Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Botswana
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16 october / 2019

Press-release on the process of entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

The Russian Federation welcomes the signing of the Treaty Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) by Tuvalu and ratification by Zimbabwe and Thailand. With their accession, the number of countries that have signed and ratified the Treaty has reached 184 and 168, respectively. Each new ratification is vital for the Treaty – it makes its status closer to universal and draws attention to the liability of the remaining eight states on which its entry into force depends.

Regrettably, the situation around the Treaty has seriously deteriorated since the holding of the previous CTBT conference in 2017. The US official refusal to ratify the Treaty is the main destabilizing event. Our American colleagues and some of their associates claim that this decision does not change anything in practical terms. Meanwhile, it has serious destructive consequences for the Treaty and international security in general.

The US refusal to ratify the Treaty deprives it of the prospects to become an operational international Treaty by virtue of its entry into force terms. The propriety of all efforts on forming a Treaty-related infrastructure including an international monitoring system is being put under a big question mark.

Instead of revising its negative decision on the Treaty Washington is trying to cast a shadow on other states by accusing them of failure to observe it. This is being done without any grounds. This has already become common. The Americans do not support their assertions with any specific arguments. A country that does not intend (as it officially declared) to ratify the Treaty does not have a formal or moral right to even discuss the commitments of other states to it. It is simply unseemly to use dirty tricks to cover up one’s potential withdrawal fr om the Treaty.

The Russian Federation is seriously concerned about the US general destructive line as regards well-established and effective mechanisms and agreements on arms control and non-proliferation. A continuation of this policy is fraught with chaos and anarchy as well as lack of predictability in the nuclear field. The CTBT Treaty is one of the major instruments for limiting the spread of nuclear weapons and promoting non-proliferation and is designed to play a fundamental role in ensuring international security and stability. Paradoxically, it was the United States that initiated drafting the Treaty at one time. This has likely been forgotten by now.

As Russia sees it, other states, including those listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty, share the US position. The US could become the driver of the Treaty’s ratification, it could set an example for others to follow. In this context, the Russian Federation urges the US government to revise its irresponsible decision on the Treaty and take all the necessary steps for its ratification without delay.

The Russian side is also addressing its appeal to the seven countries on which the Treaty’s entry into force depends, urging them to sign and/or ratify the Treaty as soon as possible. Needless to say, each of these countries is liable for the destiny of this document.

The Russian Federation appreciates the activities of the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission headed by a well-known expert, Lassina Zerbo, and has always supported the secretariat’s efforts to promote the Treaty in the international arena. Russia also supports the secretariat’s line on steady and balanced parameters for all elements of the mechanism for verifying compliance with the Treaty. We proceed from the assumption that the full and effective functioning of this verification mechanism is only possible after the Treaty’s entry into force. The Treaty can never be fulfilled on a temporary basis.

Having ratified the Treaty in 2000, Russia has been strictly implementing its commitments. For Russia, this is the only effectively verifiable international Treaty on the comprehensive ban of nuclear tests. There is no alternative to this. It cannot have any alternative. Russian leaders have repeatedly reaffirmed this position on the Treaty.

Since 1991 Russia has observed a moratorium on nuclear testing. It has not staged a single nuclear explosion during this period and intends to continue observing this moratorium given that other nuclear states follow the same line. The Russian Federation believes that a voluntary moratorium on testing, no matter how important it may be, cannot compensate for the failure to resolve the main task – to ensure the Treaty’s entry into force. The unilateral commitments by individual states cannot replace full-scale international legal commitments under this document, either.

Russia closely cooperates with the preparatory commission on creating the Russian segment of the international monitoring system, with 28 out of the envisioned 32 facilities being already put into service.

The Russian Federation notes with regret that the latest CTBT conference was overshadowed by an outrageous incident linked with the failure of the US to fulfill its commitments on the timely issuance of visas for members of the delegations coming to work at the UN. Almost every member of the Russian delegation that was declared to take part in conference failed to receive visas even though they have complied with all the required procedures. Apparently, it is time to consider moving these conferences from New York to more stable venues wh ere the host country treats its commitments responsibly.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Botswana