14. June 2016
SOUTH AFRICAN STATEMENT DELIVERED BY MS LYDIA GREYLING, ALTERNATE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 46TH SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION FOR THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY ORGANISATION (CTBTO), 14 JUNE 2016, VIENNA, AUSTRIA
AGENDA ITEM 7: 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TREATY AND THE COMMISSION
Allow me to join others in congratulating your Excellency, Mr Lazar COMANESCU, Foreign Minister of Romania, for chairing this Agenda Item on: CTBT 20th Anniversary Ministerial Meeting, on the occasion of the 46th Session of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO. Let me assure you of the South African delegation’s full support in your efforts to steer this meeting towards a fruitful and successful conclusion.
South Africa aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the African Group by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Sudan.
This year marks 20 years since the Treaty was opened for signature. When this Treaty was concluded, it was to constitute an effective measure for nuclear disarmament as envisaged under Article VI of the NPT and a logical and achievable next step on the path to a world free of nuclear weapons.
The preamble of the Treaty lists disarmament principles and objectives and sets the overall political context. Of particular importance in this regard is that it stresses the need for the continued reduction of nuclear weapons worldwide with the ultimate goal of their elimination. The preamble also recognizes that the CTBT will indeed constitute an effective measure for nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation by “constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons”. The preamble furthermore recognizes that a test ban will constitute a meaningful step in the realization of a systematic process to achieve nuclear disarmament.
Yet, 20 years after its conclusion, the Treaty is yet to enter into force. For the CTBT to enter into force the remaining Annex II States must sign and/or ratify the Treaty. The Annex II States that have yet to ratify the Treaty, particularly those with nuclear weapons bear a special responsibility in this regard. Failure to bring the CTBT into force undermines the nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament regime. We therefore, call upon the remaining Annex II States to sign and/or ratify the Treaty without any further delay.
South Africa and the African Continent remains committed to the ultimate objective of creating a world without nuclear weapons. Through the Pelindaba Treaty, the African States have committed the African Continent to be a zone free of nuclear weapons.
In conclusion, Chairperson, we welcome significant progress towards the completion of the CTBT verification regime with around 90 percent of the 337 planned International Monitoring System facilities already in operation. This milestone will not be meaningful and sustainable unless the Treaty enters into force.
Finally, we commend the PTS, in particular efforts of the past and current Executive Secretaries in promoting the entry into force of the Treaty.
I thank you.