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Erklärung anlässlich der 52. Sitzung der CTBTO-Arbeitsgruppe B, 25. März 2019


Représentation permanente de la France auprès des Nations unies et des organisations internationales à Vienne

Ständige Vertretung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland bei dem Büro der Vereinten Nationen und bei anderen internationalen Organisationen, Wien

Joint Statement at the 52nd Meeting of Working Group B of the CTBTO

25 March to 5 April 2019

Mr Chairman,

Germany and France fully associate themselves with the statement of the European Union, as delivered by Romania, and would like to add the following points on their joint national capacities.

  1. We first wish to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the Provisional Technical Secretariat and the Executive Secretary for the preparation and the chairing of our discussions ;
  2. The CTBTO International Monitoring System (IMS), voluntarily and deployed in advance of the entry into force by States Signatories is a unique tool for the detection and monitoring of either claimed or clandestine nuclear explosions.  Since the DPRK announcement to halt nuclear tests, the IMS has been one of the ways to ensure the international community that this commitment was kept.
  3. The IMS is yet to be achieved to be fully operational, and we commend the efforts made by States Signatories to allow the number of installed station to come each day closer to the Treaty configuration. Even for those who have not ratified the Treaty, their commitment to build the stations under their responsibility, to transmit data  and to pay fully and in time their assessed contribution to the regular budget are concrete and essential supports.
  4. France and Germany nevertheless regret that a number of certified IMS stations have not been sending data to the IDC for extended periods of time. We thus noted with concern that the availability of the data from primary seismic stations have dramatically dropped from 94.9 % in January 2017 to 86.6 % in December 2018. We encourage concerned States, in close cooperation with the PTS, to implement all necessary actions (technical, legal and financial ones) to overcome these difficulties swiftly, for they prevent the proper functioning of the IMS in the provisional testing & operations framework.
  5. Data availability and station reliability continue to be essential, especially where they directly impact on the Organization's ability to detect radio-Xenon emissions from potential nuclear test sites. It is vital that downtime at these stations is kept to a minimum. We have noticed that unfortunately data availability in particular from noble gas systems still continues to be an issue. We encourage those states to closely cooperate with the PTS to guarantee that missing stations will be installed as soon as possible and that all stations operate according to Treaty standards.
  6. As stressed by the EU statement, France and Germany support the continuation of mobile campaigns aiming at an improved characterization of the existing Xenon background. These mobile systems and the gained data are used to improve the calibration and categorization scheme as well as the performance of the verification system. A better understanding of the Xenon background will help to discriminate Treaty-relevant from civil emissions, and mobile systems will furthermore contribute to technical developments in and optimization of measurement technologies. France and Germany wish to commend the PTS for the preparation of INF.1490 on the Status and Use of Mobile Noble Gas Monitoring Systems. 
  7. With 16 stations and 4 stations on their national territory respectively, France and Germany are major operators of the IMS and commit themselves every day to ensure the station availability, the quality of the measurements and the data transfer according to the CTBT requirements. In order to finalize its IMS contribution, France is highly involved in the installation and certification of the IS25 station, the very last to be built. The corresponding contract has just been agreed by the PTS and construction works just started, so that it could be finished as soon as possible. Once done, France will be fully in agreement with the commitment it subscribed to, when ratifying the Treaty in 1998.
  8. For German Primary Seismic Station PS19 in the Bavarian Forest near Freyung, we announce with satisfaction that construction works for new cabling and communication lines have been finalized, and we are looking forward to bring our station PS19 to full operation this summer. We also with to announce our plans to organize, in cooperation with the PTS, a visit to PS19 and the co-located IS26 for Vienna Missions in October of this year.
  9. Regarding radionuclide station RN33 on Mt Schauinsland in Southern Germany near Freiburg, we are delighted to announce that the station's new RASA particulate system, installed in a new station building, has been revalidated, in accordance with the requirements of INF.934 paragraph 11. We wish to thank the PTS for the excellent support and cooperation in this regard.
  10. Other technical challenges lie ahead. France is highly involved with the PTS in infrasound calibration development. Moreover, the qualification of the new SPALAX NG is ongoing and the first 6 months of full operation are now achieved. The device will soon be transferred to Canada for another 6 months of operation.
  11. France and Germany remain fully engaged in the state of readiness of „On Site Inspection“ which could take place after the entry into force of the Treaty. OSI is one of the essential pillars of the verification regime as well as the IMS, IDC and confidence-building measures. We appreciate the standing engagement of the PTS to fulfill the „2016-2019 Action plans“ based on the experience acquired through the „IFE14“ in Jordan. Moreover we welcome the work done to conduct the third surrogate inspector training cycle which involves one German expert and two French experts, respectively.
    Against this background, the three Build-up exercises planned from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020 shall be very important milestones to assess the state of art and the state of readiness collectively reached in this field but also the way to maintain competencies in the future. 

    Mr. Chairman,
  12.  As the CTBTO belongs to the United Nations family and recalling the importance of multilingualism, we would like to commend the upcoming workshop in Madagascar, specifically dedicated to French speaking NDCs. We encourage the PTS to keep on organizing such workshops according to linguistic regions in order to strengthen the commitment and efficiency of all NDCs.

  13. In order to assist least developed countries in participating in WGB meetings more actively, we are delighted to announce a voluntary contribution to the Pilot Project of 60.000 Euros by Germany.
  14. We welcome Norway’s initiative to establish a Young Professionals Network and the fact that this network was now opened to younger staff members from all CTBT National Data Centres and the PTS. In addition to the CTBTO Youth Group, this is a most welcome step to win the young generation of scientists and experts for the CTBT.
  15. Finally, the technical discussions that we have here during the Working group B must not let us forget that the entry into force of the Treaty is the goal we must reach.
  16. It is according to this everlasting support to the CTBT and its entry into force that Germany decided to require, with Algeria, the presidency of the Article XIV Conference; France fully supports this initiative and will help as much as possible, as vice-president. Germany and France successively chair the UNSC in March and April 2019 ; it is in the spirit of full cooperation that the traditional reception will be held, again as a joint reception by our two countries, on Tuesday evening.
    Thank you Mr. Chairman.
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