In 2004, the threat of WMD proliferation, including nuclear proliferation, was addressed with increased attention and urgency, particularly in relation to the possibility of WMD and related materials falling into the hands of terrorists. Concerns were expressed by non-nuclear-weapon States over the slow progress in nuclear disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. The long-standing divergent views among States regarding the balance between disarmament and non-proliferation characterized the debate at various disarmament fora.
At the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference, States parties reaffirmed that the NPT remained the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Despite their renewed commitment to promoting and implementing the Treaty, the persistence of divergent views prevented the Committee from reaching agreement on any substantive recommendations to the 2005 Review Conference. Those developments cast a shadow on prospects for reaching an agreement on substantive issues at the 2005 Review Conference.
The second Joint Ministerial Statement in support of the CTBT appealed to all States to maximize their efforts towards the early entry into force of the Treaty. In the meantime progress continued on establishing the verification system for the Treaty, but little progress was registered in securing the ratifications by the 11 States whose ratifications were still needed for its entry into force.
Despite efforts aimed at breaking the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament and reaching an agreement on a substantive programme of work, the Conference remained stalled and unable to fulfil its mandate as the sole multilateral negotiating body on disarmament.
Progress continued on the revision and application of IAEA safety standards. In addition, the pace and scope of the Agency's nuclear security-related activities, aimed at helping States prevent, detect, and respond to terrorist or other malicious acts, continued to accelerate and expand. The Security Council reaffirmed its intention to revisit the Agency's mandate in Iraq through resolution 1546 (2004).
The issue of WMD proliferation, in particular in the nuclear area, continued to figure prominently on the agenda of international peace and security, with special concern about the nuclear programmes of Iran and the DPRK, as well as the clandestine nuclear technology and information network of Abdul Qadeer Khan. Various initiatives by the international community sought to address these proliferation concerns.
The unanimous adoption of Security Council resolution 1540 reflected the international community's grave concern at the threat of terrorism and the risk posed by the use of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors. The resolution requires far reaching measures to strengthen domestic controls, legislation, and enforcement and focuses attention on preventing non-State actors that attempt, in particular for terrorist purposes, to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and their delivery systems.
The General Assembly resolution on Missiles (59/67) and the introduction of a new resolution on the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (59/91) manifested the continued concern of the international community over the threat posed by the proliferation of missiles.