Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement in Berlin today (29 August 2019) on International Day against Nuclear Tests:
Disarmament and arms control require clear and reliable agreements and rules. But even 23 years after the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty has not yet entered into force, although all countries – with the exception of North Korea – de facto adhere to it.
I urge all countries that have not yet signed or ratified the CTBT to finally do so. Only a few countries have yet to sign or ratify. A universal ban on nuclear tests would be an important step towards a world free of nuclear weapons. We need an internationally binding legal basis in order to stop all nuclear tests.
My Algerian counterpart and I will co-chair an intergovernmental conference at the United Nations in New York in September, with the aim of ensuring that the Treaty enters into force sooner. Germany has already put the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons back on the agenda of the UN Security Council this year. This was the first time in seven years that the Security Council addressed this topic. Only through perseverance at the multilateral level will we come closer to achieving our goal of Global Zero.
The International Day against Nuclear Tests was established by the United Nations in 2009. The chosen day commemorates both the first Soviet nuclear test of 1949 in Semipalatinsk and the closing of the test site there in 1991. So far, 168 countries have signed and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) of 1996. All CTBT signatories are abiding by the voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests. The CTBT creates a de facto ban on nuclear tests as a standard of international behaviour. In the last 20 years, only North Korea has conducted tests.
Germany actively supports the CTBT’s entry into force. As a result, it was accepted into the Friends of the CTBT in 2013. Germany provides the fourth-largest contribution (7.3 million euros) to the annual budget of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), which is based in Vienna. The CTBTO has set up a worldwide network of over 300 stations to monitor possible nuclear explosions. These measuring stations have played a key role in estimating the impact of nuclear tests by North Korea. They are also used for civilian purposes such as tsunami early warnings.
At the intergovernmental conference in New York on 25 September 2019, Germany and Algeria will assume the two-year co-presidency of the Article XIV process, which calls for the CTBT to enter into force. In taking on this leading political role, the German Government is underlining its international commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-Proliferation.