XIV states who have yet to ratify.

In some respects, the continuing debate over the CTBT reflects opposing visions of how security can be best achieved in the post-Cold War world.  The CTBT embodies the principle that multilateral cooperation is the best way to block proliferation, that concerted action by the international community most effectively serves the national interests of its constituent parts.  The contrary view is to reject multilateral undertakings and rely on one’s own national means, a “go it alone” strategy.  An important part of our work to facilitate early entry into force is to demonstrate the superiority of cooperation over narrow self-reliance.

The last point I would make today is to ask that we remind ourselves that this Conference will be judged successful only insofar as it furthers our shared objective of achieving the early entry into force of the CTBT.  The mere fact of its convocation has already contributed significantly toward this end.  In recent days, spurred on, no doubt, by the prospect of participating in this Conference as a State Party, several countries have deposited their instruments of ratification.  We welcome this progress and believe that it demonstrates the value and efficacy of the Article XIV Conference process
It will be important to maintain our momentum in the days and months ahead, to work to ensure that the political energy generated by these proceedings does not dissipate, but rather continues to be channelled toward achieving entry into force of the Treaty at the earliest possible date.  The best way to do this, in Canada’s view, is through sustained inter-sessional action.  Purposeful follow-up will demonstrate our collective commitment to the advancement of the CTBT implementation process, and to make sure that our efforts to bring about entry into force are as effective as possible.  The political direction imparted by this Conference should not end on October 8, but rather be sustained through diplomatic consultations in the months ahead.

By the same logic, Canada has been among those who believe we must acknowledge the need and prepare for a subsequent Entry into Force Conference in accordance with Article XIV (3) of the Treaty.  This is not to be “defeatist” as to the prospects for speedy ratification by all 44 Annex 2 states; it is simple realism.  It recognizes that committing to another conference will assist our joint efforts to bring about entry into force.  It offers tangible evidence of our commitment to stay engaged and build on the momentum generated here in Vienna this week.  Furthermore, the prospect of annual Entry into Force Conferences will provide a constant incentive for signatories to ratify in the interim.

In short, our work here in Vienna is only a beginning.  We have accomplished a great deal, but much remains to be done.  Canada looks forward to continuing to work with all of you to ensure that our efforts to achieve early entry into force meet with success.

Thank you.