I would also like to express our appreciation to the Executive Secretary for his comprehensive written and oral reports and commend the Secretariat for its ongoing efforts to fulfill its mandate, ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the Preparatory Commission. I would also like to congratulate Mr. Ziping Gu, the new Director of the Legal and External Relations Division.
The Group is pleased to note that Burkina Faso last April, Kazakhstan and Venezuela last May have deposited their instruments of ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, bringing the total number of ratifications to 93.
We would like to express our appreciation to the Government of Kenya for hosting the workshop on CTBTO International Cooperation and National Implementation for States from East and Southern Africa, held in Nairobi from 18-20 June 2002. This workshop focused on an overview of the work of the Commission and the technologies of the CTBT verification regime, including potential benefits of the application of verification technologies for scientific and civil purposes. The Group would like to thank the PTS for preparing this kind of workshop, which also facilitated an exchange of information and experience aimed at supporting the implementation of the CTBT, as well as the promotion of the signature and ratification process in the region. The Group would like to reiterate its support for organizing such workshops in other regions and sub-regions.
The Group will comment on the following items of the Agenda for this Prep Com:
1. With reference to the 2003 Programme and Budget Proposals contained in CTBT/PTS/INF.511, the Group has made its concrete suggestions during the last WGA in order to reduce its total amount. We would like to see our proposal reflected in the new adjusted budget document.
The Group also notes that the post-certification costs have been increased substantially (approximately US$ 7.6 million as compared to US$ 3.2 million in 2002). This amount is very high and should be reduced, especially in the light of the outcome of WGB discussion on Draft Guidelines for testing provisional operation and maintenance of certified IMS stations.
2. On the possible reduction of the annual number of sessions of the Preparatory Commission, the Group maintains its previously stated view, which, if adopted should be complemented by the reduction of the sessions of its subsidiary bodies. Bearing in mind that the main purposes of the proposed reductions are rationalization of the method of work in the Prep Com and in its subsidiary bodies, alleviation of the burden of report writing on PTS staff and allowing them more time for practical works, reduction of workload of delegations and achieving significant financial savings.
Due to the state of development of the Prep Com and its subsidiary bodies the Group urges all the State Signatories to show flexibility and cooperation in order to help the efficient work of the Prep Com and its subsidiary bodies.
The Group would like to thank delegations attending the last WGA session for the strong support received for their proposal, as reflected in its report CTBT/WGA-21/1 para 26.
3. The Group of 77 and China welcomes the decision of WGA to make a recommendation to the Prep Com to approve the draft agreement between the Prep Com and the Organization for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL), as contained in the annex of the report, and to authorize the Executive Secretary to sign the agreement on behalf of the Commission. The Group also calls for the start of the negotiation process in order to reach similar agreements with other nuclear weapon free zones.
4. The Group believes that according to the resolution on the establishment of the Prep Com, technical testing and provisional operations, as necessary, pending the Entry Into Force (EIF) of the Treaty is a task of the Prep Com. The operation of IMS stations before the EIF of the Treaty is provisional and testing in nature and only for the purpose of testing and evaluating the performance and data quality of IMS stations.
The mode of operation of IMS certified station should be determined in the light of actual needs of testing and maintenance of the IMS network, and the legal and financial concerns of State Signatories should be duly taken into account during the negotiation of guidelines on the mode of operation of IMS stations in the WGB.
5. The Group believes that the Human Resources issues in the PTS should be treated in an open and transparent approach according to the existing staff rules and regulations. The Group notes that the agreement on the Commission's non-career policy as outlined in its staff rules and regulations and the administrative directive on recruitment, appointment, reappointment and tenure, have been achieved through a delicate political balance, thus the Group believes that the non-career policy, especially the seven-year limit on service with the PTS should remain untouched. Therefore, the Group also feels strongly that the status quo on this issue be maintained.
6. As stated already during last year's April Prep Com, the Group is of the opinion that the PTS should cooperate with the Member States in order to identify possible solutions to impediments preventing them from making their payments, as recommended by the X Prep-Com in November 1999, including constitutional impediments.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.