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16. November 2015

SOUTH AFRICA STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA TO THE CTBTO, AT THE 45TH SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMISSION, FROM 16 TO 18 NOVEMBER 2015

Chairperson,

My delegation would like to extend its gratitude to you Ambassador Abel Ayoko, Permanent Representative of Nigeria, for the skilful manner in which you coordinated the official business of  the Preparatory Commission (Prepcom) during the course of this year.

South Africa commends you for the great sensitivity you exercised in responding to the concerns of State Signatories, including our own, and striving at all times to maintain the unity and spirit of consensus which has been the defining characteristic of decision- making in Vienna based international organisations.  Be rest assured of my delegation’s support as you preside over this session and  hand - over the file to your successor.

South Africa associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the African Group and the Group of 77 and China,  respectively.

My delegation thanks the Executive Secretary, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, for his opening remarks and his reports on Verification and Non-Verification Related Activities, and for the necessary preparatory arrangements for this Session.

Let me also express my delegation’s gratitude to the Chairs of Working Groups A & B, respectively, for all their efforts in preparing for this Session. In particular, we commend Ambassador Abdul Azeez of Sri Lanka, who has returned to his capital following the end  of his assignment here in Vienna.  We extend our appreciation to Ambassador Ayoko who skilfully chaired the deliberations of the 45th Session of Working Group B.

Chairperson,

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Treaty, we are reminded of the urgency of doing all what is necessary to pave the way for the Treaty to enter into force.  In this regard, South Africa continues to call upon all States, especially the Annex II States, to sign and ratify the Treaty without conditions. The CTBTO is a core element of the international nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime. Its entry into force, which is long overdue will be  a vital step towards achieving the ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament. It is in this context that my delegation welcomes the convening of the 9th Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT held in New York,  in  September this year.

It is South Africa’s hope that such activities or initiatives will spur into action those States whose signatures and ratifications are necessary.  My delegation fully endorses the Final Declaration on Article XIV, which is line with my country’s long held position that “a universal and effectively verifiable Treaty constitutes a fundamental instrument in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation”. My delegation would like to thank the Ambassadors of Japan and Kazakhstan, as Co-Chairs of the Article XIV Process, for their tireless efforts.

Chairperson,

As we may all 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 within the African Continent and discourages its States Parties to assist or encourage the testing of nuclear weapons by other States anywhere on the Continent and beyond. I am pleased to inform this Session of the Prepcom that on 4 November this year,  the African Union Commission and South Africa have signed the Host Country Agreement for the establishment of the Headquarters of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), which will be hosted in South Africa.

Accordingly the Host Agreement will pave the way for the operationalization of the AFCONE and its Secretariat to effectively discharge the mandate placed on it by the Pelindaba Treaty,  thereby advancing our objective of  achieving a world without nuclear weapons. We hope that the CTBTO will forge the necessary cooperation and coordination with the both the African Union Commission and the AFCONE Secretariat in areas of mutual interest.

Chairperson

My delegation welcomes the report of the 48th Session of Working Group A and its recommendations. Agenda Item 6 of this session will consider the final draft of the Programme and Budget proposals for 2016-2017, as recommended by the Working Group. We support the  proposed Programme and Budget for the period 2016/2017, including the

the proposed funds to be established under the Multiyear Funding modality. We believe that the introduction of the multiyear funding modality will go a long way towards the effectiveness and efficiency of the PTS. We further believe that biennial budgeting will facilitate a reasonable planning horizon for the Commission.

Chairperson

South Africa welcomes the recent report of the Executive Secretary which refers to the “Pilot Project”. We note that the Pilot Project has facilitated the participation of ten experts from developing countries, including Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Niger in the technical meetings of the Commission. We therefore support the proposed decision to continue this important project. In this regard, we commend the PTS for its continued efforts to mobilize resources for this important capacity-building initiative.

Chairperson,

With regard to Working Group B we wish to highlight the fact that valuable technical discussions ensued during the 45th Session of the Working Group. Regrettably, the report could not be adopted due to a lack of consensus on some issues. It is important that State Signatories reflect carefully on concerns raised by fellow State Signatories pertaining to those issues - and that a solution be sought through a spirit of consensus. We pledge our cooperation to you, Mr Chairman, as you guide this session to overcome this challenge. We thank you Ambassador Ayoko as the Chairperson of the 45th Session of Working  Group B for the sensitivity you showed during the entire session of the Working Group especially during the difficult final hours of the session.

Chairperson,

As we all know the 43rd Session of the Preparatory Commission took a decision to establish an Open-Ended Working Group to develop  procedures for the elections of  Chairs and Vice-Chairs of subsidiary bodies of the Commission. The 43rd session further directed that in the absence of an agreement on the procedures this session of the PrepCom should appoint Chairs and Vice-Chairs using its rules of procedure.

We wish to thank Ambassador Ayoko, who also acted as Chair of the Open-Ended Working Group for all his efforts and leadership in facilitating various inputs and proposals with a view to arriving at a consensus. Indeed the Open-Ended Working Group agreed on a number of critical areas, however few sticking issues remain outstanding. We hope that an agreement   can still be reached during this session of the PrepCom. The fact that Ambassador Ayoko, an experienced diplomat and multilateralist successfully chaired the 45th Session of Working Group should assuage concerns of those amongst us about the diplomats/Ambassadors suitability to chair the Working Group which is said to be technical.

Chairperson,

In conclusion, Chairperson, my delegation has noted that the issue of radioxenon emissions from the production of the medical isotope facilities has created some confusion. South Africa is certain that some State Signatories are keen to know what South Africa’s concerns are with regard to this issue. Allow us therefore, Mr Chairman, to highlight the following issues which we hope would put our concerns in a proper perspective.

In this regard my delegation wishes to bring all State Signatories’ attention to the report of the 2014 42nd Session of Working Group B. In this report it is stated that:

The PTS provided a briefing on the interaction of participants at the Workshops on Signatures of Medical and Industrial Isotope Production (WOSMIP) held between 2009 and 2013. At this session of WGB, different views were expressed on ECS/DIS/WGB-42/PTS-MATERIAL/2 and CTB/WGB/TL-21/16.

The PTS correctly stated that there were different views expressed on this subject. With regards to the WOSMIP we wish to make it clear that WOSMIP is the private initiative by the producers of the medical isotopes to explore means to mitigate the effects of emissions from Moly-99 facilities. South Africa has participated in all these workshops with the understanding that this is a private initiative by the producers and the decisions taken at WOSMIP will not be imposed on the CTBTO in any manner. As a matter of fact some of the proposals that were canvassed in these workshops, if implemented will harm the radio isotope production industry in South Africa and severely affect the global supply of Moly 99. 

Given the confusion that the issue of radioxenon emissions has created, and the fact that the Prepcom has not discussed this matter in detail, South Africa is of the view that the Prepcom should provide guidance or a framework within which the PTS should handle this item in the future, taking into consideration the State Signatories concerns.

I thank you.

 

 

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