Speech by Foreign Minister Margot Wallström at the Article XIV Conference

Speech by Foreign Minister Margot Wallström at the Article XIV Conference, United Nations, New York. 29 September 2015.

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Chairpersons,

Let me start by wishing Japan and Kazakhstan every success for their two-year term as Article XIV coordinators, and by thanking the Secretary-General for convening this important conference.

Chairpersons,

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is close to my heart. Twenty years ago, when I was Minister for Cultural Affairs, I campaigned actively to end nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

I was therefore particularly moved by the statement at this year’s NPT Review Conference by my colleague Tony deBrum from the Marshall Islands. As a nine-year old, sitting on his father’s fishing boat, he saw the sky turn red and felt the shock wave when the 1954 Castle Bravo test detonated at Bikini Atoll, with a yield of 15 megatons. And he was 200 miles from ground zero.

The effects on humans and nature of the over 2000 nuclear tests carried out over 50 years are severe. Test sites remain uninhabitable for humans, and land and pristine coral reefs have been destroyed. These effects serve as a stark reminder of the unacceptable and incalculable humanitarian and environmental consequences that would result if nuclear weapons were ever used again. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty gives us hope that such a horrific scenario will not be repeated. 

Nuclear disarmament remains a top priority of my Government. One of my first actions as Minister for Foreign Affairs was to add Sweden to the countries that support the Humanitarian Initiative. Sweden’s strong support for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty remains steadfast.  Indeed, the entire European Union is united behind this goal, which would be an important milestone on the path to achieving the total elimination of nuclear weapons. And it is a step to which all States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are committed.

Sweden’s support for the CTBT was expressed through our hosting of the first substantive meeting of the CTBTO Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) last year. Among the participants were Dr Lassina Zerbo, Dr Hans Blix and High Representative Federica Mogherini, who will speak later today. In terms of technical support, the Swedish Defence Research Agency FOI recently began the development of a third generation of the SAUNA system for noble gas detection. We are pleased that the SAUNA system has proven its worth, most recently at the IFE on-site inspection exercise in Jordan. It is being installed at radionuclide stations around the world as part of the International Monitoring System.

Chairpersons,

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty gives us hope that my dream from all those years ago, and our shared vision of a more humane world in which nuclear testing remains a thing of the past, may come true. Today, we renew our call on all States that have not yet done so, in particular the eight remaining Annex 2 countries, to join us in realising that vision.

Thank you Chairpersons.