FINAL PREPARATORY SESSION FOR 2005 REVIEW CONFERENCE ON NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY OPENS AT HEADQUARTERS

26 April 2004
DC/2920

FINAL PREPARATORY SESSION FOR 2005 REVIEW CONFERENCE ON NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY OPENS AT HEADQUARTERS

26/04/2004
Press ReleaseDC/2920

Preparatory Committee                                      

 for 2005 NPT Review                                       

Third Session

1st & 2nd Meetings (AM & PM)

FINAL PREPARATORY SESSION FOR 2005 REVIEW CONFERENCE ON NUCLEAR

NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY OPENS AT HEADQUARTERS

Speakers Highlight Recent Challenges to Treaty,

With Some Suggesting Effectiveness Called Into Question

Entering the final phase of preparations today for the 2005 review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), States parties were told that permitting nuclear weapons programmes over long periods of time had fostered a “permissive environment for the proliferators”, as both the States parties that possessed nuclear weapons and those that did not were challenged during the general debate to take responsibility for the proliferation.

Speaking at the opening of the session, due to conclude on 7 May, New Zealand’s representative said that, leaving aside concerns arising with respect to States not bound by the NPT, namely India, Israel and Pakistan, proliferation concerns had become “acute” within the last two years, to a greater or lesser extent, in relation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Libya.  Concerns about the fulfilment of nuclear disarmament commitments had been of somewhat greater duration.  Overall, proliferation was a big enough problem to warrant addressing it with all the legitimate “tools in the toolbox”.  That included through the positive power of example, namely through more strenuous efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to disarm and to persuade the non-NPT possessors to do likewise.

Recalling the “shock waves” of the unprecedented notification by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of its withdrawal from the NPT, Canada’s speaker said that was followed by the revelation of the prolonged failure of Iran to honour its safeguard agreements commitments.  While some important remedial action had been taken, many key issues remained unresolved and fed lingering suspicions as to Iran’s real nuclear intentions.  Last year also bore striking witness to the fact that Libya had been deliberately violating its NPT obligations in pursuit of nuclear weapons.  The fact that that State party “turned itself in”, while laudable, could not blind anyone to the negative implications of its previous actions.  There had also been the discovery of the black market in nuclear weapon-related technology in Pakistan, involving citizens of entities of several NPT parties.  One would be justified in considering the past year an “annus horribilis” for the Treaty.

Asserting that the challenges to the Treaty were dire enough to call into question its effectiveness, the speaker from the Republic of Korea said the recent cases of non-compliance and withdrawal had revealed inherent limitations and

loopholes in the Treaty, which allowed determined proliferators to pursue their nuclear ambitions without violating the Treaty.  The nuclear-weapon-States had an obligation to “more than seriously take up their share of the bargain”, by fulfilling their nuclear disarmament obligations.  As a growing number of countries had mastered the technologies to produce fissile materials and nuclear devices, the export controls and safeguards system, however perfect, could never be foolproof in deterring determined proliferators; the root causes of proliferation, or insecurity, should also be addressed.

Algeria’s representative said that hope had turned to doubt and even more ominous clouds had gathered with the emergence of new threats, including the risk of acquisition by terrorists of mass destruction weapons.  An objective assessment of events since the 2000 NPT review had showed little progress, and initiatives undertaken often did not bear the stamp of irreversibility.  The setbacks and continued pivotal role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines, as well as the risk of horizontal and vertical proliferation, were hardly grounds for optimism.  States parties should adhere scrupulously with their obligations not to acquire nuclear weapons, and nuclear-weapon States must fulfil their nuclear disarmament obligations.  Finding a balance between obligation and responsibility would strengthen the Treaty.

Representatives of two nuclear-weapon-States addressed the meeting today -– the United Kingdom and China.  The latter speaker warned that in the current security situation, adopting pre-emptive strike strategies, explicitly listing other States as targets of a nuclear strike, lowering the threshold of nuclear weapons use, developing new types of easy-to-use nuclear weapons, and shortening the time of preparation for nuclear tests, not only ran counter to international trends, but also harmed international non-proliferation efforts, which served no one.  All nuclear-weapon States should refrain from such actions and explicitly reaffirm their commitments to the complete and thorough elimination of nuclear weapons.

United Kingdom’s representative warned that loopholes in the international machinery were being sought by States to develop clandestine weapons programmes.  Terrorists were seeking nuclear materials, and those threats were not receding, and there was information from Pakistan that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was pursuing an undeclared uranium enrichment programme.  Efforts must be redoubled to counter proliferation and work to strengthen the international machinery, but he rejected calls to introduce new NPT mechanisms, as those instruments already existed within the IAEA and the Security Council.  For its part, his country now held less than 200 operationally available warheads, which amounted to a 70 per cent reduction in the explosive power of its nuclear weapons since the end of the cold war.

The Chairman, Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat (Indonesia) informed the parties that, in view of the new responsibilities undertaken by Henrik Salander (Sweden) within his Government, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier would succeed him as Vice-Chair.

Statements were also made by the representatives of: Mexico, both in national capacity and on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Egypt, Ireland, Sweden, and New Zealand); Ireland, on behalf of the European Union; Malaysia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement; Australia; Bangladesh; Indonesia; South Africa; Peru; Egypt; Switzerland; Japan; Syria; Venezuela; Kazakhstan; Belarus; and Bahamas, on behalf of the Caribbean Community.  A representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also spoke.

Background

The Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) today opened its third and final preparatory session for the upcoming Review Conference.  Taking into account the deliberations and results of the previous two sessions, the third session has been tasked to make every effort to produce a consensus report containing recommendations to the Review Conference.  (For details of the session, please see Press Release DC/2918 of 22 April).

The Committee had before it the report of its second session (document NPT/CONF.2005/PC.II/50).  Annexed to the report, which contained mainly the procedural and practical aspects of the session, was the Chairman’s factual summary.  It states that States parties had reaffirmed that the Treaty was the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.  In the current international climate, where security and stability were increasingly challenged, both globally and regionally, by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, preserving and strengthening the Treaty was vital to peace and security.

The summary notes, among other things, that States parties had stressed the increasingly grave threat to the Treaty and international security posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, biological and chemical -- and their means of delivery, as well as the possibility that non-State actors might gain access to those weapons.  The tragic events of 11 September 2001 had highlighted the dangers of those weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.  The gravity of that threat reinforces the need to strengthen the Treaty. Recent challenges to the Treaty and to the nuclear non-proliferation regime have further increased the necessity of full compliance and the need to actively work towards universal adherence, the summary states.

According to the summary, States parties had welcomed the accession of Cuba, as well as of Timor-Leste, as States parties to the NPT, which brings the Treaty closer to its universality.  Efforts aimed at establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones in different regions of the world had also been welcomed.  Some States parties were encouraged by the fact that Central Asian countries had been engaged in consultations and reached a draft agreement to establish such a zone in the region, which would contribute to regional security and the prevention of nuclear terrorism.

The summary also recalled that States parties had expressed concern at the increased tension in South Asia and the continuing retention of nuclear-weapons programmes and options by India and Pakistan.  The parties urged both States to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States and to place all their nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards.  The parties noted that both States had declared moratoriums on further testing and their willingness to enter into legal commitments not to conduct any further nuclear testing by signing and ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

A wide range of concerns had been expressed on the recent developments regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear issue, the summary recalled.  In this regard, States parties called on that country to show its political will to cooperate with the international community in increasing mutual confidence.  In particular, States parties expressed concern about or deplored that country’s nuclear-weapons programme, which undermines peace and security on the Korean peninsula and beyond.

The summary also reported, among other things, that all States parties, particularly those with advanced nuclear programmes, had been called upon to conclude, bring into force and implement an Additional Protocol to their comprehensive safeguards agreement under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), at the earliest opportunity.  In that context, and in the light of the scope of its nuclear programme, Iran was called upon to sign an Additional Protocol and to ensure full and forthcoming cooperation with the IAEA, whose secretariat is expected to provide a comprehensive report at the June 2003 meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors.

