Topnews, Statements

13. November 2017


Madam Chairperson,

My delegation would like to extend its gratitude to you, Ambassador Navarro, Permanent Representative of Panama, for the skillful manner in which you coordinated the work of the Preparatory Commission (Commission) during the course of this year and I would like to assure you of my delegation’s support as you preside over this Session.

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.

South Africa associates itself with the statements delivered by the Permanent Representative of Iran, on behalf of the G77 and China, and the Permanent Representative of Angola, on behalf of the African Group, respectively. We wish to make some further comments in our national capacity.

Madam Chairperson,

More than two decades have passed since the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), yet it still has not entered into force. South Africa therefore continues to call upon all States, especially the remaining Annex II States, to sign and/or ratify the CTBT without any conditions. In our view, the CTBT is one of the core elements of the nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation regime. Its entry into force is a core component of global efforts to establish and maintain a nuclear weapons free world.

In this context South Africa welcomes the convening of the 10th Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT held in New York, in September this year. We are convinced that such activities including initiatives such as Friends of the CTBT, the Group of Eminent Persons and the Youth Group will spur into action those States whose signatures and ratifications are necessary for the CTBT to enter into force. In this regard, my delegation would like to thank the coordinators of the Article XIV Process, for their tireless efforts.

Madam Chairperson,

Of concern to my delegation has always been that progress on the various undertakings towards nuclear disarmament have yet to be realised and in many instances have been reinterpreted and rolled-back.  Determined action is therefore urgently required to implement the long-standing nuclear disarmament undertakings made at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conferences, which include, amongst others, the entry-into-force of the CTBT. It is our hope that the 2020 NPT Review Cycle will decisively address these issues.

Indeed, it is the frustration with the slow pace of nuclear disarmament that has generated new initiatives in the quest to eliminate nuclear weapons. This year we saw the historic adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. South Africa is proud to be one of 122 nations that voted to adopt the Treaty. In our view this Treaty will provide a powerful normative framework against nuclear weapons, including nuclear testing and will serve to complement relevant international instruments such as the NPT, the various nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties, and of course the CTBT.

South Africa therefore wishes to urge all States to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to ensure its rapid entry into force, which will be a significant step forward for global peace and security. We know all too well the catastrophic humanitarian consequences and ever-increasing risks associated with a nuclear weapons detonation – whether by accident, miscalutation or design.

Madam Chairperson,

South Africa welcomes the report of Working Group A and the recommendations contained therein. My delegation also welcomes the 2018-2019 Programme and Budget proposals which outline the programmatic deliverables of the organisation for the next two years. In this regard, my delegation would like to express its appreciation to the Chairperson of Working Group A, Ambassador Othman and the Provisional Technical Secretariat for convening informal consultations on the Programme and Budget prior to this meeting and we are ready to join the consensus that the Commission approve the 2018-2019 Programme and Budget Proposals.

South Africa welcomes the recent report of the Executive Secretary which refers to the “Pilot Project” and we have noted that for the project to be sustainable it will require continued financial support of approximately 200 000 US dollars per annum. We note with appreciation that the Pilot Project has facilitated the participation of experts from developing countries in the technical meetings of the Commission. In this regard, we commend the PTS for its continued efforts to mobilize resources for this important capacity-building initiative. We therefore welcome the recent voluntary contributions made by States Signatories and encourage those in a position to do so to continue contributing financially to this project.

With regard to the performance and security of the assets of the Provident Fund, South Africa shares the concerns of the PTS that the current low returns on investments would result in some loss of capital of the Fund. In this regard, we would like to commend the Chairperson of WGA for convening a series of informal consultations with the view to find a possible way forward on this matter. My delegation therefore stands ready to join consensus on the recommendation outlined by the Chairperson of WGA.

Madam Chairperson,

In line with the African Group Statement, South Africa supports the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the African Union Commission and the Preparatory Commission which seeks to enhance cooperation in areas of mutual interest. To this end, my delegation looks forward to the early conclusion of this important legal instrument which in our view will further strengthen the interaction between the two organisations. 

I thank you  

© Copyright by SA Embassy 2020