|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
11th Meeting (PM)
Nuclear Weapons Remain Integral to Strategic Doctrines of Military Alliances,
Despite ‘High-Sounding and Moralistic Assertions’, First Committee Told
Five Related Draft Resolutions Introduced
Affirming that eliminating nuclear weapons must be achieved by ensuring equal security for all States, Pakistan’s representative today told the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) that the efforts of major nuclear-weapon States had focused mainly on areas where their own security would not be compromised, such as by eliminating biological and chemical weapons, or by banning nuclear tests and fissile material.
During the afternoon’s continued thematic debate on nuclear weapons, that delegate said that some of the major Powers promoted a fissile material cut-off treaty only after producing so much of that material that they did not need any more. But no effort had been made to eliminate nuclear weapons or to pursue genuine nuclear disarmament.
Instead of half measures, he said, or disowning obligations to disarm and advocating a treaty banning only the future production of fissile material – which was not even a non-proliferation measure – there should be a reduction of existing fissile material stocks as well, which would be a genuine step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The search for security was the main driving force for the acquisition and development of nuclear weapons, he said. Because nuclear arsenals were seen as the ultimate weapons, they were therefore considered the ultimate guarantor of security. But the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had demonstrated the horror of such attacks, which were an “atrocity”, he said.
Despite “high-sounding and moralistic assertions”, he said, the fact was that nuclear weapons remained integral to strategic doctrines of military alliances and also provided extended deterrence to non-nuclear-weapon States that were members of military alliances. Pakistan recognized that nuclear disarmament would not happen overnight or even “in a lifetime”, however the effort to eliminate those weapons must start now.
Other delegations also expressed frustration with the lack of progress, and on that front, Ireland’s delegate said that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty did not create “haves” and “have nots” but rather categories of “will disarm” and “will forego”. The latter group had kept their side of the bargain, and Ireland believed that progress in-kind from the “will disarm” members was overdue.
While the cold war period had dissipated, the international community faced the same threat to humanity that existed half a century ago, he said. Because of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons, renewed urgency towards nuclear disarmament was crucial.
Additionally, he warned, if significant progress was not achieved on disarmament, the perception that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was discriminatory would exert increasing pressure upon the Treaty’s non-proliferation imperatives. Bearing in mind a number of concerns – including the challenge presented by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the unanswered questions from Iran about its nuclear programme, and the fact that India, Israel and Pakistan chose to remain outside the NPT – the international community needed to show that the Treaty was a legitimate blueprint for a nuclear-weapon-free world.
While nuclear-weapon States continued to cling to their stockpiles, said Nigeria’s representative, a new phase in the nuclear arms race was dawning in which more States were acquiring the capacity to develop nuclear weapons. Although there had been some reductions in arsenals, those were merely “cosmetic” measures as the remaining stocks still threatened mankind. He introduced the draft resolution on the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, and called on Member States to once again lend their support.
Iran’s representative said the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament and the existence of thousands of deployed and non-deployed strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons around the world remained a serious threat to international peace and the very survival of human civilization. The non-compliance of nuclear-weapon States to eliminate those weapons had also undermined the NPT’s purpose. He deemed hypocritical the presumed eligibility of some to judge the “peaceful safeguarded nuclear programme of others”.
Mongolia’s representative introduced a resolution on a nuclear-weapon-free zone, entitled “ Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status”. He said that Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status was an important contribution to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and his country shared the hope that its endeavours would be sustained in the months and years to come, thus lending momentum to further efforts towards a world without nuclear weapons.
India’s representative introduced a draft on “Reducing Nuclear Danger”, which highlighted the need for a review of nuclear doctrines and immediate steps to reduce the risk of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons. She also introduced a draft entitled “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons”, which, she said, reflected India’s belief that a multilateral, universal and legally binding instrument prohibiting the use or threat of use of those weapons would contribute to their de-legitimization.
Introducing a resolution on the “Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Australia’s representative said the text stressed the vital importance and urgency of the Treaty’s entry into force and, pending that, urged all States not to carry out nuclear-weapon test explosions.
Also speaking were the representatives of Ecuador, Algeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Cuba, Austria, Bangladesh, Australia, Libya, Russian Federation, South Africa, Iran, India, Zambia and Belarus.
The First Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., 22 October, to continue its thematic debate segment.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its thematic debate segment, hearing statements first on the cluster on nuclear weapons.
