IN CONTINUING DEBATE AT YEAR 2000 NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE; SPEAKERS SEE RENEWED THREATS TO STRATEGIC STABILITY

25 April 2000
DC/2696

IN CONTINUING DEBATE AT YEAR 2000 NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE; SPEAKERS SEE RENEWED THREATS TO STRATEGIC STABILITY

25 April 2000


Press Release
DC/2696


IN CONTINUING DEBATE AT YEAR 2000 NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE; SPEAKERS SEE RENEWED THREATS TO STRATEGIC STABILITY

20000425

Principle of Irreversibility in Nuclear Arms Control Measures Can No Longer Be Taken for Granted, Warns Brazil

As the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons continued its general debate this morning, Igor S. Ivanov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said there was a dangerous tendency to undermine the existing system of strategic stability, and that was a direct invitation to a new arms race on the planet.

He underscored that attempts were being made to build national stability at the expense of the interests of other States -- not to mention misappropriation of the right to use force in violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.

He said that there was a possibility of missing the historic chance to achieve real nuclear disarmament if the cornerstone of strategic stability in the world –- the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty -– were to be destroyed. Such a possibility had become quite real, given United States declarations of the wish to deploy a national missile defence system, which was prohibited by the ABM Treaty. Compliance with the Treaty in its present form, without any modifications, was a prerequisite for further negotiations on nuclear disarmament in accordance with article VI of the NPT. It affected the national security interests of every State and of the international community as a whole.

France’s representative said the ABM Treaty was an essential element in the maintenance of strategic stability. His country was anxious to avoid any challenges to the Treaty that might bring about a breakdown of strategic equilibrium and restart the arms race.

Nothing would be more dangerous than attempting to redraft every five years the fundamental principles and objectives contained in the decisions of 1995, he said. The priority was therefore unchanged -– to secure the early entry into force of the CTBT, and prohibit the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons through the immediate launch of concrete fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations.

The representative of Brazil said that the international community had recently been reminded that the principle of irreversibility in nuclear arms

Conference of Parties to NPT - 1a - Press Release DC/2696 3rd Meeting (AM) 25 April 2000

control measures could not be taken for granted. The Conference faced daunting challenges, and its deliberations would be followed with great attention around the world.

Lloyd Axworthy, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, stressed the importance of restricting access to the means of delivering nuclear and other weapons -- namely, missiles. There were serious concerns as to whether strengthening missile defences would reinforce or damage the NPT regime. Another option was to curtail missile proliferation in the first place, and to make that a key part of a strengthened global non-proliferation regime. For example, the Missile Technology Control Regime could be made more effective by adopting stricter export controls and widening participation. The Regime could also contribute to developing workable confidence-building measures, establishing universal norms and backing that up with an effective verification mechanism.

Also speaking this afternoon were Ministers from Belgium, Australia, Lithuania and Sweden, as well as Deputy Ministers from Ukraine and Kazakhstan and the representative of Costa Rica.

The Conference will reconvene at 3 p.m. to continue its general debate.

Conference of Parties to NPT - 3 - Press Release DC/2696 3rd Meeting (AM) 25 April 2000

Conference Work Programme

As the 2000 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference met this morning, it was expected to continue its general debate. The purpose of the four-week Conference is to provide appraisal of the progress achieved in the field of nuclear non-proliferation since the 1995 Review Conference, and to identify the areas where future efforts should be made. (For background information, see Press Release DC/2691 of 20 April.)

Statements

JEAN DE RUYT, Director-General for Political Affairs, Special Envoy for the Government of Belgium, described the latest developments in the field of nuclear disarmament and said that unfortunately, the hopes which had allowed the States parties to extend the NPT indefinitely seemed to be seriously threatened in light of recent negative indications. One of the worrisome signals was the unexpected slowness in the ratification process of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). It was essential to make rapid progress in that area to avoid compromising not only the universality but also the very credibility of the Treaty.

