|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
NPT Review Conference
7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)
As Long as Possession of Nuclear Weapons Equals Power in Global ‘Psyche’,
Implications for Non-Proliferation Profound, Treaty Review Hears
If Military Doctrines Feature Nuclear Weapons, Others Will Want Them; Nuclear-
Armed States Must Break ‘Perverse’ Equation of Possession as Guarantee of Defence
As long as the possession of nuclear weapons equalled power in the global “psyche”, the implications for the future of non-proliferation and disarmament would be profound, the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference heard today.
Nuclear-weapon States had the duty to break the “perverse” equation of possessing nuclear weapons as a guarantee of defence, the Mexican representative told the Conference, adding that as long as such weapons figured in military doctrines, there would always be incentives for States to acquire them.
The NPT’s indefinite extension in 1995 did not entail acceptance of the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by the five nuclear-weapon States recognized by the Treaty, he said, urging the Review Conference to see a commitment by nuclear-weapon States that had not done so to declare their number of nuclear warheads and to state that they would not be the first to use them.
Since global power was still measured by the might of a State’s nuclear arsenal, said the representative of Solomon Islands, the playing field remained riddled with pockets of insecurity. Changing global military postures were creating uncertainty within the international system, guaranteeing security for some and insecurity for others, he said. That situation was exacerbated by an increase of militarization and threat of the use of nuclear weapons or crude arsenals by non-State actors.
The goal of the Review Conference must be to establish practical steps to eliminate nuclear weapons via a legally binding instrument and to guarantee unconditional security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States through genuine dialogue and cooperation, he said, adding that the Solomon Islands were “hurt and saddened” to see divisive actions by some members during the course of this week.
It was imperative that the NPT be brought up to date, urged the Bolivian speaker. Similarly, Singapore’s representative said that eliminating nuclear weapons could not be accomplished without a strong non-proliferation treaty, but unfortunately, the NPT had been conceived in a different era, was under severe strain, and was experiencing a “confidence deficit”. Nuclear-armed States must take the lead; their compact with non-nuclear-weapon States demanded it.
States should agree on a time-bound, viable and “implementable” plan of action to prevent the Treaty from “slipping into irrelevance”, he said. Otherwise, its decline might become irreversible. Time was not lost, but “we don’t have infinite time to save the NPT regime”, he declared.
Strengthening the Treaty also depended on strict compliance with existing non-proliferation obligations, a matter that highlighted the instrument’s weakness, said Iceland’s representative. As it stood, the Treaty gave leeway to States to acquire technologies that could bring them to the brink of nuclear weapons capabilities without explicitly violating the agreement, he warned.
To address that risk, safety and disposal measures should police nuclear energy used for peaceful purposes to avoid unintended consequences, Sri Lanka’s representative said. Stringent controls and greater cooperation were urgently required to manage the real danger that nuclear materials could fall into the hands of terrorists.
Belgium’s delegate suggested that the complex root causes of proliferation, including the regional context and challenges posed by the emergence of non-State actors, should be addressed. He felt the Treaty was “an anchor of stability in a constantly evolving process of checks and balances”. He called on India, Pakistan and Israel to join it and to bring their nuclear posture fully in line with it, and on all States parties to remain indefinitely committed to it.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro also spoke.
The Director General, Directorate for Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Croatia also spoke, as did the Director of International and Human Security of Chile, and the Director of the Department of Disarmament Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia.
Also addressing the Review Conference were the representatives of Poland, Ecuador, Ghana, Senegal, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Uruguay, Moldova, Albania, Mozambique, Paraguay, Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Oman, Jamaica, Botswana, Guatemala, Australia (on behalf of the Vienna Group of Ten) and San Marino.
The Permanent Observer of the Holy See addressed the Conference.
The Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and representatives of the Inter-Parliamentary Unit (IPU), the League of Arab States and the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accountability and Control of Nuclear Materials also spoke.
The 2010 Review Conference will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Friday, 7 May.
The debate of the 2010 Review Conference of the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continued today. (For more information, please see http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/.)
ALFREDO LABBÈ, Director of International and Human Security of Chile, said practical steps had been taken, including the recent United States Posture Review and the Washington Nuclear Security Summit. However, to achieve the goal of strengthening the NPT, Chile proposed that States should respect the Treaty review process; assume the legacy of past Review Conferences and update arrangements for implementing agreed issues; support the Secretary-General’s five-point plan; and highlight past practices that created a turning point in the conceptual appreciation of nuclear weapons.
He also suggested that, among other things, States should reaffirm the need for the speedy entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and give priority to the formula allowing for the advancement of the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, which could include an intersessional monitoring mechanism.
Chile also supported the proposal made by Canada regarding a provision for significant participation of civil society, he said. States should also regulate the exercise of the right to withdraw from the NPT, and no one should profit from his own misdeeds. Public awareness should also be raised of the need to abolish nuclear weapons.
WITOLD SOBKÓW (Poland), associating himself with the statement by the European Union, said that nuclear weapons proliferation still ranked among the greatest challenges to the NPT regime and to international security as a whole. That the United States and Russian Federation had reinvigorated global disarmament efforts with the signing of the new START accord was a positive sign for confidence-building and for making such weapons less attractive to potential proliferators. Such developments had launched debate on a future arms reduction treaty, which should set new ceilings on strategic weapons and other types of nuclear weaponry, including sub-strategic, whose reduction and elimination had not yet been the subject of any legally binding international agreement.
He said that the Foreign Ministers of Poland and Norway had undertaken a joint initiative of including sub-strategic nuclear arsenals in the arms control framework. He suggested a step-by-step approach that included three stages. The first two aimed at enhancing transparency and confidence building, while the third proposed reduction and elimination of sub-strategic nuclear weapons. Proliferation was linked with the issue of security of sensitive nuclear and radiological materials, which was more alarming if linked with international terrorism. Poland, a transit country, was interested in boosting global norms related to those areas. He supported efforts to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with instruments to carry out its mandate, and called on all States to cooperate with it and to universalize the Additional Protocol. For its part, Poland aimed to be as transparent as possible in establishing a nuclear energy sector.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said his Government had signed the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement and promoted the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Tlatelolco Treaty). The NPT’s indefinite extension in 1995 did not entail acceptance of the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by the five nuclear-weapon States recognized by the Treaty. He called for prompt ratification of the treaty recently signed between the Russian Federation and the United States. Today’s new climate offered the opportunity to encourage bilateral and multilateral negotiations. Nuclear-weapon States had the duty to break the “perverse” equation of possessing nuclear weapons as a guarantee of defence. As long as such weapons figured in military doctrines, there would always be incentives for States to acquire them.