JOSE EDUARDO PROANO ( Ecuador), associating with the statements of Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned weapons of mass destruction and considered their use a crime against nature and humankind. Ecuador, which was in strict compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its international commitments, was disappointed that it had not seen reciprocity regarding disarmament from the nuclear-weapon States. His delegation wondered whether waiting for reciprocity was to remain a question for years, decades or centuries, since there was no sign whatsoever of complete disarmament.
He said that disarmament made sense for humanitarian, legal, political and common sense reasons. The international community condemned nuclear weapons for humanitarian reasons, given their atrocious effects and the fact that they did not discriminate between civil and military targets. Those weapons violated international law and the United Nations Charter, and the only guarantee against their use was their prohibition and total destruction. States parties to the NPT used national security as a justification to keep them, although the international community knew full well the dangers of that to daily life and the very survival of millions of communities, future generations and the evolving processes of nature. In other words, the international community was facing the attempt to preserve the security of a few at the cost of the security of the world.
From a legal point of view, the NPT’s article VI called upon States to negotiate nuclear disarmament. That and the provision’s other obligations must be fulfilled to preserve the integrity of that international instrument. The opinion of the International Court of Justice also should be borne in mind. Turning to nuclear-weapon-free zones, he drew attention to the Latin American and Caribbean nuclear-weapon-free zone and urged that still more zones be established in other regions, including in the Middle East. The international community had a vivid recollection of the time when nuclear weapons had been used. Those weapons had no legitimacy, and it was time for the United Nations to deal with that issue once and for all, in compliance with international standards and on grounds of common sense.
DJAMEL MOKTEFI (Algeria) associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, called on nuclear-weapons States to comply with their obligations to eliminate their nuclear weapons in a transparent, irreversible and verifiable way. Elimination was the only way to absolutely guarantee against the use or threat of use of those weapons. Pending that, non-nuclear-armed States should be granted negative security assurance through a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument. An international conference to agree on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified timeframe was necessary and it should lead to a nuclear weapons convention.
He said that nuclear disarmament should be parallel to efforts aimed at non-proliferation. He reiterated Algeria’s commitment to the NPT and stressed the need for a universal, and avoiding non-selective, approach. Compliance with that Treaty was essential, he said, expressing serious concern over the lack of progress by the nuclear-weapon States towards full implementation of the 13 practical measures agreed at the 2000 NPT review and endorsed in the 2010 Action Plan. An integral part of that plan was the 1995 resolution calling for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. He was concerned about the delay in its implementation, and called on States to ensure that the Helsinki conference on the subject was held this year. Nuclear-weapon-free zones were important measures. He commended the accomplishment of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (Pelindaba Treaty) and called for relevant States to sign and ratify the Treaty’s necessary protocols.
He stressed the right of States to use atomic energy for exclusively civilian applications, under the NPT’s article IV and underlined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s mandate, authority and central role in setting multilateral norms, guidelines and rules in nuclear security and nuclear safety. He emphasised the significance of achieving universal adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), stressing its potential contribution to the goals of disarmament and non-proliferation and regretting that 16 years had elapsed without its entry into force. In that regard, he associated himself with the CTBT Joint Ministerial Statement from 27 September, encouraging ratification by all “Annex II” States.
KHALIL HASHMI ( Pakistan), associating with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki demonstrated the horror of nuclear weapons. The global response to that atrocity emerged in the form of the very first resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, against nuclear weapons. Since then, the international community had grappled with the aim of eliminating the use of those weapons, which were inhumane, immoral and indiscriminate. However, those weapons had increased, both horizontally and vertically. They were seen as the ultimate weapons and therefore the ultimate guarantor of security. Thus, the search for security was the main driving force for the acquisition and development of nuclear weapons. For some, power and prestige were also contributing factors.
He said that the international community recognized that the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons must be achieved by ensuring equal security for all States, and he called for a compact that included a step-by-step approach to ensure non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament along with simultaneous efforts to promote nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately however, the major nuclear-weapon States focused mainly on arms control and non-proliferation, ignoring genuine nuclear disarmament. Their effort had been to conclude international agreements in areas where their security would not be compromised, such as by eliminating biological and chemical weapons or through a nuclear test-ban treaty. Now, some of the major Powers promoted “FMCT” (fissile material cut-off treaty) after producing so much fissile material that they did not need any more. But no effort had been made to eliminate nuclear weapons or to pursue genuine nuclear disarmament.
Despite high-sounding and moralistic assertions, the fact was that nuclear weapons remained integral to strategic doctrines of military alliances, he said. Nuclear weapons also provided extended deterrence to non-nuclear-weapon States that were members of military alliances. As such, those States indirectly and implicitly encouraged the possession or even use of nuclear weapons as part of the strategic doctrines of their alliances. Pakistan was realistic and recognized that nuclear disarmament would not happen overnight or even “in a lifetime”. However the effort to eliminate those weapons must start now: it had been too long since “SSOD-I” (first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament) for the international community to give practical shape to consensus obligations.
