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18. Juni 2015

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, 44TH SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION FOR THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR-TEST-BAN TREATY ORGANIZATION, VIENNA, 18 JUNE 2015

Chairperson,

1.    My delegation is pleased to see you Ambassador Ayoko, the Permanent Representative of Nigeria presiding over the 44th Session of the Commission and I would like to assure you of my delegation’s support during this Session.

2.    South Africa associates itself with the statements delivered by the Permanent Representative of Chile, on behalf of the G77 and China, and the Permanent Representative of Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, respectively.

3.    We wish to thank the Executive Secretary, Dr Lassina Zerbo, for his opening statement and his reports on Verification and Non-Verification Related Activities, and the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for their hard work and efficient organisation of this Session. We extend our thanks also to the Chairpersons of the subsidiary bodies of the Commission and Advisory Group for their leadership.

Chairperson,

4.    We regret that the 2015 NPT Review Conference in New York could not agree on the outcome document. Undoubtedly, this failure to agree on the outcome document will also impact on our work in the CTBTO because we consider the Treaty as crucial element of the set of mutually re-enforcing instruments aimed at accomplishing our common goal of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. We are thus faced with a very difficult situation on how we move forward. South Africa believes that we should not delay any further and we should begin to assess the implications of the challenges that we are facing.

5.    My delegation takes note of the report of the Executive Secretary on Non-Verification-Related Activities which gives an account of the activities undertaken by the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) of the Commission in the implementation of the Major Programmes. We note that as of 31 March 2015, 183 States have signed the Treaty, with 164 having ratified it. 

6.    As we approach the 20 years’ anniversary of the Treaty, we wish to underscore the importance of a need for entry into force and its universalization. In this regard we wish to call upon all the Annex 2 States to sign and ratify the Treaty in order to give effect to its entry to force. We believe that this is long overdue. In this regard my delegation looks forward to the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT in New York on 29 September 2015 and related activities organized by GEM.

Chairperson,

7.     We welcome the ratification of the CTBT by Angola on 20 March 2015, which brings the number of African ratifiers to 45. Our regional commitment under the CTBT is also enforced by the membership in the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (“Pelindaba Treaty”), which inter alia prohibits the testing of any nuclear explosive device on their territories, as well as not to assist or encourage any nuclear explosive device by any State anywhere.

Chairperson,

8.    South Africa looks forward to the 2015 CTBT Science and Technology Conference and values its utility as a valuable platform for scientists around the world to exchange knowledge and advances in monitoring and verification technologies of relevance to the CTBT. While we support such activities we will caution that they should not distract the PTS from the core mandate of the Treaty.  We appreciate the invitation extended to our Minister of Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor, to address this important event.

Chairperson,

9.    In its report to the 43rd Session of the Commission, Working Group A expressed its support for the establishment of the multiyear funding modality and recommended to the Commission that it approves the amendments to its Financial Regulations and Rules for introduction of multiyear funding in the PTS. We believe that the introduction of this modality will go a long way towards effectiveness and efficiency in the PTS. In this regard, South Africa looks forward to receiving detailed information on funds to be established under the multiyear funding modality and relevant appropriations for each fund.

10. Regarding agenda item 6, pertaining to the issue of biennial budgeting, we appreciate the PTS’ work in preparing the documentation, and briefing the States Signatories on the first biennial budget for 2016-2017. We welcome the recommendation of Working Group A, regarding the introduction of the biennial budgeting as well as the amendments to the Financial Regulations and Rules in this regard. South Africa believes that introduction of the biennial budgeting has potential benefits, including “easing the workload both of the PTS and of States Signatories, as well as enhancing efficiencies in the PTS”.

Chairperson,

11. My delegation takes note of the on-going activities and discussions in the PTS regarding the xenon emissions in order to minimise isotopic releases. While we recognise the need for the International Monitoring System to function optimally, South Africa will not accept any decision that restricts the production of life-saving medical isotopes or prescribe the type of technology we could use for this purpose.

Chairperson,

12. State Signatories would recall that the 43rd session of the Commission resolved:

a) To appoint Vice-Chairpersons for WGA and WGB;

b) To establish an open-ended working group to develop procedures for the appointment of the Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of WGA and WGB and to address the roles and responsibilities of the Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of the two working groups, their terms and other relevant issues;

c)  To request that the open-ended working group starts its work as soon as possible and present its recommendation no later than four weeks in advance of the Forty-Fourth Session of the Commission for its decision and immediate implementation;

d) To appoint Vice-Chairpersons for the two working groups as soon as possible but no later than the Forty-Fifth Session of the Preparatory Commission failing which the Commission will appoint suitable Vice-Chairpersons for WGA and WGB no later than its Forty-Fifth Session;

13.       We appreciate that the Chairperson of the Commission, Ambassador Ayoko, has to date convened a series of meetings of the Open-Ended Working Group with a view to implementing the resolution of the 43rd session of the Commission;

14.       We are, however, concerned at the slow progress in the Open-Ended Working Group on the procedures for the appointment of Vice-Chairpersons for WGA and WGB;

15.       While we encourage the Chairperson of the Commission to continue to deploy his best efforts to nudge States Signatories to a consensus on this matter, we wish to bring the attention of this session to the decision of the 43rd session of the Commission, that “in the absence of an agreement on the procedures the Commission will appoint suitable Vice-Chairpersons for WGA and WGB at its Forty-Fifth Session”.

16.       Finally Chairperson, South Africa welcomes Cuba as an observer to the Commission and look forward to their contribution.

I thank you.

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