He said that India and Pakistan had declared themselves nuclear Powers outside the Treaty, while it was presumed that Israel had developed nuclear military capacity. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had announced its withdrawal from the NPT and carried out tests, which Mexico strongly condemned. He supported the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, saying that such a zone in the Middle East would be viable only as part of a global political arrangement, comprising the various issues that placed the region at risk of instability. Iran must comply with IAEA decisions, responding to all requests for information concerning its nuclear programme. Israel, India and Pakistan must adhere to the Treaty. On peaceful nuclear energy use, he supported the establishment of a multilateral mechanism for nuclear fuel that guaranteed supply for all States.
Finally, he said the Review Conference should see a commitment by nuclear-weapon States that had not done so to declare their number of nuclear warheads in their arsenals and to state that they would not be the first to strike with those weapons. States should also agree upon a commitment to negotiate a legally binding instrument on negative security assurances.
FRANCISCO CARRIÓN-MENA ( Ecuador ) said that his country was a land of peace, without foreign military bases or the manufacture, trade or transport of nuclear weapons and waste. Those constitutional provisions had proved Ecuador’s position against nuclear weapons. Latin America was a nuclear-weapon-free zone, serving as an example to the rest of the world. Those zones were a fundamental contribution to the process of eliminating nuclear weapons.
He said that to achieve total elimination of nuclear weapons, a multilateral approach and the non-discriminatory implementation of the NPT was needed. Over the last decade, waning political will had impeded attainment of that goal, but recent advances, including the START agreement, were signs that further steps were needed to reach the final objective. Ecuador reaffirmed the need to implement the NPT’s 13 practical steps and supported the Secretary-General’s five-point proposal to, among other things, establish a legally binding instrument for negative security assurances.
In the non-proliferation field, Ecuador supported the IAEA in its verification work, he said. All States should comply with IAEA standards on projects to develop nuclear energy. He urged Israel, the only State in the Middle East region not party to the NPT, to adhere to the Treaty as soon as possible. The 1995 resolution on the Middle East should be addressed. He also called on India and Pakistan to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States and on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to the NPT, in accordance with Security Council resolutions.
He said his country supported the CTBT and called for the complete prohibition of nuclear testing. He appreciated the commitment made by a nuclear Power to join the CTBT, as well as the moratorium on testing, pending that Treaty’s entry into force. Meanwhile, States had the right to research, develop and produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and the exercise of that right accompanied compliance with IAEA verification and safeguards. He supported cooperation initiatives for education on disarmament and non-proliferation. It was time to take gradual steps to comply with the NPT for the security of all humanity. More than 1,000 Japanese people had come to New York with 7 million signatures on a petition against nuclear weapons. Their voices should be heard.
LESLIE K. CHRISTIAN ( Ghana ) said the new spirit of cooperation could be translated into concrete political action at this Review Conference, urging all delegations to be flexible during discussions, as common ground was being sought. Ghana welcomed the entry into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty) and urged the United States and the Russian Federation to take the necessary steps to sign and ratify the respective protocols and to work with other signatories to ensure that the region remained a nuclear-weapon-free zone.
He said that Ghana, as a developing country, attached great importance to the NPT’s third pillar, and with the IAEA, assistance had established the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) in 1963 to, among other things, promote peaceful nuclear energy use. Research objectives over the years had led to developments in industrial, geological, agricultural and health sectors. Ghana would continue to ensure that its Nuclear Energy Commission always remained open to inspection.
Positive developments, including the START agreement, the Washington summit and the United States Posture Review, had set the tone for this Conference, he said, commending the United States and the Russian Federation for their arsenal reduction commitments. It was now necessary for all States to sign and ratify the CTBT, the NPT and other related treaties to accelerate disarmament.
MILORAD SCEPANOVIC, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro for Multilateral Relations, said the new momentum in arms control and disarmament had come at a time when the world also had found common ground on tackling the problem of terrorism. He praised States for fulfilling their obligations to reduce arsenals and said the moment should be seized to engage in forward-moving discussions at the Conference on Disarmament and on negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty. He welcomed the ratification of the CTBT by three States in 2009 and the United States announcement on that topic.
He said that Montenegro, for its part, had participated in numerous non-proliferation projects for countering terrorism. The IAEA’s role in the non-proliferation field required that the Agency’s verification capabilities were strengthened and expanded and that its Safeguards Agreement was accepted as a standard for verifying compliance with NPT obligations. Montenegro restated its support for diplomatic efforts for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
Montenegro had signed the IAEA’s Safeguards Agreement with the Additional Protocol, the ratification of which was planned by the end of 2010. Provided that States complied with IAEA standards, parties to the NPT must be able to exercise their right to nuclear energy for peaceful uses. Montenegro was committed to the common goal of building peace and security.
MARIO NOBILO, Director General, Directorate for Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Croatia, aligning himself with the European Union, said the last five years had seen changes in the area of nuclear weapons, energy and materials, some of which had increased awareness about nuclear proliferation, especially among non-State actors. In that regard, he noted with appreciation the outcome of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. Amid such changes, there was one constant: the pivotal importance of the NPT. The Review Conference was an opportunity to consolidate global support for the Treaty, which had Croatia’s full support. The review should produce a substantive and balanced outcome, aimed at enhancing implementation of its three pillars.
He said that proliferation threats, whether from States that did not respect their Security Council or IAEA obligations, or from non-State actors trying to obtain nuclear material, should be addressed with resolve. At the same time, development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes should not be a “privilege of the few”. Croatia strongly advocated strengthening of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and encouraged the IAEA’s work on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle. Croatia called on States not part of the Treaty to consider joining as non-nuclear-weapon States, and believed that the consequences of withdrawal, under article X, though a sovereign right, should be discussed.
While urging States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the test-ban Treaty, he was encouraged by the United States’ announcement of efforts to secure ratification in Congress. He also lauded the Conference on Disarmament’s adoption of a programme of work and called for the early conclusion of talks on a fissile material cut-off treaty. Croatia had focused on combating proliferation and enhancing the network of relevant institutions in South-Eastern Europe. It had in place legislative and operative procedures related to non-proliferation, export control and nuclear safety, and was party to all major international nuclear non-proliferation agreements, including the NPT, the CTBT and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials.
VANU GOPALA MENON ( Singapore) said the Treaty had been conceived in a different era and was under severe strain. India and Pakistan possessed nuclear weapons, Israel was widely presumed to have them, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had withdrawn from the Treaty. Questions remained about Iran’s nuclear regime. Indeed, the Treaty was experiencing a “confidence deficit” and faced challenges related to each pillar. On disarmament, the political will needed to realize the provisions contained in article VI was weak. Some nuclear-weapon States considered nuclear weapons possession important to promoting their self-image. That was not surprising. Others had been less willing to contemplate changes to their nuclear arsenals.
