International Atomic Energy Agency
Information Circular
(Unofficial electronic edition)
28 February 1996

Original: ENGLISH

Communication of 7 February 1996 Received from the Permanent Mission of Australia to the International Atomic Energy Agency

  1. On 7 February 1996, the Director General received a communication of 6 February 1996 from the Resident Representative of Australia transmitting Statements made by the Prime Minister of Australia on 28 January 1996 about the sixth nuclear test by France at Fangataufa and on 30 January 1996 about the subsequent announcement of France's commitment to sign the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996.

  2. As requested by the Resident Representative of Australia, the Prime Minister's Statements are being circulated for the information of Member States of the Agency.

The Sixth French Nuclear Test

Statement by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon P J Keating MP

The French Government is to be strongly condemned for this latest test at Fangataufa and for conducting it during negotiations for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which are entering the final critical stages in Geneva.

Such an irresponsible action sends the worst possible signal to nations that aspire to possess nuclear weapons, and damages efforts to advance nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

Australia will continue to press France to end its testing program immediately and respond to the legitimate demands of South Pacific nations as expressed in the declaration of the meeting of South Pacific Environment Ministers, which Australia initiated and hosted, on 17 August 1995.

This declaration called for an immediate end to testing of nuclear weapons in the South Pacific and the closing of associated facilities, except those required for future environmental monitoring; for France to accept full and exclusive responsibility for any adverse impacts from French testing on the South Pacific environment and people; and to provide access by the international community to all French scientific data and to the testing sites themselves to enable an independent and comprehensive assessment of the effects of testing. If, as the French Government claims, it seeks to retain a role in the South Pacific then it must respond positively to the demands of the nations which it would call neighbours and friends.

I call on the French Government to announce immediately the cessation of its testing program, in line with statements by President Chirac; to sign without delay the Protocols of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty; and to put all of its energy towards the successful conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty this year.

28 January 1996

Statement by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon P J Keating MP

The Prime Minister, Mr Paul Keating, has welcomed President Chirac's renewed commitment to sign the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and a genuinely comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) in 1996.

"The announcement by the French government that it has concluded its nuclear testing program in the South Pacific brings to an end a program which should never have started, " Mr Keating said.

"Those six tests put at grave risk the cause of international disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation, flew in the face of France's international obligations and posed unacceptable risks to the people of the South Pacific."

Mr Keating said that, like the other members of the South Pacific Forum, Australia wanted France to close its testing facilities, retaining only those required for environmental monitoring.

"Australia also wants France to provide access for the international community to all data and sites so an independent and comprehensive assessment of the effects of its testing can be made."

"Beyond the immediate and urgent need to conclude a CTBT this year, Australia now looks for a new commitment form France and the other nuclear weapon states to meet their obligations under Article VI of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for genuine steps towards complete nuclear disarmament," he said.

30 January 1996

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