NUCLEAR-WEAPON STATES ENDORSE GOAL OF "TOTAL ELIMINATION" OF NUCLEAR ARSENALS AS NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE CONCLUDES

22 May 2000
DC/2710

NUCLEAR-WEAPON STATES ENDORSE GOAL OF "TOTAL ELIMINATION" OF NUCLEAR ARSENALS AS NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE CONCLUDES

22 May 2000


Press Release
DC/2710


NUCLEAR-WEAPON STATES ENDORSE GOAL OF ‘TOTAL ELIMINATION’ OF NUCLEAR ARSENALS AS NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE CONCLUDES

20000522

Remaining Disagreements Notwithstanding, States Parties Hammer Out Compromise in Protracted, Last-Minute Negotiating Session

After marathon last-minute negotiations, agreement was finally reached on the immediate disarmament priorities for the international community, as the 2000 Review Conference of Parties to Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluded its four-week session early Saturday evening.

Capping a 15-year effort to produce a consensus outcome, the 155 NPT States parties present, out of a total of 187, agreed that there should be “an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals”. The Conference also agreed that there should be increased transparency about nuclear-weapon capabilities, as well as a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies.

In terms of non-proliferation -- one of the three objectives of the Treaty, along with nuclear disarmament and nuclear cooperation -- the final document of the Conference urged Cuba, India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States, “promptly and without condition”. The Conference “deplored” the nuclear test explosions by India and Pakistan in 1998, saying that such actions “did not in any way confer a nuclear-weapon State status or any special status whatsoever”. The Conference regretted that despite their pledges, India and Pakistan had not yet signed and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test- Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The Conference, which meets every five years to assess compliance with and effectiveness of the NPT, also strengthened controls over sales of dual-use nuclear items and reaffirmed members’ rights to peaceful nuclear technology. In all, the final document adopted by the Conference (to be issued) consists of nine articles that refer to the various provisions in the Treaty and for which the Conference made specific recommendations and determinations.

Disagreement between Iraq and the United States -- over references to Iraq in a part of the text on the Middle East in the regional issues section -- threatened to block approval of the entire final document. Delegates reluctant to depart from the tradition of adoption by consensus took the floor to urge the two parties to reach agreement and to concede more time for them to continue negotiating.

Conference of Parties to NPT - 2 - Press Release DC/2710 Final Meeting (Night) 22 May 2000

The final plenary meeting was first convened shortly before midnight on Friday in order “to stop the clock”, and suspended several times to allow further negotiations between the two countries.

By 11 a.m. Saturday only one paragraph remained unresolved, and at 3 p.m., Christopher Westdal (Canada), who was facilitating the negotiations, informed the Conference, to applause, that agreement had been reached. Mr. Westdal had earlier described the issue as “the last piece of the puzzle, the one remaining element in the considerable success we have had so tantalizingly within our grasp for the last day or two and towards which we have all worked so hard for so long and in which we now have so much hope and expectation invested”. The Review Conference would betray its responsibilities if it did not make one final effort to complete its vital work, he said.

After the adoption of the final document, the representative of Iraq said his country fully complied with the requirements of the NPT and there was no justification for including Iraq on the Conference agenda, nor was there a basis for inclusion of the reference to the Security Council resolutions on Iraq. Those issues had nothing to do with the mandate of the Conference. In light of the historic significance of the Conference as well as the need to maintain the achievements of the Conference, Iraq had decided not to oppose consensus concerning the paragraph but did wish to register its reservations.

The representative of the United States said that finally, the Conference had agreed on the importance of cooperation, compromise and consensus in conducting its work. It was common ground on which future dialogue must rest. “Together, we crafted an important consensus document and together we will discuss and debate the continued implementation of the Treaty”, he said.

Conference President Abdallah Baali (Algeria), in a closing statement, said the final outcome of the Review Conference was the product of a delicate, hard-won compromise between divergent and sometimes conflicting positions. While the results might not seem commensurate with the magnitude of the tasks and challenges, they should be seen against the background of prevailing political circumstances.

