[Remarks as prepared]
Thank you for your warm welcome. I am delighted to be here on behalf of the United States. It has been a long time since our government was represented at this conference. We are glad to be back.
Earlier today, President Obama chaired a special session of the Security Council to adopt a resolution outlining comprehensive steps to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime. This is part of a deliberative, ongoing effort by the Obama Administration to enhance our common security while moving us closer to the vision the President outlined in Prague: a world without nuclear weapons.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is an integral part of our non-proliferation and arms control agenda, and we will work in the months ahead both to seek the advice and consent of the United States Senate to ratify the treaty, and to secure ratification by others so that the treaty can enter into force.
We believe that the CTBT contributes to our global nonproliferation and disarmament strategy as well as the President’s long-range vision. It does so without jeopardizing the safety, security, or credibility of our nuclear arsenal. By pursuing these goals and supporting the CTBT, we are working in the interest of all nations committed to non-proliferation and to reducing the threat of nuclear attack.
The Obama Administration has already begun the work necessary to support U.S. ratification of the Treaty. We know this task will not be quick or easy. But as long as we are confronted with the prospect of nuclear testing by others, we will face the potential threat of newer, more powerful, and more sophisticated weapons that could cause damage beyond our imagination. A test ban treaty that has entered into force will permit the United States and others to challenge states engaged in suspicious testing activities – including the option of calling on-site inspections to be sure that no testing occurs on land, underground, underwater, or in space. CTBT ratification would also encourage the international community to move forward with other essential nonproliferation steps.
To put it plainly, we support this treaty because it strengthens the prospect of a peaceful, stable, and secure world and would enhance the security of the American people.
As we work with the Senate to ratify the CTBT, we will encourage other countries to play their part—including the eight remaining Annex 2 countries. Those who haven’t signed should sign. Those, like us, who haven’t ratified, should ratify. And the 149 countries that have already progressed to ratification can use this opportunity to continue preparations for CTBT implementation.
Even in these times of strained budgets, we are prepared to pay our share of the Preparatory Commission budget so that the global verification regime will be fully operational when the CTBT enters into force.
More than eighty percent of the monitoring stations that will constitute the International Monitoring System have already been installed and we urge all host countries to ensure that the data from these installations are reported to the International Data Center. In the coming months, we will look for new ways to support the monitoring system —including upgrades to the system and other verification capabilities of the CTBT – with the help of all nations, including those who have yet to ratify.
President Obama and I applaud Indonesian Foreign Minister Wirajuda's recent pledge that his country will move forward with ratification once we have done so. We look forward to similar statements from the remaining Annex 2 nations, while recognizing that today’s Article XIV Conference provides an opportunity for all of us to pledge our support for the Treaty, reaffirm our commitment to the verification regime, and demonstrate the importance of this treaty to reducing the threat and role of nuclear weapons.
It will take our collective effort to develop a comprehensive, diplomatic strategy that lays the groundwork for eventual entry into force. I am pleased that Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher will hold consultations with her many counterparts at this conference to discuss diplomatic efforts to move the process forward.
Mr. Chairman, after a 10-year absence from this conference, America stands ready to renew its leadership role in the non-proliferation regime. As President Obama said yesterday, we have a shared responsibility for a global response to global challenges. We come to this conference with an optimistic spirit that all parties can make a contribution towards a world without nuclear weapons. That is the promise of the CTBT, and it is why we are rededicating ourselves to this effort. Thank you.
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