Statements

SUDJADNAN PARNOHADININGRAT (Indonesia), speaking as Chairman of the Committee’s third session, said an effective review process was necessary in order to reach the goals of the NPT.  And it would soon be time, during either this session or the next, for that process to lead to a consensus report containing recommendations for the Review Conference.  Calling on delegates to keep that point in mind, he also encouraged them to take a balanced approach when addressing non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful nuclear cooperation.

Turning to non-proliferation, the first pillar of the NPT, he recognized the existing concern that the Treaty was discriminatory.  To address that concern, governments needed to implement all the Treaty’s provisions.  Additionally, all parties had to take such themes as universality and compliance into account.  Referring to the second pillar, progress in nuclear disarmament, he urged States parties to discuss enhanced transparency and accountability when implementing disarmament obligations.  Regarding the third pillar, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, he suggested that delegations address assistance to developing countries, as well as the bringing into force of comprehensive IAEA safeguards -- the Additional Protocol.  Touching upon physical security at nuclear sites, he noted that today was the eighteenth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

Reminding delegates of the NPT’s conclusion that “the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons”, he, nevertheless, expressed satisfaction with international efforts to eliminate such nuclear threats as the acquisition of nuclear arms by additional States and non-State actors.  He then acknowledged that the Treaty’s strength depended on the amount of public support it enjoyed.  In that context, he lauded the participation in the Committee and Review Conferences of representatives from civil society and nongovernmental organizations.  Such involvement had brought new viewpoints and ideas to the review process.

MARIAN HOBBS, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, New Zealand, said it was sobering to reflect that, by the time of the next Review Conference, the Treaty would have been in force for 35 years.  Events since the last review clearly showed that the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty were not being realized, either in respect of non-proliferation or of nuclear disarmament.  The assurance sought by article VIII.3, which governs the review process, was absent.  The Decision on Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty recorded the agreement of the 1995 Conference that review conferences should “`look forward as well as back’”.

Looking back and leaving aside concerns arising with respect to States not bound by the NPT, namely India, Israel and Pakistan, she said, proliferation concerns had become “acute” within the last two years, to a greater or lesser extent, in relation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Libya.  Concerns about the fulfilment of the obligation to pursue negotiations on effective measures for nuclear disarmament had been of somewhat greater duration.  Efforts to inject urgency towards the fulfilment of article VI (which concerned nuclear disarmament) had been provided by the 1995 and 2000 Conferences.  In addition, the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament agreed in 1995 contained a programme of action towards implementation of article VI.  None of those elements had been achieved.

Despite the 1995 agreed programme, the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (concerning the obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control), and the 2000 outcome, few of those steps towards nuclear disarmament had been taken, she said.  The nuclear-weapon States -– China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States –- were reminded that article VI made it clear that the obligation fell on each of the parties to the Treaty.  There was no scope for selective or deferred compliance.  Indeed, it was inherent in their capacity as permanent members of the Security Council that those States had special responsibilities for fulfilling their international obligations.

Nor was the failure of several States to comply with their non-proliferation objectives a pretext for further deferral by the nuclear-weapon States of their “unequivocal undertaking... to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals” (2000 Review Conference), or of the “determined pursuit” by them of “systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally” (1995 Review Conference), she said.  With that legal, moral and political backdrop in mind, it was “untenable for the health” of the NPT to allow the 2005 Review Conference to result in an outcome as solemnly agreed, but as fallow as its predecessors in 1995 and 2000 had proved to be.  There had also been a number of instances of non-compliance with the proliferation obligations of the Treaty, as well as concerns about the possibility of vertical proliferation.

Looking forward, she said, the underpinnings of the NPT should be emphasized as positively as possible.  Its parties numbered virtually the entire international community.  The five nuclear-weapon States, in word at least, continued to voice their support for it.  And, widely observed law should not be called into question simply because several of its subjects had acted outside of it.  On the contrary, it should be reinforced and strengthened.  On the other hand, would law that was not fully observed and complied with, stand the test of time?  That, in the case of the NPT, was where the obligations on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation intersected.  She was greatly concerned about the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  No nation could stand aloof from the current threats to international peace and security, especially from terrorists.

She said she was also very concerned that the current emphasis on counter-proliferation measures should not overwhelm the need to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament.  Those were two sides of the same coin.  Ultimately, the only security would be the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and the assurance that those weapons would never be used or produced again.  At the same time, there was no doubt that proliferation was a big enough problem to warrant addressing it with all the legitimate “tools in the toolbox”.  That included through the positive power of example, namely through more strenuous efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to disarm and to persuade the non-NPT possessors to do likewise.  The review process was a chance for the parties to work together to address the nuclear-weapon threat.

Several concrete practical steps could be taken by the nuclear-weapon States to build international confidence and negate the pretext of proliferating States that sought to justify their need for nuclear weapons on the grounds of fear of the development or use of weapons or mass destruction by their enemies, she said.  Referring to the omnibus resolution, tabled by the New Agenda Coalition and adopted at the last General Assembly session, she said that none of the steps proposed was impractical and each could be carried out straightaway.  Among them were:  the irreversible destruction (rather than the storage) of non-deployed nuclear warheads; making verifiable, irreversible and transparent the potentially significant United States-Russian commitments under the Moscow Treaty (formally called the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty); and giving priority to reductions in non-strategic, or tactical, nuclear weapons.

She said that permitting nuclear-weapons programmes to continue over long periods of time fostered a “permissive environment for the proliferators”.  More leadership from the nuclear-weapon States in reducing their nuclear arsenals and demonstrating compliance under the nuclear disarmament pillar of the NPT would strengthen their moral authority to put pressure on India, Israel and Pakistan to do likewise, thereby reducing tensions in troubled areas and perhaps lowering the incentive –- or pretext –- for neighbouring or other States to develop weapons programmes.  The 2005 Review Conference must be pursued as a fundamental opportunity to take concrete steps that allowed everyone to feel assured that the purposes of the preamble and the provisions of the Treaty were actually being realized.

LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico), speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, said that certain developments since the last session highlighted the urgent need to proceed with international nuclear disarmament.  He also stressed his conviction that nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament were mutually reinforcing processes that required continuous and irreversible progress.  Turning to the current session’s task of producing a consensus report containing recommendations to the Review Conference, he stated that such suggestions should not be merely procedural.  After all, despite the existing opinion that the present session should only be a “housekeeping” exercise, he called for greater political will to reach more substantive results.  In that regard, he would introduce a working paper containing more dynamic recommendations.

Stressing that the NPT made nuclear disarmament an obligation rather than an option, he reminded delegates of the “unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals”, a provision affirmed at the 2000 Review Conference.  In that regard, although the Moscow Treaty was a “positive first step”, he questioned its effectiveness, since it did not require the destruction of nuclear weapons, failed to address non-strategic nuclear weapons, and contained no verification measures.  He also criticized the intentions of certain States to modernize their nuclear weapons, and reiterated his support for the moratorium on nuclear testing, pending the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Lauding the decisions of China and the Russian Federation to allow the Conference on Disarmament to adopt its programme of work, he, nevertheless, questioned the leadership capabilities of the nuclear-weapon States, since they were not truly honouring their commitments under the NPT.  In that context, he urged those States to not “merely pay lip service to their obligations”.  He also highlighted the importance of transparency in building trust and, therefore, strengthening the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

Addressing specific country cases, he renewed his call for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and urged Israel to accede to the NPT and place all of its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.  With respect to Iran, he welcomed its signing of the Additional Protocol, but called upon it to “resolve the outstanding questions regarding its nuclear programme”.  He also welcomed Libya’s voluntary decision to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programme.  Turning to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he stressed that diplomacy should be used to reverse that country’s withdrawal from the NPT.  Additionally, regarding South Asia, he called on India and Pakistan to promptly accede to the Treaty.

