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High-level Plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day Against Nuclear Tests

High-level Plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day Against Nuclear Tests
7 September 2022

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Italy

Mr. President,

Italy aligns itself to the statement delivered by the European Union and would like to add some remarks in its national capacity.

This High-Level Meeting provides a fresh opportunity each year to raise awareness on the devastating effects of the use of nuclear weapons and testing on the environment and human life. It also allows us to further emphasise the need to cease nuclear testing and to reaffirm our commitment to the ultimate goal of a peaceful and secure world, free of nuclear weapons.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a cornerstone of the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda, as well as of the wider multilateral architecture. By banning “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion”, it counteracts the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and helps preventing nuclear competition.

Regrettably, more than 25 years after its opening for signature, the CTBT has not yet entered into force. It has, however, achieved two very important goals: it has paved the way for a moratoria on nuclear tests, which we call on all States to maintain, and it has created, through the CTBTO, a highly effective global verification regime, whose invaluable role in quickly providing reliable and independent data has been repeatedly demonstrated. But progress on the way to disarmament and non-proliferation requires that the current voluntary moratoria on nuclear test explosions be translated into a binding norm, through the entering into force of the CTBT.

We therefore strongly support any initiative aimed at facilitating its entry into force. To this end, Italy co-chaired the Ministerial Art. XIV Conference of the CTBT last September with South Africa. Our engagement as co-chairs will continue for another year. In this two-year period, we have strengthened our efforts, in partnership with South Africa, the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the CTBTO and the States Signatories, to advance the universalization of the Treaty with new signatures and more ratifications. And to this end, we fully support the excellent outreach work that the Executive Secretary, Dr Robert Floyd and his team are undertaking. In this regard, I warmly welcome recent ratifications of the Treaty by Tuvalu, Gambia, Dominica and Timor-Leste. Let me therefore once again reiterate the plea to all States that have not yet done so and, in particular, to the remaining eight Annex-2 States, to sign and ratify the Treaty without further delay.

Mr President,

I regret that despite intensive efforts and negotiations, one country decided to block consensus on a final outcome document at the tenth NPT Review Conference, which would have also reaffirmed the importance of the CTBT entering into force at the earliest possible date.

The current threats to global peace and security make it more urgent than ever to renew all efforts for the universalization and entry into force of the CTBT.

In this spirit, we urge the DPRK to refrain from further provocations and to take concrete steps towards a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. We call on DPRK to engage in credible negotiations in this respect and to comply with relevant UNSC Resolutions, to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to sign and ratify the CTBT.

At the same time, we call on the international community to continue to support the completion of the CTBT verification regime even before the entry into force of the treaty, so as to further improve its monitoring capacity and its ability to provide accurate data analysis. We remain fully committed to the strengthening of the International Monitoring System (IMS), including through our national seismic station and radionuclide laboratory.

Mr President,

I would like to conclude by emphasising the paramount importance of a common effort to achieve the entry into force of the CTBT. Every single country has a role to play. Italy calls on all partners to work closely together to create political momentum, turn it into action and, ultimately, into reality.

I thank you.