Statement by the delegation of the Russian Federation at the Tenth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Friday, 22 September 2017 16:31

Mr President,

Let me start by congratulating representatives of Iraq and Belgium on their appointment as co-presidents of the Tenth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). We would also like to thank the preceding coordinators, Kazakhstan and Japan, for their efforts to promote the Treaty.

Last year we marked the 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT. It was quite a busy and fruitful year. On different platforms in Vienna and New York, the CTBT’s role as an integral element of international security and stability was reaffirmed, as was the need to enact it without delay. It is with satisfaction that Russia notes the ratification of the CTBT by the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the Kingdom of Swaziland, which brings the number of ratifications to 166.

Many countries view the early entry into force of the CTBT as their foreign policy priority. There were multiple statements supporting the Treaty at the highest political level, and a number of CTBT-related instruments were adopted, including the UN Security Council Resolution 2310 and a statement by five nuclear weapons states.

The Russian Federation is an active proponent of the CTBT, and views it as the only and almost universal international treaty with an effective regime to introduce a comprehensive nuclear test ban. There is no and cannot be any alternative to this instrument. President of Russia Vladimir Putin confirmed this position in his statement of April 11, 2016, on the 20th anniversary of the CTBT. Last year and this year, CTBTO Preparatory Commission Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov co-authored two articles, published in Russian and Western media, to support this major international treaty.

Unfortunately, despite almost universal support, the CTBT has yet to become a valid international legal instrument. The prospects of the eight Annex 2 hold-out countries, whose ratification is needed in order for the Treaty to come into force, joining the Treaty remain uncertain. The position of the US is still in the making, and there are doubts that the final decision will be in CTBT’s favour, which undermines hopes that the current situation with the Treaty could be reversed in the foreseeable future.

It seems that some countries are satisfied with the current state of affairs. They benefit from access to the International Monitoring System (IMS), while not being bound by the obligations under the CTBT, and are not interested in ratifying it. It should be noted that the countries that have ratified the CTBT and comply with their commitments under it in good faith are required to speed up the roll out of the national monitoring segments and ensure uninterrupted transfer of information to the International Data Centre, without taking into consideration the fact that the prospects of the Treaty coming into force remain uncertain.

The ongoing nuclear tests in DPRK, including the latest test in September 2017, seriously undermine our countries’ efforts to launch the CTBT. We firmly condemn these actions by Pyongyang. At the same time, Russia believes that it is important to refrain from any steps that could lead to further escalation in Northeast Asia. We call on the parties to resume dialogue and talks as the only way to a comprehensive solution on the Korean Peninsula, including its nuclear issue. Russia stands ready to engage in joint actions along this track, including based on the joint initiative by Russia and China to promote peaceful settlement on the Korean Peninsula as per the joint statement by the foreign ministries of Russia and the PRC that was circulated within the CTBTO Preparatory Commission on July 4.

Mr President,

Russia has a positive view of efforts by the CTBTO Preparatory Commission and its Provisional Technical Secretariat to promote the CTBT and create a verification mechanism, which has already proved its effectiveness and reliability on a number of occasions. We note the contribution of Science and Technology conferences to these efforts. Russia believes in the need to enact all elements of the CTBT verification regime in a gradual and balanced manner taking into account the actual prospects of the Treaty entering into force.

Mr President,

Having ratified the CTBT in 2000, Russia has strictly abided by its letter and spirit. Since early 1990s, Russia has introduced a nuclear test moratorium and complied with it. Not a single nuclear device has been detonated during this period. We are working closely with the Commission and intend to complete the Russian IMS segment in the near future. As of today, 27 out of 32 facilities under the CTBT have been launched on the Russian territory. A few more stations are expected to be certified and completed by the end of the year.

Russia supports individual and collective efforts to promote the CTBT. In October, Moscow will host the first international conference of the CTBT Youth Group, bringing together youth representatives from various countries, including the eight states whose ratification is needed in order for the Treaty to come into force. We hope that the Moscow conference will help jump start further youth cooperation to promote this Treaty.

Mr President,

Once again, Russia would like to emphasise the need for all states to comply with the letter and spirit of the CTBT even before it comes into force. It is important that a nuclear test moratorium is in place throughout this period. Russia intends to ensure compliance with the moratorium, if other nuclear powers adopt the same approach. Despite its importance, a voluntary nuclear test moratorium cannot replace the main goal of ensuring the early coming into force of the CTBT, while unilateral obligations undertaken by specific countries cannot replace binding international commitments under the Treaty.

Russia welcomes the adoption of the Final Declaration of the Conference and the list of measures to facilitate the entry into force of the CTBT. We stand ready to contribute to their implementation.

Mr President,

In conclusion, we would like to call one more time on countries that did not sign and/or ratify the CTBT to do so without delay. We must understand that signing and ratifying the CTBT is a real step towards nuclear disarmament and creating a nuclear-weapons-free world.

Thank you for your attention.

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