4 May 2010
Meetings Coverage

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

NPT Review Conference

3rd & 4th Meetings (AM & PM)

Political Will Surmounting Disarmament Stalemates but Falling Far Short of Force

Needed to Rid World of Nuclear Weapons, Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Told

France Urges Debate on Risks of Civil Nuclear Energy “Renaissance”;

Republic of Korea Warns of Treaty Loopholes, Abuse of Withdrawal Provision

Renewed political will might have overcome stalemates in the disarmament arena, but fell far short of the unified force needed to rid the world of nuclear weapons, ministers told the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as it entered its second day at Headquarters today.

Discriminatory access to nuclear technology for civilian use, weapons proliferation and questions about the withdrawal conditions in the Treaty dominated discussion over how to forestall erosion of, and indeed, strengthen, the Treaty’s pillar trifecta of disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful nuclear energy use.  The Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh told the meeting those challenges made clear the tall order facing the Conference in the coming weeks.

Barriers preventing States from acquiring nuclear technology to boost and sustain development must be removed, she said.  There must be no attempt to use the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical assistance programme for political purposes, she said, asserting that current restrictions on exports of material, equipment and technology to develop that energy source violated the Treaty’s provisions.

Algeria’s Foreign Minister agreed, saying that while nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were essential for confidence-building, the peaceful use of nuclear energy was crucial for development.  If that evaluation were shared by all, then the Conference would be able to break with past failures, he said, bringing to mind the collapse of the 2005 Review Conference, which had only increased the pressure for success in 2010.  At the same time, he exhorted States parties and the Nuclear Suppliers Group not to cooperate in the civilian nuclear field with States that were not parties to the Treaty. 

On the growing demand for civil nuclear energy, France’s Ambassador said his country had opted for nuclear energy and was prepared to cooperate with any State that complied with its international obligations.  However, the challenges related to the “renaissance” of civil nuclear energy should be collectively debated, as they were diverse:  proliferation risks and prevention of trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials for terrorist or mafia purposes, among them.  Such issues should be addressed in the context of new global governance on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and he hoped the Conference would launch that essential debate.

The stakes at the Conference were indeed high, and firm, concerted action was needed, ministers said, with some urging that NPT States parties should decide whether the Treaty’s article X, which governs conditions for withdrawal from the Treaty, could be legitimately invoked in the case of a State that was already being investigated for non-compliance. 

Germany’s Minister of State at the Foreign Office warned there were real dangers that proliferation cases, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s breakaway from the Treaty and Iran’s nuclear programme, could, in the medium-term, erode the Treaty and lead to a new arms race.  In such a scenario, there would be no guarantee that the use of nuclear weapons could be ruled out forever.

Steps must be taken if a State party decided to withdraw, especially if that State was not in compliance with its obligations, the Foreign Minister of Denmark said.  At the heart of the problem, asserted the Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs of the Republic of Korea, were loopholes in the Treaty, including the possibility of abusing article X, which allowed proliferators to develop nuclear weapon capabilities under the guise of the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  He pointed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear issue as a vivid example. 

Article X, voiced Greece’s Ambassador, provided for the right to withdraw from the Treaty in extreme cases of threat to national security, however the consequences of such a withdrawal might have serious implications for regional and international stability, notably when exercised mala fide by a State in non-compliance with its obligations.  The Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy said countries could not withdraw as a way to avoid their obligations, without consequence.

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic said it was unacceptable that a country would use the withdrawal provision to evade sanctions for Treaty violations.  States parties should agree on how to collectively respond.  And parties intending to leave the Treaty should be responsible for any violation committed prior to their withdrawal.

The Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates went further, supporting the proposal that the Conference create a committee to discuss matters related to the Treaty’s withdrawal provision.

Also addressing the Conference at the ministerial level were representatives of Ukraine, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jordan, Australia (on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum), New Zealand, Nigeria, Namibia, Gambia, New Zealand (on behalf of Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria and Switzerland -- the de-alerting group of countries), Viet Nam (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Russian Federation, Egypt (on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition), Uzbekistan (on behalf of the States parties to the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty), Japan, Zambia, Norway, China, Lithuania, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Nepal and Qatar.

The 2010 Review Conference will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 5 May, to continue its debate.


The 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continued today.  The Treaty aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, promote cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.  It represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.

Conferences to review the Treaty have been held at five-year intervals since the Treaty went into effect in 1970.  Each conference has sought to find agreement on a final declaration that would assess the implementation of the Treaty’s provisions and make recommendations on measures to further strengthen it.  (For more information, please see http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/.)


KOSTYANTYN GRYSCHENKO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said as a country that had denounced its nuclear arsenal 16 years ago, his was an example for others.  Security assurances for States renouncing their arsenals must be reflected in a legally binding document.  Ukraine had recently announced that it would also eliminate all national stocks of highly enriched uranium by 2012, based on sufficient international assistance.

He said that the NPT, since its inception, had achieved a lot, but more needed to be done.  Despite all reduction efforts, existing nuclear arsenals were startling, and gaps remained in the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  Steps ahead included the newly concluded Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) between the United States and the Russian Federation, as well as United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement at this Conference yesterday that her country would move forward with the provision of legally binding security assurances to countries in nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa and the South Pacific.

There was an urgent need to build on past Review Conferences, and this session should focus on the implementation of non-proliferation commitments, a mechanism of adequate response to today’s challenges and strict compliance, among other things, he said.  Strengthening physical protection of nuclear material and facilities was another important area, as was commitment to a fissile material ban and to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Peaceful uses of nuclear energy was another critical Treaty pillar, he said, welcoming the recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Russian Federation agreement to establish reserves.  Twenty-four years after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, Ukraine’s strategy aimed at fostering the region’s long-term development; it would co-sponsor an international conference on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the accident in April 2011.

He noted that the Treaty review process had some promising proposals, including one from Canada.  This Conference would succeed if decisions were adopted and duly implemented.  Key players should project beyond 2010 and work hard to develop effective action plans, allocate essential resources and move towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.

VUK JEREMIČ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, stressed that even between 1992 and 2000, when his country had suffered under a harsh sanctions regime, it had continued to respect all of its Treaty obligations, and thus, his Government supported the full and consistent implementation of the commitments contained therein.  The CTBT could complement the NPT, and talks should also intensify for concluding soon a treaty on fissile materials.  The NPT’s lack of universality required concerted attention, as did the threat posed by non-State actors acquiring weapons-grade material.  Everyone had the duty to develop more stringent accountability and transparency mechanisms.

Regarding disarmament, he said that while Serbia welcomed the signing of START between the Russian Federation and the United States, it was concerned at the slow progress at the Geneva Disarmament Conference.  On the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Serbia had taken steps to enhance nuclear security in the Western Balkans by focusing on safe civilian applications of atomic technology.  It had also recently signed the Additional Protocols to the IAEA’s Safeguard Agreement.  Moreover, in 2009, Parliament had adopted a law on ionizing radiation protection and nuclear security, which had led to establishment of an independent national nuclear agency that would become operational this year.