The representative of Egypt reflected the view of many speakers when he noted that the Conference had started its work in an atmosphere permeated by pessimism. The challenges were huge and the possibility of failure loomed large, he said, adding that the Conference’s success, particularly in the area of nuclear disarmament, was a significant achievement and a source of optimism.

The representative of the United Kingdom said the Conference should be rightly proud of what it had achieved. The final report of the Conference contained a balanced review and set a realistic and achievable agenda to take forward the work to which all were committed, namely a world free of nuclear weapons.

Although China did hail the outcome of the Conference a success, its statement also echoed the disappointment of several countries over the fact that the final document had not been more forceful on nuclear disarmament. China's representative said the document had failed to put enough stress on the need for the nuclear-weapon States with the biggest stockpiles to acknowledge a special responsibility for nuclear disarmament. He said that nuclear-weapon States should abandon the policy of nuclear deterrence based on first use, and commit themselves unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. He also cautioned that the danger of "weaponization" in outer space was increasing.

A few countries recorded reservations to some of the language in some paragraphs, but said those reservations had not justified holding up consensus adoption of the document.

The speakers in the final plenary meeting were: Canada, Indonesia (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), United Kingdom (on behalf of the Western European and Other States Group), Portugal (on behalf on the European Union), Mexico (on behalf of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden), Japan, Poland, Netherlands, Russian Federation, Iraq, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Suriname (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Iran, Bhutan, Syria, China, United States, Algeria, Egypt, Malaysia, France and Viet Nam).

The Chairmen of the Credentials Committee and the Drafting Committee introduced their reports.

The drafting of the documents was preceded by an intense general debate, during which representatives of 93 States parties expressed their views. Out of that number, 24 countries were represented at ministerial level. Four intergovernmental organizations also made statements, and one plenary meeting was devoted to hearing representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The NPT, which was signed in 1968 and came into force in 1970, is the most universal of all multilateral disarmament treaties. The Treaty provides for a review conference every five years. At the previous three conferences, members were unable to reach consensus agreement on the substance and language of their final determinations and so until this session, which ran from 24 April to 19 May, no final document was adopted.

This year's Conference was the first one since the indefinite extension of the NPT, achieved in 1995. Its task had been to assess what had or had not been achieved and to identify the areas where future efforts should be concentrated. In his opening statement, Conference President Baali said the outcome of the Conference would have a major impact on the future development of the NPT and the nuclear non-proliferation regime for generations to come.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, also in the opening meeting, told the Conference that no one could be satisfied with the degree of implementation of the Treaty. With some 35,000 nuclear weapons remaining in the arsenals of the nuclear Powers, thousands of them deployed on hair-trigger alert, "much of the established multilateral disarmament machinery has started to rust", he said -- "a problem due not to the machinery itself, but to the apparent lack of political will to use it".

Among the priorities identified in the debate were the need for early entry into force of the CTBT; the deep, irreversible reduction in stocks of nuclear weapons; completion of the fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations; the consolidation of the existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and creation of new ones; and binding security guarantees to non-nuclear-weapon States parties. The leading concerns in connection with the Treaty included the continuing non-adherence to the non-proliferation regime of Cuba, Israel, India and Pakistan; the refusal of the United States Senate to ratify the CTBT; the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament between the Russian Federation and the United States; the new nuclear strategies of major nuclear-weapon States; the challenges to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the intention of the United States to deploy an anti- missile defence system; nuclear tests performed by India and Pakistan; and the continuing impasse in the Conference on Disarmament.

