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
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.
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
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.