For several years, Serbia had worked with the IAEA to transfer 48 kilograms of irradiated, 80 per cent enriched uranium to the Russian Federation for safe storage, he said.  The multi-year project -– called VIND -- was supported by the Russian Federation, European Union and United States.  It was a model of cooperation in three crucial fields:  spent-fuel removal; low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste management; and large-scale facility decommissioning.  The impacts of a mushroom cloud would not stop at a State border and, on the issue of non-proliferation and disarmament, human beings were the exclusive source of the problem and the potential solution.  A universal global vision was needed, as was strategic foresight.  The only choice was to make the world safe tomorrow in a way that diverged from today’s path.

DIPU MONI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, said a renewed political will after years of sluggishness in the disarmament arena had overcome past failures, including the last Treaty Review Conference, but was decidedly insufficient for freeing the planet from the curse of nuclear weapons.  Bangladesh was committed to the test-ban Treaty, and had opted to remain unconditionally non-nuclear.  Her country was also constitutionally committed to achieving general and complete disarmament, with Parliament having passed a resolution that supported this Conference, expressing concern over the risks posed by the continued possession of nuclear weapons and declaring that their use would constitute a crime against humanity.  A multilateral approach to disarmament and non-proliferation was the road to take, and total elimination was the solution, with the NPT the cornerstone for pursuit of that goal.

She said that the peaceful use of nuclear energy with IAEA safeguards and verification would contribute to sustainable development, but undue restrictions on exports of material, equipment and technology to develop that energy source in non-nuclear-weapon countries persisted through measures incompatible with Treaty provisions.  Those barriers must be removed, she said, adding that Bangladesh was disappointed that extraneous reasons were being used to deny the rights of non-nuclear-weapon States to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology.  There must be no attempt to use the IAEA technical cooperation programme for political purposes, and she called on all concerned to engage in constructive dialogue to implement NPT articles I, II and IV in an atmosphere of trust and confidence.

From the development perspective, the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda juxtaposed a $1.5 trillion annual expenditure on arms against developing countries, particularly least developed countries such as Bangladesh, struggling to achieve Millennium Development Goals, she said.  “We feel ashamed that the number of hungry mouths crosses 1 billion at the height of contemporary technological advancement and opulence,” she said.  “We must do our best to let our people live in peace, prosperity and dignity.”  Full implementation of the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda was critical to achieve that goal.  “We must leave behind a planet habitable for our future generations,” she said.  “Posterity will not forgive us if we fail.  Let us resolve to make a difference; let us make a difference today.”

SVEN ALKALAJ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the 2010 Review Conference had come at a time when the nuclear regime was in a state of crisis.  Since 2000, there had been a rollback in efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals and their role in security policy, as well as deep divisions among States parties over the Treaty’s main principles.  Despite such setbacks, the Security Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 1887 (2009) and the new START agreement had given new momentum towards realistic progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  Nuclear disarmament could only encourage States parties to comply with their Treaty obligations.  Indeed, the Treaty was a unique and irreplaceable multilateral instrument for maintaining international peace, security and stability.  As a State party, Bosnia and Herzegovina was fully committed to implementing it and stood ready to contribute to global efforts to ensure its universality.  As such, he called on States parties to work in a spirit of compromise to reach a constructive outcome vis-à-vis the Treaty’s main pillars.

Emphasizing the importance of nuclear disarmament and support programmes to destroy nuclear weapons, he said the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones was a positive step towards attaining the goal of global nuclear disarmament.  While all States parties had the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, they must adhere to all Treaty obligations crafted to ensure that the most powerful energy source was, indeed, used safely and responsibly.  Implementation of the Safeguards Agreements, and their verification by the IAEA, remained the reliable manner in which to do that.  The IAEA had proven itself as a reliable and impartial international supervisor of the nuclear safeguard.  Finally, he expressed appreciation for the preparatory work done ahead of the 2010 Review Conference, and hoped that a spirit of cooperation would prevail.  He also hoped participants in committee deliberations would find the strength, courage and wisdom required to deal with today’s pressing nuclear disarmament and proliferation challenges.

MOURAD MEDELCI, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said nuclear disarmament was the ultimate goal of the Treaty and welcomed the 2010 Review Conference in a context of a renaissance of the “zero nuclear weapon” option.  He reiterated the hope that the global community, notably the nuclear-weapon States, would commit resolutely to a process that aimed to denuclearize the planet.  Ending proliferation was a natural quest reaffirmed by Algeria on many occasions.  The Treaty was a key instrument for maintaining international peace and security, and its 1968 adoption had contributed considerably to slowing the risks.  While nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were essential for confidence-building, the peaceful use of nuclear energy was also necessary for development.  If that evaluation were shared by all present today, the Conference would then allow for breaking with past failures.

With that, he urged States to recognize that the Treaty had reached the limits of a selective and discriminatory approach; to reiterate the validity of a universally admitted interpretation of it, under which rights and obligations were based on three pillars; and, finally, to rehabilitate the Treaty by choosing to implement all obligations without discrimination.  Also, the decisions and resolutions of the fifth and sixth Review Conferences, held in 1995 and 2000, should be implemented and considered a starting point for the 2010 Conference.  On the issue of security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States, he deplored national security doctrines based on the possession of nuclear arsenals.  Assurances should be a priority.  Within that framework, nuclear-weapon States should work to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national and regional defence policies, and the new START treaty was a positive initiative.

On the goal of non-proliferation, he proposed strengthening implementation of the Treaty’s article I, through which States parties would not encourage non-nuclear-weapon States to acquire nuclear weapons.  He exhorted those countries and the Nuclear Suppliers Group not to cooperate in the civilian nuclear field with States that were not parties to the Treaty.   Algeria was part of the majority of States that had chosen to use the atom exclusively for civilian applications, in accordance with article IV, and he reiterated support for the IAEA’s mandate in promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  In closing, he noted the Conference on Disarmament was not the only multilateral forum that was negatively affected by its own failures.  Delays in the entry into force of the CTBT and operation of the Organization of the States parties in Vienna were also of great concern.

LENE ESPERSEN, Minister for foreign Affairs of Denmark, said that as part of the Vienna Group of 10, her country had presented a set of working papers covering non-proliferation issues and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  The Treaty had served the world well over the last several decades, overcoming hurdles and building upon the positive momentum of Security Council resolution 1887 (2009) and last year’s statement by United States President Barack Obama.  She hoped this Conference would confirm the basic principles of the Treaty, agree upon a set of concrete measures along the lines of the European Union’s working paper and consider possible ways of improving procedures to strengthen the Treaty’s implementation.  The Treaty could also be strengthened from outside developments, and Denmark encouraged the entry into force of the CTBT and the start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.  She also encouraged all efforts to ensure progress on the creation of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

She said that universal adherence to the NPT remained critical, and steps must be taken if a State party decided to withdraw, especially if that State was not in compliance with its obligations.  She strongly supported the IAEA safeguards system and would use its present membership on the Board of Governors of that agency to promote recognition of the Additional Protocol as a verification standard.  The Treaty was essential to the preservation of world peace.  Non-proliferation was not sustainable without disarmament.  “We cannot handle such issues separately,” she said.  “We must address them all constructively.”

