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Statement by Canada to the Conference on Facilitating the Entry-Into-Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

September 20, 2017

Mr. Mark Gwozdecky, Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security and Political Affairs, Global Affairs Canada

Distinguished Co-Chairpersons,

I wish to extend Canada's thanks for your hard work, as well as the work of the CTBTO, in organizing this Article XIV conference and developing its draft Final Declaration. These conferences underscore the ceaseless determination of the international community to see the CTBT enter into force as a necessary step towards our common nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation objectives. 

In this regard, we particularly and warmly welcome the ratifications of Swaziland and Myanmar that have taken place since our last meeting in 2015. We‎ also reiterate our call on all states that have not yet done so to ratify the Treaty without any further delay. The eight‎ Annex 2 states that have not yet ratified the CTBT continue to have a special responsibility in this regard. We encourage them to seek new and innovative ways, either unilaterally or in coordination with others, to overcome any remaining obstacles to their ratification of the Treaty. 

Canada continues to actively work to advance the entry into force and universalization of the CTBT, including through bilateral advocacy as well as with our partners in the G7 and the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative. We are also active contributors to the technical work of the Provisional Technical Secretariat and consider that it is vitally important that the work to complete the CTBTO’s verification regime continues. We also welcome the adoption last year of UN Security Council Resolution 2310, which marked the 20th anniversary of the CTBT by calling for its early entry into force and for all States to refrain from and maintain their moratoriums on nuclear-weapon tests or any other nuclear explosions. Canada was pleased to co-sponsor Resolution 2310, which illustrated the continued importance of the CTBT’s entry into force for international peace and security.  

Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of North Korea, the only State to violate the de facto norm of international behaviour against nuclear tests in this century.  Canada unequivocally condemns North Korea’s‎ nuclear test of September 3, which – combined with its aggressive program of ballistic missile testing – represents a clear and present threat to the safety and security of its neighbours and of the international community. In this regard, we recognize the important work of the CTBTO and its international monitoring system, which has now detected each of North Korea’s nuclear tests, demonstrating again the strong contribution this verification system has made to the international security framework. We urge North Korea to cease its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, resume adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, denuclearize, comply with its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and resume dialogue toward a political solution. 

Distinguished Co-Chairs, I would be remiss to overlook another significant event happening in New York today, namely the opening for signature of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It is Canada’s view that, while well-intentioned, the ban treaty is unfortunately premature. Without the support of any nuclear-armed states, it will not result in the elimination of even a single nuclear weapon. Moreover, by duplicating some provisions of the CTBT, and not including measures for monitoring and inspections, it creates confusion and may erode progress for the entry into force of the CTBT. Nuclear disarmament remains a priority for Canada, but efforts to this end must meet the dual test of effectiveness and undiminished security for all.  

In the current context of DPRK threats, we consider that a step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament that is pragmatic and inclusive is most likely to be successful and sustainable. For Canada, the entry into force of the CTBT is one of these necessary steps. Another is the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), which would prohibit the manufacture of fissile material for nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive purposes. Canada is proud to be chairing the UN’s high-level FMCT expert preparatory group to prepare the way, and we hope for the support and participation of all CTBT States Signatories in the future negotiations on this Treaty.

In closing, distinguished Co-Chairs, Canada lends it support to the draft Final Declaration of this Article XIV Conference. We encourage all States to implement its recommendations with a view to, at long last, achieving the CTBT's entry into force.

Thank you.

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