07. November 2016
SOUTH AFRICAN STATEMENT DELIVERED BY MRS. LYDIA GREYLING, ALTERNATE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 47TH SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION FOR THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY ORGANISATION (CTBTO), 07 NOVEMBER 2016, VIENNA, AUSTRIA
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My delegation extends its gratitude to you, Ambassador Istrate, Permanent Representative of Romania, for the manner in which you guide the deliberations of the Preparatory Commission (Commission). I would also like to assure you of my delegation’s support as you preside over this session.
Equally, my delegation thanks the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for his opening remarks and his reports on Verification and Non-Verification Related Activities. South Africa also appreciates the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for all the arrangements for this Session.
Let me also express my delegation’s gratitude to the Chairs of Working Groups A and B, respectively, including the Chairperson of the Advisory Group for all their efforts leading up to this meeting.
South Africa associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the African Group and the Group of 77 and China, respectively.
The year 2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). While we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the CTBT, we are reminded that 2016 also coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the Treaty of Pelindaba, which was opened for signature in 1996. The Pelindaba Treaty is inextricably linked to South Africa’s democratic transition where we renounced nuclear weapons and resolved to build a united and democratic South Africa, able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations. Indeed, Pelindaba is the site where the Apartheid Regime once forged its nuclear weapons programme, which today is central to our efforts to pursue the peaceful uses of nuclear technology for the upliftment of our people and those of the African Continent. We wish to underscore that the Treaty’s foundation was laid in the early 1960s with the objective to denuclearize the African Continent.
South Africa remains convinced that nuclear weapons do not guarantee security, but rather serve to undermine it. It is for this reason that South Africa is committed to the full implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its three equally important pillars, namely; nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. While these pillars are mutually reinforcing, South Africa remains deeply concerned that there continues to be a selective approach to the implementation of the NPT, especially the use of conditionalities by other States for the fulfillment of their obligations particularly on nuclear disarmament. We are of the view that such actions will only serve to unravel the grand bargain on which the NPT was indefinitely extended, which among others called for the urgent entry into force of the CTBT.
In October 2016, South Africa together with like-minded countries championed the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly resolution which significance will last forever. This groundbreaking resolution emphasizes that a “legally-binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons would be an important contribution towards comprehensive nuclear disarmament” and stressed the importance of inclusiveness in the negotiations towards achieving a legally binding instrument to achieve a nuclear weapon free world. In this regard, we are looking forward to actively engage in the Conference to be convened in New York in 2017, to begin the negotiations on a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.
My delegation welcomes the ratification of the CTBT by the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the Kingdom of Swaziland which bring States Signatories to 166. We reiterate our call for the remaining Annex II States to ratify the CTBT to demonstrate their commitment to the NPT.
South Africa welcomes the report of the 50th Session Working Group A and its recommendations contained therein. My delegation is pleased that the report recommended that the 2014 Cash Surplus be used to finance the establishment of a permanent Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF) and capacity building activities. In our view, this recommendation is a good basis for our deliberations with a view to reach consensus on this matter. In this regard, we express our gratitude to Ambassador Bin Othman of Malaysia for his leadership and dedication demonstrated during the previous sessions of the Working Group including a number of consultations held prior to this session.
With regard to agenda item 4, my delegation regrets that the 47th Session of the Working Group B did not adopt a report as a result of lack of consensus on the International Data Centre (IDC) Progressive Commissioning. Despite the above, my delegation is aware that consultations among interested delegations, led by the Chair of the Working Group B, are ongoing to agree on the way forward with regard to the IDC.
In conclusion, South Africa expresses its full support for the renewal of the appointment of the Executive Secretary of the PrepCom for the CTBTO, Dr. Lassina Zerbo.
I thank you