Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Data from nuclear test-ban monitoring stations in the Pacific region
will be handled through a Sydney-based communications hub under a contract
Cable & Wireless Optus has signed a seven-year contract to operate one of
five communications hubs around the world handling data from monitoring stations
supporting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
The Pacific region hub will service more than 60 of the 321 monitoring
stations being established worldwide to verify CTBT compliance. Currently,
12 monitoring stations are operating in the Pacific region, mainly in Australia
and New Zealand.
The new hub will be an important link in the Global Communications
Infrastructure (GCI) being established by the Preparatory Commission for the
Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization and UK-based HOT
Telecommunications. Stations monitoring underground and underwater
environments and the atmosphere for evidence of nuclear testing transmit their
data via the GCI to a data centre in Vienna. Data and analysis products
are carried also by the GCI from Vienna to CTBT member states.
The Pacific hub will eventually handle information from stations as far
afield as Attu Island in Alaska, the Galapagos Islands, Macquarie Island and
Jawa Barat in Indonesia.
The communication hub's location further underlines Australia's commitment to
the CTBT. Australia made a strong contribution to negotiation of the
treaty. When its adoption was blocked in the Conference on Disarmament in
1996, Australia initiated action to take it to the UN General Assembly in New
York where it was adopted by an overwhelming majority of countries.
Our priority now is to see the treaty enter into force. The Minister
for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer plans to lead the Australian delegation to
the second CTBT Article XIV Conference in New York in September to promote entry
into force. Australia is making diplomatic representations in the lead-up
to the Conference urging signature and ratification of the treaty.
During the recent visit to Australia by US envoy James Kelly, Mr Downer again
called on the United States to ratify the CTBT.
Further inquiries: Malcolm
Coxhead (ASNO) 02 6261 1913