Speakers in the opening debate stressed the need for all nations to commit unequivocally to the non-proliferation regime. Several of them pointed out that it was the Treaty that had been extended indefinitely in 1995 -- and not the right of nuclear-weapon States to keep their nuclear arsenals forever. As the Treaty could not achieve its objectives without the firm commitment of all the nuclear- weapon States to each and every article of the Treaty, those States had an international obligation to end the production of nuclear weapons, eliminate nuclear weapons and their means of delivery and provide unconditional and legally binding security assurances to the non-nuclear-weapon States.

Prominent in the general debate was the question of the Middle East. The representative of Egypt stressed that the NPT could not have any credibility with the States of that region as long as one State was exempt from its provisions. Recalling that among the decisions of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference was a resolution on the Middle East, which reaffirmed the importance of universal adherence to the Treaty and of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in that region, many speakers called upon the Conference to demand that Israel accede to the Treaty and place all its nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards regime.

In his opening statement to the meeting, Director-General of the IAEA Mohamed El-Baradei also said that no review of the Agency’s activities would be complete without reference to the cases of non-compliance with NPT safeguards agreements by Iraq and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Although the Agency had been recently able to carry out an inspection in Iraq, it could not serve as a substitute for the activities of the IAEA under the relevant resolutions of the Security Council. As a result, the Agency could not at present provide assurances that Iraq was in compliance with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions. With regard to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Agency remained unable to verify the correctness of that country’s initial declaration of its nuclear material subject to safeguards and could not, therefore, provide any assurance about non-diversion.

Statements in Resumed 11 a.m. Plenary, Saturday 20 May

CHRISTOPHER WESTDAL (Canada) said that over the last day and through much of the night, he had been seeking to achieve agreement between key parties that might serve as the basis for consensus on the text of the regional issues paper -— "the last piece of the puzzle, the one remaining element in the considerable success we have had so tantalizingly within our grasp for the last day or two and towards which we have all worked so hard for so long and in which we now have so much hope and expectation invested”. The parties were engaged in good faith negotiations on the last words of the key text with an eye on the larger goal. He added that he believed the Review Conference would betray its responsibilities if it did not make one final effort to complete its vital work.

MAKMUR WIDODO (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said delegates had been working together over the past few weeks to achieve a historic and successful outcome to the Review Conference. Because of the very high degree of flexibility demonstrated by all, such an objective was within the grasp of the international community. There was one outstanding issue which blocked reaching that noble objective, though. The Non-Aligned Movement felt duty-bound to call upon all interested parties to reach agreement so that a successful outcome could be solidly secured.

IAN SOUTAR (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the Western European and Other States Group, said “I think we see daylight both outside and inside this hall”. Progress had been achieved over the course of the Conference which could not have been imagined at the start of work four weeks ago. As a result, agreed language had been developed which covered all aspects of the Treaty. “If we can reach agreement on this basis, not only will we have demonstrated that we have responded positively to the aspirations of the 1995 Review and Extension NPT Conference, we would also be sending a clear message to the international community that the nuclear non-proliferation regime remains vibrant and relevant.” That would be a message of profound resonance in today’s international context. For that reason, the Western Group believed that the Conference should not sacrifice what it had laboured to achieve. He called on the parties most intimately concerned to intensify their efforts. “The international community will not readily understand if we stumble at this last fence”, he added.

LICINIO BINGRE DO AMARAL (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Conference had come further than many would have thought possible some weeks ago. “We have a historic opportunity today, we must not let it slip from our grasp. The European Union urges that we take that final step and bring this conference to a successful conclusion.” He added that the European Union could support a further short delay to allow negotiations to continue.

ANTONIO ICAZA (Mexico), speaking on behalf of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden, said the Conference could produce unprecedented results. The agreed language that delegates had strived to forge in the past four weeks had brought together the nuclear-weapon States and the non-nuclear-weapon States on many fundamental issues for the purposes of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. “We could build in the near future on those agreements and in that improved atmosphere. Unfortunately, because of the rules of procedure, we are in a situation of gaining all or losing all. Losing all is just not acceptable. We have to make all the necessary efforts to resolve the one pending question in the one pending document, which is mainly of interest to two State parties.” He appealed to those parties to go the extra mile, to be more flexible and not to lose sight of the real priorities of the Conference.

