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Statement by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on the occasion of the handing over of the Co-Presidency of the Article XIV Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

23.09.2021 - Speech

“To reach a port, we must set sail.” A famous New Yorker, Franklin Roosevelt, once said that.

And our port is clear: we want to put an end to nuclear tests. And with the CTBT, we have set sail.

  • Over the past two years, the number of ratifications of the CTBT has grown to 170.
  • And despite the challenges of a global pandemic, support for and awareness of the CTBT has increased. That is a success!

But the elephant in the room remains: 25 years later the Treaty is still due to enter into force. That is disturbing and frustrating.

We therefore call on all countries which have not yet done so to sign or ratify the CTBT – without preconditions or delay.

Nuclear tests pose a grave threat to international peace and security and to human health. Ending them once and for all is both a humanitarian imperative and a rational choice for international security.

However, the CTBT shows that even a treaty that is not formally in force can nevertheless exert its force.

Through our joint efforts, we have created a strong factual norm against nuclear testing – and an effective mechanism to monitor compliance.

This is proof of what a broad base of committed countries can achieve.

Speaking of cooperation, I would like to thank my Algerian colleague and Co-President, Foreign Minister Lamamra, for the excellent work over the past two years.

Let me also extend my thanks and best wishes to our successors, South Africa and Italy.

In times of uncertainty and gridlock, cooperation and leadership matter.

They matter, because they help our boat to reach its port. To reach a world without nuclear weapons.

Thank you.

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