Stephen Smith, Australia’s Foreign Minister, met Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), in Vienna on 17 February 2010.
“One of the conversations that we had is how Australia can persistently encourage other nations in our region and in the Asia Pacific to sign up to the Treaty and to ratify it,” Smith said.
“It was Australia who took the Treaty from Geneva to New York, played a significant role during the last decade in promoting the Treaty, and helped us in many regions of the world,” said Tóth.
U.S. ratification – a defining moment
“It is not a secret that the U.S. ratification will be a defining ratification and there are complexities around this issue because of the wider complications the U.S. administration is facing,” said Tóth.
“In such a situation, are we waiting, sitting on the fence, or sitting on our hands?” he asked.
“We had a similar view that whatever we can do, we will do jointly. We will try to see whether beyond the U.S. ratification any other Annex 2 ratifications will be possible and work with different countries. […] There was a strong recognition that any ratification brings us closer to a universally recognized norm,” he said.
Additional ratifications would make a difference
Tóth said he wants to see the number of States that have ratified the Treaty increase to 160 in the near future.
“We recognized the fact that there is a relationship between the ratification of an Annex 2 country and how neighbouring countries might be moving forward,” said Tóth. “It would make a big difference now,” he added.
“We want to send a message to the Annex 2 countries that yes, it is their judgment, but the predominant expectation is loud and clear.”
Indonesia can show leadership for common benefit
“Indonesia, as one of the Annex 2 countries, can make a difference,” Tóth said, answering a journalist’s question.
“It is worthwhile for Indonesia, and for all of us, to think through what countries can do individually for a wider benefit. Indonesia can show leadership, in accordance with its best traditions [and] the return would be high for both Indonesia and the wider international community. This is the angle through which both the CTBTO and Australia are viewing the issue, while of course the final judgment will have to stay with Indonesia,” Tóth concluded.