SEIICHIRO NOBORU (Japan) said his Foreign Minister had sent a message to the Conference in which he said the issues before the Review Conference were critically important to the peace and security of the entire world. The agreement emerging on many issues seemed to be tremendously important for nuclear non- proliferation and nuclear disarmament and could form the basis for future efforts. The Minister wished to see the negotiations between the two parties bear fruit as soon as possible. He urged them to work in that spirit.

TADEUSZ CHOMICKI (Poland) said the Conference had achieved so much and still hoped for a final success to the Conference. He expressed the hope that the two parties could reach a compromise within the time allowed.

CHRIS SANDERS (Netherlands) said a “window of opportunity was rapidly closing. The clock is ticking and we are very close to a decisive moment. We risk losing everything we thought we had accomplished.” He supported the efforts to reach agreement on the one remaining paragraph and called upon the parties involved to bridge the remaining gap. The world would not understand if the Conference failed on that issue.

YURIY KAPRALOV (Russian Federation) said his country had contributed to the maximum to the success of the Conference. “That gives us the moral authority to say that we, as everybody else in the hall, are deeply concerned with the situation which had developed. We welcome the appeals to the parties most intimately involved in the discussions on the last issue to come to an agreement. At the same time, we should all at least be honest with ourselves, to say that we understand why and how this situation has developed.”

Asked by President BAALI if one hour was enough for the further consultations, Mr. WESTDAL replied that “one United Nations hour” should be sufficient, although he cautioned that it might be dark by then.

Statements in Resumed 3 p.m. Plenary

Mr. WESTDAL said he was delighted to inform the Conference that after many efforts by many people, the two key parties had reached agreement on a key paragraph in the regional issues paper. That meant that if members approved of the agreement, the last piece of the puzzle was complete. After being interrupted by applause, he thanked all those, including the members of his delegation, who had shared in the effort. The outcome from the three main committees would compose a final result for the Conference that exceeded expectations and confounded many skeptics. It was a source of great satisfaction and would provide a basis for good progress.

President BAALI said the applause from the delegates attested to the admiration of the Conference for an outstanding job. He then updated the plenary on the agreements that had been reached in the Main Committee on final language in some of the texts.

The Conference was suspended pending final work by the Drafting Committee.

Statements on Drafting of Final Document

SAEED HASSAN (Iraq) said that from the outset Iraq had been warning against the attempt by the United States to include the subject of Iraq on the Conference agenda. The United States had had a dual goal; to come up with a formula that could then be used in aggressive American foreign policy directed against Iraq, and to divert attention from the real dangers looming over peace and security in the Middle East, namely Israel's nuclear weapons. Iraq was a party to the NPT and fully complied with its requirements; there was, therefore, no excuse or reason to include Iraq on the Conference agenda, or for the inclusion of the reference to the Security Council resolutions on Iraq. The resolutions had nothing to do with the mandate of the Conference.

He noted the shared sense of responsibility of the members of the Conference who had with great courage shouldered those responsibilities and thwarted the attempt to doom the work of the Conference to failure. Unfortunately, the United States, in one form or another, had imposed its formula and drafting language on the paragraph dealing with Iraq. The wording had nothing to do with the NPT or the mandate of the Conference or with the safeguards regime. Iraq was aware of the historic significance of the Conference, as well as the need to maintain the achievements of the Conference, and had thus decided not to oppose consensus concerning the paragraph. However, Iraq did wish to express its reservations to the paragraph.

ALEXANDER OLBRICH (Germany), referring to paragraph 8 on page 13 [in which the Conference recognized the importance of the concept of sustainable development as a guiding principle for the peaceful use of nuclear energy], said that due to the overriding importance Germany attached to a successful non-proliferation policy, it had accepted the inclusion of the paragraph. However, Germany believed the peaceful use of nuclear energy did not contribute to sustainable development.