The inability of the international community to launch negotiations on the fissile material cut-off treaty was another cause for concern, he continued. “We can understand the reasons why certain countries would like to link this negotiation to other matters, but if we constantly want to link everything, if we want to multilateralize everything, we are denying ourselves the concrete results, which could have an important impact on the progressive reduction of the nuclear risk”, he said. The declared intention of the United States to deploy a national anti-missile defence system was one of the threats hovering over the Anti- Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Whatever the merits of such a system, it was essential that the programme did not compromise strategic balances and the desired progress towards the reduction of strategic nuclear arsenals.

Among the constructive achievements of the last five years, he recalled the trilateral initiative of the United States, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to put designated fissile materials under the control of the IAEA, the initiatives of the United Kingdom and France regarding reductions and increased transparency for the production of fissile materials for military purposes, and the ratification by Russia of the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II). Belgium encouraged the nuclear-weapon States to continue on that path, and hoped that the United States and Russia would negotiate START III shortly. It was important that four States remaining outside the Treaty should be present during the meetings of the non- proliferation regime, as proposed by Canada last year.

Belgium believed in a gradual evolution of nuclear disarmament, and pleaded for the creation of an information exchange mechanism to allow nuclear States to keep the international community informed about efforts and progress in that field. In 1998, his country had presented a proposal to the Disarmament Conference in that regard. Belgium had confidence in the existing structures, and recognized the usefulness of the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. One of the priorities nowadays was the resumption of its activities.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, said today his country was celebrating ANZAC Day, in memory of the tens of thousands of his countrymen who lost their lives fighting for freedom and a better world. The key elements of an ANZAC Day six-point plan to promote progress in nuclear arms control and disarmament were: the immediate entry into force of START II and the early commencement and completion of the negotiations on START III; the early entry into force of the CTBT; the immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty; universal adherence to the IAEA Additional Protocol, and early establishment of an integrated safeguards regime; implementation of effective export controls; and universal adherence to the NPT.

He said the primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament lay with the two largest weapon States. Australia, like many other countries, therefore looked to the United States and the Russian Federation to deliver the deep cuts in their nuclear arsenals promised by the START process. It was also disappointing that the CTBT, which was brought to the General Assembly by Australia in 1996, was not yet in force. None of the five nuclear-weapon States had yet signed the instrument. They had an obligation under international law not to thwart the Treaty’s purpose. It was frustrating that the Conference on Disarmament was yet to commence negotiation on a fissile material cut-off treaty -- the logical next step in the nuclear arms control and disarmament agenda. The current meeting should reaffirm the need for the immediate commencement of such negotiations.

There had been many challenges to the NPT, and doubtless many more lay ahead. It was an encouraging feature of the post-cold war era that whenever new challenges emerged, the international community strongly supported the existing non-proliferation regime and the identification of possible new measures. The NPT was still the world’s best defence against the spread of nuclear weapons. It delivered major security benefits to all States, even to those four who were yet to join it. The danger of nuclear proliferation was still a reality, and the Treaty was no less relevant than it was 30 years ago.

CELSO LUIZ N. AMORIM (Brazil) said that today was the first time his country had participated in the Review Conference. Brazil’s accession to the NPT had come after careful consideration of the Treaty’s role. Like many other States, Brazil had been critical of the asymmetrical obligations deriving from the NPT; but it had been encouraged by the package of decisions adopted by the 1995 Review Conference, which had set yardsticks to measure progress.

The Constitution of Brazil stipulated that nuclear energy would be used only for peaceful purposes, he continued. The country had also taken steps to bring the Treaty of Tlatelolco fully into force in the country itself and in the region. Brazil’s accession to the NPT had been based on the understanding that, in accordance with article VI of the Treaty, effective measures would be taken to stop the nuclear arms race and to totally eliminate nuclear weapons. However, the present international environment did not give rise to the same degree of optimism that had prevailed in the early and mid-1990s.

Recently, the international community had been reminded that the principle of irreversibility in nuclear arms control measures could not be taken for granted, he said. The possibility of redeploying nuclear weapons had not been fully discarded. Equally regrettable was the lowering of the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Continued reliance on nuclear deterrence, and the assumption that nuclear weapons were here to stay for the indefinite future, were unacceptable.