RICHARD RYAN (Ireland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed his commitment to the NPT and stressed that a multilateral approach to disarmament and non-proliferation was the best way to preserve international order.  Nevertheless, noting that the NPT had not been able to completely prevent the spread of military nuclear capability, he declared that he supported a policy of reinforcing compliance with the Treaty and enhancing the international ability to detect violations.  In that context, he called for the strengthening of the Security Council’s role in dealing with non-compliance.  He also said he backed measures aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

 Deploring the withdrawal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from the NPT, he called on that country to reverse its decision.  Regarding Iran, he welcomed the positive steps it had taken to accommodate the IAEA, but noted with great concern that “a number of questions remained unanswered”.  Lauding Libya’s decisions to abandon its clandestine weapons of mass destruction programme and ratify the CTBT, he, nonetheless, raised concerns that its arms-related progress, along with Iran’s, proved the existence of a network that sprang from the same sources.  In that regard, he stressed that supply routes had to be investigated and such illegal trading and information-sharing networks had to be suppressed.  Arms-selling States could help by implementing greater export controls.  Acknowledging the importance of the IAEA’s international safeguards system, he informed delegates that all European Union Member States had now acceded to the safeguards and Additional Protocols and would work to ensure that other States followed suit. Turning to South Asia and the Middle East, he called upon India and Pakistan to accede to the NPT.  He did, however, also welcome their declared moratoriums on nuclear testing, as well as their recent efforts to engage in dialogue with each other and implement nuclear-related confidence-building measures between themselves.  In the Middle East, it was necessary for all of the countries of that region to accede to the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions and join together in a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  In that context, he encouraged Israel to accede to the NPT and submit to IAEA safeguards.  Expressing regret over the continued deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament, he articulated his commitment to reaching a consensus on a programme of work.  In that regard, he attached importance to the negotiation of a non-discriminatory and universal treaty banning the production of fissile material.  Until such a treaty came into being, all States should declare a moratorium on producing such material.

HU ZIAODI (China) said that the new century had seen far-reaching changes and increasing uncertainties in the international security landscape.  The world faced both traditional and non-traditional security challenges, with the latter on the rise.  The spread of mass destruction weapons, plus the risk that terrorists might acquire them, added complexity and challenge to global non-proliferation efforts.  Thus, the authority and universality of the NPT should be strengthened in the new situation.   He welcomed the accessions of Cuba and Timor-Leste to the Treaty and called on those that had not done so to join the Treaty at an early date.  The IAEA played an irreplaceable role in ensuring the Treaty’s implementation.  He, thus, fully supported strengthened safeguards, and urged all countries to sign and ratify them and the Additional Protocol.

He said that the disclosure of the nuclear smuggling network indicated loopholes in the international non-proliferation regime.  The growing risk of terrorists acquiring mass destruction weapons further demonstrated the significance and urgency to improve the international non-proliferation regime.  China supported speeding up negotiations to amend the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, so as to strengthen physical protection of nuclear weapon and materials, and strengthen the ability of States to prevent the acquisition of radioactive materials by non-State entities.  His country supported the United Nations in playing a role in non-proliferation and favoured the adoption of resolutions by the Security Council, on the basis of full consultation, to prevent the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction by non-State entities.

Nuclear weapons proliferation was a complex issue, which should be treated in a comprehensive way by solving simultaneously the superficial and substantive problems, he said.  It was of fundamental importance to constantly improve the global and regional security environment.  To achieve that goal, all States should commit themselves to a new security concept focused on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation.  An international environment of cooperation and trust, whereby security was safeguarded for all, should be created.  In that connection, “we need to press ahead with the international nuclear disarmament efforts”, he urged.  Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing.  In today’s world, confrontation between countries, especially big countries, had declined, while cooperation had strengthened.  Meanwhile, however, international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction had become important international security threats.

In that situation, he said, such “moves” as adopting a pre-emptive strike strategy, explicitly listing other States as targets of nuclear strike, lowering the threshold of nuclear weapons use, the research and development of new types of easy-to-use nuclear weapons, and shortening the time of preparation for nuclear tests not only ran counter to international trends, but also harmed international non-proliferation efforts, which served no State.  His country believed that all nuclear-weapon States should explicitly reaffirm their commitments to a complete and thorough elimination of nuclear weapons, undertake to stop the research and development of new types of nuclear weapons, ratify the CTBT as soon as possible and observe the nuclear-testing moratorium, reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national security policy, and refrain from listing any State as a nuclear strike target.

Continuing, he said that the two States with the biggest nuclear arsenals should implement nuclear reduction treaties and further reduce their nuclear arsenals in an effectively verifiable and irreversible manner, so as to create conditions for other nuclear-weapon States to join the nuclear disarmament process.  The Conference on Disarmament should agree on a programme of work as soon as possible and, on that basis, start negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.  The Conference should also establish an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament, security assurances and prevention of an arms race in outer space, and it should carry out substantive work.

On assurances, he said that it was fully legitimate and reasonable for non-nuclear-weapon States to obtain assurances from nuclear-weapon States against nuclear threats.  Such assurances should be legally binding, since the non-nuclear-weapon States had given up the nuclear option.  History had proven that security assurances helped to boost the sense of security and reduce the motivation to acquire nuclear weapons.  That, in turn, served international non-proliferation efforts.  For those reasons, his country firmly supported the conclusion of an international legal instrument on security assurance as soon as possible.  At the same time, non-proliferation efforts must not impede legitimate activities of peaceful use, or be used as excuses for other purposes.

As a nuclear-weapon State, China had “never shunned” its responsibility in nuclear disarmament, he said.  It had always supported a complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, exercised the utmost restraint in developing nuclear weapons, and had maintained a minimum arsenal necessary for self-defence only.  China “has never and will never” take part in any arms race.  On the very first day it came into possession of nuclear weapons, China solemnly declared that, at no time and under no circumstances, would it be the first to use them.  Later, China undertook unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones.  In 1995, it provided positive security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.

He said his country had consistently urged all nuclear-weapon States to enshrine their commitments in a legal form.  In addition, his country had signed all relevant protocols to the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties and undertaken the corresponding obligations.  China and the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) had reached an agreement on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and its protocol.  Also, China had no difficulty with the text of the protocol to the Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty.  China had also been the first nuclear-weapon State to have the Additional Protocol of the IAEA in effect.  It was also active in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and had engaged in cooperation with other Member States under IAEA safeguards.

DAVID BROUCHER (United Kingdom) said that the past year in NPT history books would go down as both good and bad.  The year would be remembered for Libya’s historic decision to acknowledge and renounce its weapons of mass destruction programme.  It would be remembered for Iran’s decision to sign the Additional Protocol.  But, many would also remember it as the year that A. Q. Khan admitted selling Pakistani nuclear technology over several years to a series of non-nuclear-weapon States, as well as the year that Iran had been found not to have declared significant elements of its nuclear programme to the IAEA.  Such events had shown that multilateralism could pay great dividends in the field of counter-proliferation, but they had also demonstrated that much remained to be done.

He said that loopholes in the international machinery were being sought by States to develop clandestine weapons programmes.  Terrorists were seeking nuclear materials, and those threats were not receding.  Information from Pakistan that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was pursuing an undeclared uranium enrichment programme reinforced the importance of the “six-party talks” process under way in Beijing.  Efforts must be redoubled to counter proliferation and work to strengthen the international machinery that supported them.  There had been calls recently from some quarters to introduce new NPT mechanisms, including annual conferences to replace the “PrepComs” and the creation of a standing bureau of the Treaty.  The idea was that such measures would strengthen the NPT process.  He disagreed.  Mechanisms to tackle proliferation and non-compliance already existed within the IAEA and the Security Council.  Efforts should be concentrated on strengthening those, rather than tinkering with core elements of the Treaty.