NASSER JUDEH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan, associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, called the Treaty the “linchpin” of the global peace and security system.  On article VI and disarmament, the new START agreement was a step in the right direction, but that development would be limited unless bolstered by other steps.  The Treaty’s universality must be achieved and he hoped that the CTBT would go into effect as soon as possible.  He also urged a full commitment to abstain from any tests of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices and to implement agreements made in 2000.  It was necessary to sensitize the public about the importance of eliminating nuclear weapons.

He said that commitment to the Treaty’s article IV was generally excellent.  In that context, he understood the gravity of the situation and shared the concern of others over it.  Non-nuclear-weapon States should commit to Treaty provisions.  If the IAEA was the competent organ to verify full compliance, it must be supported and provided the necessary tools to perform that function.  He urged giving the IAEA the freedom and confidence to discharge its mandate.  Steps must be taken in a holistic manner without affecting article IV, which allowed for research and nuclear energy production for peaceful purposes.   Jordan was developing a peaceful nuclear energy programme and was fully committed to the Treaty.  It would fully cooperate with all States parties and the IAEA to ensure it was in full conformity with all conditions of peace and security.

Jordan had participated in the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., and while there, King Abdullah had confirmed his desire to cooperate with all parties and to block the access of irresponsible parties to those materials, he said.  The United States President’s new approach to reaffirm multilateral diplomacy in creating a nuclear-weapon-free world had opened a new window of confidence.   Jordan considered that view, affirmed by United States Secretary of State, a precious opportunity to be welcomed and built upon.  He hoped such developments would allow for more optimism than in 2005.

Finally, he cited the indefinite extension of the Treaty amid the inertia of implementing the Middle East resolution.  A reluctance to implement the 13 practical disarmament steps that had emerged from the 2000 Review Conference was another subject for debate.  However, failure to declare the Middle East nuclear-weapon-free was incomprehensible.   Israel’s failure to accede to the NPT undermined international obligations and bred instability and tension.  It was only natural for the global community, including the nuclear-weapon States, which had joined in the consensus to indefinitely extend the Treaty, to implement that resolution.   Jordan would work closely with all to ensure a successful 2010 Conference.

SHEIKH ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, said that the Treaty had helped to shape the current scenario, limiting the number of States possessing nuclear weapons.  However, there were a lack of concrete steps to disarmament, States existed outside the Treaty, and non-compliance issues and nuclear proliferation threats remained.  At the root of his nation’s commitment to global security and nuclear non-proliferation had been its decision to join the NPT in 1995, its ratification of the CTBT and the conclusion of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement in 2003 and signing of its Additional Protocol in 2009.  As a country that was developing an innovative model for adopting peaceful nuclear energy use, the United Arab Emirates was following guidelines and had taken groundbreaking steps, including renouncing the development of domestic enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.  The development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy was a right of every State.

He said that the Treaty faced challenges, and he called for measures to strengthen it, with a focus on safeguards.  The adoption of the Additional Protocol was important to strengthen the system.  The export of nuclear technology should be a priority for countries that had that protocol in force.  That protocol was crucial to the IAEA’s success exercise of its mandate.  He also supported the creation of a committee to discuss matters related to the NPT’s withdrawal provision.

The only way to ensure non-use of nuclear weapons was their total elimination, he said.  He welcomed steps taken by the United States and the Russian Federation; however, further efforts were needed, especially establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, he said, encouraging parties to take urgent and practical steps to implement the 1995 Review Conference resolution on such a zone and to establish a special committee during the Conference to discuss the process and associated timeline.

He said the Conference should focus on positive and realistic action plans and establish a new model by which non-nuclear-weapon States could explore and use nuclear energy with the international community’s full support and confidence.

STEPHEN SMITH, Foreign Minister of Australia, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, recalled that members of his delegation had faced, first-hand, the devastating effects of nuclear testing, and said that, from that harsh experience, they were proud to have established the South Pacific nuclear-weapon-free zone in 1985.  The NPT was the cornerstone of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, and the Forum would work hard in coming weeks to ensure that the Review Conference discussions bore fruit.  “We cannot accept a repeat of 2005,” he said, urging delegates to achieve balanced progress on all three of the Treaty’s pillars.  He recalled that, in 2000, the Forum had urged pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of the steps leading to disarmament, agreed at the 2000 Review Conference, and that in 2005, the Forum had encouraged nuclear-weapon States to provide updates on their disarmament steps.  He was pleased at efforts by some to advance their article VI obligations, and he encouraged further progress.

In particular, he welcomed the long-standing ratification by the United Kingdom, France, China and the former Soviet Union of the protocols to the South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, as well as the United States’ announcement that it intended to proceed with ratification of the Treaty’s Protocols.  He also encouraged ratification of the CTBT.  Safe and secure shipment of radioactive material was a concern in his region, and the Forum continued to place priority on nuclear safety issues, including the application of IAEA safety requirements and guidelines.  The 2000 Review Conference had underlined the importance of effective national and international regulations for protecting States from the risks of transport of radioactive materials.  It had also called on States parties to work bilaterally to improve measures and global regulations towards that goal.  He welcomed progress made and urged improved communication between shipping and coastal States on transport safety, security and emergency preparedness.

The Forum fully supported the rights of non-nuclear-weapon States to enjoy the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy, within a framework that reduced proliferation risk and adhered to the highest global safeguards standards, he said.  Strengthened non-proliferation measures helped to foster a conducive environment for sharing such benefits.  The Forum stood ready to provide regional experience and contribute to a successful Review Conference.

GEORGINA TE HEUHEU, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control of New Zealand, said the Treaty’s three pillars should be fully implemented to achieve the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons.  Her country valued its cooperation with its New Agenda Coalition partners and was pleased to associate itself with the statement to be delivered by Egypt on the Coalition’s behalf.  An incremental approach to disarmament was the only realistic option.  She called for reductions leading to the elimination of nuclear arsenals, the negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty, and lowered operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems, among other things.  An effective non-proliferation regime was also essential, with accountability being a key element.

She said that benefits were derived from peaceful uses of nuclear energy, but it must be ensured that technology remained accessible to all and safety measures were strictly implemented.  Landmark developments, including yesterday’s statement by the United States Secretary of State to ratify the treaties of Rarotonga and Pelindaba, the recent START agreement and the United Nations Secretary-General’s five-point plan, meant that this Conference had the potential to set in motion systematic reductions and advance the current positive momentum.

HENRY ODEIN AJUMOGOBIA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said his country was clear and unshaken in its commitment to the ideals and objectives of the Treaty, and to a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Nigeria was proud to have been among the early signatories to the Treaty.  Its commitment to the non-proliferation of nuclear material for non-peaceful purposes had been reinforced by its ratification of the 1997 Model Additional Protocol, the Safeguards Agreement and the 2009 entry into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty).  A biennial resolution in the General Assembly’s First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), on behalf of the African States Group, further demonstrated Nigeria’s resolve to abide by the NPT’s framework.