He said that nuclear-weapon States must take the lead, as their compact with non-nuclear-weapon States demanded that. While the conclusion to a follow-up to the START was a significant step forward, there was a need for all nuclear-weapon States to address issues such as the no-first-use policy and negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States. All nuclear-armed States should commit to reducing their arsenals. Those that had not done so should quickly ratify the CTBT. A way must be found to involve Pakistan and India, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Complete nuclear disarmament was a long-term aspiration, he said, and imbalances would persist as long as some States possessed nuclear weapons and others did not. Singapore supported the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones and recognized that, until the dynamics of international relations changed, all States should give security issues a primary place in their policies. No progress had been made since the 1995 resolution on the Middle East. The Arab Group had shown a strong desire to work with all parties, and Singapore supported that. At the same time, those efforts could not ignore the regional geopolitical climate, and a just, sustainable solution to the question of Palestine must be sought. Questioning the right of a State to exist only set back progress on the creation of such a zone.
On peaceful nuclear energy use, he said that many countries, including Singapore, were exploring nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. All countries insisting on article IV rights must ensure that their intensions were peaceful. On non-proliferation, he said that nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States alike should adopt higher standards of safety and security. The IAEA’s mandate should be strengthened, and regional arrangements could supplement those efforts. A more robust global export control regime should be established. The creation of a multilateral fuel assurance mechanism could help countries interested in pursuing new technologies.
He said that all countries wanting to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes should provide assurances that they would not develop weapons. Iran had been suspected of pursuing a nuclear weapons programme. It was undeniable that it suffered from confidence deficit and it was in its interest to cooperate unreservedly with the IAEA. States must agree on time-bound, viable and “implementable” action to prevent the Treaty from “slipping into irrelevance”. Otherwise, its decline might become irreversible. Time was not lost, but “we don’t have infinite time to save the NPT regime”, he declared.
PAUL BADJI ( Senegal), associating with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Treaty was the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime. Welcoming the Security Council’s 2009 disarmament summit and recent signing of a new START between the United States and the Russian Federation, he urged the NPT’s universalization. A critical first stage was the reaffirmation and immediate implementation of the 13 practical measures. Article VI required States to pursue disarmament, and the Review Conference should allow for drawing up a list of actions to implement it on the basis of an agreed timetable and transparent monitoring and verification regime. The Conference must also take a stand on producing a general agreement on nuclear weapons. The entry into force of the CTBT would mark a decisive step in that direction.
He said that disarmament and non-proliferation were linked, and the acquisition of nuclear weapons by non-State actors posed a serious threat. He, thus, urged against vertical and horizontal nuclear proliferation. The proper means and tools should be made available to the IAEA to carry out its duties. The time had come to strengthen past gains, especially related to the Additional Protocol. Nuclear-weapon States should respect the NPT’s articles I, II and III, notably with States not party to the Treaty. The peaceful use of nuclear energy was critical to countries like Senegal, and developing countries expected a constructive spirit among them in the transfer of technologies linked to development related to health, agriculture and other activities. He welcomed the entry into force of the Pelindaba Treaty. The establishment of such a zone in the Middle East would enhance the NPT regime and help create lasting peace.
FERIDUN SINIRLIOGLU ( Turkey) said the inconclusive outcome of the 2005 Review Conference had been a stark manifestation of the challenges currently facing the NPT regime. Backtracking from previous commitments would erode the credibility of the Treaty. It was important for States parties to demonstrate the necessary political will to reaffirm those past commitments. Turkey welcomed recent moves to reduce arsenals, including the START agreement and the Security Council’s commitment to disarmament.
He said his country also supported the early entry into force of the CTBT and called on all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty immediately. He also supported the commencement of discussions on a fissile material cut-off treaty. The IAEA’s verification system should also be further strengthened. Turkey strongly valued nuclear-weapon-free zones, and supported the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East, and hoped that this Conference would further renew prior commitments to doing so.
NPT States parties were permitted to withdraw from the Treaty, but Turkey believed that the issue of countries choosing to leave while found in non-compliance should be addressed, and certain procedures and consequences established, he said.
The risk of nuclear weapons falling into terrorists’ hands was a reality, and Turkey commended recent efforts, including those made at the Washington summit, to find common ground on the subject, he said. Nuclear energy should be enjoyed by all NPT States parties, but necessary steps were needed to prevent proliferation risks. Provision of nuclear fuel in a predictable, stable and cost-effective manner should not have undue interference, and ownership of those mechanisms through a general sense of agreement on modalities by the wider membership of the IAEA was essential for a broader basis of their implementation.
COLLIN BECK (Solomon Islands) said global power was still measured by the might of a State’s nuclear arsenal and against the backdrop of changing global military postures -- postures that were creating uncertainty within the international system, postures that guaranteed security for some and insecurity for others. Plus, there had been an increase of militarization and threat of the use of nuclear weapons or crude arsenals by non-State actors. The goal of this Review Conference must be to establish practical steps to eliminate nuclear weapons via a legally binding instrument and to guarantee unconditional security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States through genuine dialogue and cooperation.
Negotiations must be accelerated on a time-bound plan of action to eliminate nuclear weapons, and nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties should be implemented, he said, adding also that negotiations to further reduce nuclear arsenals should formally commence this year. Increased confidence should be built by transferring nuclear arsenals to secure storage facilities under international supervision. The Solomon Islands were “hurt and saddened” to see divisive actions taken by some members during the course of this week. Action from this Conference required everyone’s cooperation, without exception, to build bridges of trust and confidence. The devastating affects of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had demonstrated the horrors of those weapons.
The CTBT was meant to halt testing and development of nuclear weapons, but the continued existence of those weapons remained a threat to humanity, he said. Populations in his region still suffered the impact of testing. Reducing arsenals, as seen in the START agreement, was commendable, however, principles of transparency, verification and irreversible use of dismantled nuclear arsenals must be woven into such arrangements, with the IAEA being the sole authority to oversee those actions.
He welcomed the entry into force of nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa and Central Asia and wanted to see the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East. The total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against their use, and he called for the full implementation of the disarmament commitments embodied in the NPT and its review process. “The political climate to abolish weapons is ripe,” he said. “We need to create a safe and nuclear-[weapon‑]free world for our children and their children’s children.”