PETRA SCHNEEBAUER (Austria), referring to the same paragraph, said that only non-power application of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy could contribute to sustainable development, while nuclear power itself was not able to play a role in the concept of sustainable development. The clarification was important, because Austria was willing to continue to meet its obligations under article VI in those areas in which Austria was able to contribute, in particular to the humanitarian aspects of development and prosperity in the world.

JESPER TOFTLUND (Denmark) said his country shared the views expressed by the representative of Austria regarding the relationship between sustainable development and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

SUBHAS MUNGRA (Suriname), speaking on behalf of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the discussion in the past few weeks had clearly shown the significance of nuclear issues to the international community. There was no justification whatsoever for the retention of weapons of mass destruction and they should be dismantled in the shortest time possible. With regard to the issue of maritime transport of radioactive materials, CARICOM had called for prior notification and consultation, environmental impact assessment, guarantees of salvage and the establishment of an effective liability regime. A comprehensive liability or compensation regime was currently non-existent, and until a moratorium on the transport of radioactive materials was achieved, CARICOM would continue to press for prior notification and consultation and a comprehensive liability regime. While its position on transshipment of highly toxic nuclear materials remained unchanged, CARICOM States nonetheless had joined in the consensus on the adoption of the final document.

SEIICHIRO NOBORU (Japan) said his understanding was that the Conference would pursue its future work on the basis of the reaffirmation of the principles and objectives of 1995 as well as on the document adopted today.

HAMID BAEIDI-NEJAD (Iran) said Iran wished to express its reservation to the paragraph in the regional issues section regarding the peace process and any other paragraph which might be construed as recognition of Israel.

TASHI TSERING (Bhutan) said that in spite of difficulties that Bhutan had with paragraph 9 [deploring the nuclear test explosions by India and Pakistan] and paragraph 11 [regretting that those two countries had not yet signed and ratified the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty] on page 2, Bhutan had gone along with the language in order not to prevent consensus.

Closing Statements

MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said that one had to question whether the Conference had succeeded in demanding that Israel adhere to the NPT and to submit its nuclear installations to IAEA verification. Syria had hoped that when the second sub- committee on implementation of the resolution on the Middle East was established, the Conference would be able to ask Israel, in a clear and open manner, to accede to the NPT and thereby implement Security Council resolution 487 (1981). The wording of the paragraph dealing with implementation of the resolutions on the Middle East was limited to a timid and weak formulation, which emphasized the importance of Israel acceding to the NPT without asking it openly or, at the very least, urging it to accede to the Treaty and the safeguards regime.

Because of that, the essential conditions for the creation of a nuclear- weapon-free zone in the Middle East could not be fullfilled, he continued. It was alarming that in the third millennium, some States were continuing to insist upon the application of double standards. By contrast, the Conference had demanded that India and Pakistan accede to the NPT. As long as Israel remained outside the NPT and did not respect the relevant resolutions, it would be a source of concern for a great number of Arab countries and would continue to threaten peace and security in the region and throughout the entire world. The situation should be studied by the Conference through a specific mechanism. Syria therefore wished to register its reservations to the paragraph. The wording was not commensurate with the objectives of the NPT. It sent the wrong message to Israel and encouraged Israel to continue its occupation of the Arab territories.

ANTONIO ICAZA (Mexico), speaking on behalf of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden, said that when their foreign ministers launched the New Agenda Declaration in June 1998, they did so in the light of the faltering nuclear disarmament agenda and the missed opportunity of the end of the cold war for the definitive pursuit of the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The initiative was made all the more relevant by the nuclear testing by India and Pakistan. Recent General Assembly resolutions had demonstrated that there was a new level of demand for action now by the nuclear- weapon States, which required a new and unequivocal undertaking for the total elimination of their nuclear weapons.