The Conference faced daunting challenges, he continued, and its deliberations would be followed with great attention by authorities and decision makers around the world. Its outcome would have a strong bearing on the future of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The Conference must build upon numerous contributions that had been advanced over the years, particularly on interim measures and on the next steps to be taken. Such contributions had been presented by several governments, groups of experts, including the Canberra Commission and the Tokyo Forum, the non-governmental organization community and eminent figures.

The New Agenda, of which his country was a founding member, had been a catalyst for the promotion of those ideas, he said. It proposed a programme of action that did not exempt any country from its responsibilities towards others. The listed measures would be incumbent on the five nuclear-weapon States, the three States not yet parties to the NPT, and the international community as a whole. The ideas of the Agenda were not in themselves novel, and some of them had been on the table for decades. The new elements of the New Agenda included the composition of the coalition and its timing. The comprehensive, balanced and achievable nature of the programme was also important.

ALGIRDAS SAUDARGAS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, said the work of the Preparatory Committee for the Review Conference appeared to have been rich in debates but not as productive as many had hoped. It was essential to keep in mind, however, that at the outset, the international community had embarked upon the Strengthened Review Process unaware of its real potential. A new instrument needed time to develop. “It is up to us to shore up the review process at the end of its first cycle, if need be, by modifying and fine-tuning it”, he said. Obviously there were unmet expectations, but the fundamental purpose of the NPT was still credible, despite the problems of implementation and enforcement that would be addressed during the current Conference.

He called upon States whose ratification was needed for the CTBT to enter into force to ratify the instrument without delay. He further called on India, Pakistan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to sign and ratify that same Treaty without delay. Lithuania also believed that the resolute support by almost all States for the early commencement of negotiations on the fissile material cut-off treaty should not be allowed to diminish. He noted that it was of extreme concern that instead of working towards disarmament “we have to increasingly divert our efforts towards stemming proliferation”.

It was therefore incumbent upon this Review Conference, he continued, to evaluate the dangerous course of events in South Asia and come up with thoughts on how to prevent further deterioration. Despite some difficulties, the NPT, by all accounts, worked. It had achieved many successes and weathered all challenges. The challenge ahead now was to reaffirm the validity of the decisions and the resolution adopted in 1995. Perhaps consensus on all issues was not possible, but he was certain that it was possible to craft a compromise that would maintain and reinforce the Treaty.

LLOYD AXWORTHY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, said the Conference was an opportunity not only to review the NPT, but also to rewire its machinery in response to the new realities. At stake was nothing less than the future course of nuclear weapon attitudes and arsenals -– indeed, the very well-being of humanity. The concerns included the tendency of some to justify retaining nuclear arsenals as a defence, and the ambition of others to acquire nuclear capacity. Other issues had to do with the security, storage and disposal of fissile materials for dismantled warheads and the possibility of illicit transfers of nuclear material and technology. The inexcusable impasse at the Conference on Disarmament had precluded any multilateral movement on nuclear disarmament and security arrangements.

Canada was committed to promoting and protecting the Treaty’s universality, he continued. It was necessary to continue international efforts to engage the four remaining NPT holdouts and to seek their full adherence to the Treaty. It was also necessary to ensure that all States parties kept their commitment to the Treaty obligations. Canada would also work to secure agreement on an updated Five-Year Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Action Plan containing concrete objectives and goals.

He said that the Plan was designed to complete work on the CTBT; end deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament and begin negotiations on a ban on fissile material production; continue START reductions; stress the need for Russia and the United States to maintain the integrity of the ABM Treaty; call on nuclear-weapon States to enter into disarmament negotiations; extend the application of existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and encourage new ones; and promote universal application of IAEA safeguards and further improve verification and inspection capacity. Canada was pressing for progress in all those areas.

Another issue, which needed closer attention, was restricting access to the means of delivering nuclear and other weapons -- namely, missiles. One possibility advocated by some was to strengthen missile defences. However, there were serious concerns as to whether strengthened defences would work, and whether they would reinforce or damage the NPT regime. Another option was to curtail missile proliferation in the first place, and to make that a key part of a strengthened global non-proliferation regime. For example, the Missile Technology Control Regime could be made more effective by adopting stricter export controls and widening participation. The Regime could also contribute to developing workable confidence-building measures, establishing universal norms and backing that up with an effective verification mechanism.