GUNNAR PÁLSSON ( Iceland) said that nuclear weapon proliferation and the ability to transport those weapons over long distances were among key challenges that were most difficult to solve. This Conference’s purpose was to chart the course over the next five years or more. Recent advances, including the START agreement, the Washington summit and the United States commitment to ratify the CTBT, had set the stage. Now, States must move beyond the stalemate, and this Conference must demonstrate that parties were willing to assume their full responsibilities to uphold the NPT for the benefit of all. Progress must be made on a balanced review of the Treaty’s three pillars.
He said that to realize the goal of strengthening the Treaty, it was essential to ensure strict compliance with existing non-proliferation obligations. Iceland remained concerned that many had expressed that issue about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran, calling upon both States to meet their obligations, consistent with the Security Council resolutions and IAEA agreements. Iran’s nuclear activities were a matter of regional security, and Iceland supported efforts by States to make progress towards establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
The NPT gave States parties the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but the Treaty had an inherent weakness: that it gave leeway to States to acquire technologies that could bring them to the brink of nuclear weapons capabilities without explicitly violating the agreement, he warned. States must seek the common ground on how to respond to a State’s withdrawal from the Treaty. Leaving the NPT must not be without consequences for the State concerned, he said.
PALITHA T. B. KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) said the recent Washington summit and bilateral agreements among nuclear-weapon States were welcome signs, but the apparent political will should be augmented with action. He called for a balanced approach in addressing the NPT’s three pillars. Sri Lanka was committed to the entry into force of the CTBT and a fissile material cut-off treaty. He supported a nuclear capability verification system under IAEA and NPT frameworks. Nuclear disarmament required comprehensive and verifiable steps, with a precise timetable.
He said that comprehensive safeguards measures and the Additional Protocol should be the IAEA’s standard. To universalize the Additional Protocol, it was necessary to assist developing countries in improving their legal and technical infrastructure. Sir Lanka supported the right of NPT States parties to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but that should not have unintended consequences and safety and disposal measures should be included. Establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones reinforced the non-proliferation regime and advanced nuclear disarmament.
Security was a major concern, and there was a real danger that nuclear materials could fall into the hands of terrorists, he said. Stringent controls and greater cooperation were urgently required. There was also a need for an institutional mechanism with a standing bureau to guide the NPT process. The view of all delegations should be considered regarding the structure of a permanent bureau and its duties. The Review Conference would succeed only if parties adopted decisions that were duly implemented.
BONIFACE G. CHIDYAUSIKU ( Zimbabwe), aligning with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Treaty remained the cornerstone of the international regime, and the selective implementation of its three pillars would not advance its overall objectives. Welcoming the renewed commitment by nuclear-weapon States to create a nuclear-weapon-free world, including the signing of the new START accord between the United States and the Russian Federation, it was imperative that such steps be consolidated and built upon to achieve nuclear disarmament. Despite various General Assembly resolutions adopted since 1946, thousands of nuclear weapons remained and constituted the most destructive threat to global security. Zimbabwe was concerned that countries maintained military doctrines based on possession of those weapons. That contradicted the letter and spirit of the Treaty.
She said it was imperative to agree upon a clear action plan and timeframe for implementation of the NPT’s article VI by nuclear-weapon States. Those States must also take concrete steps to implement the 13 practical steps. There was an urgent need for a universal and legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States parties. The Treaty’s universality was critical and the fact that some States remained outside the Treaty severely undermined its viability. The Conference thus should work to achieve universality. Zimbabwe fully supported the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones and it was important that practical action plans be evolved to establish such a zone in the Middle East. She also welcomed the entry into force of the Pelindaba Treaty. Finally, she said any restrictions on the rights enshrined in article IV that were outside the NPT framework violated the provisions of that article. More international cooperation was needed, however, to promote peaceful nuclear energy use.
NORACHIT SINHASENI (Thailand), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), shared the desire for a nuclear-weapon-free world, saying it was in the interests of nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States alike to work towards the ultimate goal of the complete elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. Work must continue to bring all remaining countries into the Treaty, and in the meantime, the non-discriminatory implementation of the three pillars was essential. Thailand supported the Secretary-General’s five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament and welcomed the benchmarks for success put forward at the Conference’s opening. The Review Conference must reaffirm the obligations of States parties under article VI. Practical steps towards disarmament by all nuclear-weapon States were important.
Moreover, he said, it was important to push for the early start of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devises. The Review Conference must urge the Conference on Disarmament to adopt and implement its programme of work. Negotiations on any future disarmament treaty should be inclusive, given its universal impact. He supported the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones in different regions, saying that they helped to prevent proliferation.
Thailand believed that non-first use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States was an essential guarantee for the global non-proliferation regime, he said. In that regard, he noted the recent conclusion of the 2010 United States Nuclear Posture Review, and fully supported greater coordination among the nuclear-weapon-free zones. Also, reliance on nuclear power was expected to grow, notably in developing countries, and thus, nuclear technology would be needed for power generation, among other things. The IAEA’s technical cooperation programmes should be strengthened, especially related to food safety, medical treatment and agriculture. The issue of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle should be addressed within the IAEA framework.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA ( Uruguay) said his country, a Treaty party, was fully committed to strict compliance with its objectives. Strengthening the Treaty’s pillars was essential. After years of stalemate, he lauded the signing of the new START by the United States and the Russian Federation. “Multilateralism is back,” he said, and with that came the reaffirmation of international bodies to deal with such issues. The responsibility was also great. “We do not have the right to lose the chance offered to us to reach tangible progress on disarmament and non-proliferation,” he asserted. Like others, Uruguay believed that the Treaty was the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime and he underscored the need for its universality. There were no minor steps when discussing such urgent matters.
He said that the Review Conference should be the starting point for discussions on ensuring the elimination of nuclear weapons. Uruguay called on nuclear-weapon States, among others mentioned in treaties establishing nuclear-weapons-free zones that had not ratified their protocols, to do so as soon as possible. As a non-nuclear-weapon State and as one that had never received material to build such weapons, Uruguay shared the concern about protecting against the use or possible use of those weapons. Guarantees strengthened the non-proliferation regime, and the greatest political priority must be given to negotiations leading to a universal and legally binding agreement on assurances. Also important was the construction of a robust safeguards regime to respond to the dangers of proliferation. Uruguay had ratified the IAEA Additional Protocol and fully supported an effective Agency. In closing, he expressed hope for efforts to transfer the necessary technology and resources to peaceful nuclear energy use.