The United Kingdom remained a staunch supporter of the IAEA, whose work on safeguards underpinned the NPT.  That was the front line of defence against States who would cheat on their international obligations, he said.  Calling on all States to complete and comply with the Safeguards Agreements and the Additional Protocols, he said that no country developing nuclear technology for purely peaceful purposes should have anything to fear from such a step.  The IAEA’s work alone, however, would not solve today’s problems.  A broad range of tools was required that would necessitate action by other international bodies and by national governments.  The Security Council, for example, was currently negotiating a resolution to advance the goal of enacting and enforcing effective domestic laws and controls that supported non-proliferation and criminalized proliferation, with stiff penalties for those that did not comply.  Hopefully, it would be adopted soon.  His country stood ready to help States meet the obligations contained therein.

He said that, while his country strongly supported the principle that States parties to the NPT should have access to the benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, it felt that enjoying such benefits should be conditional on compliance with the relevant Treaty articles.  In the case of failure to comply, it should be considered whether such States should lose the right to the nuclear fuel cycle, particularly the enrichment and reprocessing capabilities, which were so “proliferation sensitive”.  That did not mean that the States concerned could not construct and run civil nuclear power stations; those could still operate with fuel supplied by countries honouring their safeguards obligations.  The fuel would be subjected to Agency monitoring, while in the receiving country, and returned to the country of supply when spent.  That would prevent a seemingly civil programme from masking a weapons programme, he said.

Welcoming recent efforts by India and Pakistan to work together to reduce nuclear tensions in the region through confidence-building measures, he said that was an essential step to avoiding the risk of escalation to a nuclear exchange.  It was vital that the two sides gain a realistic understanding of each other’s decision-making processes and “red lines”.  Pakistan had been a source of nuclear proliferation through the activities of Mr. Khan, and India had developed its domestic technological base to the extent that it could be an attractive target for procurement networks.  Effective ways should be found to work with both countries in the future.  In terms of nuclear disarmament, his country had made substantial progress on its global nuclear disarmament obligations under the NPT.  Those had included:  the withdrawal and dismantling of its maritime tactical nuclear capability and of the “RAF’s WE177” nuclear bomb; and the termination of the nuclear Lance missile and artillery roles that it undertook, with nuclear weapons held under dual-key arrangements.  That had left Polaris, later superseded by Trident, as the United Kingdom’s only nuclear weapons system.

Since 2000, he continued, his country had completed the dismantling of its Chevaline (Polaris) warheads.  It now held less than 200 operationally available warheads, which amounted to a 70 per cent reduction in the explosive power of its nuclear weapons since the end of the cold war, “taking the UK from four nuclear roles to just one”.  It had announced that its nuclear forces patrol on reduced readiness; only a single Trident submarine was now on deterrent patrol at any one time, normally at several days “notice to fire” and with its missiles de-targeted.  Those measures built on actions previously taken by the United Kingdom.

He said it would be wrong to conclude this statement without mentioning the threat of nuclear terrorism.  Recent events in Madrid, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq had demonstrated all too clearly that there were individuals or groups that were determined to wreak havoc on society and kill hundreds or thousands of innocent civilians in the promotion of their cause.  The threat of terrorist use of nuclear weapons was of concern to all.  He welcomed the work being carried out to reduce that risk by individual nations, the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the IAEA, the Group of Eight (G-8) and others.  Also welcome was the work under way to tackle the root causes of terrorism.  His country remained fully committed to the NPT, as it wanted to see a universal, verifiable instrument that guaranteed a world free from nuclear danger, thus providing the security that everyone here was seeking.  The NPT offered the best hope of achieving that goal.

ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said that four years had elapsed since sixth NPT Review Conference, which had given rise to new hope that the world would be freed from the looming threat of nuclear weapons, leading to collective security for all.  Since the thirteen agreed measures and the unequivocal commitment by nuclear-weapon States to totally eliminate their nuclear arsenals, hope had turned to doubt and even more ominous clouds had gathered with the emergence of new threats, such as the risk of the terrorist acquisition of mass destruction weapons.  Objective assessment of events since 2000 clearly showed little progress, and initiatives undertaken were still insufficient, because often those did not bear the stamp of irreversibility.  The setbacks and the pivotal and strategic role of nuclear weapons in security policies, as well as the risk of horizontal and vertical proliferation were hardly grounds for optimism.

He said that the NPT was a major factor in the maintenance of international peace and security; that must be consolidated and its three pillars must be respected and applied.  Its ultimate universality was the goal.  Horizontal proliferation must be prevented.  States parties should adhere scrupulously with their obligations not to acquire nuclear weapons, and nuclear-weapon States must fulfil their nuclear disarmament obligations.  Balance between obligation and responsibility would only strengthen the Treaty.  Moreover, its text must be implemented as a whole, as selective implementation was fraught with the risk of erosion.  At the same time, the existence of nuclear arsenals and the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons were contrary to the spirit and letter of the Treaty and represented challenges, which States parties were obliged to meet.

The indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995 in no way permitted the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons and persistent division between those States entitled to possess them and those that did not, he said.  Article VI of the Treaty was binding and required that nuclear disarmament in good faith must be pursued.  Disarmament could only be achieved once cold war doctrines were renounced.  The Conference on Disarmament, which had been dormant since the end of 1996, must be revived.  In that connection, he called on all parties to demonstrate flexibility and pragmatism to ensure the success of the proposal presented by the “group of 5” ambassadors to revive that negotiating body.  Pending the elimination of all nuclear weapons, there was an imperative need to codify negative security guarantees in a binding legal instrument.  He endorsed the proposal by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of countries to establish a subsidiary body during the Conference’s next session to deal with that subject.

Stressing that regional nuclear disarmament and the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones were an effective contribution to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he said that the nuclear-weapon States bore particular responsibility, by ratifying the various protocols of the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties and by contributing to the establishment of such zones in various regions around the world.  The 1995 Review Conference had reaffirmed the importance of those zones and their role in non-proliferation and disarmament.  It had also recognized the contribution they played in strengthening peace.  Nevertheless, the attempt to create a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East had still not been realized.  A resolution adopted at the 1995 Review Conference, which called for the creation of a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone and demanded that Israel adhere to the NPT and submit its facilities to the IAEA, had remained a “dead letter”.  A strong signal must be sent to Israel to abide by international law and remove the “ultimate obstacle” to strengthening peace and stability in that particularly troubled region.

He said, moreover, that preventing nuclear proliferation could not serve as a pretext for preventing countries from receiving technology for peaceful means.  Although he reaffirmed his fundamental support for all measures designed to strengthen non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, they should not be carried out to the detriment of the rights of States to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, as stated in article IV of the NPT.  Today’s world urged everyone to rethink and readapt their policies and base them on cooperation and independence.  Collective welfare, including in the economic and social spheres, must be seen as underpinning peace and security.  Nuclear disarmament was the only way to preserve mankind from annihilation, and, thus, progress in that regard was crucial.

JUAN MANUEL GOMEZ ROBLEDO (Mexico) said the Committee’s main objective should be to effectively pave the road towards the 2005 Review Conference, while working to identify the new global challenges at hand.  Referring to last week’s open debate in the Security Council, on ways to prevent terrorists from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, he noted that he had said then, as he was saying now, that the best way to prevent such a travesty was to completely eliminate those types of arms.  Turning to the consensus report about what the current session was meant to produce, he said the recommendations it would eventually include should demonstrate a balance between the three pillars of the NPT, since they were interdependent.

Mentioning the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which set a precedent by promoting the idea of legally binding security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States by their nuclear-weapon counterparts, he felt, along with other delegates from the New Agenda Coalition, that such assurances should be adopted by a negotiated agreement within the framework of the NPT, or through a new NPT protocol.  He also called attention to the Havana Declaration, which called for security assurances for members of nuclear-weapon-free zones.

Despite the challenges faced by the IAEA safeguards regime, he stressed that it represented the best mechanism to ensure compliance with the non-proliferation obligations put forth by the NPT.  Last March, Mexico had decided to subscribe to the Additional Protocol.  Soon, the Mexican Senate would have the opportunity to ratify that expressed commitment.  Convinced of the value of submitting national reports, he said that process built accountability, trust and confidence.  His Government would also continue to support international confidence-building by promoting communication and cooperation between different nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Before concluding, he voiced support for the continued participation of civil society in the NPT review process.