He said it was necessary to evolve a rules-based, equitable and non-discriminatory international order to pursue a comprehensive disarmament agenda. That agenda should build upon existing achievements and should include measures to address security concerns of States, carry forward strategic and conventional weapons limitations and reductions, and strengthen the international non-proliferation regime, among others. Instead of half measures, disowning obligations to disarm and advocating a treaty banning only the future production of fissile material – which was not even a non-proliferation measure – there should be a reduction of existing fissile material stocks as well, which would be a genuine step towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.
JOSE VEGA (Philippines), associating with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his Constitution had a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory, and his country had actively advocated for other territories to do the same, given the presence of millions of Filipinos in areas where nuclear weapons existed. He strongly supported the twin efforts of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, adding the need to take stock of achievements thus far with respect to NPT obligations under the “Conclusions and recommendations for follow-up action” of the Outcome Document of the 2010 Review Conference. For nuclear-weapon States, it was imperative to see that progress was made in Actions 3, 5 and 21, and he called on those States to set specific timelines for the destruction of their nuclear arsenals and delivery systems in a verifiable and irreversible manner.
He welcomed the “P5 process” and hoped to see measures for the total elimination of nuclear weapons result from their meetings. As a member of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), he urged the P5 to sign the protocol of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free-Zone treaty (Bangkok Treaty) soon, and believed that further consultations would pave the way for the resolution of the outstanding issues expressed by the nuclear-weapon States. He also endorsed the call for a conference on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, in 2012, saying the creation of such a zone was long overdue. The best way to achieve the common goal of a nuclear weapon-free world, however, was through a nuclear weapon convention that declared illegal nuclear weapons, their use and their possession.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) expressed concern that the nuclear arms race had not been reversed and that the NPT had not been more effective at preventing the “spread” of nuclear weapons into new “de facto” nuclear-armed States. The international community’s “crisis of confidence” caused stagnation in nuclear disarmament. There must be a halt to the modernization and upgrading of nuclear weapons, or the acquisition of new ones, in order to advance both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Strengthened monitoring to prevent nuclear terrorism could not be overemphasized, as affirmed at the High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Terrorism convened by the Secretary-General, last month.
She supported the establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) auspices and supervision, which her Government was ready to host, as an effective non-proliferation measure. She noted that the draft resolution and declaration emanating from the Global Forum on Nuclear Disarmament, which had met in Astana from 27 to 29 August, had been circulated to Member States, and she hoped for their support during the session.
Concerned about the lack of progress in the Conference on Disarmament for the past 16 years, she said she regretted that it was no longer at the forefront of the disarmament process. It was imperative to begin work on the adoption of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for military purposes, and on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and the use of force or threat of force against outer space objects. Together with other Central Asian States associated with the region’s nuclear weapon-free-zone, Kazakhstan played a crucial role in preventing the uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear materials, thus combating nuclear terrorism in the region and beyond.
JIM KELLY (Ireland), aligning with the statements of the European Union, the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden), and Switzerland on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, said that at the halfway point between the last NPT Review Conference and the next one in 2015, there were three issues that Ireland believed required attention. The first was confidence-building. If significant progress was not achieved on disarmament, the perception that the NPT was discriminatory would exert increasing pressure upon the Treaty’s non-proliferation imperatives.
He said his country was deeply concerned by the challenge presented to the NPT by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Iran must also answer the many legitimate questions of the international community about the precise nature of its nuclear programme. Ireland also remained concerned that three States – India, Israel and Pakistan – chose to remain outside the global NPT consensus. To convince them that that Treaty offered the blueprint for a nuclear-weapon-free world, the international community must demonstrate its collective resolve to achieve complete disarmament.
The NPT did not create “haves” and “have nots” but rather categories of “will disarm” and “will forego” – the latter group had kept their side of the bargain, and Ireland believed that progress in-kind from the “will disarm” members was overdue. Ireland did not accept that any of the NPT’s three pillars had an inherent claim to priority, maintaining that disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing and, frankly speaking, there had not been enough progress on disarmament. Ireland, additionally, supported the early entry into force of the CTBT, whose ratification by all nuclear-weapon-capable States would be an important confidence-building measure.