He said that the recent signing of the START agreement between the United States and Russian Federation, and the encouraging 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, had been among the events that had provided a welcome backdrop to the 2010 Review Conference. The non-ratification of the CTBT by some “Annex 2” States, however, constrained the treaty from becoming legally binding.  Maintaining the moratorium on nuclear testing, meanwhile, was critical to preserving the mutual trust to safeguard assurances.  Equally important was the need for a legally binding instrument to prohibit the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

Continuing, he reiterated Nigeria’s endorsement of the 13 practical interim nuclear disarmament steps as the only guarantee against their use or threatened use.  He cited Nigeria’s desire to seek international cooperation in the application of nuclear technology to boost its electricity generation, which was of vital interest.  He hoped the 2010 Conference would endorse practical measures to preserve the rights of countries like Nigeria to exploit their entitlement under the Treaty framework to use nuclear energy for development.

UTONI NUJOMA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia, said this Conference was taking place against a backdrop of important global developments that should act as an impetus to advancing the positive momentum, including the recent START agreement.  States must relinquish the notion of reduction versus modernization of nuclear warheads, and abandon the illogical assertion that nuclear weapons were good for some to possess and bad for others.  Confidence could only be instilled through legally binding measures for non-use.  He sought to curb production and testing, saying the test-ban Treaty’s entry into force was the first step towards effective disarmament.

Welcoming the entry into force of the Pelindaba Treaty, he said the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones were another important disarmament measure.  This Conference should produce a commitment by all parties to implement the 1995 resolution to create such a zone in the Middle East.  The NPT pillars were interdependent and the balance between them should be upheld at all times.  He called upon all States without comprehensive safeguard agreements to conclude them without delay.  The placement of the nuclear facilities of all nuclear-weapon States under IAEA safeguards was an obligation and not an option.

The slogan “atoms for peace” should not be an empty call, and he pressed for the application of nuclear technology to create a world of prosperity and free from want, with no countries denied access to that technology.  Namibia was well endowed with source material for nuclear energy, but most of its people lived without adequate electricity supplies, access to nuclear medicine or other benefits of that source of energy.  Namibia would continue to engage the IAEA to initiate a nuclear power programme, in order to derive maximum benefits from its uranium.  Multilateralism of the nuclear fuel cycle should not lead to attempts to concentrate nuclear technology in the hands of a few.  As a major producer of the source material, Namibia would play its role.

ABU BAKARR GAYE, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Gambia, noting that his country had signed the CTBT and was party to both the NPT and Pelindaba Treaty, said it was his hope that African Governments’ commitments towards establishing a true nuclear-weapon-free zone would receive active support.  The early establishment of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy would equally encourage peaceful nuclear energy use on the continent.  Gambia envisaged a stronger relationship with the IAEA as it expanded its technical cooperation programmes with African countries, especially in the fields of education and health.  The Agency’s programme of action for cancer therapy should be generously supported and replicated.  Gambia wished to take part in the regional training networks envisaged for cancer control and to benefit from the resources of the Virtual University for Cancer Control.

He said that peaceful nuclear energy technology held great potential to solve development problems, notably in improving soil, water and nutrient-management practices.  Any reduction in nuclear weapons production could help free substantial resources for peaceful uses and he, thus, called on nuclear-weapon States to recommit to enhancing the non-proliferation regime.  He expressed support for the legitimate quest of all States parties to benefit from nuclear technology.  Finally, Israel’s nuclear capabilities were closely linked to the desire to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and to the question of lasting regional peace, and he encouraged the IAEA Director General to redouble efforts in following up on that resolution.

GEORGINA TE HEUHEU, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control of New Zealand, speaking also on behalf of Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria and Switzerland -- the de-alerting group of countries -- said her delegation had called for action since 2007 to address the significant number of nuclear weapons that existed today at high-readiness levels.  There was an urgent need for action to address that situation.  It was of deep concern that doctrinal aspects from the cold war era, like high-alert levels, were perpetuated.  Her delegation shared the United States President’s thoughts on the need to end cold war thinking.

While welcoming recent reductions in the numbers of nuclear weapons, she also would welcome more recognition that the high-alert levels of remaining weapons were disproportionate to the current strategic situation.  She expressed disappointment that recent reviews of nuclear doctrines had not resulted in lowered alert levels, but was encouraged that the door had been left open for more work in that area.

A lowered operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems would be an important step towards the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world, she said.  Steps to lengthen the decision-making “fuse” for the launch of any nuclear attack would lower the risk of unintended use, or use in error.  Such benefits were recognized at the 2000 Review Conference, where it was agreed that measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems would promote global stability.  Her delegation was working for an outcome on operational readiness that built upon the 2000 result and had submitted a working paper towards that goal.  Action to lower the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems was in line with the imperative expressed in the first preambular paragraph of the NPT.

PHAM BINH MINH, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the run-up to the Review Conference had seen a more positive atmosphere towards nuclear disarmament, notably with the April signing of a new START agreement between the holders of the world’s two largest nuclear weapons arsenals.  His delegation was also encouraged by the United States’ bolder approach to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in its nuclear doctrine, concluded in the Nuclear Posture Review.  It was only logical that States parties should take stock of the situation vis-à-vis their Treaty commitments, and he supported proposals to identify elements to achieve that goal.

However, he said, the world still had more than 20,000 nuclear warheads, and nuclear proliferation remained a matter of global concern.  Peaceful nuclear energy held untapped potential, which could be harnessed by developing countries for the betterment of their peoples.  Indeed, both nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States must reach out to find common ground and observe their Treaty obligations.  ASEAN fully supported nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the abolition of all weapons of mass destruction, and was committed to the purposes set forth in the Treaty.  All States parties should adhere to their obligations, and nuclear-weapon States should carry out the 13 practical steps for progressive implementation of the Treaty’s article VI on nuclear disarmament in a transparent manner.  In the interim, they should declare a moratorium on nuclear testing.  Moreover, nuclear- and non-nuclear weapon States must consolidate efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear materials and support the strengthening of the IAEA’s role.  States that were not party to the NPT should accede to it. 

Recalling that ASEAN members were signatories to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Bangkok Treaty), he said they continued to work with nuclear-weapon States towards those countries’ early signing of a Protocol to expand cooperation with the IAEA.  His delegation had submitted a memorandum on activities undertaken through that Treaty.  Nuclear-weapon-free zones were important in enhancing nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, and ASEAN welcomed the entry into force of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty in 2009.

Speaking in his national capacity, he reiterated the call to prohibit the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons and their total elimination.   Viet Nam had acceded to all major multilateral treaties on the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction and had been implementing the obligations contained therein.  His Government recently had decided to accede to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and had endorsed the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.  It supported efforts to promote nuclear safety and security, including measures put forth at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. It also attached importance to expanding assistance to developing countries for peaceful nuclear energy use.