As a stronger non-proliferation regime depended on effective global arrangements and on the willingness of countries to assess the validity of their policies, Canada had been active in the efforts to review the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament options. NATO’s nuclear forces had been reduced by over 80 per cent, but more needed to be done. Canada also intended to work towards more robust NPT review and assessment policies. It believed that the NPT review process could be enhanced with a requirement to more frequently track, discuss and document movement towards translating commitments into action. Real transparency was also needed.

IGOR S.IVANOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that Russia was committed to its obligations in the field of nuclear disarmament. It considered the NPT as the basic mechanism for preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons while ensuring further international cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy. In the concept of national security of the Russian Federation, which was recently adopted by President Putin, strengthening of the non-proliferation regimes was considered a major priority. Preservation and strengthening of the Treaty would serve the interests of the entire world.

Today that task had to be addressed in a difficult situation, in view of the emergence of new serious threats to international security and stability, he continued. There was a dangerous tendency to undermine the existing system of strategic stability, and attempts were being made to build national stability at the expense of the interests of other States -- not to mention misappropriation of the right to use force, in violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. That was, in fact, a direct invitation to a new arms race on the planet.

All five nuclear Powers should work to achieve progress towards nuclear disarmament without any artificial delays or undue hurry, he said. A few days ago, Russia had ratified the most important block of agreements in that field, and first and foremost, the START II Treaty and the 1997 package of ABM agreements. The Duma had also ratified the CTBT, which was designed to reliably block the way to qualitative improvement of nuclear arsenals. Those decisions were sending a clear signal about the role of the nuclear factor in Russia’s military doctrine. Russia also continued to implement other previously signed agreements on the reduction of strategic nuclear arsenals and its unilateral initiatives related to tactical nuclear weapons.

His country was prepared to go further, towards deeper cuts in nuclear arsenals, he continued. However, at present there was a possibility of missing the historic chance to achieve real nuclear disarmament if the cornerstone of strategic stability in the world –- the ABM Treaty –- were to be destroyed. Such a possibility had become quite real, given plans declared by the United States to deploy a national ABM system prohibited by that Treaty. The collapse of the ABM Treaty would undermine the entirety of disarmament agreements concluded over the last 30 years. Compliance with the ABM Treaty in its present form, without any modifications, was a prerequisite for further negotiations on nuclear disarmament in accordance with article VI of the NPT. It affected the national security interests of every State and of the international community as a whole.

Russia was prepared to engage in the broadest consultations with the United States and on a multilateral level to deal with missile threats and proliferation without breaking the ABM Treaty. The Russian initiative to establish a global missile and missile technologies non-proliferation control system served that very purpose. It was launched last month at the Moscow International Expert Meeting.

He said that it was necessary to further reduce nuclear weapons and take common action against the threat of missile proliferation. Also, the task of ensuring universality of the Treaty remained very urgent, as was the goal of establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones. He hoped that common sense would prevail as far as the Conference on Disarmament was concerned, and that the Conference would resume its constructive work. Russia supported the IAEA safeguards as an effective instrument of control.

OLEXANDR CHALYI, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said his country had made a significant reduction in strategic armaments deployed in its territory -- 77 per cent of the total number of its strategic offensive arms were already eliminated under the START I Treaty. At present, Ukraine had embarked upon the third and final phase of reducing its strategic arms, which would be completed by December 2001. It was now imperative to ensure the implementation of START II and to resume talks on START III.

He said progress in ensuring the universality of the NPT up until now could be seen more in terms of quality than quantity. The fundamental principle of non- proliferation had been undermined by developments in South Asia, and challenged by States not yet parties to the Treaty who possessed unsafeguarded nuclear facilities. It was imperative that those States accede to the NPT without delay and put their nuclear objects under IAEA safeguards. It was also discouraging to note that negotiations on the fissile material cut-off treaty had not moved forward. Immediate commencement of those negotiations was the next necessary step.