ALEXANDRU CUJBA ( Republic of Moldova) said that recent developments, including the Secretary-General’s five-point plan, underlined the NPT’s importance in efforts to consolidate the non-proliferation regime. That momentum offered a unique opportunity to advance nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In order to move ahead, the NPT must be strengthened, and this Review Conference should adopt a realistic, concrete plan of action. The Republic of Moldova attached great importance to strict compliance with the NPT, and strongly supported the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, capable of maintaining peace and security regionally and internationally. Such a zone should be established in the Middle East.
He said that the IAEA’s safeguards system had provided assurance for the peaceful nature of nuclear programmes, and the Republic of Moldova supported Agency efforts, he said. His country had deposited its instrument of adherence in February to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. Moldova also took all necessary measures to prevent the transfer through its territory of components, materials and technology of weapons of mass destruction. Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) played a critical role in efforts to prevent non-State actors from acquiring nuclear weapons, and he supported calls for its all-inclusive implementation.
The CTBT was an essential part of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime and its timely entry into force should be a priority for all States parties, he said. An early start to discussions on a fissile material ban was also a critical step to fulfilling article VI obligations. Parallel disarmament efforts for conventional arms should also be implemented. The Republic of Moldova could not ensure the security of part of its eastern border, and it called for an international fact-finding mission in Transnistria to get a clear picture of stockpiled weapons.
FERIT HOXHA ( Albania ) said that the NPT needed to be strengthened now more than ever to guarantee peace and security in the world. He welcomed positive developments, including the recent United States commitment to ratify the CTBT, and hoped this Conference would produce a successful and balanced outcome. He called upon all States that had not yet done so to ratify the CTBT.
He said his country had taken practical steps towards stemming the flow of illegal trafficking of nuclear and radioactive material. It had also upgraded and improved its legal framework in the field of export controls of arms and dual-use materials, as well as upgraded border checkpoints with modern detection equipment.
States parties to the NPT had a right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, but strict compliance was needed and IAEA verification instruments should be strengthened. The comprehensive safeguards agreements and Additional Protocol were very important tools for preservation of world peace and stability, and the fight against nuclear terrorism. Since 1988, Albania had a comprehensive safeguard agreement with the IAEA and had signed the Additional Protocol. Its ratification was in the “very final” stage.
DANIEL ANTÓNIO (Mozambique), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said steady progress on nuclear disarmament was central to preserving the political vitality of the Treaty. It was with great satisfaction that progress in the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones had been achieved in Africa, among other regions. Indeed, the entry into force of the Pelindaba Treaty was of great importance to the maintenance of international peace. Mozambique was prepared to work with the IAEA in programmes that transferred technology and built national capacity to enable a framework for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The Review Conference was the appropriate forum to address that issue. He congratulated Mongolia for its resolve to become a nuclear-weapon-free State and welcomed the recent signing of the new START between the Russian Federation and the United States.
Calling the test-ban Treaty “vital” to the non-proliferation regime, he welcomed the moratorium on explosive nuclear testing observed by the nuclear-weapon States parties to that Treaty. His Government urged the Conference to consider additional measures to provide assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States against the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons. Proposals must attract consensus if work on that issue was to be productive. On transparency, he acknowledged efforts by some nuclear Powers to share information, notably on steps taken, or being considered, to reduce the number of nuclear weapons or to obviate the risk of an accidental strike.
PABLO SOLÓN ( Bolivia) said that as long as a single State still had nuclear weapons, others would wish to acquire them. And, as long as those weapons existed, there was a risk of their use. It was a stroke of luck that the world had so far escaped that catastrophe. There were at least 23,000 nuclear warheads, 22,000 of which belonged to the United States and the Russian Federation, both of which had at least 2,000 warheads on alert.
He said that some States argued that nuclear weapons were part of their defence strategy, while other States were denied an opportunity to develop them. The NPT must be brought up to date. Through 2015, the United States and the Russian Federation should reduce their warheads to no more than 500. A global total of 500 warheads would mean a 90 per cent reduction of current levels. By the end of 2020, the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons must be reached. He lauded the efforts made to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones in regions around the world. Bolivia supported the creation of such a zone in the Middle East, in step with the 1995 Review Conference and General Assembly resolutions.
Developing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes should be strongly backed as one of the NPT’s three pillars, he continued. Greater resources should be allocated through the IAEA to assist developing States to use that energy source. Progress should come with the reduction of threats and capacity-building on the global level.
WERNER BAUWENS, Government Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of Belgium, said the Treaty was “an anchor of stability in a constantly evolving process of checks and balances”. No other framework offered a comparable level of legal commitment and perspective. As such, he called on India, Pakistan and Israel to join it and to bring their nuclear posture fully in line with it. He also called on all States parties to remain indefinitely committed to the Treaty, as honouring commitments was the best way to promote universality. For its part, Belgium was resolved to preserve the Treaty’s vitality, to fully respect its commitments and to contribute to a results-oriented action plan to be adopted by the Conference.
Advocating a multifaceted approach to the issues before the Conference, he also urged dealing with the complex root causes of proliferation concerns, including the regional context and challenges posed by the emergence of non-State actors. He urged fostering regional security arrangements that included an active disarmament agenda. Belgium welcomed the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1887 (2009), particularly its strong support for relevant international bodies, like the IAEA. The Council was also united in emphasizing that non-compliance with non-proliferation obligations should be brought to its attention.
As such, Belgium called on Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with the Treaty, and on all States to sign, ratify and implement the Additional Protocol, which, together with comprehensive safeguards agreements, constituted the current verification standard. The new START signed by the United States and the Russian Federation should encourage all nuclear Powers to support the “zero option”. Supporting the statement made by the European Union, he said the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty offered a unique opportunity to support Treaty goals, including implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution.
JOSÉ ANTONIO DOS SANTOS ( Paraguay) said the Review Conference should take resolute steps to create a world free of nuclear weapons, and be based on an ambitious, realistic programme of action. The NPT regime should be strengthened and more transparency achieved in the verification regime. He called for more efforts to attain the Treaty’s universalization and on those not party to it to accede, without reservation. The 1995 Middle East resolution must be implemented, as the process of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation was moving ahead strongly, notably with the entry into force of the Treaty of Pelindaba. “These are landmarks,” he said, and if added to new bilateral initiatives between the United States and Russian Federation, there was inspiration for a better world. Today, some 110 States were included in nuclear-weapon-free zones, about two-thirds of United Nations membership, which showed a growing commitment to the objective of denuclearization.
Recalling that Latin America had created the first such zone more than four decades ago, he added that Paraguay was party to all international disarmament conventions and treaties. At the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., leaders had stressed that nuclear terrorism was among the greatest threats, and he urged accession to the legal framework. Decisions being made at the Conference on Disarmament on negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty should overcome obstacles. He reaffirmed States’ right to research and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Everyone recognized the importance of outlining a road to non-proliferation. A plan of action was needed to lay the groundwork for technological assistance and resources for sustainable development.
CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said nuclear weapons were no longer just a deterrent, but had become entrenched in the military doctrines of the major Powers at a time when nuclear terrorism had become real. Nuclear-weapon States had yet to pursue a clear and effective way towards the negotiations mandated by article VI of the NPT or to comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice to conclude negotiations leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons, or to take the steps adopted at the 2000 Review Conference for their complete elimination.
He said that the international community needed to seek new approaches to nuclear disarmament. The military doctrines that continued to rely on nuclear weapons as a means of security and defence or even measure of power, de facto, slowed the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation processes. The Holy See strongly advocated for transparent, verifiable, global and irreversible nuclear disarmament and for addressing seriously the issues of nuclear strategic arms, tactical ones and their means of delivery. The entry into force of the CTBT was a priority; banning nuclear explosions would contribute to disarmament and non-proliferation and prevent environmental damage.
RAYMOND SERGE BALÉ ( Congo) said the current climate of confidence had been boosted by, among other things, the recent United States and Russian Federation START agreement. Those two nuclear-weapon States were the guarantee to non-proliferation, and he urged them to continue in their leadership role. Major events over the last few months, however, had highlighted the need to bring about the end of the nuclear arms race. The NPT remained the cornerstone for disarmament and non-proliferation; however, the Treaty’s three pillars had revealed the NPT’s limits, most notably its discriminatory provisions.
Still, he said, the Treaty had the advantage of providing a platform for multilateral cooperation and a legal framework. He appealed for universal adherence. He reminded the nuclear-weapon States of the commitments they had made at the last three Review Conferences. He hoped the elimination of all nuclear weapons would take place in a responsible manner. The recent Washington summit had reminded the world of the illegal proliferation of nuclear materials over the last few years. Security measures must be applied. Banning fissile material would help curb proliferation, as would the entry into force of the CTBT.
Concerning climate change, nuclear energy was the way of the future, in medicine, agriculture and other fields, he said. Acquiring that energy source should be non-discriminatory and must be managed by the IAEA to prevent that technology from being turned over to military arenas. Nuclear-weapon-free zones were a strong contributing factor to peace and security, and he supported the creation of such a zone in the Middle East. This Review Conference was being held in a favourable climate. Action was needed to transform rhetoric into reality.
NURBEK JEENBAEV ( Kyrgyzstan) said that one of the most promised approaches to disarmament and non-proliferation was the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones. The Central Asian zone included provisions that called for efforts to remediate environmental damage to the region, resulting from prior nuclear weapons activities and the requirement for parties to adhere to the IAEA Additional Protocol.
He said that new proliferation challenges had emerged, and old ways of doing things would no longer suffice. To persevere, the NPT and the broader regime must adapt to those changing circumstances, including to the growing risk of nuclear terrorism. International safeguards and physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities were the first line of defence. He supported strengthening the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) to address those challenges.
His country reiterated the call made at prior Review Conferences for all Governments and international organizations with expertise in the field of clean-up and disposal of radioactive contaminants to consider giving appropriate assistance, as requested, for remedial purposes, he said. Education and training as tools to promote disarmament and non-proliferation were also vital, and he welcomed recommendations from the United Nations expert group on the subject.
PHILLIP H. MULLER (Marshall Islands), recalling that the Marshall Islands, during its time as a United Nations Trust Territory, had experienced 67 large-scale nuclear weapons tests, said that his Government had, on every possible occasion, informed Member States of the devastating impacts. The country had been burdened by a large nuclear waste storage facility at low-lying Runit Island, and lacked the capacity, expertise and resources to care for that site in the long-term. His Government expected all States to support the previously agreed recognition of the special responsibility towards such former Territories. Acknowledging efforts made by the former United Nations Administrator –- the United States -– to address the legacy of nuclear testing, more had to be done. The tests had been conducted with the explicit authorization of United Nations Members in Trusteeship resolutions 1082 (1954) and 1493 (1956).
He said he had recounted the story of his country within the context of urging a strong international outcome from the Review Conference, and in urging States to take legally binding and internationally verifiable efforts to prevent proliferation. His Government had ratified the CTBT and urged bringing that treaty into force. He was alarmed by a few Treaty members that appeared determined to violate the rules which bound them, and whose actions appeared evasive, particularly in testing or assembling nuclear weapons. “We have no tolerance for anything less than strict adherence by parties to their legal obligations under the NPT”, he said. His Government’s support of a nuclear-weapon-free Pacific had been clouded by other treaty obligations, but with this week’s announcement of a new United States perspective, it was examining its position on the South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Rarotonga Treaty). He expressed the aspiration to support a nuclear-weapon-free Pacific in a manner consistent with international security. He also urged nuclear Powers to move towards effective disarmament.
ROBERT GUBA AISI (Papua New Guinea), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and Pacific Island Forum statements, strongly encouraged States that remained outside the Treaty regime to “join us”. To do so would enable the Treaty’s universality. Like others, his Government welcomed the new START signed by the United States and the Russian Federation and was, at the same time, deeply concerned at the existence of nuclear weapons. As such, he strongly reiterated the imperative for ensuring non-proliferation and disarmament by nuclear-weapon States.
He said there was a critical role, pursuant to article IV, for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, especially in its application for sustainable development. He commended the IAEA for initiating and prioritizing the use of nuclear technology in the medical field, but those rights had to be exercised within a framework that reduced proliferation risk and adhered to the highest international standards of safeguards. Papua New Guinea enjoyed a nuclear-weapon-free zone and was pleased that the Rarotonga Treaty had been fully supported by several major nuclear-weapon States. In addition, he welcomed the United States plans to ratify that treaty. While not a CTBT “Annex 2” country, Papua New Guinea was now in the process of formally ratifying the CTBT. He also commended Indonesia for its intention to ratify it.
AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania), aligning with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Conference was an opportunity to inject political will for advancing the process of nuclear disarmament and the 13 practical steps, adopted 10 years ago. There was an unprecedented positive trend towards disarmament, notably with the new START agreement. When his country had hesitated to accede to the Treaty 40 years ago, it was a political statement that, if the Treaty was to succeed, it must first address the reduction and elimination of existing nuclear stockpiles.
