EU Statement at the Fifty-Eighth Session of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), as delivered on 27 June 2022

(Source: EEAS)

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The following countries align themselves with this statement: the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Iceland+, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova,Georgia and Andorra.

The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation. The Russian invasion is a blatant violation of the UN Charter. The European Union demands that Russia immediately cease its military actions, unconditionally withdraw all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.

We remain deeply concerned over Russian military attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, also putting at risk the safety and security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine and posing a serious threat of a nuclear accident or incident. This is completely unacceptable and extremely worrying.

Moreover, Russia’s irresponsible actions, as well as the continuing effects of the  COVID-19 pandemic, have caused significant economic pressures for many State Signatories and correspondingly have repercussions for the financial outlook of International Organizations.  

The EU calls on Russia to refrain from any action that would endanger the integrity of the international Monitoring System – including the stations in the region – and data availability through the verification regime.

Mr. Chairman,

We thank the Executive Secretary for his comprehensive report, and express our support for the recommendations contained in the reports of Working Groups A and B, as well as of the Advisory Group.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty’s (CTBT) entry into force has always been and remains a top priority for the European Union. All EU Member States have ratified the Treaty and consistently call upon the remaining eight Annex II States: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and the USA who still need to ratify the Treaty and the DPRK, India and Pakistan who still need to sign and ratify it in order to bring it into force, to do so without any preconditions or further delay. Pending the entry into force of the Treaty, the EU calls on all States to abide by the moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, and to refrain from any action contrary to the object and purpose of the Treaty. We warmly welcome the recent ratifications of the CTBT by The Gambia and Tuvalu, as well as the recent signature of the Treaty by Dominica, and fully support the efforts of the Executive Secretary to further promote and facilitate signature and ratification of the Treaty.

The CTBTO should also play a prominent role at the upcoming Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in order to keep the CTBT high on the international agenda. The EU has already submitted a comprehensive Working Paper on the CTBT, with concrete proposals for the 10th NPT Review Conference. Moreover, on the occasion of the NPT Review Conference and the 25th anniversary of the CTBT, the EU is organising a panel discussion in early August, in New York, on the essential role of the CTBT in the context of the NPT, and within the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The event will feature prominent speakers – including the CTBTO Executive Secretary and the EU Special Envoy on Non Proliferation – and will provide an opportunity to examine the benefits and added-value of the CTBT and exchange ideas on further steps for its universalization and entry into force.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU urges the DPRK to cease its unlawful and destabilising actions that undermine regional and international peace and security and instead engage in dialogue with relevant partners. The DPRK must comply with its obligations under relevant UN Security Council resolutions to refrain from testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

The DPRK cannot have the status of a nuclear weapon State in accordance with the NPT. We urge the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes as well as programmes to build delivery systems and other weapons of mass destruction in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner as required by UN Security Council resolutions. We urge the DPRK to return to compliance with the NPT and the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement including by signing and ratifying the Additional Protocol – and signing and ratifying the CTBT. It is critical that sanctions, which target the DPRK’s unlawful weapons development, remain in place while its programmes exist. The EU recalls the obligation of all UN Member States to fully implement all existing UN Security Council resolutions.

Mr. Chairman,

In addition to the CTBT’s obvious contribution to international peace and security, the CTBTO’s Integrated Capacity Building assists States in using International Monitoring System (IMS) data and International Data Centre (IDC) products to support civil and scientific applications and research associated with Treaty-related verification technologies, including tsunami warning and potentially volcanic ash cloud warning. To make best use of our collective investment, the EU, through its voluntary contributions of more than 29.5 million EUR to date, supports and contributes to developing countries benefitting in order to help these countries fully develop such CTBTO applications, through capacity building activities, including the Pilot project.

The IMS and IDC have proved their unique ability to provide States Signatories with independent and reliable mean to detect nuclear tests. We commend the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for assuring uninterrupted service during these difficult times. However, the highly sophisticated CTBT verification system, the preservation of its value, continuous sustainment and recapitalization of the IMS, and the further development of on-site inspection operational capabilities and related capacity-building activities require substantial financial input. It is therefore crucial for the operation of the verification regime of the Treaty, and for the wider organization’s financial health, that all States demonstrate their political commitment and honor their legal obligation to pay their assessed contributions, on time and in full. However, as noted by the ES, the current budget allocated to cover the sustainment and recapitalization of the IMS is inadequate. A solution needs to be found urgently. This will requires States Signatories to make tough but important choices about budget allocation.

We encourage the PTS to continue its important operations, including building, certifying, operating and repairing IMS stations. We welcome the commitment made by the Executive Secretary to commence with a comprehensive review of the IMS stations’ lifecycle including financial implications, and look forward to engaging in such discussions soon.

Mobile monitoring systems are also essential for the functioning of the IDC in helping to further understand the global background for all four IMS technologies. Such background studies using mobile monitoring systems not part of the IMS have been going on for years to improve the performance of the verification regime and ensure the correct detection of events. This activity is part of, and helps carry out the mandate of the PTS. We would like to express our appreciation to the Ambassadors of Switzerland and South Africa, as facilitators, for their work on this issue, and the non-paper they have circulated. We fully support the continuation of discussions on this topic and look forward to the swift appointment of a new team of co-facilitators.

Regarding the development of guidelines for holding non-scheduled sessions of the Commission, we wish to thank Ambassador Duarte for his efforts and submitted proposal as the new facilitator. We look forward to advancing discussions on this issue with a view to adopting the Guidelines at the next Session of the PrepCom.

The EU would like to thank the PTS for the updated Programme and Budget proposals for 2022-2023. We are looking forward to the updated version of this proposal that will take into account the final price adjustment and appropriate modifications, based on comments made by States signatories.

We would also like to reiterate our support to the nomination of Ms Rashmi Rajyaguru by the UK, as new Chair of the Advisory Group. We have heard many calls for greater gender diversity. Having a qualified female chairperson to guide the work of the Advisory Group will go a long way to achieve these goals.

Regarding appointments to the Advisory Group, we encourage States to ensure that they nominate experts of high-recognised standing and experience in financial matters at the international level. We would underline that any discussion of possible procedures for the appointment of the Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons of the Advisory Group should not delay the appointment of current candidates. We consider the appointment as the more urgent matter and would suggest reverting to any discussion on procedures once this has been accomplished.

Furthermore, the EU attaches great importance to the principles of good governance within international organizations and underlines the need for compliance with all relevant rules and regulations. We support the effective and efficient functioning of the Organization, including the use of its human- and financial resources and recall the respective roles of the ES and the PrepCom.

Furthering On-Site Inspection (OSI) capabilities is essential for the establishment of a balanced and robust verification regime at the time of the CTBT´s entry into force. We thank the PTS for having prepared the 2022-25 OSI exercise programme as well as the biennial programme of work, and stress the need for ensuring adequate financial resources and sound budget planning in a timely manner. We welcome the organisation of a Tabletop Exercise on “the Role of Senior Management during an OSI” on 14 June, which provided an opportunity for PTS senior management to enhance their skills of OSI-related policies and capabilities.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 


* Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania as well as potential Candidate Country Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are members of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.

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