Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: Motion (Resumed).

Wednesday, 23 June 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 506 No. 6

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Debate resumed on the following motion:

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food (Mr. N. O'Keeffe): Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  Our position on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation will not change as a result of participation in the PfP.

Legislation will have to be adopted to give full effect to the treaty. The legislation will, for example, make clear the prohibition on nuclear test explosions and will specify the penal sanctions for participation in such a test. It will also provide the national authority with the powers it requires to fulfil its tasks. Draft legislation will be presented as soon as possible.

I welcome the support for the new agenda initiative on nuclear disarmament expressed by Deputies here today. The Minister for Foreign Affairs indicated that the initiative enjoyed considerable success at last year's UN General Assembly. It is our intention to bring the resolution forward again this year in the hope that it will gather even more endorsements. We are also working very closely with the other co-sponsors to examine ways of bringing the initiative into the NPT process. Next year will see the first NPT review conference since it was indefinitely extended in 1995. This will afford us an opportunity to achieve concrete results in respect of nuclear disarmament.

Deputy De Rossa referred to the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice in 1996. As the Minister pointed out, the ICJ opinion on nuclear weapons was central to the new agenda initiative and is cited in the text of the initial declaration and the resolution adopted at the United Nations.

The tests conducted last year by India and Pakistan clearly demonstrate the urgent need for the CTBT to enter into force and for all states to adhere to it. I made the position of the Govern[1138] ment and the people clear following the tests last year. We must make progress on the road to total disarmament and the CTBT is part of the process which will lead us there. I strongly urge India and Pakistan to adhere to the CTBT as soon as possible and without conditions.

Adoption of this motion will allow Ireland to ratify the CTBT and to participate fully in the conference to be held this autumn. The purpose of the conference is to find ways to bring the treaty into force as soon as possible. I hope it succeeds in persuading those whose ratification is necessary for entry into force to ratify as soon as possible and that the treaty will enter into force.

Question put and agreed to.


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