RASTAM MOHD ISA (Malaysia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned States Parties to the NPT, reaffirmed the notion that multilaterally agreed solutions, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, represented the best way to deal with disarmament and global security issues.  In that regard, he stressed the importance of “full and non-selective” implementation of the NPT.  Declaring that the indefinite extension of the Treaty did not necessarily entail the ongoing possession by the nuclear-weapon States of their nuclear arms, he emphasized that the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against their use or threat of use.  Until the nuclear-weapon States destroyed their arsenals, they should extend legally binding security assurances to their non-nuclear-weapon counterparts, he said.

Reaffirming the inalienable right of States Parties to the NPT to engage in research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he articulated his understanding that nothing in the Treaty infringed upon that right.  He then echoed international calls to India and Pakistan to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States and to submit to IAEA safeguards.  Turning to the Middle East, he voiced support for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in that region.  He also welcomed Timor-Leste’s accession to the NPT, and he stated that dialogue should be used to bring the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea back into the regime.  Speaking about nuclear-weapon-free zones in general, he noted that States belonging to them should receive unconditional security assurances from nuclear-weapon States.

He then addressed several problematic international developments since the Preparatory Committee’s second session.  For example, there had been a serious lack of progress towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  Noting the signing of the Moscow Treaty, he, nevertheless, stressed that reductions in deployment and operational status should not be seen as substitutes for irreversible disarmament.  He also criticized the continuance of strategic defence doctrines to rationalize the maintenance of nuclear weapons, the abrogation of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missiles, which could lead to a new arms race, and the stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament, which was preserved by the inflexibility of certain nuclear-weapon States.  Noting that the Committee’s first and second sessions had already dealt with most of the procedural matters required for the 2005 Review Session, he expressed his hope that this session would allow for a substantive inter-State interaction, which went beyond the usual formal exchange of views.

JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said the present meeting was taking place during a challenging time for the NPT.  For example, the exposure of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan’s nuclear proliferation network had revealed a disturbingly sophisticated black market. To strengthen the non-proliferation regime, he urged Pakistan, India and Israel to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States.  In the meantime, he encouraged them to exercise strict domestic controls over their nuclear materials and technology.  Regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he expressed his concern over that country’s nuclear programme and urged it to follow Libya’s example.  After all, Libya had shown how isolated countries could benefit economically and diplomatically after abandoning weapons of mass destruction programmes.

Turning to the Security Council, he welcomed the proposed resolution before it that would require States to enact effective domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and hoped it would be adopted soon.  He also encouraged the Council to respond more firmly to States when they failed to respect their safeguards obligations.  Such States should also be prevented from enjoying the benefits of peaceful nuclear cooperation.  He named Iran as one such country that had failed to honour its safeguards commitments.  Noting that the Treaty’s provisions on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy could lead to negative proliferation, he said he would consider various ideas, including those put forth by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and United States President George W. Bush, on how to address that danger.

Addressing international treaties, he described the Moscow Treaty as a “significant step towards nuclear disarmament”, since, when implemented, it would see a two-thirds reduction in United States and Russian Federation deployed strategic nuclear warheads.  Regarding the CTBT, he urged all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify it.  And, with respect to a fissile material cut-off treaty, he hoped the present Committee would reiterate its support for the early negotiation of such an agreement.  In the meantime, he called upon China, as well as the nuclear capable States outside the NPT, to join the other nuclear-weapon States in their moratorium on fissile material production.

IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and the eventual elimination of those weapons remained a “far cry”.  Unfolding geopolitical events, strategic defence and national security doctrines set out new rationale for both horizontal and vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons and their delivery means.  Now, perhaps more than ever before, the NPT was faced with daunting challenges, which could unravel the entire process and undermine its core multilateral principles.  Against that backdrop, the 2005 NPT Review Conference afforded yet another opportunity to reaffirm the collective political will and sincerely re-engage in furthering the important progress made in 1995 and 2000.  As a State party to the NPT, Bangladesh had consciously and unconditionally given up its option to “go nuclear”.  Its unequivocal commitment to the full implementation of the NPT and the outcomes of its reviews flowed from his country’s constitutional obligations to general and complete disarmament.

Furthermore, he said, Bangladesh was the first “Annex 2” State to have signed the CTBT.  Committed to a stringent implementation of article III of the NPT (concerning the obligations of non-nuclear-weapon States), Bangladesh had concluded the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, as well as Additional Protocols.  Nevertheless, the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only guarantee against their use or threat.  It was also an effective measure to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.  Enhanced nuclear capability had not necessarily guaranteed enhanced security.  The indefinite extension of the NPT did not justify the indefinite possession by the nuclear-weapon States of their nuclear arsenals.  He attached the highest priority to the full and accelerated implementation by those States of article VI of the NPT, leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  They must also fulfil without delay, the unequivocal undertakings agreed at the 2000 Review Conference and pursue in earnest the 13 practical steps towards nuclear disarmament.

In addition, he said, the nuclear-weapon States must also shoulder special responsibilities towards increased transparency in their nuclear capabilities.  He expected to see them submit reports to the current Committee session on progress achieved in nuclear disarmament.  Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, vigorous efforts must be undertaken, on a priority basis, to conclude a universal, unconditional, and legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.  He called on the third Preparatory Committee to make recommendations on such assurances to the 2005 Review Conference, as was agreed at the 2000 review.  He also called on the States remaining “outside” the Treaty, particularly those with nuclear capability, to join it.  In South Asia, the nuclear capability of his two neighbours, India and Pakistan, had been a matter of legitimate concern for all non-nuclear countries of the region.  He welcomed the resumption of dialogue between the two countries and was encouraged by their decision to impose a self-moratorium on further nuclear testing.  Hopefully, those two States would accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States.

Also disconcerting was that, despite the lapse of more than three full decades since the Treaty’s entry into force, the legitimate right of the developing countriesState parties’ access to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy had remained unfulfilled, he said.  He, therefore, called for an immediate and non-discriminatory fulfilment by the nuclear-weapon States of their related obligations under article IV.  He also urged the third Preparatory Committee not to spare any efforts in laying “a strong and agreed foundation” for the upcoming review.  Strengthening implementation of the NPT must be achieved in the interest of peace, harmony and development, as envisaged in the Millennium Declaration.

REZLAN ISHAR JENIE (Indonesia) said that, despite dire predictions, the NPT had emerged from the 2000 Review Conference stronger than ever.  The Conference had also “achieved a milestone” by adopting a final document, which had laid down the 13 practical steps to promote and enhance NPT implementation.  Currently, however, the number of global nuclear risks was increasing dramatically.  For example, in addition to the vertical development of new nuclear capabilities, the world was facing new threats, such as nuclear terrorism and the horizontal proliferation of nuclear technologies.

Affirming his commitment to the inalienable right of access to the peaceful use of nuclear technology, he voiced dissatisfaction with unilateral restrictions of nuclear-related exports.  Also, he regretted that because of the actions of a few countries with nuclear aspirations, other States parties had suffered under collective measures aimed at limiting the sharing of technology.  In addition, the NPT regime had been undermined by the creation of other non-NPT international instruments.

Both old and new issues needed to be considered when working to strengthen the Treaty.  Also necessary was much political will from all States parties.  Turning to the security concerns of many non-nuclear-weapon States, he stressed that a legally binding multilateral mechanism, which would offer security assurances against the threat or use of nuclear weapons, needed to be discussed.  He also declared that recognition and a system of incentives should be offered to States that had shown full compliance with their Treaty obligations.  Citing the importance of transparency in exports, he maintained that exporting and importing parties could, and should, under the auspices of the IAEA, work together and become true partners.

