GA: The International Day against Nuclear Tests

Last updated: 9/2/2011 // This statement was presented by Minister Counsellor, Mr. Knut Langeland, on the International Day against Nuclear Tests. The debate in the General Assembly marks the twentieth anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. Norway believes the world needs to urgently move forward on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Mr. President,

Norway congratulates the Republic of Kazakhstan for having initiated the process in the UN General Assembly which led to the International Day against Nuclear Tests. Allow me also to commend the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan for its active role in promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation through the Nuclear Discussion Forum in New York. 

There can be no doubt that an effective regime against nuclear testing is one of the pre-conditions to achieve our common objective of a world without nuclear weapons.  A Test-ban is a key tool to prevent proliferation. Test-ban is also a clear demonstration of the diminished value of nuclear weapons in security policies.

For this reason Norway has provided voluntary funding to the CTBTO‘s Capacity Development Initiative - in order to overcome the various challenges facing the multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament regime - and to UNIDIR and other international institutions working  on disarmament and non-proliferation issues.  

While formally not entered into force, the CTBT has already established a fundamental norm. Yet, this norm is also under pressure, as demonstrated by the nuclear testing carried out by the DPRK two years ago.

It is therefore vital that we do our utmost to secure a formal entry into force of the CTBT. Pending this, it is crucial that nuclear weapons states refrain from any action which can undermine the integrity of the non-test norm. We value the declared unilateral test moratoria, but they cannot replace the importance of a legally binding framework. All Annex II countries are therefore strongly encouraged to ratify the Treaty without delay.

It is a paradox that an international treaty with more than 150 State Parties cannot be allowed to enter into force. The obstacles are well-known and the legal status of the CTBT is now at the mercy of a small number of states. Indeed, this unfortunate state of affairs prevails also in other parts, such as the Conference on Disarmament, thus denying us to fully implement the final document of the NPT 2010 Review Conference. Norway therefore fully supports the HLM initiative by the UN Secretary General and we hope that this year’s session of the First Committee will address the current stalemate in multilateral disarmament diplomacy thoroughly.  Norway remains convinced that we can derive important lessons from the field of humanitarian disarmament, where countries wishing to make progress have led the processes.

To conclude, we need urgently to move forward on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The upcoming Article XIV Conference of the CTBT and the International Day against Nuclear Test are important occasions to further consolidate the non-test norm and further intensify our efforts to abolish nuclear arms.

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