Since then, he said, his country’s support for the Treaty had been reinvigorated. While convinced about the value of universal adherence to the Treaty, his country was concerned at the spread of nuclear weapons, which had continued throughout the NPT regime. The peaceful use of nuclear energy should be addressed collectively and transparently; unilateral action could only engender regional and international suspicion. Confidence-building measures should be added to that process. Africa continued to strengthen the NPT regime through regional approaches, he said, citing the Pelindaba Treaty as an example. He welcomed the United States’ participation in that Treaty and encouraged the formation of nuclear-weapon-free zones in other areas, including in the Middle East.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI ( Yemen), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, said transparency and confidence-building were among the best ways to achieve a world without nuclear weapons. Yemen had acceded to various multilateral disarmament treaties and was a party to the NPT. Reiterating the need to eliminate all forms of weapons of mass destruction, he fully agreed with the need to prohibit nuclear weapons. Towards that goal, Yemen had created a national commission, which had proposed bills banning the transport of such materials on Yemeni territory.
He said that the NPT’s pillars were inseparable, noting that any progress on them would guarantee the success of the Conference and the Treaty. The maintenance of security based on the acquisition and possession of nuclear weapons to be used against non-nuclear-weapon States undermined the Treaty’s credibility. He called for a ban on those weapons’ use. Also needed were general assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States, including a binding document that allowed for comprehensive guarantees. He welcomed the new international atmosphere and hoped that that trend would be reflected in future measures.
The Israeli nuclear policy was pushing the region into an arms race, he warned. Israel had refused to accede to the Treaty and place its facilities under IAEA supervision. Such behaviour threatened the region’s security and stability. The Security Council must implement resolution 687 (1991). He applauded the implementation of IAEA resolutions, including on Israeli nuclear capacity. The creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East would strengthen the NPT, and he urged States parties to work for its full implementation. Reiterating the right to possess civilian nuclear technology without impediment, he called for full transparency with the IAEA.
MOHAMMED AQEEL BA-OMAR ( Oman) said that the NPT had seen past Review Conferences that had failed. The 1995 Review Conference had been a turning point, with the Treaty’s extension and a resolution on the Middle East. He called for Israel to accede to the Treaty, as its nuclear programme was a threat to peace in the region. Past reviews had requested States to support the resolution and prepared the way for progress at the current Review Conference. It now needed to do that and make such a zone in the Middle East a reality; doing otherwise would undermine the NPT’s integrity. There must be a renewed commitment to undertake the 1995 resolution, and define measures to be taken for the next Review Conference if Israel did not place its installations under the auspices of the IAEA.
He underlined the positive role played by United States President Barack Obama and for the positive discussions on the CTBT. He stressed that no obstacles should be erected for States’ use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
ANGELLA HAMILTON BROWN (Jamaica) said the world confronted the very opposite of the NPT’s intentions: the misuse of nuclear technology; the pervasive threat of non-State actors gaining access to nuclear weapons; reports of covert activities aimed at the propagation of nuclear expertise; non-compliance and non-cooperation with Treaty obligations; and withdrawal from the Treaty. The world now stood at a pivotal juncture, and despite the challenges of the past five years, the 2010 Review Conference was a real opportunity to renew commitments and strengthen collective resolve to rid the planet of nuclear weapons and end their threat.
She said that some positive developments, including the START agreement and the breakthrough in the Conference on Disarmament, had created an atmosphere conducive to establishing practical, workable solutions. Small gains made since the 2005 Review Conference should not eclipse the fact that much remained to be done. The CTBT should enter force, a nuclear-weapon-free zone should be established in the Middle East, and a significant number of States remained outside the NPT. There was also a continued disregard for equal attention to the Treaty’s three pillars.
Jamaica expected the nuclear-weapon States to demonstrate the necessary political will to fulfil their agreed responsibility on nuclear disarmament, he said. Nuclear-weapon-free zones had an important role and it was critical that they remained free from the threat posed by the transboundary movement of hazardous radioactive materials, should an accident occur. Turning to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, she said efforts should be made to assist all interested States, especially developing countries, to develop that energy source.
“The global security threats have quadrupled since we last met to review the NPT,” she said. “Our task therefore should include the strengthening of its mechanisms and its institutions by way of increased cooperation, collaboration and greater promotion of understanding and confidence in the Treaty. Our future depends on it.”
PHOLOGO J. GAUMAKWE ( Botswana) said the peaceful use of nuclear technology was of utmost importance to his country, especially in the areas of agriculture, the environment, water management and medicine. Botswana was a non-nuclear-weapon State, which had ratified the Additional Protocol. It was also a committed participant in the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, and other relevant instruments. Botswana also supported the Secretary-General’s call for a conference to review the implementation of the Convention on Nuclear Terrorism.
He said that the Pelindaba Treaty had set Africa apart as a zone free of nuclear weapons, and he hoped its objectives would be achieved, including through the establishment of an African Commission on Nuclear Energy. Botswana was concerned that the CTBT had not yet entered into force, and viewed its ratification as an important step in strengthening the verification regime, serving also as a deterrent against covert nuclear armament programmes.
Unlike setbacks at the 2005 Review Conference, he hoped this Conference would produce a substantive outcome.
JOSÉ ALBERTO BRIZ GUITÉRREZ ( Guatemala), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, promoted the universality of the Treaty. His Government had proposed that the Conference make progress in designing mechanisms to comply with the obligations of the three pillars. That should include verification measures and be based on transparency and accountability. Given the diversity of opinions, he hoped not to miss the opportunity to agree on recommendations on that issue. While noting positive political signals from nuclear-weapon States, Guatemala expected those soon to be turned into concrete actions. The revised United States nuclear posture was an important contribution to review of security doctrines related to nuclear weapons.
He said that the 13 practical steps adopted at the 2000 Review Conference provided a starting point, and progress should be made on them. Among the most important steps were measures to be taken by the nuclear-weapon States. To ensure that those measures yielded the best possible results, progress must be made on nuclear disarmament. Progress was equally necessary in the area of non-proliferation; both endeavours should be treated equally. Renewing Guatemala’s support for the CTBT, which the country signed in 1999, he said his Government was aware of the need to overcome the impasse in its ratification process. He urged discussion about measures to resolve the financial difficulties faced by developing countries with the political will to ratify that Treaty. Guatemala was part of the Treaty of Tlatelolco and, for that reason, had participated in the recent Second Conference of States Parties and Signatories to Treaties that Establish Nuclear Weapon Free Zones, and Mongolia.
NAIF BIN BANDAR AL-SUDAIRY ( Saudi Arabia) said that today, more than ever, the global community must work towards achieving the NPT’s universality. His Government would make every possible effort to agree on a plan of action for attaining that goal, notably through accession of States not party to the Treaty and placement of their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. Failure to pressure Israel into immediate compliance would lead to more threats to Middle East security and might involve the region in a nuclear arms race. Recalling Saudi Arabia’s submission of a report to a preparatory meeting in Geneva, he cited the concern expressed in that report, topped by the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons impeded achievement of regional security and stability. All justification for the acquisition and development of mass destruction weapons contradicted Israel’s claims about its desire for peace.