The current Conference was being convened at a critical moment in the history of non-proliferation, he said, when mostly negative external and internal tendencies dominated the viability of the NPT. The lack of speedy progress on genuine nuclear disarmament, serious threats to the existing non-proliferation regime, the continuous reliance on the benefits of nuclear weapons and the stalemates in the multilateral disarmament forums were all aspects that created an atmosphere of frustration and despair. The international community needed, however, to build on progress achieved, rather than criticize regressive developments.

He said the Ukraine was particularly concerned over the failure of the Ad Hoc Committee established at the 1998 Conference on Disarmament to hold collective consultations on security assurances. If progress was desired, then that Committee would have to be re-established to enable it to bring its work to a successful conclusion.

HUBERT LA FORTELLE (France) said success in preserving and consolidating the NPT as an irreplaceable instrument entailed a comprehensive and balanced approach in three key areas: non-proliferation, the applications of atomic energy for peaceful purposes and disarmament. France had committed itself unequivocally in favour of nuclear disarmament. With the complete phasing-out of land-based nuclear–weapon components, his country’s assets were now limited to two components. Moreover, it had carried out a reduction in the format of the airborne and sea-based components. In parallel, the total number of delivery vehicles had been cut by more than half. With the ratification of the CTBT, France had also taken radical, irreversible and unparalleled measures.

He said that with the dismantling of the French surface-to-surface missiles on the Plateau d’Albion, no component of his country’s nuclear deterrent force remained targeted. The alert status of France’s nuclear forces had also been reduced twice. Moreover, by giving the security assurances called for by the Security Council, and by ratifying the relevant protocols to the treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones, which were legally binding instruments for more than 100 States, France had met the legitimate security concerns of those countries. His country was also convinced of the merits of enhanced transparency as a true voluntary confidence-building measure designed to support disarmament efforts. France’s actions -- such as the opening of the test site in the Pacific to international visit, bore witness to that determination to achieve transparency.

He said that today the international community was called on to acknowledge the importance of what had been achieved, in order to enhance understanding of prospects for the future. “What should be our preoccupation during the next five years?” he asked. Nothing would be more dangerous than attempting every five years to redraft the fundamental principles and objectives contained in the 1995 decision. The priority was therefore unchanged –- to secure the early entry into force of the CTBT, and the prohibition of the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons, thanks to the immediate launch of concrete fissile material cut- off treaty negotiations. France also attached the utmost importance to maintaining strategic stability, of which the ABM Treaty was an essential element. His country was anxious to avoid any challenges to the Treaty that might bring about breakdown of strategic equilibrium and restart the arms race.

The safeguards system implemented for the past 25 years by the IAEA was of paramount importance to the full and effective implementation of the NPT, he said. Notwithstanding difficulties presented by countries such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iraq, the international community had succeeded in adapting and strengthening the safeguards system over the years with a view to preserving its credibility and reliability. It was now essential to achieve the universality of that strengthened system and to help the Agency to take up its challenges. He stressed the importance of providing the IAEA with the resources it needed to implement its programmes.

KAIRAT KH. ABUSSEITOV, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, said that the problems revealed during the review process could lead to inconsistencies between the interpretation of Treaty obligations and the interests of its parties, especially between nuclear-weapon States and others. It was the goal of the international community to make the Treaty an effective tool for solving problems of nuclear disarmament and for strengthening the non-proliferation regime.

The recent ratification by the Russian Federation of the START II process had paved the way to negotiations on further reductions of strategic arms, he said. At the same time, it had become clear that despite the multilateral treaties in force, the international arms control regime was very vulnerable, since even a slight change in global balance and stability could endanger the effectiveness of the international arms control regime as a whole.

In that regard, he was concerned over the situation with the ABM Treaty, the preservation of which was an indispensable condition for the process of disarmament. Recognizing the need for overall strengthening of the non- proliferation regime, Kazakhstan supported the entry into force of the CTBT at an early date. By closing the Semipalatinsk test site, his country had made a significant contribution to the nuclear-test ban. It was also necessary to combat the illegal turnover of nuclear materials and missile technologies.