PETER GOOSEN (South Africa), reviewing the tasks assigned to the 2005 Review Conference by the one convened in 2000, said the Committee was not in a position simply to concentrate on the iteration or reiteration of policy positions concerning the NPT.  Neither was it only to report on what had been accomplished or not accomplished in terms of NPT obligations, or in terms of the agreements reached within the NPT context.  Nor was it only to prepare a summary report on the deliberations that had taken place.  The Committee had specific identified tasks, which had been assigned to it, and it should focus, first and foremost, on ensuring that those were completed.

He said his country, therefore, strongly recommended an approach that would result in agreements surrounding the following items, among others:  preparation of a Chairperson’s paper should highlight the issues, rather than attempt to duplicate a final document; and the procedural arrangements for the Review Conference should take into account the deliberations and results of previous sessions, including the recommendation that subsidiary bodies to Main Committees be established to deal with such issues as nuclear disarmament, the 1995 Middle East resolution, security assurances, and so forth.  Failure to focus on those specific tasks or to reach agreement on their contents would only ensure that the issues arose again at, or in the immediate run-up to, the Review Conference.

Accomplishments in implementing the NPT and the undertakings made at the 2000 Review Conference were a blemished record, he said.  While there had been progress in expanding the application of the non-proliferation provisions of the Treaty, particularly in the context of the IAEA and the conclusion of additional protocol agreements to existing safeguards, the same could not be said for nuclear disarmament.  It was fair to say that the overwhelming majority of non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT had demonstrated, and were continuing to demonstrate, their full commitment to, and compliance with, their obligations, even given events since 1995, namely the proliferation of States with nuclear weapons capabilities, a withdrawal from the NPT, the proliferation of nuclear weapons technologies and an instance of declared non-compliance that have negatively affected the goal of nuclear non-proliferation.

On the other hand, he continued, the following was also true:  only limited progress had been made in implementing the 13 steps on nuclear disarmament; the ABM Treaty had been abrogated; pressure was waning on the three States outside the NPT to accede to it promptly and without condition and to bring into force the required safeguards agreements; the possibility remained that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists as a result of a continued retention of, or aspiration to, nuclear weapons capabilities; the Conference on Disarmament had continued to fail to deal with nuclear disarmament; the CTBT had not yet entered into force; there was no sign of engagement by all five nuclear-weapon States in a plurilateral process leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons; and new approaches were emerging for the broader role of nuclear weapons in security strategies, including rationalizations for their use and the possible development of new types of nuclear weapons.

He said that the perception of a lack of balance had been a perennial source of complaint about the NPT.  The problems of imbalance and selective emphasis on preferred aspects of the Treaty had been exacerbated recently by the sole emphasis on non-proliferation –- whether that was on the part of so-called “rogue” States, terrorists, or the traffickers of nuclear weapons technology.  Those issues were undoubtedly of importance and required the consideration of the NPT States parties, but they did not provide a rationale for failing to address the other key elements of the Treaty.  Care should be taken not to heighten tensions within the NPT and not to promote “quick fix” solutions by, for example, deliberately ignoring the core bargain of the NPT, where States undertook not to aspire to nuclear weapons on the basis that all parties would work for their elimination.

He cited as other “quick fix” solutions the following:  expanding the current “have/have not” regime; approaching the issues surrounding nuclear fuel exclusively as a problem in non-proliferation, without recognition of the importance such controls had in shaping the future of disarmament; the potentially diminished role of treaty regimes and the potential negative impact flowing from reliance on the Security Council; an approach to proliferation that did not recognize it as a global challenge requiring cooperation at the global level; and the reliance on limited solutions to the detriment of the role that the NPT was intended to play as a sustainable methodology of obtaining such commitments from all States.  Despite a recent prediction that the review would turn into a “‘bad-tempered huddle’”, the NPT was too valuable an instrument of international peace and security -- and of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation -– for States parties to be deterred.

MARCO BALAREZO (Peru) told the Committee that it had to deal with procedural, as well as substantive matters.  Nevertheless, its primary goal was to help achieve the complete implementation of the NPT, which, despite its shortcomings, was still the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime.  Reaffirming his commitment to nuclear disarmament, he remarked that his Government had complied with all its non-proliferation obligations.  He also expressed his conviction that the NPT regime could only be strengthened and universalized through multilateralism and implementation of the 13 practical steps.

Calling for the prompt entry into force of the CTBT, he also stressed the need for negotiations on a non-discriminatory treaty to prohibit the production of fissile material.  In that context, he called for a halt to the paralysis in the Conference on Disarmament.  After all, that body, the only multilateral body dedicated to disarmament negotiations, was currently useless.  Last year had been quite discouraging, he said, lamenting the lack of consensus on issues before the Disarmament Commission and the failure to produce a tentative agenda for the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament.

KIM SAM-HOON (Republic of Korea) said that for more than three decades the NPT had curbed the spread of nuclear weapons.  It was irreplaceable as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.  Recent good news, such as Libya’s decision to renounce its weapons of mass destruction programmes and the countering of A.Q. Khan’s procurement network, had been overshadowed by the unprecedented challenges facing the NPT today.  Its integrity and credibility had suffered a “serious blow”, as a result of recent cases of non-compliance and an announced withdrawal.  Those cases had revealed inherent limitations and loopholes in the Treaty, which allowed determined proliferators to pursue their nuclear ambitions without violating the Treaty.

He said that the challenges confronting the Treaty were dire enough to call into question its effectiveness and viability.  That required a concerted response by the international community, as a whole.  First and foremost, the NPT must be supplemented and strengthened to fit the realities of the twenty-first century.  In that regard, it was crucial that the IAEA’s verification capabilities be strengthened through the universalization of the Additional Protocol.  He also attached great importance to export controls over technologies and “items of proliferation significance” as a practical way of closing the existing loopholes.  In that connection, he supported the leading role of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and establishment of a universal system of export controls.  He recognized the need to control the transfer of sensitive fuel cycle technologies and items, particularly to countries of “proliferation concern”.

Also welcome had been the Security Council’s efforts to deal resolutely with the illicit trafficking of weapons of mass destruction and related activities involving non-State actors, he said.  Beyond that body’s role under the NPT as the “ultimate defender of compliance”, it had responsibilities under the Charter to deal with specific proliferation concerns when those threatened international peace and security.  Also, the withdrawal provision of the NPT should be revisited and complemented.  While the importance of achieving the universality of that Treaty could not be overemphasized, preventing its “de-universalization” had not become a pressing task.  In that connection, he was open-minded to constructive proposals, including the idea of requiring the Council’s approval for withdrawal.

He said that the nuclear-weapon-States had an obligation to “more than seriously take up their share of the bargain”, namely to fulfil the nuclear disarmament obligations under article VI of the Treaty.  He also emphasized the need to address the root causes of proliferation.  The supply-side approach based on export controls, would only have limited effectiveness until it was supplemented by a demand-side approach, which reduced the incentive for nuclear proliferation.  As a growing number of countries had mastered the technologies to produce fissile materials and nuclear devices, the export controls and safeguards system, however perfect, could never be foolproof in deterring determined proliferators.  As incentive for proliferation often stemmed from the perception of insecurity, he attached great importance to the reduction of regional tensions and the fostering of a peaceful global security environment.

Today, he said, the North Korean weapons programmes posed the most “pressing and intractable” proliferation concern for the international community.  How that issue was addressed would have enduring and far-reaching implications for the future of the global non-proliferation regime, as well as for the peace and security of the Korean peninsula, North-East Asia and beyond.  It was crucial that Democratic People’s Republic of Korea make a full commitment to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all of its nuclear programmes.  Towards that goal, his country was working closely with interested parties within the framework of the six-party talks, and no effort would be spared for a peaceful solution on that issue.

