Nuclear Suppliers Group
The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)1
held its fourteenth Plenary Meeting in Göteborg, Sweden from 27 to 28 May. Estonia, Lithuania, Malta and the People's Republic of China were approved by the Plenary as Participating Governments of the Group.
The Plenary took stock of developments in the nuclear field since its previous meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, in May 2003, and decided to adopt a number of measures to further strengthen the national export controls of Participating Governments. These measures included a "catch-all" mechanism in the NSG Guidelines that would provide a national legal basis to control the export of nuclear-related items that were not on the control list when such items were or might be intended for use in connection with a nuclear-weapons programme. The Plenary also decided to strengthen the annual information exchange; to reinforce the NSG's contacts with non-partners through seminar and other joint activities with States outside of the NSG; and to strengthen the relationship between the NSG and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including the provision of briefings to the IAEA.
The Plenary further considered conditions for the supply of nuclear and dual-use items on the NSG's control lists as well as the suspension of the supply of nuclear items following decisions taken by the IAEA Board of Governors as to a State's non-compliance with the NPT or Safeguards obligations with the IAEA.
Participating Governments also recalled that the NSG Guidelines contained special provisions for control of sensitive nuclear items which could directly contribute to the production of fissile material for weapons purposes. They also recalled the principles of non-proliferation and consultation that could be used to address concerns over the misuse of sensitive nuclear items by recipient states. In that connection, the Group confirmed its readiness to continue its work to further enhance measures to prevent transfer of sensitive materials or technology to recipients which might use them for manufacturing nuclear explosives. The Group recognized that such work must be considered in the context of the NPT as well as international initiatives such as that of the IAEA Director General to convene an ad hoc expert group to review options and possibilities for new fuel cycle activities.
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) held its 19th Plenary Meeting in Seoul from 6 to 8 October in order to review its activities and further strengthen efforts to prevent missile proliferation. Discussion included issues of preventing intangible transfers of missile-related technologies, such as electronic transmissions of missile designs; transit, trans-shipment and brokering controls; and the need to curtail illicit proliferation-related activities by intermediaries and front companies. In a statement released by the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry of the Republic of Korea, MTCR members expressed "serious concern" over missile proliferation in Northeast Asia, the Middle East and South Asia. The Statement welcomed the adoption of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) and recognized the necessity of enhancing export controls, strictly implementing them and keeping them updated to technological advancements. Further, it called upon members outside the regime to follow the MTCR guidelines and its annex. Spain offered to host the next Plenary Meeting of the MTCR in the autumn of 2005 and serve as its chair for the subsequent year.
The NSG aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons through export controls of nuclear and nuclear related equipment, software and technology, without hindering international cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. As at 31 December 2004, its members were Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States. The participation of China, Estonia, Lithuania and Malta came into effect on 10 June 2004 by an exchange of notes.