Topnews, Statements

22. June 2017



South Africa wishes to extend its congratulations to you, Ambassador Paulina Maria Franceschi Navarro, Permanent Representative of Panama, on your appointment as the Chairperson of the Preparatory Commission and wishes to express our sincerest gratitude to you for convening this 48th Session. Please rest assured of my delegation’s support, as you preside over this session.

We further wish to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr Lassina Zerbo, for his opening remarks and his reports on Verification and Non-Verification Related Activities, together with the Provisional Technical Secretariat for making the necessary preparations for this session.

Let me also express my delegation’s appreciation to the Chairs of Working Group A and B, for their efforts in preparing for this session, including the Chairperson of the Advisory Group.  

South Africa associates itself with the statements of the G77 and China, and the African Group respectively. We wish to make some further comments in our national capacity.


As we approach the 21st year since the Treaty opened for signature and ratification, we are reminded of the urgency of ensuring the Treaty’s entry into force.  In this regard, South Africa continues to call upon all Annex II States, especially nuclear weapons States (NWS), to sign and/or to ratify the Treaty as soon as possible and without conditions. The CTBTO is a core element of the international nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament regime and its entry into force is now long overdue. It is in this context, that South Africa welcomes the efforts to convene the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT, which will be held in New York, in September this year. We sincerely appreciate the consultations undertaken by the Ambassadors of Belgium and Iraq towards the adoption of the Ministerial declaration, which we are confident, will indeed reflect the voices and views of all States Signatories.


As you may recall, the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, known as the Pelindaba Treaty, entered into force in 2009.  Among others, the Pelindaba Treaty prohibits the testing of nuclear weapons on the African Continent and expressly discourages States Parties to assist or encourage the testing of nuclear weapons by other States anywhere on the Continent and beyond. As previously reported, the African Union Commission and the Government of South Africa have signed the Host Country Agreement for the establishment of the Headquarters of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE). We hope that this development will foster the necessary cooperation and coordination between the AFCONE and the Preparatory Commission Secretariat.


This session of the Preparatory Commission is timely, especially in light of the on-going negotiations on a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, in New York, which commenced on 15 June 2017. In our view, the entry into force of the CTBT, together with the anticipated adoption of the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty collectively constitute effective measures envisaged under article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which all States Parties are obligated to advance in achieving the nuclear-weapons free world, which humanity demands.


My delegation welcomes the report of the 51st session of Working Group A and its recommendations and has taken note of the Initial draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2019 and looks forward to receiving the revised Programme and Budget proposal for the biennium. Similarly, my delegation welcomes the total savings and reprioritization of $8.8 million US dollars identified in the proposed budget for 2018, which has been allocated to priority activities of the organisation.

With regard to the Medium-term Strategy 2018-2021, South Africa supports the document as a long term guiding tool for the work of the PTS considering its non-binding nature. We therefore welcome the recommendation of the Advisory Group to the Executive Secretary to consider providing more information to clarify the nature and purpose of the MTS at the beginning of the Programme and Budget proposal as well as refining reference to the MTS throughout the text of the document.


The report of the Executive Secretary on Non-Verification-Related activities indicates that the PTS continued to mobilize additional voluntary contributions for the pilot project which facilitates the participation of experts from developing countries in the technical meetings of the Commission. In this regard, my delegation is pleased to note that the recent voluntary contributions by States Signatories facilitated the participation of eleven technical experts from developing countries, particularly in building capacity and technical expertise on verification-related aspects of the Treaty. We therefore encourage States Signatories to continue providing additional financial resources to this project.


South Africa supports the candidature of the Office of the Auditor General of Thailand to serve as External Auditor for the financial period 2018-2019 and joins the recommendation to the Preparatory Commission to approve the nomination.

In conclusion, Chairperson, the South African delegation looks forward to participate in the forthcoming Science and Technology Conference (SnT2017), to be held in Vienna next week. We believe that the Conference will provide a good platform for the scientific community to share information and exchange ideas with the Commission on verification and detection-related matters.

Thank you.

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