MOHAMED EZZELDINE ABDEL-MONEIM (Egypt), Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs, said the non-proliferation and disarmament regime was at a critical juncture.  He then highlighted four concerns.  First, those present had a responsibility to implement the mandates given to them by the previous review conferences and affirm the credibility of the NPT in the face of new challenges.  Nuclear-weapon States had to take steps to destroy their nuclear arsenals, since elimination was the only guarantee for the non-use of such arms.  So far, those States had made very little progress in disarmament.  The bilateral steps that had been taken were too small and lacked verification mechanisms.

Second, nuclear-weapon States’ strategic defence doctrines still involved nuclear arms and, in some instances, those States seemed more likely to use them now than during the Cold War, especially since new nuclear capabilities were improving military flexibility.  Third, the multilateral machinery related to disarmament was in a bad state.  The status of the Conference on Disarmament clearly exemplified that statement.  Fourth, there was slackening when it came to the implementation of commitments made only a few years ago, and that affected the capabilities of the NPT Review Conferences.

Addressing security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States, he said States that had renounced nuclear weapons had the right to such promises.  Currently, however, those assurances had been insignificant and, for that reason, the greatest degree of importance should be given to the matter during the present session.  It should also be kept in mind that progress in disarmament could enhance non-proliferation.

Turning to his own region, the Middle East, he reminded delegates that, during the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences, the area had been singled out because of its delicate security situation.  Currently, Israel remained outside the NPT and its nuclear facilities had yet to be inspected by the IAEA.  In light of the dangers such circumstances posed, he affirmed the importance of establishing a subsidiary organ to discuss means to implement the recommendations on the Middle East that came out of the 1995 and 2000 Conferences.  Before concluding, he stressed that access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes was not a favour to be bestowed out of goodwill.  Rather, it was a right enshrined in the NPT.  Any State attempting to restrict that right was violating the Treaty.

CHRISTIAN FAESSLER (Switzerland) said that recent developments illustrated three of the serious problems confronting the NPT:  its lack of influence on the activities of countries that had nuclear weapons, but were not parties; the lack of will by several Stats parties to fully meet their obligations; and the difficulty of acting during serious proliferation crises.  In addition, the new dimension of the threat of terrorism should also be considered.  To strengthen multilateral cooperation in nuclear non-proliferation, he suggested, first and foremost, that efforts continue to universalize the NPT.

He said that widening nuclear proliferation was not unconnected to the fact that nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT had still not entirely fulfilled their promises of nuclear disarmament, nor had legally binding security assurances been negotiated.  In addition, while the right of peaceful use of nuclear energy was a basic pillar of the NPT, illegal activities in that area should be criminalized in the national legislations of all States parties.  Also, to strengthen verification of the NPT, he supported initiatives to organize annual conferences of States parties.

Although he said his country believed that the main efforts to achieve nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament should be made through the adoption of legally binding multilateral instruments, it did not wish to exclude other complementary initiatives.  In that regard, it had joined the Group of 8 Global Partnership against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.  It also collaborated with the Proliferation Security Initiative.

YOSHIKI MINE (Japan) said that 2005 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the tragedies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  He called on all parties to the NPT to reaffirm their strong commitment to the elimination of all nuclear weapons in the lead-up to the Review Conference, with the unfailing determination that nuclear devastation must never again be repeated.  Recent challenges to the NPT regime, such as the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Mr. Khan’s underground network, had brought to light the urgency for States to demonstrate their collective commitment to the NPT in preparing for the 2005 Review Conference.  It was important for the Committee to produce a consensus report containing recommendations for the Review Conference.

He said that Mr. Khan’s underground network reaffirmed the need to further strengthen existing nuclear non-proliferation regimes.  In that respect, specific measures, such as the strengthening and universalizing of IAEA safeguards, the physical protection of nuclear material, and the strengthening of export controls, should be the subject of extensive discussion by the Committee.  He also attached great importance to strengthening the non-proliferation mechanisms in Asia and had been making efforts towards that goal.  He urged all nuclear-weapon States to implement concrete nuclear disarmament measures.  They should seriously note the commitment made to date by nearly all countries to renounce the nuclear option under the NPT regime.  It was imperative that they responded to that resolute determination by demonstrating tangible progress towards nuclear disarmament.

Japan was concerned about the declaration by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that it would withdraw from the NPT and refuse to accept the IAEA Safeguards Agreement, he said.  The international community urged that country to retract such decisions.  He urged it to dismantle its nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.  At the same time, he welcomed Iran’s decision to act in accordance with the Additional Protocol, pending its entry into force.  He also welcomed Libya’s decision to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programmes and he called on that country to promptly ratify and fully implement the Additional Protocol.  In the current unsettled security environment, he emphasized the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation education and the patent need to inform people of the dangers posed by mass destruction weapons.

FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) declared that it was necessary for the nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their commitments to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.  He also expressed regret that the NPT had yet to achieve its goal of universality.  Drawing attention to those States that operated nuclear facilities not inspected by the IAEA, he called on such States to submit to IAEA safeguards.  Declaring that restrictions should not be placed on some States and not others, he urged nuclear-weapon States not to deal with countries that were not parties to the NPT, especially if such States exploited the current international situation in order to develop nuclear capabilities.

The fact that the 1995 NPT Review Conference had adopted a resolution on the Middle East showed the concern of States parties over the gravity of the situation.  It also highlighted the duty of the international community not to ignore the circumstances, since Israel’s monopoly of nuclear capabilities in the region would cast serious doubts on the non-proliferation regime there.  To correct the current imbalance, he called for greater transparency.  He also said the following four actions should be taken.

First, time should be set aside during the present session to discuss how to implement the 1995 resolution calling on Israel to accede to the NPT.  Second, the Committee needed to urge the nuclear-weapon States to honour their obligations under article I of the Treaty and not transfer nuclear weapons to Israel, assist Israel’s nuclear programme, or encourage it to produce nuclear weapons.  Third, the Committee should underscore that all States parties, especially the nuclear-weapon States, needed to implement the Middle East resolution in full.  Finally, certain nuclear-weapon States had to stop neglecting their obligations by justifying Israel’s nuclear arsenal.  He added that all nuclear-weapon States should commence negotiations on unconditional, legally binding, and irreversible comprehensive security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.

MARLY CEDEÑO REYES (Venezuela) said the NPT played a fundamental role in promoting international peace and security.  She reiterated her country’s commitment to the aims of disarmament, namely through strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and eliminating weapons of mass destruction under strict international verification.  Her country also aspired to general and complete disarmament in all its aspects.  That policy had been clearly established in its Constitution of 1999, pursuant to the mandate of the heads of State of the Millennium Summit.  Venezuela had also been a founding member of the Treaty of Tlatelolco.  With Cuba’s accession, the zone under that Treaty had become the first inhabited area of the planet free from nuclear weapons.

She said she was pleased with the near universality of the NPT.  Venezuela, in support of the international Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missiles, would call for the adoption at the next General Assembly session of a resolution linking that body and the United Nations.  Venezuela had ratified the CTBT in 2002 and, in that regard, supported the maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-testing moratorium.  Her country also supported the IAEA in its monitoring and verification role, as well as its role in the area of technical cooperation for the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  It also fully supported the Agency’s efforts to increase the technological and physical safety of radioactive sources.  Venezuela had made available to the IAEA and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) two seismic stations.  She called on all to accede to the CTBT, especially given its complementarity with the NPT.

Regarding the Middle East, she said her Government was concerned about an escalation of violence and the current heightening of tensions, which threatened international peace and security.  The long Arab-Israeli conflict should find a solution in the context of Security Council decisions, and in keeping with the Charter and in strict accordance with international law.  She supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in that region, as a complement to a just and lasting peace.  She supported strengthening the principle of multilateralism in the field of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and she rejected the unilateral and preventive use of force as a solution to political and cultural problems.  She also considered very serious the possible use of mass destruction weapons by non-State actors with terrorist aims.

PAUL MEYER (Canada) recalled that the parties convened last April with the “shock waves” of the unprecedented notification by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s of its withdrawal from the Treaty still reverberating throughout the security community.  That had been followed by the revelation of the prolonged failure of Iran to honour its commitments under its Safeguards Agreements.  That pattern of behaviour constituted non-compliance with fundamental obligations.  While some important remedial action had been taken, many key issues remained unresolved and fed lingering suspicions as to Iran’s real nuclear intentions.

