19 May 2010
Meetings Coverage
DC/3239

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

NPT Review Conference

12th Meeting (PM)


Committee Chairmen of 2010 Review Conference Report on Progress towards Advancing


Key Pillars of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

 


The Chairmen of the three Main Committees of the 2010 Review Conference updated delegations today on progress made to advance the three pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — non-proliferation, disarmament and the right to peaceful use of nuclear technology — and to forge a consensus on the outcome document for the Conference, which will conclude on 28 May.


Addressing the Conference first, Volodymyr Yochenko ( Ukraine) described the progress made in Main Committee II, charged with examining implementation of Treaty provisions relating to nuclear non-proliferation, safeguards and nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Recalling that the Committee’s first report had been distributed last Friday, he said the Committee had met in plenary on 17 May, to consider document NPT/CONF/2010/MC2/CRP1.


All delegations had been invited to provide comments on the draft and achieve a consensus by this week, so that the results could be relayed by Friday, 21 May, he said.  On 18 May, delegations had made comments on the text, he said, adding that the Committee was continuing its efforts to address all proposals, some of which were mutually exclusive, and to reconcile them in a revised draft, with a view to distributing it on Friday.  He called on all delegations to interact constructively in the remaining time so as to facilitate the successful completion of the work within the time frame.


Speaking next, Takeshi Nakane ( Japan), Chairman of Main Committee III — tasked with looking at implementation of Treaty provisions relating to the inalienable right of all parties to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination — said three meetings had been held since his last report on Friday.  During those sessions, the Committee had continued discussions on the remaining two items and, on Monday, had begun considering its draft report.


This morning, the Committee had begun section-by-section negotiations on the text, he said.  Comments on 30 paragraphs had been heard and a number of amendments received, he said, noting that one additional meeting would be needed to bring that discussion to a close.  The Chair planned to present a new draft report “shortly”, which hopefully would form the basis for achieving a consensus.  To that end, the Committee would hold three more meetings and, depending on progress in the negotiations, States parties should have ample time to conclude their discussions.


Turning to the Committee’s subsidiary body, which addresses “other provisions of the Treaty”, he said it had held three meetings since Friday’s progress report, addressing issues of universality and withdrawal, as well as institutional matters relating to the decision taken on 11 May.  He said the discussion of institutional issues indicated that there were different views on the proposals put forward by Canada.  Hopefully bilateral consultations could be concluded in time for inclusion in the draft report, which the subsidiary body had considered today, he said, adding that further informal consultations would begin tomorrow morning to forge a consensus on the text.


Finally, Chairman Boniface Chidyausiku (Zimbabwe) of Main Committee I — which deals with the implementation of Treaty provisions relating to nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and international peace and security — reported that it had held two meetings since Friday’s plenary.  States parties had presented written observations and held a dialogue.  Written submissions had also been received from a number of non-governmental organizations, he said, adding that the Committee planned to complete a revised report by tomorrow for presentation to States parties.


Delivering a general statement, John Duncan, Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament of the United Kingdom, described his country’s progress on the “13 practical steps” towards implementing article VI — which obliges States parties to move in the general direction of disarmament — saying that the formation of a new Government had prevented him from taking the floor earlier.


He said the United Kingdom had signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty in 1996 and ratified it in 1998.  It also had in place a voluntary moratorium on nuclear weapons testing and had not carried out any nuclear test explosion, or other nuclear explosion, since 1991.  The Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty was a priority, he stressed, calling for an immediate start to negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament, on the basis of the programme of work adopted in 2009.  “We stand ready to negotiate,” he added.


Voicing support for the establishment of a working group on nuclear disarmament, as part of the work programme adopted at the Conference on Disarmament in 2009, he called on that Conference to agree on a 2010 programme of work on that basis.  The United Kingdom had not reversed any nuclear disarmament measures and had reduced its nuclear weapons capabilityto a single delivery system, a single warhead design and a single launch platform.  The United Kingdom had set out its unequivocal commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, he added.


Regarding steps leading to nuclear disarmament, he said his country had hosted a 2009 conference for the five permanent Security Council members to discuss confidence-building measures towards nuclear disarmament.  Further, the Government had reduced the number of operationally available warheads to fewer than 160, and had been transparent about its fissile material holdings and operationally available warhead numbers.  The United Kingdom did not possess any non-strategic nuclear weapons and had significantly reduced the operational status of its nuclear weapons system, he added.


Moreover, the United Kingdom had stated publicly that it would only contemplate the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances of self-defence or in defence of its allies, he continued.  Its policy on negative security assurances had been outlined in a 1995 letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, he said, adding that the country had given Treaty-based negative security assurances to almost 100 countries, and declared 4.4 tons of fissile material surplus to defence requirements, including 0.3 tons of weapons-grade plutonium.  In the area of verification, the United Kingdom was conducting research at the Atomic Weapons Establishment through a trilateral project with Norway and the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTI), a verification non-governmental organization, he said, adding that the United Kingdom looked forward to “realistic” action plans on each pillar of the Treaty as an outcome of the 2010 Conference.


Closing the meeting, Libran Cabactulan ( Philippines), Chairman of the Review Conference, said it was clear that the Committees’ initial draft texts had been well received.  Initial consideration of the drafts had resulted in considerable discussion and amendments, he noted, encouraging all delegations to continue working, in the expectation that all the Committees would complete their work and adopt their reports on Friday, and submit the drafts to the Chair no later than 6 p.m.


A revised copy of the text from the Chairman of the subsidiary body of Main Committee I was made available at the end of the plenary meeting.


The Review Conference will reconvene in plenary on Monday, 24 May, at a time and location to be announced.


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For information media • not an official record