EU Statement at 59th session of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, as delivered on 21 November 2022

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The following countries align themselves with this statement: North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Albania*, Ukraine*, the Republic of Moldova*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Iceland+, Norway+, Andorra and San Marino.

The European Union reiterates in the strongest possible terms its condemnation of the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, which constitutes a blatant violation of the UN Charter and international law, and demands that Russia immediately cease its military actions, unconditionally withdraw all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders. We strongly condemn the Russian Federation’s attempts to illegally annex Ukrainian regions, which have no legal validity or effect.

We also reiterate our call on Russia to refrain from any action that would endanger the integrity of the International Monitoring System (IMS) - including stations in the region - and data availability through the verification regime.

Moreover, Russia’s irresponsible actions, as well as the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused significant economic pressures for many States Signatories and correspondingly have repercussions for the financial outlook of international organizations.  

Mr. Chairman,

We thank the Executive Secretary for his comprehensive reports, and express our support for the recommendations contained in the reports of Working Groups A and B, as well as of the Advisory Group. We also welcome the return to a full scale Preparatory Commission (PrepCom) session, for the first time since 2019, and thank the PTS, its directors and all CTBTO staff for their resilience and efforts in ensuring business continuity for both verification and non-verification related activities to the benefit of States Signatories.

The efforts to promote and facilitate signature and ratification of the CTBT remain a top priority for the EU.  All EU Member States have ratified the Treaty and consistently call upon the remaining eight Annex II States: China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and the USA who still need to ratify the Treaty and the DPRK, India and Pakistan who still need to sign and ratify it in order to bring it into force, to do so without any preconditions or further delay. In the meantime, it is crucial that all States fully observe the moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosion, and refrain from any action contrary to the object and purpose of the Treaty.

We warmly welcome the recent ratifications of the CTBT by Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe, and fully support the efforts of the Executive Secretary to further promote and facilitate signature and ratification of the Treaty.

The EU looks forward to the upcoming Science and Diplomacy Symposium 2022 which will be another opportunity to promote the entry into force of the Treaty, based on innovative approaches. On this occasion, the EU is pleased to organise a side-event on 6 December, on promoting gender equality and empowerment of early career women in STEM[1].

Mr. Chairman,

The EU urges the DPRK to cease its unlawful and destabilising actions that undermine regional and international peace and security and instead engage in dialogue with relevant partners. The DPRK must comply with its obligations under relevant UN Security Council resolutions to refrain from testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Any nuclear test or other reckless action must be met with a swift, united, and robust international response.

The DPRK cannot and will never have the status of a nuclear weapon State in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We urge the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes as well as programmes to build delivery systems and other weapons of mass destruction in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner as required by UN Security Council resolutions. We urge the DPRK to return to compliance with the NPT and the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement including by signing and ratifying the Additional Protocol - and signing and ratifying the CTBT. It is critical that sanctions, which target the DPRK’s unlawful weapons development, remain in place while its programmes exist. The EU calls on all UN Member States to ensure the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions to prevent the DPRK from procuring materials, knowledge and finance that support its illegal weapons programmes. The EU stands ready to support any meaningful diplomatic process and is committed to working with all relevant partners to build a basis for sustainable peace and security and take steps aimed at pursuing Complete, Verifiable, Irreversible Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU would like to thank the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for providing the final 2023 Budget update proposals, which take into account comments made by States Signatories, and supports the recommendation of Working Group A to the Commission to approve them.

The highly sophisticated CTBT verification system, the preservation of its value, continuous sustainment and recapitalization of the IMS, and the further development of on-site inspection operational capabilities and related capacity-building activities require substantial financial input. As noted by the Executive Secretary, the current budget allocated to cover the sustainment and recapitalization of the IMS is inadequate. A solution needs to be found urgently and be agreed for the next 2024-2025 biennium. This will require States Signatories to make tough but important choices about budget allocation.

We welcome the commitment made by the Executive Secretary to provide a detailed technology and station specific analysis as a basis for a budgetary gap determination and mitigation strategy. We encourage the PTS to launch regular discussions with States Signatories on this issue and on the 2024-2025 Programme and Budget more broadly, as soon as possible. We also encourage the PTS to continue its important operations, including building, certifying, operating and repairing IMS stations.

Moreover, it is crucial for the operation of the verification regime of the Treaty, and for the wider organization’s financial health, that all States demonstrate their political commitment and honor their legal obligation to pay their assessed contributions, on time and in full.

The EU, materialising its full commitment to the Treaty and its implementation, has so far contributed 29.5 million Euros to support CTBTO monitoring and verification activities. These funds are being used to improve the auxiliary seismic station network, to strengthen on-site inspection and noble gas monitoring capabilities, and to provide technical assistance to countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean region, allowing them to participate fully in the CTBTO’s verification regime. The EU has already commenced consultations with the PTS regarding its next voluntary contribution through EU Council Decision IX.

We have noted with interest the proposal of a Funding mechanism for the 2025 Integrated Field Exercise (IFE). Since the Commission has approved an exercise programme culminating in an IFE, it is clear that adequate resources will need to be identified. In this regard, we welcome the related draft decision which includes an opt-out possibility with respect to national legal constraints by some States.

Mr. Chairman,

Background studies using mobile monitoring systems have been going on for years to improve the performance of the verification regime and ensure the correct detection of events. This activity is part of, and helps carry out the mandate of the PTS. We look forward to the swift appointment of a new team of co-facilitators and fully support the continuation and finalisation of discussions on this topic.

Regarding the development of guidelines for holding non-scheduled sessions of the Commission, while we reiterate our support for the 2019 GRULAC proposal, we thank Ambassador Duarte of Brazil for his efforts and for the new version of his proposal, which includes many positive elements. We look forward to advancing discussions with a view to finalising this issue.

As for appointments to the Advisory Group, we encourage States to ensure that they nominate experts of high-recognised standing and experience in financial matters at the international level. We welcome the nominations of Mr Matheus Pires Uller from Brazil and Ms Yue Ping from the People’s Republic of China and can support them.

On the draft decision on possible procedures for the appointment of the Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons of the Advisory Group, we consider that the current draft needs further consideration and revision, and stand ready to engage in further consultations as appropriate.

In conclusion Mr. Chairman,

We wish to express our deep appreciation to you and to the Vice-Chairs for ably steering the Commission during this year, and reiterate our full support and cooperation for a constructive and successful 59th Session of the Commission. The EU stands ready to support your efforts to fill current vacancies in the Commission and its subsidiary bodies.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


* Candidate Countries North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, as well as potential Candidate Country Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are members of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.

[1] Science, technology, engineering and mathematics.