Statement by Foreign Minister Westerwelle on Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
(as delivered at the 7th conference on facilitating the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty)
Your Excellency, Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and gentlemen,
After ten years of stagnation, the disarmament process now has the opportunity to move forward with a new dynamic.
We all welcomed the outcome of the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference. The ratification of the New Start Treaty by the United States and Russia is an encouraging step. NATO's decision to make the vision of a „world free of nuclear weapons“ part of its New Strategic Concept is a good basis to build on.
Within NATO Germany is working hard for a speedy resumption of disarmament talks with Russia, which should lead to a substantial reduction in substrategic nuclear weapons in Europe.
The German Government is pursuing a world free of nuclear weapons and free of nuclear threat. „Global Zero“ is our long term vision.
The early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) would represent an important contribution to this end.
In five decades of nuclear testing we have seen more than 2,000 nuclear tests. The level of radiation set free by these tests has been many times higher than that set free by the nuclear power plant accidents of Chernobyl and Fukushima.
The decision whether to sign and ratify the CTBT or not reveals the true intentions of a state. To sign and ratify the CTBT serves as an important confidence building measure. It could help to overcome regional tensions especially in the Middle East and East Asia.
Over the last years the CTBTO in Vienna has proven to be an strong pillar in the disarmament architecture. Germany is the third largest contributor to its budget. And we will continue to support the excellent work of CTBTO in the future.
A comprehensive legal ban on all nuclear testing is long overdue. Existing nuclear test moratoria are important, but not sufficient. Germany is confident that the nine countries that still have not ratified the CTBT will finally assume their responsibility. The entry into force of the CTBT will strengthen global peace and security.
We welcome the joint declaration by US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao of January this year stating that „... both sides support early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty“. This is an encouraging signal not only for those two countries, but also for all other states that are still hesitating.
Let us use this year's Article XIV conference to collectively push for an early entry into force of the CTBT.