He said that last year also bore striking witness to the fact that Libya had been deliberately violating its NPT obligations in pursuit of nuclear weapons.  The fact that that State party “turned itself in” and was actively cooperating in the elimination of its nascent weapons of mass destruction programme, while laudable, could not blind anyone to the negative implications of its previous actions.  In addition, a black market in nuclear weapon-related technology, run by Mr. Khan and associates, and involving citizens of entities of several NPT parties, had been uncovered.  One would be justified in considering the past year an “annus horribilis” for the Treaty.  Those “assaults” on the Treaty’s authority and integrity should not go unanswered.  They should spur everyone to action to defend the Treaty against those who would undermine it.

If that Treaty was the vital underpinning of the international security order, then active measures were demanded to preserve and safeguard it, he said.  Part of the response should be a reinforced system to ensure that the Treaty’s core non-proliferation obligations were respected.  The Additional Protocol was now the verification standard.  A collective decision should be made at the Review to recognize that standard as mandatory under the Treaty.

YERZHAN KAZYKHANOV (Kazakhstan) said the desire by certain countries and terrorists to acquire nuclear weapons constituted a grave threat to global security.  That was why the NPT was so important.  As the only international instrument obligating its States parties to adopt nuclear disarmament procedures, it was a powerful tool.  However, to eliminate all nuclear weapons, one had to first achieve a fair balance between nuclear and non-nuclear States.  Such a balance could be promoted by a legally binding and universal security assurances instrument.  The ultimate goal was for the NPT to become universal and, in that context, he expressed his support for the 13 practical steps decided upon by the 2000 Review Conference.

Declaring that it was necessary to negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty, he also said the CTBT should be strengthened.  For its part, his country’s seismic control towers were contributing to the international explosion-monitoring regime.  He also stressed that nuclear-weapon-free zones represented an important and positive development.  His region was contributing to international peace and security by negotiating such a zone in Central Asia.  Also attaching great importance to IAEA safeguards, he told delegates that all of Kazakhstan’s nuclear facilities were now covered by IAEA safeguards, and he urged all States to join his country in signing the IAEA’s Additional Protocol.

Since 2000, his country had been a member of the nuclear suppliers’ group.  It was, thus, committed to international rules and standards.  That was why it was deplorable that his Government’s application to join the Missile Technology Control Regime had not been accepted in 2000. After all, his country had the scientific and technical capacity to produce missiles and was home to one of the world’s largest launch pads.  Before concluding, he stated that outer space should only be explored for peaceful purposes. Thus, it was important to launch negotiations on preventing the militarization of outer space as soon as possible.

ALEG IVANOU (Belarus) said that, while upholding nuclear weapons destruction as the ultimate goal of the NPT, his country believed that that goal must be achieved on the basis of a realistic and balanced approach within a phased programme of nuclear disarmament.  Achieving that goal should be based on the mechanisms of collective decision-making, the United Nations Charter and international law.  Stability and international security could only be achieved on the basis of the real equality of all entities of the world community, mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation, aimed at providing reliable security for every State.  The modern realities, new threats and challenges required the States parties to take further measures to achieve the integrity, universality and unconditional implementation of the NPT.

In that connection, he called on the States possessing nuclear facilities not under IAEA safeguards to accede to the Treaty as soon as possible.  In the current situation, the consistent strengthening and strict observance of the NPT regime as one of the most important elements of the fight against global terrorism took on special significance.  Within that context, increased attention should be given to the issues of nuclear terrorism, control over transfers of nuclear materials and their accounting and physical protection.  He supported the early entry into force of the CTBT, adding that the complete cessation of nuclear tests and the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation were achievable only if that Treaty entered into force and became universal.  Despite the testing moratoriums, political declarations must now become legally binding documents.

Belarus, which some years ago had made a historical choice to reject its nuclear potential, could not help but worry about the latest practice of taking unilateral decisions to withdraw from the those treaties that constituted a basis for international security and strategic stability.  He deeply regretted the decision of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to withdraw from the NPT.  At the same time, the question of that country’s renewed participation in the Treaty should be solved solely by peaceful means on the basis of international law, both at bilateral and multilateral levels, with due respect to the legitimate concerns of all interested parties.

VILMOS CSERVENY, Director of the Office of External Relations and Policy Coordination of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the Agency’s role as an independent, objective verification body remained central to the effectiveness of the NPT regime.  However, although it had been strengthened in the early 1990s as a result of Iraq’s clandestine nuclear-weapons programme, it was still hampered by the failure of a number of States to subscribe to the enhanced safeguards system.  Currently, there were 44 non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT that had not yet fulfilled their legal obligations to submit to inspections.  As more States subscribed to the Additional Protocol, the IAEA’s credibility and value would only increase.  In that context, he urged such States to bring into force those legal instruments.

He then addressed specific situations in several countries.  Beginning with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he expressed regret that he could not offer any assurances vis-à-vis that country’s nuclear programme.  In that regard, he expressed hope that any future diplomatic solution of the Korean peninsula’s nuclear problem would allow for the Agency to conduct inspections there.  Turning to Iraq, he said the IAEA had not been able to perform the work allocated to it by the Security Council since March 2003.  However, it remained ready to resume its verification tasks as soon as possible.  Regarding Iran, he said that, although the country had initially failed to meet its safeguards-related obligations, it had become more transparent since last October.  It had also decided to suspend enrichment and reprocessing activities, as requested by the IAEA.  With respect to Libya, the Agency had enjoyed unrestricted access to all requested locations.

In light of events from the past year, it had become clear that export control systems governing the trafficking of sensitive nuclear technology needed to be strengthened dramatically.  In that context, he voiced support for a universal, multilateral system, based on commonly shared norms, which would balance necessary restrictions with the right to access of peaceful nuclear technology.  He also referred to the wide dissemination of the most proliferation-sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle as the “Achilles’ heel” of the present nuclear non-proliferation regime.  To combat the problem, he suggested that, among other things, existing facilities, which used high-enriched uranium, be converted to use low-enriched nuclear fuel.  Also touching upon article IV of the NPT, which refers to the inalienable right of all States parties to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he told delegates that the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme provided parties with about $80 million a year, to help them benefit from the technology.

PAULETTE BETHEL (Bahamas), on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the Review Conference was faced with a daunting task.  Now, four years after the last review, optimism had waned in the face of the very limited progress made in implementing the 13 practical steps towards nuclear disarmament.  The Community called on all States to reaffirm their commitment to implement those measures.  In addition, other parts of the international disarmament machinery were deadlocked, owing to divergent views.  “We cannot allow the NPT to follow suit”, she urged.

She said that the Treaty’s near universality should continue to be a source of optimism and a sign of common ground in seeking to eliminate the spread and use of nuclear weapons.  While the international community had recently turned its attention to the very real danger of the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors, including terrorists, the Community stressed that that preoccupation should not detract from the agreed goal of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  Rather, the international community should seek to ensure that existing obligations were fulfilled, while new threats and challenges were effectively addressed.  The CARICOM’s commitment was embodied in the participation of all of its members States in the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

Elimination of nuclear testing remained a critical element in the overall process of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, she said.  For that reason, CARICOM called for a renewed commitment to promoting the early entry into force of the CTBT.  In its region, the Community was pleased that Belize’s ratification of that Treaty on 26 March.  Committed to nuclear safety, all CARICOM members had concluded Safeguards Agreements with the IAEA.  The most important nuclear issue for those countries, however, remained the transboundary movement of radioactive materials.  The transshipment of nuclear waste through the Caribbean Sea and the concomitant threat to the environmental and economic sustainability of small island developing States of the region was a grave concern to CARICOM.  In that context, the Community welcomed the explicit recognition of such concerns at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, as well as ongoing efforts by the IAEA.

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For information media. Not an official record.