Through the unequivocal commitment by the nuclear-weapon States to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons, what had always been implicit had now become explicit. That act both reinforced and revitalized the Treaty as the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he said.

HU XIAODI (China) said the review Conference as a whole had been a success despite the different views held by States parties. The outcome reflected the common desire to safeguard the Treaty and promote the three principal objectives of the Treaty. The final document was the result of difficult negotiations. China had not objected to its final adoption -- its flaws and shortcomings notwithstanding.

The final document failed to reflect fully the current international situation, nor did it call for the removal of fundamental obstacles to nuclear disarmament, he said. In recent years, military factors had increased in international relations and military blocs had been expanded and strengthened. Armed aggression and gross interference in the internal affairs of other countries had taken place. Acts which could sabotage the global strategic stability and put the ABM Treaty under great challenge were in the making. The danger of weaponization in outer space was increasing.

The final document had failed to put enough stress on some necessary principles and measures in the field of nuclear disarmament, for example that nuclear-weapon States with the biggest stockpiles should undertake a special responsibility for nuclear disarmament. Nuclear-weapon States should abandon the policy of nuclear deterrence based on first use, he said. All nuclear-weapon States should commit themselves unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. All nuclear weapons deployed outside national borders should be withdrawn home. Those measures were prerequisites for the promotion of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. China supported the early conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty, he said. The Disarmament Conference in Geneva should deal with the prevention of an arms race in outer space and nuclear disarmament as well as the fissile material cut-off treaty. There were a lot of uncertainties in negotiating factors, though, and so to set an artificial time-frame would be unreal and impractical.

Concerning specific measures to reduce the danger of nuclear warfare and the so-called intermediate measures, the most important priorities were the unconditional pledges of no first use, unconditional security assurances to all non-nuclear weapon States, the withdrawal of all nuclear weapons deployed outside the borders of nuclear-weapon States and the abolition of nuclear sharing. Transparency or confidence-building measures would remain empty talk otherwise. He added that all countries had the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. Exported items should be IAEA safeguards and only used for peaceful purposes.

ROBERT GREY (United States) said the Conference had come a long way in the past month. There would be many different evaluations of what had been achieved. Noting that over 150 NPT parties had participated in the Conference, he said it defied expectations that so many countries could reach agreement on any one issue, let alone the number and variety of issues before the Conference. The Conference had expressed profound concern over cases of non-compliance, and reaffirmed that strict observance of the Treaty remained central to achieving its objectives. The Conference had agreed that any addition to the five nuclear-weapon States was not acceptable, and would serve only to heighten instability and security concerns among States.

Among the five nuclear-weapon States, there was agreement on the need for further efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals and to work towards a world free from nuclear weapons, he continued. Full agreement had been reached in many other areas. The critical importance of nuclear safety in realizing the many peaceful benefits of nuclear technology was recognized. The work of the IAEA, including its technical cooperation programme, had been strongly supported. Finally, the Conference had agreed on the importance of cooperation, compromise and consensus in conducting its work. It was common ground on which future dialogue must rest. “Together, we crafted an important consensus document and together we will discuss and debate the continued implementation of the Treaty.”

MAKMUR WIDODO (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Conference deliberations had shown that the NPT had reached a critical stage in the onward march of concerted measures to further strengthen the non- proliferation regime. It was the fervent hope of the Movement that the decisions taken by the Conference would be addressed forthrightly so that collectively the international community could place the non-proliferation regime on a more solid foundation – one that would inspire confidence that the NPT did indeed serve all the interests of the States parties.

The highlight of the Conference was unquestionably the adoption of practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to implement article VI on disarmament and the articles on non-proliferation. In the context of the strengthened review process, the Non-Aligned Movement had noted the introduction of new principles and approaches. However, the Movement was very conscious of certain conditionalities and stipulations that often accompanied the course of action in disarmament matters. The challenge was to further strengthen the consensus to achieve the goals enshrined in the Treaty. While the Conference might have fallen short of expectations, it should not allow its determination to waiver.

