On behalf of the Signatory States of the Group of 77 and China, I would like to congratulate you on your Chairmanship of the 19th session of the preparatory commission of the CTBTO. I am confident that your outstanding diplomatic skills and broad experience, will steer this session to a successful conclusion.
At the same time I would like to thank the outgoing Chairman H.E. Ambassador Abdulkadir Bin Rimdap of Nigeria, and his bureau for the excellent manner in which he conducted his Chairmanship during the first half of this year.
I would also like to express our appreciation to our distinguished Executive Secretary, H.E. Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann, for his comprehensive written and oral reports as well as the Secretariat for its ongoing efforts to fulfill its mandate.
The Group is pleased to note that since the last Prep Com, three of the Member States of the G-77 and China, namely Botswana, Niger and Samoa, have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as well as Georgia, bringing the total number of ratifications to 97.
The G-77 and China wishes to express its support for the workshop which will be held in Jamaica in December 2002 with the aim to promote International Cooperation and National Implementation of CTBT in the Caribbean and Central American Region. The Group would like to thank the PTS for organizing this important seminar, and reiterate its support for organizing such workshops in other regions and sub-regions.
The Group of 77 and China welcomes the signing of the agreement between the Prep Com and the Organization for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL). Emphasizing the importance of Nuclear Weapons Free Zones, the Group calls on the PTS to start the negotiation process in order to reach similar agreements with other nuclear weapon free zones.
With reference to the Programme and Budget, the Group would like to reiterate the views expressed in its previous statements, in particular that any proposal should be guided by the following main elements: First: the actual prospect of the Entry Into Force of the Treaty (EIF), Second: the capabilities of the Member States to pay their assessed contributions, Third: the capability of the PTS to consolidate the budget, and adjustments should take into account the views expressed by State Signatories.
In this regard the Group would like to emphasize the Gentlemen's Agreement contained in the report of the sixteenth session of the Prep Com, document CTBT/PC-16/1, approved by all members of the Prep Com, which clearly reads as follows: "The Provisional Technical Secretariat should do its utmost to keep the draft 2003 Budget at the level of the 2002 Budget and that the required resources will be evaluated carefully in order to approach the level of the 2002 Programme and Budget".
Regarding the proposed Programme and Budget for 2003, contained in CTBT/PTS/INF.511/Rev.1, the Group would like to reiterate its concrete suggestions made during the last WGA and WGB meetings in order to reduce the amount to an acceptable level, and urge the PTS to effectively take them into account.
We believe that there are still some ways to reduce the proposed amount of US$ 88.9 million to an acceptable amount in the range of US$ 86.5 million - for instance in the following areas:
A. Capital Investment Fund (CIF).
B. Post Certification Cost, taking into account the estimation of the PTS in document CTBT/PTS/INF.536 para 24 and the already approved guidelines in the WGB (CTBT/WGB-19/1 para 15) and WGA (CTBT/WGA-22/1 para 15). By doing so the reduction of the Post Certification budget for 2003 should be at least US$ 1.5 million.
C. By the redeployment of the staff of the Secretariat, instead of creating new posts.
D. By reducing the soft and hardware acquisition programmes.
Furthermore, 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. Therefore, 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. As already stated in the last WGA meeting, the Group believes that the non-career policy, especially the seven-year limit on service with the PTS, should remain unchanged. The Group also feels strongly that the Executive Secretary should refrain from interpretations which, in practice, may contradict existing regulations furnished to preserve the non career nature of the PTS and even render the exceptions unnecessary.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.