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Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the International Organizations in Vienna Alexey KARPOV at the informal consultations on the appointment of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission 6 July 2020.

Today we have on our agenda the issue of appointment of the Executive Secretary. Before us there are two main options – reappointment of the current Executive Secretary or launching the new process. We stand ready to accept both of them. At the same time we would like to draw your attention to the situation in which we are initiating the election process.

First. We are now in a very critical situation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its consequences are to be assessed. At the same time, it is already clear that in these circumstances many delegations will be unable to arrive to Vienna and participate in the election process.

Second. Even more important is the current situation around the CTBT that we witness today and which was brought much attention to in many statements at the 54th session of the Preparatory Commission. One nuclear weapon State has refused to ratify the Treaty and there is a discussion there on the resumption of the nuclear tests and possible withdrawal from the CTBT. Only a very naive person would not understand that such actions if undertaken cannot be left without reaction from other nuclear weapon States. These developments may be followed by the collapse of the CTBT for which the international community has spent more than 50 years. We cannot rule out that the Organization could disappear and there will be no need to appoint the Executive Secretary. The multi-million expenses of States Signatories for building up the verification mechanism could be washed down.

Third. As we understand as of today 73 of States Signatories have not discharged in full their financial obligations to the Preparatory Commission that resulted in withholding of their voting rights in the Organization and could have negative impact on its financial stability.  Despite all efforts by the Executive Secretary the CTBT issue and even its abbreviation fall out from Geneva and New York agendas.

Forth. In this critical situation where we are now we observe no actions by Friends of the CTBT. We expected that they would start consultations on the ministerial declaration and preparation for the meeting of Friends of the CTBT as it was done in previous years. But they keep silence.

The above mentioned issues are the most urgent today and require particular attention as well as prior consideration. Instead, we take up the issue of the Executive Secretary elections which is albeit an important but a secondary matter. We believe that in current circumstances it would be optimal to take an alternative way and support the proposal of Burkina Faso that was supported by several delegations on the reappointment of the current Executive Secretary for a period of time. It would be the most painless decision, oriented for consolidation rather than division of member states.