The second issue deserving priority during the 2015 NPT review cycle was transparency, he said. The 2010 Action Plan had committed the five nuclear-weapon States to report on the implementation of their undertakings. Ireland would welcome substantive interim progress reports by those States between now and 2014. Finally, concerning the humanitarian dimension of nuclear disarmament, he said that while the cold war period had dissipated, the international community faced the threat to humanity that existed half a century ago. Because of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons, renewed urgency towards their disarmament was crucial. That should also serve to remind the international community about why it needed to thwart any attempts to proliferate those weapons, as well to demand of any State seeking access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes to submit its programme under IAEA safeguards. Concluding, he noted the Irish Parliament’s recent reaffirmation of cross-party support for a world without nuclear weapons.
SOLEDAD URRUELA ARENALES (Guatemala), associating her statement with that made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that her country was committed to general and complete nuclear disarmament. It did not own or intend to acquire or develop nuclear weapons, and as a State party to all international instruments related to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, it was convinced that nuclear disarmament was the only sensible way to a safer world. Only the complete removal of nuclear weapons could truly eliminate their proliferation or the risk of their use or threat of use. Thus, Guatemala would support any initiative that aimed to achieve that goal.
She stressed that compliance with the NPT was a legal obligation for all States parties, which must provide clear evidence of their commitment to its letter and spirit. Her delegation believed in the Treaty’s three pillars, which were intimately related and mutually reinforcing. She once again reiterated her country’s disappointment with the prevailing stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament. Guatemala would continue to discuss flexible measures to help revitalize that body, but any measures along those lines must be part of a global commitment to examine the disarmament machinery as a whole.
Guatemala was part of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), which was celebrating its forty-fifth anniversary, she said, adding that that instrument had established the first such zone, which could serve as an inspiration for other regions. Attempts must be made to ensure that the area was not at risk of a nuclear threat. She reiterated support for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and expressed regret that, after 17 years, that goal remained unfulfilled. She thus urged the convening of the conference on the matter due to take place this year, and encouraged the participation of all States in the region. Finally, she stressed the need for the disarmament and non-proliferation processes to be transparent and verifiable.
YADIRA LEDESMA HERNÁNDEZ ( Cuba) said that nuclear disarmament had been declared a high priority, but there were still more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in existence, 5,000 of which were ready for immediate use. That was a threat to international peace and security. It was unacceptable that certain nuclear-weapon States did not give up their weapons based on so-called “nuclear deterrence”. Cuba believed that the only guarantee to safety was through the elimination and absolute prohibition of those weapons.
At the same time, she said, Cuba supported the right to research and use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. It believed that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was also an important contribution, which was why the country had joined the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Cuba particularly supported creation of such a zone in the Middle East.
The main nuclear Powers had not fulfilled their obligation to negotiate a nuclear weapon treaty, she said, decrying their lack of political will to make real disarmament progress. That was the reason for continued paralysis in the United Nations disarmament machinery. Cuba supported adoption as soon as possible of a broad agenda that took into account disarmament priorities. The international community should negotiate a convention regarding the development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons under a concrete timetable. A verifiable treaty banning the use of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and which also covered the question of existing stockpiles, was also important, but would be insignificant if there was no follow-up on disarmament.
Cuba was committed to convening a high-level meeting to find ways to eliminate nuclear weapons, she said, noting a proposal by the Non-Aligned Movement, which established a timetable for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The Movement would be submitting a new draft resolution on the convening of a high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament for September 2013. Cuba considered such a meeting to be an opportunity to promote the efforts of the international community to achieve the nuclear disarmament goal.
OD OCH ( Mongolia) said his country had the honour to present to the Committee a draft resolution, titled “ Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status”. The text dated back to 1998, when the General Assembly had welcomed Mongolia’s declaration, and, ever since, the Committee had been adopting resolutions on the item, every second year, without a vote. Mongolia shared the revived hope that its endeavours would be sustained in the months and years to come, thus lending momentum to further efforts towards a world without nuclear weapons. Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status was an important contribution to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
He noted that his country, on 17 September, had signed a declaration parallel with the P5 Joint Declaration on Mongolia’s Nuclear-Weapon-Free Status. By their joint declaration, the P5 recognized Mongolia’s unique status and declared that the group would respect that status and not contribute to any act that would violate it. In two new preambular paragraphs and operative paragraph 3, the draft resolution welcomed those two 17 September declarations as a concrete contribution to non-proliferation. Another update in the resolution, in preambular paragraph 11, was the support expressed for Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status by the Non-Aligned Movement’s sixteenth Summit.