SERGEY A. RYABKOV, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, reading a welcome address by the Russian President, said the Conference’s task was to prepare a range of measures to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, based on a balance of the Treaty’s three pillars.  For many years, differing views on creating a world free of nuclear weapons had successfully combined.  It was crucial to increase trust in international politics and jointly confront emerging threats, eliminating them on the basis of the Treaty.  Quoting the President, he said the Government was working to make substantive contributions to the Treaty goals, as seen in the conclusion of the Russian-American treaty on the reduction of strategic offensive arms, which showed potential for cooperation.

Moreover, the “peaceful atom” had a growing role in satisfying global energy demands, he continued.  Nuclear power plants were instrumental to economic growth and raising the living standards of millions of people.  States parties must provide an adequate response to proliferation risks related to States exercising their inalienable rights for peaceful atomic energy use.  Global determination to boost protection mechanisms was of utmost importance, as reaffirmed at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. His Government was ready to share its experience with States that were fulfilling their international obligations.  It also looked forward to cooperation in creating a proliferation-resistant framework in peaceful use, based on IAEA safeguards.  He hoped that decisions and initiatives produced at the Conference would strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

He said the Review Conference was required to review the functioning of the non-proliferation regime and define ways to strengthen it.  The consistent implementation of the Treaty was in the interests of all countries.  Through interaction, the Russian Federation hoped to promote consolidation of global efforts designed to exploit the Treaty’s full potential.

The spirit of the Review Conference would be determined by the current political climate in international security, he said, noting that the Russian-American treaty had been concluded as a follow-up to START and the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions.  In it, “both parties won”, as they had strengthened their security.  “Our joint victory is a victory for the entire international community,” he said.  The strengthening of the non-proliferation regime had become more relevant than ever, with the danger of nuclear materials falling into terrorist hands and growth of a black market in nuclear materials.  No less important was the need for international cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy.  Regional challenges to the non-proliferation regime must be a focus and required early politico-diplomatic settlement.

He said non-proliferation challenges must be addressed on the basis of the NPT and the inviolability of its provisions.  Work must be done to ensure universal compliance, which required extensive political consultations and difficult decisions.  The Review Conference, along with the 2009 Security Council summit, would be important milestones in that process.  The common task was to work out decisions that would reaffirm the Treaty’s role as the proper basis for addressing current threats to non-proliferation, determine the instruments for improving the IAEA’s safeguards system, facilitate the early entry into force of the CTBT, and provide impetus for a treaty banning production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.  A conducive atmosphere for advancing the disarmament process and engaging all States without exception was required.  His Government was ready to pursue expansion of the area of the nuclear-weapon-free zones and boost the non-proliferation regime in the Middle East.  The Conference’s outcome must fix optimal ways to develop international cooperation on the peaceful use of atomic energy.

As a State Party to the Treaty and a depositary, the Russian Federation had met its Treaty obligations, he said.  The Russian delegation had come today duly prepared with proposals to strengthen the Treaty, which would be outlined in discussions and working papers dealing with disarmament, sustainable development of atomic energy and prevention of abuse of rights provided for under the Treaty’s article X.  In addition, his Government shared concerns of many States regarding implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, which was why, during the third session of the Preparatory Committee, his delegation had put forward ideas for progress.  They were not a panacea, but rather invited discussion.  The Review Conference was the right venue to send a strong political signal to the world on the solidarity of the Treaty parties.  The far-reaching nature of the task required a high level of cooperation.  The Russian Federation was counting on that.

HISHAM BADR ( Egypt), speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition ( Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Sweden and South Africa), said the Treaty was the bedrock of the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime, and he called upon all States parties to fulfil their obligations.  He also called upon China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States to comply with their article VI commitments.  Achieving Treaty universality was of paramount importance, and in that vein, he called upon India, Israel and Pakistan to accede with any conditions as non-nuclear-weapon States and, pending accession, to adhere to the Treaty’s terms.

Applauding the recent START advances, he said the next step should be deep cuts, including in the area of non-deployed and non-strategic nuclear weapons, underlining that cuts should be irreversible, transparent and internationally verifiable.  He welcomed the United States’ move towards reducing the role and potential uses of nuclear weapons in security strategies, announced yesterday, but further significant doctrinal shifts by all nuclear-weapon States were urgently needed.  The Coalition was concerned that the test-ban Treaty had not yet entered force, that talks on a fissile material cut-off treaty had not advanced and that the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East remained elusive.  Amid increased global momentum on disarmament issues was a signal that the necessary political will to achieve those goals was forthcoming.

This Conference was a critical opportunity to turn rhetoric into action, especially given the failure of the last Review Conference, he said.  “In 2015, we want to be quoting the success of the 2010 Review Conference as the base from which to move forward, and not have to search 15 or 20 years back for a common position that remained unfulfilled to a Treaty whose credibility and viability would thus be in serious jeopardy,” he said.  This Conference’s outcome should include reaffirming the unequivocal undertaking by nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their arsenals, and calling upon all States parties to accelerate implementation of the practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament and pursue policies compatible with ridding the world of those weapons.  A forward-looking action plan was key.

The Coalition submitted Working Paper 8 to advance the cause of disarmament, he noted.  The Conference should also welcome the entry into force of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and Pelindaba Treaty, and advance progress to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, calling upon Israel to accede to the NPT promptly and place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.

MURAD ASKAROV (Uzbekistan), speaking on behalf of the States parties of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, said the idea of establishing such zones had gained increasing international support, bolstered by, among other things, the Security Council resolution 1887 (2009).  Since the first years of his region’s independence, the five Central Asian States had worked towards establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone with considerable support from the international community, in particular, financial assistance from Japan.

He said that 2010 was critical for strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament agenda, including the recent Washington summit and the Second Conference of States Parties and Signatories to Treaties that Establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia.  The current stage in the process of creating those zones around the world was not final, and he called upon other States and regions to follow his country’s example.  He hoped such a zone would become a reality in the Middle East.  He suggested accelerating the institutionalization of the status of all existing zones with the provision of negative security assurances by nuclear-weapon States.

He then introduced a working document that reflected the progress made since the signing of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, adding his hope that it would earn Conference support.

TETSURO FUKUYAMA, State secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said as the only country that had ever suffered atomic bombings, it had a moral responsibility to act at the forefront of efforts towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.  He would like to see this Conference achieve agreement on concrete measures in each of the Treaty’s three mutually-reinforcing pillars in a way that bridged differences and found common ground in the spirit of multilateralism.

He said that Japan, leading up to the Conference, had held a series of dialogues with nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States, and had studied proposals, leading his country and Australia to submit a working paper.  Japan called upon nuclear-weapon States parties to reaffirm an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, and on all States possessing nuclear weapons to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament, bilaterally and multilaterally.  He also called upon nuclear-weapon States and all other States possessing nuclear weapons to commit themselves to reducing the role of nuclear weapons.  Japan strongly called for an early entry into force of the CTBT and welcomed yesterday’s announcement at this Conference by Indonesia to initiate the process of that Treaty’s ratification.  He also called for the early commencement and conclusion of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.

Regarding a statement made by Iran yesterday concerning military bases in Japan, he stressed that Japan continued to uphold the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles” Of “not possessing, not producing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan”. 