MOHAMMAD REZA ALBORZY (Iran) said that since its inception, the NPT had acted as cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime and served as the benchmark in harnessing the nuclear arms race. He welcomed the successful outcome of the Review Conference as another crucial step in strengthening the cause of non- proliferation and nuclear disarmament. The basic ground rule in the negotiations had been to concentrate on what could unite and not where divisions were drawn. All had had to make compromises in the drafting of the outcome, which would provide the basis for future structures, and the foundations of the programme of work on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

He drew particular attention to the call for those not party to the Treaty to accede as non-nuclear weapon States, and the obligation of the nuclear-weapon States to refrain from assisting non-States parties in acquiring nuclear weapons. “We should remain vigilant on the possibility of such cooperation, in particular in the sensitive region of the Middle East.” The Conference had illustrated the necessity of the accession of Israel to the NPT, and the placement of all nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. The document’s call for accession, although insufficient, was an important development that should be built upon. Concerning IAEA safeguards, he said Israeli intransigence was a serious obstacle.

The final document, he added, emphasized that unhindered nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes should be promoted. No alleged proliferation apprehensions could deprive a State party of its inalienable right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Supplier States should extend cooperation to developing countries in good faith. He added that a transparent and open framework was needed on nuclear export controls.

MOKHTAR REGUIEG (Algeria) said the positive results had exceeded the expectations of the international community and advanced the noble cause of disarmament and a world free of nuclear weapons. After thanking the chairmen of the main committees and Under-Secretary General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala, he said Algeria welcomed the flexibility and sense of responsibility which had prevailed throughout the Conference, allowing for such a happy outcome.

FILIPE ALBUQUERQUE (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the Conference had known the challenges before it were great, but it had also known that it could count on the extraordinary commitment of all delegations. The flexibility shown had enabled the Conference to overcome differences and to reach consensus and thereby confirm the shared commitment to the NPT. The European Union strongly supported the Conference’s urgent call for the four States that had not yet done so to accede to the Treaty without delay. The European Union also remained committed to the Middle East resolution adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.

TADEUSZ CHOMICKI (Poland) thanked the President, the Chairmen of the Committees and the President of the European Union for their efforts to help resolve some problems with the Central and Eastern European countries group. He also paid tribute to his colleagues from the 14 Central and Eastern European States for their common effort to overcome problems.

AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said the Conference had started its work in an atmosphere permeated by pessimism. The challenges were huge and the possibility of failure loomed large. The success achieved by the Conference, in particular in the area of nuclear disarmament, was a significant achievement and a source of optimism. He noted that Egypt had made a statement on its position at the beginning of the Conference on the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East. The fact that the Conference had achieved an unprecedented success in reaching consensus on all the matters related to the review process sent a clear and unequivocal message to Israel. The international community had reaffirmed the importance of Israeli accession to the Treaty and the importance of placing its nuclear facilities under the comprehensive safeguard regime of the IAEA.

HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia) said Malaysia had expected stronger commitments to nuclear disarmament. The outcome of the Review Conference continued to be dictated by a minority at the expense of the voice of the majority. The minority continued to hold sway over many issues and some had even openly stated that nuclear disarmament was not the primary objective. The nuclear-weapon States had not even acknowledged the opinion of the International Court of Justice in their joint statement, thus putting into question their commitments to the implementation of article VI of the Treaty.

The International Court's opinion was the most important development since the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, and had a direct impact on the activities, policies and obligations of Member States, he continued. He expressed regret that the Conference was not able to make a positive reference to the Court’s advisory opinion on the legality of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Malaysia was also concerned that some nuclear-weapon States continued to oppose the proposal to begin negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or a framework convention.