CHRISTIAN STROHAL (Austria), associating with the statement by the European Union, said that while his country was fully committed to prevent nuclear proliferation, it had always been convinced that the only way to deal with the danger posed by nuclear weapons was through their total elimination. Stressing that all States had a right to demand, and a responsibility to work towards, nuclear disarmament, he said the NPT was a key instrument in that regard, but it was being challenged on several fronts. It was important to achieve clarity within the Treaty, and specifically, within its current review cycle, on the framework to carry nuclear disarmament forward. Austria supported “The Middle Powers Initiative”, which aimed to assist in that process.
Stressing that the First Committee must try to break the deadlock in multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, he said his country had welcomed a number of initiatives that had been launched in that regard. It had also worked with Mexico and Norway on a proposal for moving forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. The draft resolution, entitled “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations”, aimed to provide a forum for constructive substantive work without prejudice to any outcome. Its aim was not to create a new disarmament institution or undermine existing ones, but rather to bring impetus to disarmament negotiations within the United Nations framework. Noting that a revised version of the resolution had been tabled yesterday, he expressed hope that it would help move the United Nations towards substantive disarmament negotiations.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh), associating his statement with that made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated strong support for the global nuclear disarmament agenda set forth in the NPT’s three clearly defined pillars. Over the years, while significant progress had been achieved regarding nuclear non-proliferation to limit the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons, tens of thousands of nuclear weapons remained, and billions of dollars were being spent to modernize them, despite pressing social needs and growing global expectations for disarmament progress. He called on the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals in fulfilment of their multilateral legal obligations and to immediately cease all plans to further modernize, upgrade, refurbish, or extend the lives of those weapons and related arsenals.
He said that, pending the goal of complete, irreversible, verifiable and transparent nuclear disarmament, non-nuclear-armed States had the legitimate right to receive security assurances from nuclear weapons States. Such assurances had thus far been inadequate. He, therefore, underscored the need for a conclusion of a universal legally binding instrument on unconditional negative security assurances to all non-nuclear-weapon States as a matter of high priority. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones were useful interim steps towards those pledges.
He said that Bangladesh had been the first Annex II South Asian nation to have joined the CTBT, and he urged all States that had not yet done so to ratify that Treaty, especially all nuclear-weapon States. Pending that instrument’s entry into force, he called on all States to maintain testing moratoriums. There was an urgent need to revitalize the Conference on Disarmament and take forward multilateral disarmament negotiations. The continued existence of nuclear weapons and their potential use, either by design or accident, or the threat of their use, posed the greatest threat to humanity. Their total elimination, therefore, was the only absolute guarantee for a peaceful and secure world.
CLAIRE ELIAS (Australia), associating herself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, expressed her country’s commitment to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. She also expressed her country’s pleasure to be presenting, along with its fellow lead sponsors, New Zealand and Mexico, the annual resolution, “Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty”. The text stressed the vital importance and urgency of the Treaty’s entry into force and, pending that, it urged all States not to carry out nuclear-weapon test explosions. It was an issue of concern that, 16 years after it opened for signature, the Treaty had not yet entered into force. Australia called on those States yet to ratify it to do so as soon as possible.
Under no illusion about the difficulty of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, Australia, she said, believed that NPT States parties and those States still outside the NPT had an obligation to keep moving towards that goal. Australia was encouraged by ongoing discussions among the five nuclear-weapon States on their nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation commitments, and welcomed the convening of a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Australia encouraged all NPT States parties to carry a collection notion of responsibility for the Action Plan’s implementation. The country had presented to the first session of the Preparatory Committee a detailed report on its efforts to implement it.
One of Australia’s key interests was a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, she said. The early conclusion of such a treaty was long overdue, as that was a vital step towards irreversible nuclear disarmament. Over the past two years, Australia, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands had made practical steps to further the work of the Conference on Disarmament, such as through expert side events on the issue of fissile material. Australia strongly supported Canada’s efforts through its annual resolution to advance substantive work on that issue. Meanwhile, Australia called on all relevant States to maintain moratoriums on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
Australia, she said, was gravely concerned about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s continuing nuclear weapon and ballistic missile activities, including the launch in April of a long-range missile, in defiance of Security Council resolutions and its other international obligations. Its pursuit of those capabilities posed a significant threat to the stability of the Asia-Pacific region and to global non-proliferation efforts. Australia also shared serious concerns about the mounting evidence of the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme. That country continued to defy binding Security Council resolutions and IAEA requirements. There was no ambiguity about what those two countries each needed to do to resolve those matters and restore the international community’s confidence and that was to comply with their obligations. It was not a time for complacency. There remained much work to be done within the NPT context, and also by those possessor States still outside that regime.