Strengthening and improving the efficiency of IAEA safeguards was a means to prevent nuclear proliferation and to universalize the Additional Protocol, and it was necessary to extend assistance to developing countries willing to accept that safeguard standard to improve their legal and technical infrastructure.

A series of activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including nuclear tests, was a grave threat to the international non-proliferation regime, and Japan urged that country to take concrete actions to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear weapon programmes in accordance with the September 2005 joint statement of the Six-Party Talks and relevant Security Council resolutions.  Japan was also increasingly deeply concerned over the developments regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, and urged that country to restore the confidence of the international community by cooperating fully with the IAEA and fulfilling promptly the requirements of Security Council resolutions.

All States had rights to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, especially in light of global issues facing developing countries in areas of health, agriculture and securing clean water, and Japan would engage in international cooperation to share its experiences vis-à-vis nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation.  At the same time, he called on countries that had not yet done so to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States and universalize the Treaty.  He noted that the Group of Eight (G-8) Foreign Ministers had agreed to work with all interested States to take practical steps towards implementing the resolution on the Middle East.

Civil society’s enthusiasm and attention towards the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons were essential for sustaining momentum on nuclear disarmament, and Japan would bolster efforts to promote disarmament and non-proliferation education, in partnership with other countries and civil society.

HYNEK KMONÍČEK, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, endorsing the European Union’s statement, said his delegation had come to New York to advance the Treaty’s objectives and, towards that goal, hoped that the Conference would offer action-oriented recommendations.  The past year had seen renewed momentum for the nuclear agenda, notably in his country, which had hosted the signing ceremony for the new START accord.  He appealed to nuclear-weapon States to work towards achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament and to all States to create a global environment favourable to that process.  Strengthening the Treaty architecture was particularly relevant with regard to the Treaty’s withdrawal provisions.  It was unacceptable that a country would use that provision to evade sanctions for Treaty violations, and States parties should agree on how to collectively respond.  Parties intending to leave the Treaty should be responsible for any violation committed prior to their withdrawal.

Emphasizing the Czech Republic’s continued support for the IAEA, he said the Agency should be preserved as a strong technical body and shielded from political pressure.  His Government appreciated IAEA efforts to deal with the proliferation crises in Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  It was a shared responsibility to equip the Agency with resources to fulfil its Treaty-related duties and the other tasks assigned to it.  To optimize the Agency’s verification activities, recognition of new verification standards was needed.  His Government supported establishing the Additional Protocol as the core standard in that process, as a key measure to ensure the peaceful nature of a nuclear programme.  Together, with acceptance of the safeguards agreement, that could have a deterrent effect on nuclear proliferation.

FASHION PHIRI, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Zambia, said his Government had been a strong and committed advocate of general and complete disarmament, and welcomed progress made by the United States and the Russian Federation to work towards a legally binding treaty to reduce their arsenals.  Zambia was also encouraged by efforts made by the United Kingdom and France on the cessation of production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.  However, total elimination of nuclear weapons should be the ultimate goal of disarmament.  African States were all parties to the NPT and had agreed to declare the continent a nuclear-weapon-free zone, through the Treaty of Pelindaba.

He informed the Conference that Zambia was in the final stages of ratifying the Pelindaba Treaty and welcomed efforts in other regions to strengthen such treaties.   Zambia supported all global efforts aimed at deterring nuclear terrorism.  It also supported States’ rights to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and wished to exploit its uranium reserves for national development and as a possible means to address energy challenges.  There were various challenges that came with harnessing uranium, and his Government would look to regional and global partnerships for safely exploiting nuclear technology.  He urged strengthening the IAEA’s Additional Protocol, which Zambia had signed in 2009, and he looked forward to the signing and ratification of the CTBT by “Annex 2” States for its entry into force.  He called on countries that had not yet signed and ratified the NPT to do so, with the aim of its universality.

CHO HYUN, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs of the Republic of Korea, said there had never been wider support for a nuclear-weapon- free world.  The Treaty’s three pillars were mutually reinforcing, and maintaining a balance among them was integral to its integrity.  Progress had been made on all three pillars, but the Treaty faced unprecedented challenges, the most serious of which was that of nuclear proliferation.  At the heart of that problem were loopholes that allowed proliferators to develop nuclear weapon capabilities under the guise peaceful use of nuclear energy.  The North Korean nuclear issue was a vivid example.

He said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to develop its nuclear capabilities, with tests in 2006 and 2009, which posed serious threats to regional peace and security.  The global community responded in a resolute manner through Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009), reaffirming that that country could not have the status of a nuclear-weapon State, in any case.  Sanctions sent a strong message that it must commit to denuclearization.  Loopholes in the Treaty, exploited by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including the possibility of abusing article X, had not been addressed and must be the focus of the Conference.  His Government continued to engage the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in dialogue, notably through the Six-Party Talks Process.  That country must demonstrate clear commitment and actions towards denuclearization.  He urged it to cease any aggressive behaviour that would threaten peace and security on the peninsula and in North-East Asia

The Republic of Korea’s “Grand Bargain” initiative aimed to encompass all steps related to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s irreversible denuclearization and the corresponding measures of the “Five Parties”.  The countries concerned had reached a common understanding on that initiative.  He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fulfil its denuclearization obligations, emphasizing that Council resolutions should be fully implemented until then.  On the Iranian nuclear issue, he welcomed efforts taken by relevant parties.  While the right to peaceful nuclear energy use should be fully respected, all concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear programme should be addressed, and he called on Iran to respond in a positive manner to restore international confidence.

Strengthening the NPT was the most effective way to overcome current challenges, he said.  Further progress was needed in nuclear disarmament.  As such, he recognized the importance of the entry into force of the CTBT.  The nuclear safeguards and verification regime must be strengthened. The peaceful use of nuclear energy must be bolstered and high attention must be given to multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle, as effective ways to promote the right under article IV and address proliferation concerns.  Due consideration should be given to the back end of the fuel cycle.

ANASTASSIS MITSIALIS ( Greece), aligning himself with the European Union, said his country had been among the first to sign the NPT and thus attached great importance to it.  On nuclear disarmament, he noted the signing of the new START accord and expressed hope that it would pave the way for deeper reductions.  Similarly, the Nuclear Posture Review was a promising step towards a world without nuclear weapons.   Greece had ratified the CTBT and called for its early entry into force.  Security Council resolution 1887 (2009) on compliance with the NPT reaffirmed the Treaty as a basis for disarmament and non-proliferation.  IAEA nuclear safeguards were the best means to deter, detect and prevent proliferation, and all States should help strengthen that system.

Greece supported all efforts to promote the NPT’s universalization and all multilateral agreements related to weapons of mass destruction, he said.  Towards that goal, he urged increased efforts to engage all States that remained to be convinced.  Nuclear and other materials that could be used as weapons of mass destruction must be placed under international control.  Also, adequate attention must be given to the issue of withdrawal from the Treaty.  Article X provided for that right in extreme cases of threat to national security.  However the consequences of such a withdrawal might have serious implications for regional and international stability, notably when exercised mala fide by a State in non-compliance with its obligations. Finally, Greece fully supported the European Union commitment to the implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution.