Since 1997, Kazakhstan had been following the Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines in its nuclear export practice, he said. Kazakhstan was also interested in joining the Missile Technology Control Regime. At present, the country was putting in place a system of export control and was upgrading a legal basis to conform to Suppliers Group and Control Regime requirements. As a full member of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Kazakhstan was also in favour of the commencement of negotiations on the Conference’s agenda, in particular the talks on ending the production of fissile materials for military purposes. His country was also taking an active part in the elaboration of the treaty on establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia.

The problem of security assurances to non-nuclear States continued to be at the centre of discussions, he said. A solution to the problem could be found in the adoption of a security assurances protocol as an integral part of the NPT. Achieving openness and unrestricted exchange of nuclear materials and technologies, as well as scientific information, should facilitate the development of programmes on peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

ANNA LINDH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, subscribed to the position of the European Union and said that 30 years after the entry into force of the NPT, the international community faced a near-standstill in nuclear disarmament negotiations. Out of concern for that situation, Sweden, together with several other non-nuclear-weapon States, had launched an initiative in 1998 calling for progress towards the Treaty-bound objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world. Today there was still an urgent need to turn commitment to the 1996 Principles and Objectives into practical steps.

The four areas of concern included reducing nuclear-weapon arsenals; bringing into force the CTBT; halting the development of new weapons and systems; and nuclear weapons in regional conflicts. While welcoming Russia’s ratification of the START II Treaty, Sweden remained deeply concerned that it had still not entered into force seven years after being signed. The Russian Federation and the United States must now assume their special responsibility, bringing START II and its protocol into force, and immediately beginning negotiations on a START III Treaty.

No States had the right to hold the common security environment hostage to domestic policies, she continued. Nor was it acceptable that differences between the nuclear-weapon States on unrelated issues should interfere with the responsibility for advancing the nuclear arms control agenda. Sweden remained committed to negotiating a treaty on fissile material based on the Shannon report, which would effectively prevent further development of nuclear weapons. “We cannot accept attempts by China or any other State to block progress on that crucial treaty”, she said.

She added that her Government was also deeply concerned about the United States’ plans for a national missile defence system. There was a chance that such actions would jeopardize the international balance and have negative consequences for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The United States should refrain from any deployment that could create uncertainties. India and Pakistan must reverse their nuclear ambitions, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1172. She also urged Iraq to cooperate with United Nations monitoring, and said that Sweden hoped for a solution to the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Her Government remained committed to cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, and welcomed the IAEA’s efforts to align its activities in that field more closely with those of the developing countries. Any activities related to nuclear applications must be based on internationally agreed safety standards, and all countries must accede to all relevant conventions and fully implement their commitments. The Conference offered an opportunity to add more

substance to the strengthened review process and to renew international commitment to the full implementation of the NPT.

BERND NIEHAUS (Costa Rica) said the danger of nuclear weapons lay in the inevitable escalation of military conflict. Once the nuclear fuse was lit, there was no way of avoiding global confrontation. The nuclear-weapon States must truly commit themselves to genuine disarmament, deactivate their nuclear offence systems and dismantle their arsenals. Restrictions had to be put in place to halt the transfer of nuclear technology to States that were not party to NPT. He called on both India and Pakistan to adhere to the Treaty and to halt their nuclear arms testing.

Appealing to all States that had not ratified or signed the CTBT to do so shortly, he said that the Treaty’s entry into force was an indispensable and urgent step to ensure the security of all humanity. Its prompt ratification was essential to prevent a new arms race, he stressed. He also expressed disquiet at the obstacles put in the way of the work of the IAEA by Iraq and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The current Review Conference was tasked with coming up with concrete measures to reduce the risk of nuclear war. It must establish a realistic nuclear disarmament agenda for the next five years.

Such an agenda, he continued, should promote the strengthening of the IAEA and its verification activities. The international community must also resume and fulfil its obligations –- it must continue negotiations aimed at achieving complete disarmament. The five nuclear-weapon States had prime responsibility in that area. Costa Rica trusted that this Conference would strengthen and reaffirm the world’s nuclear-weapon-free zones. The will of States that sought such nuclear-weapon-free zones must also be heeded. He stressed that the financial resources devoted to weapons should be devoted instead to ensuring socio-economic development.

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For information media. Not an official record.