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Media release

24 September 2009

World must act on Nuclear Test Ban

Today I joined Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors of more than 100 countries at the United Nations in New York at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Article XIV Conference.

The Conference promotes the entry into force of the CTBT.

It was jointly chaired by Foreign Ministers Kouchner of France and Fassi Fihri of Morocco, and opened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Conference welcomed the decision yesterday of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to become the 150th nation to ratify the CTBT. This represents another step towards universal adherence to this vitally important treaty.

The Conference took place on a significant day for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament at the United Nations, the anniversary of the date the Treaty opened for signature on 24 September 1996.

Today, for the first time since 1992, the United Nations Security Council met to focus on these issues and unanimously adopted a Security Council resolution on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament. This meeting was the first time the Security Council was chaired by a President of the United States.

Australia supports the resolution’s full implementation.

At the CTBT Conference I reiterated Australia’s strong and consistent support for the CTBT. This support is firmly grounded in the belief that the Treaty represents a highly effective means to constrain the increase and modernisation of nuclear weapons.

The entry into force of the CTBT is crucial to dealing with the threat of nuclear proliferation, and to making progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

Australia called on all States who have not yet done so to ratify the Treaty without delay. This applies in particular to those nine States whose ratification is required for its entry into force: China, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.

Australia welcomes the return of the United States to the Conference.

Australia welcomes President Obama’s commitment that the United States "will move forward with ratification of the [Comprehensive] Test Ban Treaty, and work with others to bring the Treaty into force so that nuclear testing is permanently prohibited."

Foreign Ministers adopted a strong declaration in support of the CTBT, reaffirming the international community’s widespread and enduring support for the Treaty.

The strong international support for the CTBT is demonstrated by its 181 signatures and now 150 ratifications. In the lead-up to the 2010 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference, additional signatures and ratifications of the CTBT can provide a potent message of support for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Australia urges all countries to ratify the CTBT at the earliest opportunity.

 

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