GRY LARSEN, State Secretary of Norway, said bold steps were needed to advance the current positive momentum in disarmament.  However, worrying signs showed that the NPT was under more strain than ever, with ongoing proliferation concerns, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran.  She agreed with the Secretary-General that Iran must itself restore its international credibility.

She said that despite progress in the United States and the Russian Federation arms control process, there was still an impasse in multilateral bodies, such as the Conference on Disarmament, and a continued inability to achieve the entry into force of the test-ban Treaty.  The possibilities of failure at this Conference were also real.  But there was a choice, and a failed Conference would undermine the NPT’s authority and credibility, she said.

The outcome document should contain a reaffirmation of the underlying compact of the Treaty, and build on the consensus that reaffirmed the overall political goal of a world without nuclear weapons, she said.  It should also set up a programme for the next review cycle that moved closer to that goal.  States should be able to agree that the new START accord was a first step in a more intensified process of nuclear arms reduction, that the process of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in security policies must be accelerated, and that efforts must be intensified to sustain existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and create new ones, especially in the Middle East.  In addition, real progress must be made towards the entry into force of the CTBT and towards negotiating a fissile material cut-off treaty.

The IAEA should be empowered, and the Conference should reach a common understanding that the Agency’s safeguards agreements and additional protocols protected the world’s collective security, she went on.  International cooperation must be developed regarding nuclear fuel cycles, and sensitive nuclear materials must be secured.  Norway and Poland had submitted a working paper on a balanced approach to eliminating tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.  In cooperation with the United Kingdom, Norway explored modalities of nuclear disarmament verification in another working paper.  “In the weeks ahead, we have the opportunity to renew and strengthen the Treaty, which forms the basis of all these efforts,” she said.  “Let’s make sure that we do that.”

WERNER HOYER, Minister of State of the Foreign Office of Germany, said this Conference must revive the Treaty’s “grand bargain” between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon States through specific proposals by nuclear-weapon States and a strengthening of the international non-proliferation regime along with a concrete action plan.  Steps had already been made, including the START agreement and the United States’ announcement yesterday revealing its existing nuclear potential.

He said that sub-strategic nuclear weapons, which, until now, had not been subjected to any kind of arms control mechanism, must also be included in the ongoing disarmament process, and States that had agreed to that in 2000 must turn words into reality.  Confidence-building and transparency could help to reduce and finally eliminate those weapons, which were leftovers from the cold war.  They no longer served a military purpose and did not create security.  Germany’s intention, in agreement with its allies, to bring about the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons still stationed in its territory could also be seen in that light.  In addition, Germany called for the role of nuclear weapons to be further scaled down in the Strategic Concept of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 

Germany welcomed Indonesia’s efforts to ratify the test-ban Treaty, he said.  However, more progress was needed to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and an initial pragmatic step could be a seminar, sponsored by the European Union, which aimed to bring all sides to the negotiating table as soon as possible.  The further spread of nuclear weapons must be halted, and the IAEA’s control options via the Additional Protocol should be strengthened as an integral part of the verification standard. 

He said that NPT States parties should also agree on rules governing withdrawal from the Treaty and reaction to violations.  There were also real dangers that proliferation cases, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s breakaway from the Treaty and Iran’s nuclear programme, could, in the medium-term, erode the Treaty and lead to a new arms race.  In such a scenario, there would be no guarantee that the use of nuclear weapons could be ruled out forever.  Germany, along with permanent Security Council members, would continue its engagement to achieve a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear programme.  Iran unfortunately had refused to comply with the international community’s demands and rejected its very far-reaching offers of negotiation.  Further sanctions must make it clear to Tehran that that refusal had a price.

The disastrous failure of the last Review Conference must not be repeated.  The NPT must be preserved and strengthened to make the world safer.

ERIC DANON ( France), aligning with the European Union, said France was committed to implementing its Treaty obligations and commitments made at previous Review Conferences.  In the area of disarmament, France, in nearly 15 years, had halved the number of its nuclear warheads and communicated the ceiling of 300 warheads of its total arsenal.  Also, it had totally dismantled its ground-to-ground components.  It had also ratified the CTBT 12 years ago.  That Treaty must enter force and negotiations should start on a fissile material cut-off treaty.  In that context, he welcomed Indonesia’s intention to launch a ratification process.  The United States, Russian Federation, Great Britain and France had made headway on disarmament due solely to the change in the strategic context, but disarmament could only be achieved in the long-run through a strategy covering the resolution of regional tensions.

On the growing demand for civil nuclear energy, he said France had opted for nuclear energy and was prepared to cooperate with any country that complied with its international obligations.  The challenges related to the “renaissance” of civil nuclear energy should be collectively debated, as they were diverse:  proliferation risks and prevention of trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials for terrorist or mafia purposes, among them.  Such issues should be addressed in the context of new global governance on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  He hoped the Conference would launch that essential debate.  In other areas, he said North Korea had shown what happened when States resigned themselves to faits accomplis.  Also, France had sought dialogue on a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issues that would meet that country’s needs and the global concerns on the purpose of its programme.  He called on the Conference to speed the implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution.  “We want to build, during the coming years, an overall nuclear strategy for a safer world,” he said.

LI BAODONG ( China) said that disarmament was an important step towards the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons and required “unremitting efforts” from all parties.  All nuclear-weapon States should fulfil their obligations under the Treaty’s article VI.  The CTBT should be brought into force at an early date, and negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty should start as soon as possible.  Nuclear-weapon States should undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.  Nuclear disarmament must follow the principles of maintaining strategic stability for all.  Development of missile defence systems that disrupted global strategic stability should be abandoned.  Multilateral negotiations to prevent the weaponization of outer space should be vigorously promoted.

He explained that his country had adhered to a policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstances.  It had not participated -– nor would it -- in any form of a nuclear arms race.  It would keep its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security.  China firmly opposed any form of nuclear proliferation.  Promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy required concrete measures by all parties.  The development of nuclear energy was significant for many developing countries to address challenges like the energy crisis and climate change.  As such, there was an international obligation to provide assistance for their peaceful use of nuclear energy, for which China had carried out exchanges with countries and the IAEA.

DALIUS ČEKUOLIS ( Lithuania) said multilateral export control regimes were important tools, and efforts to extend that regime, which included all European Union States, were useful and necessary.  Lithuania regarded the issue of non-strategic nuclear weapons as a priority that must be addressed through fulfilment of its 1991 and 1992 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives.  The country strongly supported the IAEA and its safeguards systems.  The Additional Protocol, together with the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, represented the verification standard; it must be strengthened.  He commended States that had signed and ratified the Additional Protocol.  Indeed, its universalization would increase international confidence on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  He encouraged all States to take steps to bring the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement into force.

Underlining the IAEA’s role in helping States to implement national and regional security frameworks, he called on States to also implement global instruments, including the code of conduct on safety and security of radioactive sources.   Lithuania would face a challenging task related to nuclear power activities, domestically and in the region, and it was extremely important to assure that all phases of nuclear energy projects be in line with international legal, safety and environment standards.  Final decisions on nuclear projects should be made only after consultations with neighbouring countries.   Lithuania fully adhered to the principle that safety was a precondition for responsible and sustainable use of nuclear technology and was ready to share its experience.

