CTBTO Preparatory Commission
56th Session, 21 to 22 June 2021
Statement by Ambassador Gerhard Küntzle,
Permanent Representative of Germany to the CTBTO
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Germany fully aligns itself with the statement by the European Union delivered by Portugal and wishes to add the following remarks in its national capacity:
First of all, on behalf of the German government I wish to thank Dr. Zerbo for his dedicated 17 years of passionate service, in which he boldly advanced the CTBTO’s international standing as well as the Treaty’s entry into force and universalization. The global norm against nuclear testing enshrined in Art. 1 of the Treaty stands stronger than ever. I wish him all the best for his future endeavours.
I also wish to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Floyd for his election as new Executive Secretary. We look forward to working with him and pledge him our full support. We also welcome that for the first time, a national from the SEAPFE regional group holds this office.
My delegation is relieved that the long and contentious appointment process has come to a successful end. We thank both the previous Chair, Ambassador Mebarki of Algeria and you, Mr. Chair, for ably steering us through these choppy waters. We regret that it was not always possible to take the necessary decisions by consensus. In my view, this was mainly due to the impossibility to resolve issues in face to face discussions. As Vienna is slowly emerging from the pandemic, I now feel that there is still a strong wish for unity and consensus-based decision making governed by the Vienna Spirit, amongst all delegations.
On the Advisory Group, Germany would like to express its heartfelt thanks to the outgoing Chair Sir Michael Weston for his excellent, independent-minded and long-standing service. Germany strongly supports the nomination of Rashmi Rajyaguru by the United Kingdom as his successor and is delighted at the prospect of an established financial expert and, moreover, a young woman, chairing the Advisory Group.
On the issue of payment of assessed contributions, Germany reiterates its view that countries nominating experts for the Advisory Group aspire to a special responsibility for the financial and administrative health of the organization, especially if the expert in question is the member of that country’s Vienna mission. In our view, it would be only appropriate if this special responsibility found its expression in the complete and timely payment of that country’s assessed contributions.
On the issue of noble gas background studies, Germany reiterates its long-standing position that the temporally limited deployment of mobile noble gas systems exclusively for conducting scientific studies of the noble gas background is well within the organization’s mandate and a scientific imperative. I thank the co-facilitators, Ambassador Molekane of South Africa and Ambassador Laggner of Switzerland, for their extensive consultations and non-paper. The paper in my delegation’s views is a good basis for further discussion on future PrepCom guidance, which should stay clear of micromanagement of the PTS.
To remain on the topic of noble gases, my delegation felicitates itself of the strong technical cooperation we enjoy currently with the United States and Sweden, as we are currently in the process of installing a US-built Xenon International noble gas system at our Schauinsland station in the Black Forest and planning to host a Swedish SAUNA system for six months in Germany for calibration and background monitoring.
This is the last PrepCom session not only for me personally but for Germany as Co-Chair of the CTBT Art. XIV Process – our joint chairmanship with Algeria ends with the next Art. XIV Conference on 23 September 2021. I am sure that I can speak also for Ambassador Mebarki in that it was a great honour to jointly serve CTBTO Member States in promoting the Treaty’s entry into force. Together with EU partners, Germany is currently planning a new round of demarches to take place in late summer. Let me add that also from an internal perspective, it was a positive experience since it raised the CTBT’s profile at the highest levels at the Foreign Office in Berlin. In turn, the Art. XIV Co-Presidency also helped sharpen the international profile of Foreign Minister Maas, for whom nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation is a priority. I therefore would like to renew our call to all Ratifying States to express their readiness to consider applying for this important office. And with this urgent appeal, Germany takes note with appreciation of the reports before the PrepCom.