JOAN BURTON TD, MINISTER OF STATE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
JOAN BURTON TD, MINISTER OF STATE
AT THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Joan Burton T.D., has today asked Dail Eireann to approve (I) the Resolution establishing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation and (ii) Amended Protocol 11 to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which concerns the use of mines, booby traps and other devices.
Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was opened for signature on 24 September 1996. The Tánaiste signed the Treaty, subject to ratification, on behalf of Ireland on that day. The Treaty represents one of the most sought-after nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament measures in the history of the United Nations Organisation. It commits States Parties to the cessation of all nuclear weapons test explosions and all other nuclear explosions. It has a verification mechanism designed to provide the international community with adequate assurances that no such explosions are taking place. The Treaty is a very significant measure in the spirit of Article VI of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which concerns nuclear disarmament. It was concluded within the time-frame stipulated in the decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.
Known as a long-standing advocate of a CTBT, Ireland as Presidency of the European Union gave expression to the firm support and commitment of the Union to this treaty and contributed in a practical way to securing it.
Like the Chemical Weapons Convention which Ireland ratified on 24 June 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty provides for the setting up of an international organisation to oversee its operation. A Preparatory Commission was established by the States Signatories on 19 November 1996 to pave the way, in the period before the Treaty enters into force, for the future Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation. At this stage Dail Eireann is being asked to approve Ireland's participation in the Preparatory Commission. It will be asked to approve the Treaty itself prior to ratification by Ireland.
Amended Protocol II to the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention
This instrument was adopted by the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention Review Conference which concluded on 3 May 1996. Pending the establishment of a new legally binding norm prohibiting anti-personnel landmines, it contains the most far-reaching legally binding restrictions yet agreed on the use and transfer of these weapons. Dail Eireann is being asked to approve Amended Protocol II, so that Ireland can be among the first of the twenty countries whose ratifications are necessary to bring the instrument into force.
Ireland has associated itself enthusiastically with moves to build international support for moving towards a ban on anti-personnel landmines. In the period since the end of the CCW Review Conference, Ireland as Presidency of the European Union
- achieved agreement at the General Affairs Council on 1 October 1996 on a new EU Joint Action which, for the first time, enshrines the commitment of the Union to the goal of the total elimination of anti-personnel landmines and its pledge to work actively towards an early total ban agreement;
- thereby positioned the European Union in the vanguard of the total ban movement and saw to it that this was reflected at the Ottawa Conference : Towards a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Landmines, 3-5 October 1996 ;
- worked very closely with the US, Canada and others on a new UN General Assembly Resolution urging States to pursue vigorously an effective, legally -binding international agreement to ban the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. On 10 December 1996, the UN General Assembly adopted this Resolution with 155 votes in favour, none against and 10 abstentions;
- secured the adoption by the Development Council on 22 November 1996 of a Resolution on an integrated and coordinated approach in the fight against anti-personnel landmines. This Resolution envisages, inter alia, the development of a Geographical Information System to assist with coordination and information exchange, increased mine awareness activities in developing countries, support for research into mine clearance activities and the promotion of a regional approach to mine clearance where this will give added value to actions envisaged or already in place.
Ireland continues to work actively to consolidate the political advances made during our Presidency period in enlarging support for an early total ban agreement. We are participating in the Vienna expert meeting this week and look forward to the Brussels Conference for a Global Ban on Anti-Personnel Landmines at the end of June 1997.Top