VINCENZO SCOTTI, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, aligning with the European Union, strongly supported the Council of the European Union’s March 2010 decision that defined the European Union’s position in the Review Conference.  The situation today was different than at the 2005 Review Conference and he hoped that renewed political attention would foster success.  To do that, “we ought to set realistic goals of equal priority in all the three pillars”, he said.  On disarmament, Italy welcomed the recent agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation, which together held more than 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear arsenals.  Non-proliferation was the core business of the Treaty, and the Treaty’s lack of universality was a weakness.  Upholding the Treaty was the ultimate aim, bearing in mind proliferation challenges from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran’s nuclear programme.

He said that the potential misuse of nuclear weapons or materials by non-State actors was a threat, and he commended the United States’ hosting of the first global summit on nuclear security as a “real success”.  He reaffirmed Italy’s commitment to the right of all NPT States parties to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, explaining that countries must do so in full compliance with their non-proliferation Treaty obligations. In other areas, Italy had ratified the CTBT and wished to see its formal entry into force.  He urged States that had not yet signed or ratified it to do so.  Also, he hoped for a breakthrough in the Conference on Disarmament and for negotiations to begin on a fissile materials cut-off treaty.

On the Middle East and mechanisms to advance the 1995 Resolution, he said Italy was ready to advance new ideas.  On withdrawal from the NPT, he said countries could not withdraw as a way to avoid their obligations, without consequence.   Italy favoured the creation of mechanisms that involved the Security Council and the IAEA to ensure fulfilment of safeguards obligations.  Also needed was a review of the Treaty’s procedures to allow for faster response to developing events and to provide the means for signatories to more easily show the political will to achieve progress. 

JORGE VALERO BRICEÑO ( Venezuela) said this Conference was taking place in a positive climate based on international cooperation.  The effort now should focus on bolstering the multilateralism rooted in the United Nations Charter.  However, attempts to undermine efforts and the discriminatory treatment of States were issues that should be addressed.  Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation efforts went hand-in-hand.  The elimination of nuclear weapons was the only appropriate path towards international peace and security.

He said that the recent United States and Russian Federation agreement on reducing arsenals was hopefully the first step on the right path.  The favourable climate should lead the Conference to leave behind the years of stagnation and unilaterally-held positions at odds with multilateralism.  Negotiations based on good faith to contribute to the attainment of common goals were essential to promoting peace.  He hoped States would work together and not be undermined by nuclear Powers that did not honour their commitments and obligations.  The adoption of an action plan should be a road map for peace, given that the process of the modernization of nuclear weapons was taking place at a threatening pace and the threat of use of nuclear weapons persisted.  A legally binding instrument should reassure non-nuclear-weapon States.

The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was a step forward, he said.  Such a zone, based on United Nations resolutions, should be established in the Middle East.  Israel should join the NPT and put its facilities under IAEA control.  Venezuela claimed the right of all States to seek nuclear technology.  He had looked with concern at a group of countries that demanded that Iran renounce its legitimate nuclear programme, and called for that type of pressure to be put to an end.

MÁXIMO MEDINA MOREL, National Supervisor for Nuclear Affairs of the Dominican Republic, endorsing the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country was a nuclear-weapon-free State and supported any initiative that fostered peace.  It was part of the Latin America Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty –- the Treaty of Tlatelolco -- and the CTBT.  Use of nuclear energy had benefits and challenges:  it could provide for the welfare of mankind and also produce the world’s most destructive weapons.

He said his country was committed to the NPT’s rights and obligations, believing that implementation of its three pillars would lay the groundwork for achieving a nuclear-weapon-free future.  His country was among the founding members of the IAEA and stressed the Agency’s work in ensuring the safe and reliable use of nuclear energy.  Technical cooperation programmes were an essential element of the Treaty.  The Dominican Republic had signed a comprehensive safeguards agreement, which had been in force since 1973.  It was also pleased to announce the entry into force of the Additional Protocol, on 18 March, which showed the importance of the IAEA’s strengthened safeguards.  Signing of those agreements by all States was critical to strengthening the Treaty.

The Dominican Republic supported nuclear-weapon-free zones and welcomed new ones in various regions, he said.  Also welcome was the agreement between the United States and Russian Federation to reduce their strategic nuclear arsenals.  Preventing nuclear weapons tests was also essential, and he promoted the early entry into force of the text-ban Treaty. 

GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA ( Nepal) called for recommitting to the NPT regime.  He was not convinced that nuclear weapons had made the planet safer than ever.  Disarmament must be viewed as a moral imperative and justice for all.  Possession of weapons –- be they nuclear, chemical or bacteriological -- was bound to generate tension rather than security.  It would not be fair to allow a selective pursuit of one objective over another by tampering with the interrelated principles that underpinned the NPT regime.  “We need a holistic approach,” he said.   Nepal appreciated the signing of the new START and hoped it would be followed by equally vigorous initiatives.

He said that provision of unequivocal negative security assurances by nuclear-weapon States to non-nuclear-weapon States through a legally binding instrument was vital.  The global community must reject the policy of nuclear deterrence and place a permanent ban on nuclear weapons testing.  The conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty with a monitoring mechanism was another crucial step.  Implementing the 1995 resolution on the Middle East would contribute greatly towards non-proliferation.  He also called for faithful implementation of the 13 practical steps adopted in 2000.  Nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes must be placed under IAEA supervision.  The Agency’s monitoring, supervising and verification capacities should be substantially enhanced.

NASSER BIN ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar), said as this Conference was being held, five nuclear-weapon States still refused to implement the most important articles of the NPT:  to stop developing their nuclear arsenals and to reduce them.  Other countries were still not party to the Treaty, and others concluded agreements outside its framework.  He called for the review process to be taken in the light of the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences, and urged all States to take steps in that regard.  He stressed the importance for the Conference to adopt the action plan on the elimination of nuclear weapons, presented by the Non-Aligned Movement.  Qatar was keen to strengthen the Treaty and stressed the inviolability of the right of States parties to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.  Qatar also supported the early implementation of the test-ban Treaty.

He said that establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East must be addressed.  It was imperative that States parties to the NPT, and especially the three nuclear-weapon States that had adopted the resolution, break their silence towards Israel’s continuous nuclear policy, which violated the Treaty and pushed the entire region into an arms race that endangered regional and international security.  That was especially true after the IAEA’s adoption of resolutions on the application of safeguards in the Middle East and Israel’s nuclear capabilities.  Absent agreement on ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons, Arab countries would consider a range of alternatives, which it would consider at the Arab summit in 2011.  Israel’s accession to the NPT would enhance the confidence necessary to find solutions to the many problems in the Middle East.

Qatar had enacted national legislation to implement its own obligations in the disarmament field and called on all States to abide by their commitments to collectively contribute to promoting a global climate conducive to security and stability, he urged.

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For information media • not an official record