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07. November 2018

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR T SEOKOLO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA AT THE 51ST SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION FOR THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR TEST-BAN TREATY ORGANISATION (CTBTO), VIENNA, AUSTRIA, 07 NOVEMBER 2018

Chairperson,

On behalf of my delegation, I take this opportunity to express our appreciation to you, Ambassador Maria Assunta Accili Sabbatini, for chairing this 51st Session of the Preparatory Commission. Be assured of my delegation’s full cooperation and support during our deliberations. 

We also wish to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr Lassina Zerbo, for his opening remarks and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for the diligent work in compiling the reports on Verification and Non-Verification Related Activities for 2018, as well as the preparatory arrangements for this Session.

We also wish to welcome the Kingdom of Thailand’s ratification and the signature of Tuvalu to the Treaty.

The South African delegation associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the African Group and the Group of 77 and China respectively, and would like to add the following comments in our national capacity.

Chairperson,

At the outset, my delegation wishes to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr Zerbo, for his recent visit to South Africa on the occasion of the 3rd On-Site Inspection (OSI) Training Cycle, which was held in Arniston, Cape Town. We welcome the hosting of this important training session in our country. This successful training activity was attended by participants from 44 countries, 14 of which were from the African continent. Although the OSI is not yet operational pending the entry into force of the Treaty, it is an integral part of the CTBT verification regime.

Chairperson,

We welcome the reports of Working Groups A and B respectively and wish to thank the Chairpersons for effectively facilitating the work of these subsidiary bodies. In this regard, we wish to reiterate that the work carried out by these organs is important. My delegation believes that the reports submitted by the Working Groups for endorsement by the Prep Com should not be opened for discussion.

Similarly, my delegation welcomes the Final 2019 Budget Update Proposals. We note that the proposed appropriation for 2019 is below zero real growth and includes the estimated price adjustment of 1.7%. We note with concern the decrease in the collection rate of assessed contributions in the reporting period.

My delegation also welcomes the report on the status of implementation of the project for the participation of technical experts from developing countries in official technical meetings of the Preparatory Commission. It is highlighted in the report that in 2018, experts by 12 states were supported. South Africa attaches great importance to this project which is why my country contributed an amount of USD 111 092. It is important that the necessary resources are made available towards this project for its sustainability.

We welcome the efforts made by the PTS as highlighted by the Executive Secretary, in making the organization more gender representative. South Africa would however wish to see an increase in the employment of qualifying women candidates in the professional staff category to grow beyond the reported 29.41%. We would also appreciate an increase in the representation of professionals from our region.

Chairperson,

My delegation is pleased with the progress made in the certification and upgrading of stations on the African continent, as indicated in the report. The International Monitoring System (IMS) stations also play a very important role in scientific, civil and societal uses on our continent. In this regard, we note with appreciation that regular calibrations performed by the PTS of the IMS stations continue to take place, which ensures that we obtain data of high quality and reliability.

Similarly, the South African delegation notes that the report of the Executive Secretary confirms that data availability of certified IMS stations remained very high during the reporting period. In this regard, we wish to highlight that South Africa’s new Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) operator has undergone the necessary training.  We look forward to working closely with the PTS as this development is indicative of my country’s continued strong commitment to authenticating data received from our own stations.

Chairperson,

The CTBTO has an important role to play in advancing disarmament and non-proliferation goals by constraining the development of nuclear weapons. It is therefore crucial that the Treaty enters into force. The ratification of the Treaty by all Annex II States without further delay, is a necessary prerequisite to achieving this strategic objective. The delay in the entry into force of the Treaty, coupled with the lack of progress towards implementing Article 6 of the NPT, derail our collective efforts in achieving global peace and security for all. It is therefore crucial that as we approach the 2020 NPT Review Conference, we should carefully reflect on the realities before us, especially taking into consideration the complex and uncertain global environment that we face today.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, otherwise called the Ban Treaty, provides a unique opportunity to unlock progress in achieving the goals of the NPT and thus creating a world without nuclear weapons. This Treaty, which has to date been signed by more than 60 States and 14 ratifications, is well on its way to reaching the 50 ratifications necessary for its entry into force. The Ban Treaty and the NPT are fully compatible and therefore complementary. After all, both have the same goals at their core - the abolition of nuclear weapons. We therefore call on all States to sign and ratify the Ban Treaty.

I thank you.

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