He said that Saudi Arabia had shown, on several occasions, its swift response to any initiative that would achieve international peace, and had submitted its report to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Saudi Arabia had ratified the IAEA Safeguards Agreement, confirming, by that action, the right of all NPT States parties to possess nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and not accepting attempts to reinterpret the Treaty in ways that might restrict that right. Saudi Arabia followed the “stumbling” negotiations between the “group of six” (5+1) and Iran over that country’s nuclear programme. It was important to encourage Iran to cooperate with the IAEA in order to make the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. He hoped Iran would take a positive step in the right direction towards achieving regional security and stability.
PETER WOOLCOTT ( Australia), speaking on behalf of the Vienna Group of Ten ( Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden), said the Treaty conferred mutually reinforcing obligations on States. Strengthening its role as the cornerstone of the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime would require progress on all three of its pillars. His group’s focus was on the traditional “ Vienna issues” of non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It aimed to contribute to a successful review of articles III and IV, and develop forward-looking strategies in those areas.
Towards that goal, the group had prepared working papers on seven topics: peaceful uses of nuclear energy; approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle; compliance and verification, including export controls; nuclear safety; physical protection; illicit trafficking; and the CTBT. Each paper proposed draft review language for the Conference outcome document. It had submitted another paper proposing elements for inclusion in any action plan to be adopted by the Conference. Those elements related to aspects associated with Vienna-based forums and organizations. They had been drafted with a view to promoting convergence on key issues. The Group hoped that they would build consensus. The Group members looked forward to working with other delegations in the coming weeks.
DANIELE D. BODINI ( San Marino) applauded the commitment of the United States and the Russian Federation to substantially reduce nuclear arsenals. “With their examples, they are showing great leadership,” he said. Like other small countries, San Marino hoped for strengthening the global non-proliferation regime. Indeed, a unity of will would be a strong sign of the desire to control, and eventually eliminate, the nuclear threat. He urged countries that had not yet ratified the CTBT to do so and praised countries that had decided to establish nuclear-weapon- free zones. San Marino would need nuclear energy only to develop its economic and social growth. New technology would provide safe development of nuclear plants. He urged all States to support IAEA efforts and provide it with new resources. The NPT was a unique instrument for maintaining world peace and security. States must reconfirm their commitment to a nuclear-weapon-free world.
TIBOR TÓTH, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said that while the CTBT had endured some “politically difficult times”, support had grown continuously and it now enjoyed near universal support with 182 signatories and 151 ratifying States. While ratification by the “Annex 2“ States was a legal requirement for the Treaty to enter into force, the signature and ratification of all States that had not yet done so would provide momentum towards that goal.
“The CTBT is one of the strongest catalysts for nuclear disarmament”, he said, providing a legal barrier against nuclear testing. It was also an equally important instrument for non-proliferation.
Once its unprecedented verification regime was fully operationalized, non-compliance issues would be addressed in a pre-agreed manner, he explained. The NPT regime parties were faced with two simple choices: confront the issues at stake with a view to a practical outcome, or widen the differences, which would lead to failure or an outcome so weak it would do little to strengthen the disarmament and non-proliferation regime, including prospects for the CTBT’s entry into force.
NICKY WAGNER, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said that to build political momentum towards the achievement of key international commitments in the area of nuclear disarmament, the IPU had engaged with various partners, including the United Nations. One year later, parliaments had been asked to report back on their action in follow-up to the resolution entitled “Advancing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and securing the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: role of parliaments”. She described findings shared by delegations in the past months, notably in Angola, China and Pakistan, including the adoption of laws regulating the use, transport and transfer of nuclear technologies.
She said that parliamentarians were responding to the Secretary-General’s call for support to achieve a successful Review Conference. Parliamentary resolutions supporting a nuclear weapons convention had been adopted in countries like Austria, Costa Rica and Norway. Also, various themes had emerged from a parliamentary dialogue held yesterday, and a forum held today, which included the need for politicians to not underestimate the growing momentum towards nuclear disarmament. Barriers to disarmament could be overcome by starting a preparatory process to explore the legal technical and political requirements for a nuclear-weapon-free world. Peace education was also vital to building political constituencies that supported parliamentary action.
WAEL AL ASSAD, Director of Multilateral Relations of the League of Arab States, said his delegation had repeatedly reiterated its position on issues of the Review Conference agenda. Highlighting those positions, he said the League welcomed all initiatives calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide, and called on the Conference to translate those initiatives into practical plans to guarantee unconditional nuclear disarmament. The Arab States fully supported the Treaty, believing that its credibility required the fulfilment of pledges made at past Conferences before seeking new commitments from non-nuclear-weapon States parties. The Treaty’s universality should not be viewed as a long-term objective: it should become an urgent priority, and measures must be considered to urge countries that had not yet acceded to the Treaty to do so.
He stressed the need to preserve the inherent rights of States parties to develop, possess and use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and opposed any constraints on such rights. He reiterated that a comprehensive safeguards agreement represented the legal commitment within the scope of the Treaty. Stressing the optional nature of the Additional Protocol, he did not agree with rendering it a mandatory instrument that became the standard upon which Treaty parties received nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. On a regional level, the Arab States had repeatedly expressed regret over the failure to move towards implementing the Middle East resolution, and rejected attempts to postpone it by linking it with the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. All Arab States had adhered to the Treaty during that conflict and placed their nuclear installations under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. The taking of both those actions by Israel was the starting point for freeing the Middle East of nuclear and other mass destruction weapons.
ODILON MARCUZZO DO CANTO, Secretary of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, recalled that Brazil and Argentina had signed the 1991 Agreement for the Exclusively Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy, which implied a compromise for the use of all materials and nuclear facilities submitted to their jurisdictions or control for peaceful purposes. The agency had been created to manage and apply the common system for accounting and control of those materials.
Today, he said, nations were taking a new approach to nuclear reactors as reliable sources of energy with zero contribution to the greenhouse effect, which in turn, had led to expected growth in activities related to the nuclear production chain. Argentina and Brazil had decided to reactivate their nuclear programmes. He stressed the relevance of cooperation between his agency and the IAEA, both of which coordinated their work for the efficient management of safeguards activities. The Treaty’s success was connected to strengthening its pillars, and the Conference provided an important step in that direction.
* *** *For information media • not an official record