KAYODE LARO ( Nigeria ) associated with the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the De-Alerting Group, as well as the Joint Statement on the humanitarian dimension of nuclear disarmament delivered by Switzerland. On behalf of the African Group, he introduced the draft resolution, entitled “African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty”. He noted with satisfaction the overwhelming support for that draft in past sessions, and called on all delegations to continue in that vein. Nuclear-weapon-free zones were a credible means of promoting nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, and their significance lay, not just in the fact that they banned the production and possession of nuclear weapons within their member States, but that they also banned the stationing of those weapons within the zones.
He said that while nuclear-weapon States continued to cling to their stockpiles, a new phase in the nuclear arms race was dawning in which more States were acquiring the capacity to develop nuclear weapons. Although there had been some reductions in arsenals, those were merely “cosmetic” measures as the remaining stocks still threatened mankind. For that reason Nigeria, welcomed the CTBT and urge countries that had not yet done so to sign it without delay. The proliferation of nuclear weapons also created a particular danger with the threat of global terrorism, and he, therefore, welcomed the IAEA’s role in monitoring and inspecting nuclear facilities. He urged concerned countries to ensure observance of IAEA safeguards at all times.
Nigeria, as a State party to the NPT, would promote a multilateral process, and joined other States in expressing support for the NPT as the cornerstone for deepening the global non-proliferation regime, he said. It was regrettable that almost two decades after a resolution was adopted on the ban of fissile material, no progress had been made. It was urgent and necessary that negotiations commence within the Conference on Disarmament on such a treaty, and he called on all Conference on Disarmament members to show the necessary flexibility and political will to allow such negotiations to proceed without further delay.
IBRAHIM OMAR DABBASHI ( Libya), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, said his country fully agreed with the concerns and aspirations regarding nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Libya believed it was important to convene in 2012 the conference regarding the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. That would be the first conference on which hopes were pinned to promote security and eliminate all weapons of mass destruction in the region.
He said his country was keen to work with the Arab Group to ensure the success of all efforts aimed at freeing the Middle East of all nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and it would not spare any effort to achieve that goal. It looked forward to all concerned States acting in the same spirit to ensure the convening of this conference, as scheduled, in December and the achievement of the goals, according to a specific timeline and plan of action. In that connection, Libya called on all NPT States parties to work towards full implementation of the 1995 NPT Review Conference resolution on the Middle East and to achieving the overarching goals of the 2010 Action Plan. Libya also called on the United Nations to scale up efforts and enhance coordination in a bid to urge the achievement of the objectives envisioned in the NPT.
VICTOR VASILIEV ( Russian Federation) said his delegation favoured a comprehensive approach to limiting nuclear arsenals for the security of all. The Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) assured that the Russian Federation and the United States were strongly adhering to that course. The implementation of the new treaty was meant to strengthen international stability and nuclear non-proliferation regime. It was now necessary to unswervingly implement the obligations under the START, and the principles of understanding. His delegation was open to dialogue on future steps for nuclear disarmament and was also convinced that that could be achieved only by taking due account of all factors of international security.
He said that the lack of progress on ratification of the CTBT, and the threat of nuclear weapons in outer space, as well as the presence of qualitative and quantitative imbalances of conventional weapons were of concern. There were still serious differences between the Russian Federation and the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the issue of retaining anti-ballistic missiles in Europe. The steps taken by that alliance could disrupt the strategic balance of forces, not only on a regional level, but for global security as well. There was a need for stronger assurances that the United States, NATO and Europe would not undermine the Russian Federation’s strategic position. Such assurances could not be in word only, but must be based on objective military and technical criteria, which allowed each country to be sure that the anti-ballistic missiles in each region truly represented what had been declared. That related to the missile defence emanating from States outside Europe as well.
He noted that steps taken by the United States and Russian Federation to reduce nuclear arsenals required that absolutely all countries that had nuclear potential took the same steps. It must be borne in mind that the presence of nuclear programmes in those countries that had refused to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States could significantly impede progress in disarmament. He recalled the initiative advanced by Russia to make universal the steps taken under the United States and Russian agreement, the INF Treaty (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty), from 1,000 to 1,500 kilometres. He welcomed the follow-up process for the 2015 NPT review.
He said he was convinced that countering current risks and threats to the global nuclear non-proliferation regime could and should be on basis of the NPT. Currently, it was necessary to focus efforts on gradual development of the IAEA safeguards system, which should be applied on the basis of clear criteria that were acceptable to all NPT States parties. He supported the idea of creating a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. The rapid formation of such a zone could solve many issues of non-proliferation and contribute to the effective maintenance of peace and security.
