AND JAPAN CALL FOR EARLY ENTRY INTO FORCE OF CTBT
New York, October 1: Foreign
Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio
Kishida as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and numerous other top
officials and diplomats called for stepping up efforts to ensure an early entry
force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty or CTBT. The pact would
prohibit all nuclear tests.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
(L) and Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov assume chairmanship of
the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Photo: CTBT Organisation
The two foreign ministers entered into
two years of co-chairing the ninth Conference on Facilitating the Entry into
Force of the CTBT on Sept. 29 in New York.
The nuclear test ban treaty was adopted
at the UN General Assembly in 1996. However, the pact has yet to take effect,
as nuclear powers such as China, the United States, Egypt, Iran, Israel, North
Korea, India and Pakistan have failed to either sign or ratify it.
“Nearly two decades after its
negotiation, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has still not entered
into force. A breakthrough is long overdue,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
told delegates. “We need every person in this room to show leadership on the
urgent international imperative of ending nuclear tests,” Ban said.
“The CTBT is essential to realising our
vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. It will help ensure that the
international community is no longer forced to live in the shadow of nuclear
weapons,” he added.
He was unusually blunt in his comments
as he addressed the eight countries on whose actions the CTBT’s entry into
force depends. “You have a special responsibility,” Ban said. “You must not
wait for others to act before ratifying.”
Japan and Kazakhstan took over the
rotating two-year chairmanship in the conference from Indonesia and Hungary. In
their remarks, representatives of all four nations expressed frustration over
the lack of progress on the CTBT’s entry into force.
In his speech, Idrissov noted the
uniqueness of the co-chairmanship of Kazakhstan and Japan, two countries that
have suffered from the effects of nuclear weapons’ explosions and which have
the full moral right to demand concrete steps from the states that have not
signed or ratified the CTBT, he said.
“This document, along with the Treaty on
the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, is the cornerstone of the entire
global security system. Therefore, we are for the full universalisation of the
treaty. Its entry into force will become an important step forward on the road
to a world free of nuclear weapons. Kazakhstan intends to make substantial
progress in this important work,” Idrissov said.
“We all know what it is all about,”
Idrissov told the gathering, choosing to forgo prepared remarks and speak of
the cuff. “We all know that its entry into force depends on the signing and
ratification of the CTBT by the eight states. We believe that the time for
specific steps and direct conversations has come. It should be no longer
business as usual. As we have just agreed with my colleague, Foreign Minister
Kishida, we will be very aggressive in our work, we will be blunt and we
sometimes will not be diplomatic as we will seek to achieve the CTBT’s entry
into force,” Idrissov said.
Idrissov stressed Kazakhstan’s
contribution to global nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, including it
most recent initiatives. On the initiative of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan
Nazarbayev, the UN announced Aug. 29, the day of the closing of the
Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, as the International Day against Nuclear
Tests. Since 2012, in the framework of the international initiative The ATOM
Project, every person in the world who opposes nuclear weapons can sign an
online petition addressed to world governments to end nuclear testing forever,
as well as support the early entry into force of the CTBT. Today, the petition
has been signed by more than 200,000 people from over 120 countries.
CTBT Preparatory Commission Executive
Secretary Lassina Zerbo, in his own remarks following Idrissov’s, noted the
contribution of The ATOM Project and especially its Honorary Ambassador
Karipbek Kuyukov in galvanising global public opinion to the cause of banning
nuclear testing permanently. The ATOM Project presented its activities during a
Sept. 10 informal session of the UN General Assembly dedicated to the
International Day against Nuclear Tests.
In his remarks, Idrissov also noted that
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in his Sept. 28 remarks at the UN
General Assembly suggested an initiative to achieve a world without nuclear
weapons by 2045.
“This goal seems quite distant and
unattainable, but it is achievable with the presence of political will and we
need to start moving towards that goal today,” Idrissov stressed. “Yes, we can
achieve a world without nuclear weapons,” he said, recalling the 2008 electoral
slogan of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Kishida said at the meeting that it is
vital that efforts toward the treaty’s implementation be accelerated, as a test
ban is a key pillar in nuclear arms reduction. He called on participants to
make their greatest efforts to bring political pressure to bear on countries
that have not ratified the treaty.
Kishida, whose home city is Hiroshima,
cited the words of a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor who said the threat posed
by nuclear arms should not be forgotten, even for one day, in order to secure
the survival of mankind. Kishida called for the CTBT to be supported “at the
highest possible level” and said: “We need everybody for this treaty to be able
to enter into force.”
As part of the conference, Idrissov also
met with Lassina Zerbo of CTBT. During the meeting, the foreign minister noted
that Kazakhstan highly appreciates the current level of cooperation with the
organisation, and, in particular, supports the initiative on assembling the
Group of Eminent Persons with the goal of promoting CTBT’s early entry into