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Statements

28. Oktober 2013

South African Statement delivered at the 41st Session of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

by Mrs. Lydia Greyling, Alternate Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa, 28-30 October 2013

Chairperson

Please accept my delegation’s appreciations for your leadership as Chairperson of this policy-making organ, we look forward to working with you in steering this session of the PrepCom to a fruitful conclusion. At the outset, I also wish to associate my delegation with the statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Sudan, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to the Executive Secretary, Dr Zerbo, for his report and the Secretariat for the preparation of all the documents for this session of the PrepCom.

The South African delegation commends the initiative of Working Group B in the utilisation of the Experts Communication System (ECS), as a discussion forum that has contributed to the shortening of the technical sessions. South Africa appreciates the reduction in printing costs, and encourages State Signatories to download documentation from the ECS. South Africa further encourages the PTS to continue working closely with State Signatories in resolving challenges faced with the system.

My delegation welcomes the outcome of the Article XIV Conference that took place in New York on 27 September 2013. We would also like to extend our appreciation to the Executive Secretary for the establishment of the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM), which will embark on innovative approaches towards the early entry into force of the treaty and advancing the ratification, in particular of the Annex 2 States that have not yet done so. These efforts provide new hope for the facilitation of the early entry into force of the Treaty. Through our Permanent Representative Ambassador Mabhongo who is a member, South Africa will work closely with the Group of Eminent Persons.

Chairperson

South Africa has always been committed to the work of the CTBTO which is evident from our involvement in negotiations with the Treaty, the signing thereof in September 1996 and the subsequent ratification on 30 March 1999. We continue to underscore the importance of the signing and ratification of the CTBT. During the 2010 NPT Review Conference, my country stated that “we should agree on the vital importance of signatures and ratifications, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with constitutional processes, to achieve the soonest entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), as a core element of the international nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament regime”.

My delegation appreciates the progress made towards universalization of the Treaty. The ratifications of Guatemala, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Chad, Iraq and Guinea Bissau, augur well for the entry into force process, specifically the ratification of the Treaty by Indonesia, as an Annex 2 State. We call upon all Annex 2 states whose signature and ratification is required for the Treaty to enter into force, but who have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the Treaty without any further delay. The entry into force of the Treaty is considered indispensible for international efforts towards a nuclear weapons free world.

However, my delegation continues to be concerned about certain statements by the nuclear-weapon States that seem to point to their desire to indefinitely retain nuclear weapons. As long as these weapons exist others will aspire to possess them. We continue to believe that the early entry into force of the CTBT is indeed one of the practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and paragraphs 3 and 4(c) of the 1995 Decision on "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament", which aim at the complete, irreversible and verifiable disarmament, a world without nuclear weapons.

My delegation strongly condemned the announcement of a third nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 12 February this year. Bearing in mind the catastrophic consequences to humanity, as well as to the environment should any nuclear weapons be used in an attack, my delegation urges all parties concerned in the region not to exacerbate the situation and return to the negotiation table in the framework of the Six-Party-Talks. Only a negotiated solution will bring peace, security and stability to the region.

Chairperson

The outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference inter alia, reaffirmed the vital importance of the entry into force of the CTBT, as a core element of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime, as well as the determination of nuclear weapon States to abide by their respective moratoriums on nuclear tests explosions pending the entry into force of the Treaty. It is important to remember that these moratoriums do not replace the legally binding commitment under the CTBT.

Moreover, my delegation is pleased with progress thus far on the almost completed International Monitoring System (IMS), as well as the functioning of the International Data Centre (IDC) to ensure operational readiness of the Treaty. We appreciate the additional functions of the CTBT verification system, which could prove to be beneficial in scientific and civil applications, including disaster alert systems.

In conclusion, Mr Chairman, my delegation stands ready to work constructively with all delegations towards achieving a successful conclusion to this session. With these remarks, we wish you fruitful deliberations and a successful session of the PrepCom.

I thank you.

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