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Joint Statement on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

September 21, 2022

  1. We welcome the holding of the High-level meeting of the “Friends of the CTBT” on September 21, 2022, marking the 25th Anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT, as well as emphasizing the importance of the early entry into force of the Treaty. Since the last “Friends of the CTBT” Foreign Ministers’ message in 2020, the world has gone through exceptional, dramatic changes. During this time, we have learned invaluable lessons in global cooperation and the importance of standing united to solve the world’s most pressing issues. We regard the CTBT as a significant contribution to international peace and security and reaffirm our determination to pursue its entry into force for the benefit of all States.
  2. In the face of growing pressures on the global rules-based international order and gravely concerning situations regarding nuclear weapons, the prospect of further proliferation remains a legitimate concern. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a core element of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, underpinned by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Entry into force of the CTBT would significantly strengthen the full implementation of the NPT, which is of increasing importance in light of the recently concluded 10th NPT Review Conference. The CTBT is among the most widely accepted and most effective normative instruments to contain and reduce nuclear threats, and its entry into force must be achieved without further delay.
  3. The CTBT – by eliminating nuclear testing once and for all – will bring us closer to our goal of a world without nuclear weapons. A legally-binding universal and verifiable ban on any nuclear explosions, including nuclear weapon test explosions, will constrain the proliferation, the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons.
  4. With signature by 186 States and ratification by 174 States to dateFootnote 1, the CTBT is approaching universality. We welcome ratifications by Timor–Leste, Dominica, The Gambia, and Tuvalu earlier this year, as well as ratifications by Comoros and Cuba in 2021. We applaud the persistent efforts of the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Dr. Robert Floyd, to achieve further ratifications. We urge all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay, particularly the remaining eight States listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty.Footnote 2 Their accession to the Treaty would advance the global norm against nuclear testing, intensify pressure on States to refrain from nuclear tests, and move us one step closer to the Treaty’s entry into force – all of which are of vital importance.
  5. The CTBT has been instrumental in creating and promoting the global norm against nuclear testing, which in the 21st century has only been defied by the DPRK. We recall our condemnation of the six nuclear tests conducted by the DPRK since 2006 and strongly urge the DPRK to fully comply with all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and to take concrete actions towards the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its nuclear weapons related programs. We reiterate that any new DPRK nuclear test would be irresponsible, unacceptable, and in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. We implore the DPRK to sign and ratify the CTBT as a matter of priority.
  6. Pending the entry into force of the Treaty, we call upon all States to declare or maintain their existing national moratoria on nuclear weapon test explosions and other nuclear explosions, which is an example of responsible international behaviour that contributes to international peace and stability, and to refrain from any action that would undermine the Treaty’s objective and purpose.
  7. Finally, we welcome ongoing steps to complete the CTBT’s verification regime. By the end of 2021, 303 verification facilities had been certified worldwide, representing almost 90 percent of the network foreseen by the Treaty. The International Monitoring System (IMS) has demonstrated its ability to provide the international community with independent and reliable means to ensure compliance with the Treaty once it enters into force. The system has also demonstrated its value by detecting every nuclear test that has taken place in the 21st century. Thus, even before the Treaty’s entry into force, the monitoring and analytical elements of the verification regime are at the disposal of the international community and such assets contribute to regional stability as a significant confidence-building measure.
  8. The monitoring system’s technical assets also have diverse scientific and civil applications, including monitoring nuclear accidents and detecting volcanic activity, earthquakes and tsunamis. On the latter, IMS seismic and hydroacoustic stations pick up and provide data in near real-time to tsunami warning centres. At present, tsunami warning centers in 18 countries have signed a tsunami warning agreement and receive data from around 100 IMS stations.
  9. We urge the Preparatory Commission to continue developing the IMS, International Data Center (IDC), and On-Site Inspection (OSI) capabilities, and its ongoing programme of capacity-building and training for national authorities. We recognize the importance of individual States’ financial commitments to ensure the completion and maintenance of the regime and reaffirm our commitment to support the long-term sustainability of all elements of the verification regime, pending the entry into force of the Treaty.
  10. We will continue promoting cooperation among States to support the verification regime, raise awareness of the Treaty and its benefits among the general public, including youth, and advocate for the Treaty at the highest political levels.
  11. There is no doubt that the CTBT contributes significantly to the international security, non-proliferation, and disarmament landscape. With more than 25 years passing since the Treaty opened for signature, and 20 years since the first Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the Treaty, its value is unquestionable. But we cannot take for granted the norm against nuclear testing until it is legally binding. As such, we urge all States that have not already done so to sign and ratify the Treaty and encourage States signatories to support continued efforts to strengthen the Treaty, its verification regime, and to achieve its entry into force as soon as possible.
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