Last week in New York, I presided over a Conference to promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would rid the world of nuclear weapons testing forever.

I was joined by the Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, who opened the Conference.

Near universal support exists for the CTBT. 176 countries have signed the Treaty and 125 have ratified it. The Treaty lists 44 countries whose ratification is required to trigger entry into force of the Treaty. 33 of those countries, including Australia, have done so. 11 have not.

As President of the Conference, I heard a very clear message from 117 participating countries, calling on states which have not already done so to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible. This was the highest number of participants of the four Conferences held in support of the CTBT to date.

It was clear that countries, including Australia, regard the CTBT as a vital contribution to disarmament and non-proliferation, because it constrains the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the Treaty would greatly enhance international security.

The Conference unanimously agreed to adopt a strong declaration in support of the CTBT and a set of practical measures to encourage ratification.

Australia’s support for the CTBT is unwavering. We will continue to work for its entry into force and a future free of nuclear weapons testing.

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