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STATEMENT by the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail ULYANOV at the 55th session of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission

Unofficial translation from Russian


December 14, 2020

      Madam Chairperson,

First of all, we would like to thank You for your effective efforts on preparation for the 55th session of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission and the election of the Executive Secretary. The Russian delegation is committed to constructive work.

      Madam Chairperson,

The coronavirus pandemic facing the world this year has made the work of international organizations much more difficult, and the Preparatory Commission is not an exception. An unhealthy atmosphere has developed in it lately. This became especially obvious during the campaign for the election of the Executive Secretary. More often attempts are undertaken to politicize the debate, even on issues that have traditionally been considered without discussion and approved by consensus. If this trend is not stopped, it will inevitably have long-term negative consequences for the Organization.

      Madam Chairperson,

During the session we will have to choose between two candidates for the position of the Executive Secretary of the Commission. Both deserve to be appointed. We hope that the elections will be transparent, inclusive  and fair.

In this context, we took note that some colleagues emphasized in their contacts the importance of renewal in the work of the Organization. We are cautious about this thesis. The renewal is advisable and necessary when there are significant shortcomings. However, it seems that no one expressed serious claims about the work of the Commission or its Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS). In this case, the idea of ​​renewal turns into a slogan that is not filled with clear and concrete content. To a certain extent, a significant “renewal” took place in the CTBTO Preparatory Commission in October, when for the first time in its
24-years history, a vote took place. We consider this kind of innovation to be extremely unproductive. No matter who wins this elections, we will expect from the Executive Secretary, first of all, stability and predictability, as well as the preservation of all the positive traditions that have been developed over the past quarter century. It is by these criteria that we will evaluate his work.

      Madam Chairperson,

We attach great importance to the 2021 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT. Russia, as a consistent supporter of the Treaty, is ready to take an active part in its preparation and the Conference itself. We support the draft decision on financing the Conference submitted for approval by the Commission.

We would also like to note the adoption by the First Committee of the UNGA during its 75th session of the annual resolution on the CTBT. As in previous years, our country voted in favor of this document. We noted with regret that the US changed its position on the resolution. Together with the DPRK Washington voted against the document. It means that “a touching unanimity” between Washington and Pyongyang with respect to the CTBT emerged. To justify its destructive line on the CTBT, the United States again appealed to the alleged threats and violations by Russia and China. But as usual Washington could not justify its claims.

      Madam Chairperson,

We highly appreciate the well-coordinated work of the PTS of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission and its Executive Secretary L.Zerbo on adapting the Organization's activities to the conditions of the pandemic, as well as the measures taken to fulfill its key tasks. We consider it is important in the current emergency conditions to ensure further implementation of the program activities of the Commission. It is necessary to maintain a balanced approach to the establishment and financing of all three pillars of the CTBT verification mechanism - the International Monitoring System (IMS), the International Data Center and On-site Inspection, which are equal, complementary and indivisible.

In October this year, the certification of the Russian radionuclide station (RN-55) in Norilsk took place. With the certification of the mentioned station, the establishment of the Russian IMS radionuclide network was completed, and the number of certified Russian facilities reached 29 out of 32 provided for in the Treaty.

      Madam Chairperson,

The Russian delegation is determined to reach consensus on all other appointments and elections. This also applies to the appointment of a new Chairperson of the Working Group B. We believe that delegations should show flexibility in this matter, as well as respect for the decision approved at the
45th session of the Commission on the procedure for the appointment of chairpersons of subsidiary bodies, according to which the principle of rotation between regional groups should be observed when appointing to the position under consideration.

      Madam Chairperson,

Taking into account the format of the current session and its overloaded agenda, we believe that the discussion on some issues could be continued at the next session of the Commission. Among such issues are the holding of extraordinary sessions of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission and the use of NG measurements background. We believe it is necessary to include relevant items in the provisional agenda of the next session.

      Thank you for attention!