The Middle East was far from being a zone free from nuclear weapons as called for in the resolution on the Middle East, he said. Malaysia was concerned that Israel was the only State in the Middle East that had not acceded to the Treaty nor placed its nuclear facilities and material under full-scope IAEA safeguards. He also expressed concern over the attempt to inject the concept of “strategic stability”, saying its implication was the retention of nuclear weapons. The activities of the nuclear suppliers arrangements were undemocratic and cartel-like in nature, and did not distinguish among non-nuclear weapon States parties with comprehensive safeguards arrangements with IAEA. It treated parties and non-parties alike, he said, calling for greater transparency in the context of dual-use items.

JOHN TUCKNOTT (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the Western Group, said that four weeks ago, few, if any, thought they would be in the historic position they found themselves in now. It had been achieved through the collective desire by all States parties to reach an outcome confirming that the NPT remained as relevant now as it was when it entered into force. The final report of the Conference contained a balanced review, and set a realistic and achievable agenda to take forward the work to which all were committed, namely a world free of nuclear weapons. “We should be rightly proud of what we have achieved today”, he said.

BORIS KVOK (Russian Federation) said the constructive cooperation that had prevailed in the Conference could not fail to prompt respect. The Conference had once again demonstrated the need to strengthen the non-proliferation regime and global strategic stability. The ABM Treaty of 1972 was a cornerstone of that effort. Without that Treaty, it would be impossible to make progress towards nuclear disarmament. Russia emphasized that its understanding of strategic stability was that it was primarily to strengthen international security and make it possible to have more substantial cuts made in nuclear and conventional arms in the future. While the final document was not ideal, it was the product of common sense and goodwill. Russia intended to conduct a consistent policy to strengthen the NPT and to give it a universal nature.

JEAN-CLAUDE BRUNET (France) said he was delighted at the success of the first review conference since the extension of the Treaty in 1995. The outcome demonstrated the commitment of the international community to nuclear disarmament, to non-proliferation and to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

HOANG CHI TRUNG (Viet Nam) said his country was happy to see that the Review Conference had achieved such significant success through agreements that would serve as a benchmark for future efforts towards the goal of total nuclear disarmament. He emphasized that the nuclear-weapon States should commit themselves in an unequivocal manner and within a specified time-frame to nuclear disarmament. The measures articulated in the final document, though not as comprehensive as most of the non-nuclear-weapon States had hoped, represented considerable progress towards the NPT’s noble goal. He expressed the hope that they would be fully observed by all States parties to the Treaty in general, and by the nuclear-weapon States in particular.

Conference President ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said it was a source of great satisfaction that the Conference had been able to conclude its work on a positive note. While the results might not seem commensurate with the magnitude of the tasks and challenges, they should be seen against the background of the prevailing political circumstances. Among the major achievements of the Conference was the reaffirming of its conviction that the preservation of the integrity of the Treaty and its strict implementation were essential to international peace and security. In its review of the operation of the Treaty, the Conference had recognized the measure of progress in implementation by all States parties, while at the same time urging more determination in realization of the undertakings by the nuclear- weapon States under article VI of the Treaty.

The Conference had once again underlined the paramount importance of achieving the goal of universality of the Treaty, he continued. The Conference had urged Cuba, India, Israel and Pakistan to adhere to it promptly. The importance of full compliance with the Treaty was also emphasized. The contribution of nuclear-weapon-free zones to global and regional peace and security was stressed. The importance

of legally binding security assurances by the five nuclear-weapon States to the non-nuclear-weapon States was reaffirmed. The Conference had also proceeded to an in-depth consideration of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards, and agreed on appropriate recommendations. The Conference had focused on regional issues, in particular the situations in the Middle East and South Asia. Furthermore, he said, a decision to further improve the effectiveness of the review process had been adopted.

The final outcome of the Review Conference was the product of a delicate, hard-won compromise between divergent and sometimes conflicting positions, he said.

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For information media. Not an official record.