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Austria, Costa Rica Call For US Leadership On CTBT

Foreign Ministers of Austria and Costa Rica call for US leadership in CTBT ratification process

The Foreign Ministers of Austria and Costa Rica, H.E. Ursula Plassnik and H.E. Bruno Stagno Ugarte, today called for US leadership in the CTBT ratification process at a Conference promoting the Treaty.

Plassnik and Stagno Ugarte share the presidency of the fifth Conference to facilitate the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is taking place in Vienna, Austria. The two Foreign Ministers were joined at the press briefing by H.E. Sergio Duarte, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and H.E. Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

Stagno Ugarte said that the January 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal by well-known experts on security issues from the US Republican and Democratic parties was reason for optimism. "They all advocated a bi-partisan approach so that the US can become a full party to the CTBT", he said. Plassnik reiterated that the message was, "Yes, we want US leadership in the CTBT ratification process."

Referring to the shared presidency of the Conference as a novum in its history, the Ministers stressed that this symbolized the shared concern with regard to weapons of mass destruction. "The arguments around the CTBT are not a North-South issue or an East-West issue. There is really no geographic divide", Stagno Ugarte said. The two Ministers also stressed the importance of multilateralism as a key mechanism. "We do need multilateralism. Unilateralism has proved to be a dead end", Plassnik emphasized.

UN High Representative Duarte stressed the non-discriminatory character of the CTBT as it applied equally to all parties. Executive Secretary Tóth said that the legal norm against nuclear testing created by the Treaty was enjoying increasing support and was becoming more and more universal.

All speakers called for an early entry into force of the CTBT. Particular emphasis was put on the need for the remaining ten Annex 2 States, whose ratification was necessary for the Treaty to enter into force, to come forward and do so.


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