The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
 FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

Media Release

FA35 - 30 March 2005

Australia to Lead Efforts to Secure Total Ban on Nuclear Testing

In a strong endorsement of our disarmament and non-proliferation credentials, Australia has been chosen to lead global efforts to secure a total ban on nuclear testing.

The countries which have already signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) last week backed Australia to coordinate efforts to bring a ban into force for the next two years.

While 175 countries have signed the Treaty and 120 have ratified, only 33 of the key 44 states required to ratify to bring it into force have done so.

In our role as coordinator of efforts to persuade others to embrace the Treaty, Australia will also chair a global conference from 22-24 September in New York.

Australia has played a vital role in building the framework for a legally enforceable ban on nuclear testing. 

In 1996, Australia took unprecedented action to bring the CTBT to the United Nations in New York where it was adopted by an overwhelming majority of countries.

Prior to this, the Treaty was languishing in the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva where adoption of a final text could not be agreed.

I am pleased that Australia has a further opportunity as Article XIV Coordinator to continue to promote this important Treaty.

The CTBT stipulates that its verification regime is capable of meeting Treaty requirements at entry into force. 

We are working closely with the Treaty’s Preparatory Commission to establish and test a network of over 300 monitoring stations around the globe to monitor Treaty compliance and to establish arrangements for on-site inspection if a breach of compliance is suspected. 

Australia will host 21 monitoring facilities. Sixteen of these are operational, one is under construction and plans have been developed for the remainder.

Media inquiries : Ministerial 02 6277 7500 , DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555


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