JOHANN KELLERMAN (South Africa), associating with the New Agenda Coalition, said his country had warned about the tendency of some States to emphasize certain provisions of the NPT Treaty, but selective approaches might well lead others to do the same, which would undermine the treaty’s credibility. South Africa was concerned about the lack of nuclear disarmament progress. The challenge was to ensure concrete action that would restore confidence in the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which had been subjected to significant tensions during the last decade. A fundamental shift was needed in the security postures of those States that continued to rely on nuclear weapons for their security. South Africa believed that nuclear weapons did not guarantee security, but rather detracted from it. As long as those weapons existed, others would seek to acquire them. He called for a fundamental review of security doctrines, as well as other transparent, irreversible and verifiable steps to rid the world of those weapons.
He appreciated the information supplied by some of the nuclear-weapon States about their arsenals, and encouraged all five nuclear Powers to increase their efforts to enhance transparency and build confidence. Welcoming progress regarding the new START, he regretted that commitments towards the entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty had not yet been realized. South Africa also believed that those States that had foresworn the nuclear-weapons option had the right to demand security assurances. Another matter of concern was the lack of progress towards a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. The debate on that matter seemed to indicate reluctance to commit to an instrument that would truly contribute to nuclear disarmament. South Africa, additionally, supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones and underlined the importance of the convening of a conference in 2012 regarding such a zone in the Middle East.
REZA NAJAFI (Iran), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the persistent lack of progress in the field of nuclear disarmament and the continued existence of thousands of deployed and non-deployed strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons around the world remained a serious threat to international peace and the very survival of human civilization. The non-compliance of nuclear-weapon States to eliminate their nuclear weapons had also undermined the purpose and credibility of the NPT. Iran endorsed the position of the Non-Aligned Movement that any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law, and that the mere possession of those weapons was inconsistent with international humanitarian law.
He said there was no doubt that the decision to modernize nuclear weapons under any pretext ran counter to the obligation of nuclear-weapon States. Iran called upon those countries, particularly the United States, to immediately cease any kind of development, research, and modernization of nuclear weapons; to refrain from any threat of use or use of those weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States; to withdraw their nuclear weapons from territories of other countries; and to stop maintaining their nuclear warheads in trigger-alert status.
It was ironic, he went on, that States like France, which had a cold-war mentality, had made irrational statements that were threatening to non-nuclear-weapon States. Yet, French officials had announced that they would develop new nuclear plans to modernize nuclear arsenals and would spend billions of dollars to do so. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, European Union, and the representative of the Canadian regime, had been “deadly silent” in the Committee on the danger of the Israeli clandestine nuclear weapon programme and were not eligible to judge the “peaceful safeguarded nuclear programme of others”. That hypocrisy showed that being outside the NPT would be rewarded, but being inside was punishable.
It was a source of concern that hundreds of nuclear weapons and their delivery means were still deployed in the territories of the European Union, and that Air Forces of certain non-nuclear-States, European Union members, had been trained to deliver those weapons under the cover of military alliances. By transferring hundreds of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon States under the “NATO umbrella”, the United States had been non-compliant with its NPT obligations.
Nuclear-weapon States, especially the United States, United Kingdom and France, instead of threatening others and “crying wolf” about other countries’ peaceful activities, should fully comply with their NPT obligations by refraining from “nuclear-sharing”, he said. Likewise, those members of the European Union, such as the Netherlands, that were hosting tens of nuclear warheads in violation of the NPT, should end their non-compliance and decide to immediately remove those weapons from their territories. The European Union should begin addressing compliance issues regarding its members first. France had tried to create a smokescreen about its non-compliance, resorting to wrong information. Contrary to French claims, Iran’s 20 per cent-enrichment activity was aimed at providing needed fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor to enable it to continue producing medical isotopes for patients with diseases like cancer.
Certain nuclear-weapon States, by transferring nuclear technologies and materials to the non-NPT parties, had contributed to the emergence of new nuclear weapons possessors, in particular, in the Middle East, where the nuclear arsenals of the Zionist regime was the most serious threat to the region, he said. There was no source of insecurity in the Middle East other than the Israeli regime, which, “sitting on hundreds of nuclear warheads, audaciously tries to identify red lines, in the form of [a] childish cartoon, for peaceful nuclear activities of others”. That regime, supported by its “patron”, the United States, had committed crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity. Therefore, any transfer of nuclear-related resources and the extension of assistance in the nuclear field to the Zionist regime must be stopped. Iran supported the Non-Aligned Movement position on the need for negotiations for a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified timeline, including for negotiations in the Conference on a legally binding ban on nuclear weapons.
