Lassina Zerbo New CTBTO Executive Secretary

Statement on the Election of Dr. Lassina Zerbo as Next Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organization

John Godfrey
Counselor for Arms Control
U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
Vienna, Austria
October 24, 2012 

We wish to congratulate Dr. Lassina Zerbo on his election as the next Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organization.  We also wish to thank again all the candidates who stood for election in this contest.  As we noted in our national statement yesterday, each candidacy represented an expression of dedication to and support for this organization by both the candidates themselves and their respective countries of origin.  We wish to echo the comments by our South African and Chinese colleagues, who rightly noted that this was a strong field of candidates.  The organization was fortunate to have had an excellent field from which to choose, which did not make the decision easy.  We wish to particularly thank Ambassador Alfredo Labbe for his grace, composure and wit throughout this process, and for having put the good of the organization ahead of his own interests in choosing to withdraw to facilitate the election of Dr. Zerbo.

We would note that while we can and should take a measure of satisfaction in having selected a new Executive Secretary, we should remain mindful of the fact that much work remains to be done – not just after Dr. Zerbo assumes his new post next summer, but also in the intervening months ahead.  We would hope that the spirit of collegiality and cooperation that informed the selection process here today, which was a credit to the Preparatory Commission, will prevail as we now resume the work of completing the CTBT verification regime.

Note from the U.S. Mission:  Dr. Zerbo will assume the role of Executive Secretary in August 2013.