New York – Today we continue an important tradition. We gather here as the United Nations General Assembly opens to show our resolve to see the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty enter into force. We do this because we are convinced the CTBT has a crucial role to play in building a safer, more secure and saner world.
It has been a year of noteworthy events in our efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
In February, we marked the Treaty’s fifteenth anniversary. I used that occasion to visit the Preparatory Commission in Vienna, which I chaired in 1999 as my country’s delegate. I could see how far we had come – but I am determined to cross the finish line.
Over the past year, Indonesia and Guatemala ratified the Treaty, and Niue signed.
I am heartened by these important steps.
At the same time, there are still eight States that must ratify the Treaty for it to enter into force.
In order to advance the process, I wrote to each of these countries in June. I appealed to them to follow Indonesia’s example and accelerate their ratification process. I urged them to consider how adherence to this Treaty could enhance security, promote stability and build confidence throughout the world.
There is a direct link between ending nuclear testing and eradicating nuclear weapons. The cessation of nuclear tests will constrain the development of nuclear weapons.
Today, I repeat my call to those eight States to ratify the CTBT.
To countries that remain outside of this Treaty, I say: you are failing to live up to your responsibility as a member of the international community.
Leaders have a standing offer from me to personally visit and answer any concerns or doubts they may have about the CTBT.
The vast majority of countries have endorsed the Treaty. To them I say: you have wisely chosen security over threats, peace over belligerence, and the global good over a narrow vision of national interests. You are showing true leadership.
The norm against testing is strong. Countries that have made the decision to test nuclear weapons have provoked unified and principled opposition.
But a non-binding norm is not enough. History teaches us that moratoria can and will be broken. The CTBT must become universal law.
In the meantime, I urge all States to refrain from the use of new nuclear weapon technologies or from any action that would defeat the object and purpose of the CTBT.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
People of conscience around the world are part of a global movement to end nuclear testing. I especially commend the Provisional Technical Secretariat for training the next generation of experts.
The Treaty’s entry into force would be a milestone in advancing the cause of nuclear disarmament.
I urge you to do everything possible to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world where there is no threat of annihilation from these destructive weapons … where the terrible waste of resources used to create them becomes instead a productive investment in improving peoples lives … and where we are all safer, more prosperous and more secure.
Thank you for your leadership