SUJATA MEHTA ( India) said that her country, as a nuclear-weapon State, was cognizant of its responsibility and reassured that its support for global, non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament had not diminished. She believed that nuclear disarmament could be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework. There was a need for meaningful dialogue among all State possessors to build trust and confidence and reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines.
She said that measures to reduce nuclear danger arising from the accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons, increasing restraints on the use of nuclear weapons, and de-alerting those weapons were pertinent. Without prejudice to the priority India attached to nuclear disarmament, it supported negotiation in the Conference on Disarmament of a non-discriminatory and internationally verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, in line with the country’s national security interests. India also remained committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing, as well as to working with the international community to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their delivery means, including through strong national export controls and membership in multilateral export control regimes.
Nuclear energy remained an essential source of clean and sustainable energy especially for developing countries, she said, adding, however, that its expansion must be accompanied by enhanced international standards for nuclear safety, nuclear security and reduced proliferation risk. She introduced, on behalf of the sponsors, a draft resolution, titled “Reducing Nuclear Danger”, which highlighted the need for a review of nuclear doctrines and immediate steps to reduce the risk of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons. She also presented a draft resolution, titled “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons”, which, she said, reflected India’s belief that a multilateral, universal and legally binding instrument prohibiting the use or threat of use of those weapons would contribute to their de-legitimization. She hoped it would also create a favourable climate for negotiations on an agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons.
ISABEL HABWEZA ( Zambia) said despite positive developments towards non-proliferation, her country was concerned about the ongoing stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament and the absence of an internationally binding instrument guaranteeing unconditional negative security assurances to non-nuclear armed States. Countries that had not done so should ratify the CTBT, particularly Annex II States, whose signatures were necessary for early entry into force. The treaty’s entry into force would strengthen the NPT and curtail development and manufacture of new nuclear weapons.
Also commendable, she said, were the five regional nuclear-weapon-free zones and the proposed conference on establishing such a zone in the Middle East. Noting that her country was party to the Pelindaba Treaty, she welcomed the African Union’s efforts to establish the African Commission on Nuclear Energy, which, among other things, would monitor compliance with obligations under that Treaty. She also expressed support for the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa, which complemented the Commission. African countries that had not yet become State party to that Forum should do so.
Pointing out recent nuclear disasters, such as the one at Fukushima Daiichi, and the potential for terrorists to acquire nuclear and radioactive substances and technology, she called on the IAEA to strengthen regulatory mechanisms and develop standards for enhanced nuclear safety and security. She supported the third International Atomic Energy Agency Nuclear Safety Action Plan, which promoted long-term sustained improvements over ad-hoc interventions. Also important was the IAEA enhanced technical cooperation with Member States, particularly developing countries. Its assistance with installing Radiation Portal Monitors in Zambia was welcome, as was its offer to assist the country in the area of nuclear security when it hosted the United Nations World Tourism Organization General Assembly in 2013. She called on delegates to take seriously the nuclear disarmament and proliferation challenges, in order to make meaningful progress during the session.
ALEKSANDR PONOMAREV (Belarus), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country was the first State to have voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons on its territory after dissolution of the Soviet Union, and called on other countries to take steps towards nuclear disarmament. Those included destruction of nuclear warheads and their delivery means, as well as prevention of improvement of nuclear weapons. Belarus was concerned about the reverse trend in nuclear disarmament. The multilateral disarmament system should be “rebooted”. In that vein, Belarus believed it would be possible to carry out negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and negative security assurances only at the Conference on Disarmament. He also urged rapid entry into force of the CTBT.
He reaffirmed the need to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation, especially in light of the terrorist threat. Proliferation of weapons and the materials and technology used to create them was one of most serious challenges to the international security and required global efforts to combat it. Belarus highly valued the contribution of the IAEA in strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and attached importance to its safeguards system. Security assurances were also key to building confidence between States. The lack of progress in that area hindered the nuclear non-proliferation process and blurred the NPT principles. Belarus supported the use of a specialized committee or working group to further international agreement on such assurances.
The right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and to have equal access to it, should be ensured, he said, especially as more States were becoming interested in national nuclear energy programmes. At the same time, each Member State should act with maximum transparency according to the spirit of the NPT. Another important element in strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime was establishing zones free of nuclear weapons. Belarus regretted that the idea to create such a zone in Eastern and Central Europe had not been promoted, and he called on States to follow the example of those regions that had created such zones and expressed hope that the Middle East would take steps in that direction.
* *** *For information media • not an official record