Let me express my gratitude to the co-chairs of the Conference and to the Provisional Technical Secretariat for the work done to prepare the Conference and to agree upon its draft final declaration, which we support.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo success in his work on his new post and assure him in our support.
As you know, Belarus is a consistent adherent to and participant in the processes of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This year marks 20 years since the accession of our country to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon State. The withdrawal of nuclear weapons from the territory of Belarus was completed in 1996, shortly after the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty was opened for signatures.
By renouncing the possibility to possess nuclear weapons left after the collapse of the Soviet Union voluntarily and without any pre- conditions and reservations, we expected to maintain the dynamics of the disarmament processes, which inspired hopes for a more secure world in the nineties of the last century. Today the expectations of progress in nuclear disarmament are much more moderate than 20 years ago, and the hopes are cautious.
The same tendency affects the process of entry into force of the CTBT, which is one of the most significant treaties in the context of further strengthening of the international non-proliferation regime and the advancement towards the goal of nuclear disarmament. To reverse this negative trend, it is important to focus cooperative measures that address this problem on practical matters. In this regard we hope that the work of the group of eminent persons established at the initiative of Mr Zerbo will bear positive results.
The Provisional Technical Secretariat conducted significant work to prepare the Treaty's entry into force. The international monitoring system that will meet the requirements that ensure the verification of compliance with the obligations under the treaty was created and is being improved on a permanent basis. We also take note of a worthy standard of the International Data Center and the development of the on-site verification regime.
The ability of the established system to provide States Parties with impartial and accurate information about the events of interest has been tested in practice.
We also made sure of the potential applicability of the CTBT verification system for civil and scientific purposes, especially in preventing and assessing the impact of natural phenomena such as tsunamis and earthquakes. However, this important additional benefit of the CTBT should be used without prejudice to the immediate goal of the Treaty.
Belarus is keen to actively collaborate with the Provisional Technical Secretariat. We are grateful for its willingness to contribute to further training of Belarusian specialists. In turn, our country has the scientific and technical organizations as well as the infrastructure and experts that could also be claimed by the Organization. The Belarusian manufacturers are willing to participate in the respective tenders and competitions and offer high-tech innovations, which can be useful for the needs of the Organization.
The CTBT is one of the examples of a realistic approach to the process of nuclear disarmament and is the most important element in the efforts of the international community on nuclear non-proliferation. We hope that the goal to ensure the Treaty's entry into force through the joint efforts will become feasible. On our part we confirm our adherence to the letter and spirit of the Treaty and stand ready to further facilitate its early entry into force.