|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES VIENNA MEETING TO ADDRESS ‘PERSISTING CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE’
IN NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), delivered by Hannelore Hoppe, Officer-in-Charge, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, in Vienna, 30 April:
I am pleased to send my greetings to this opening session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. This is the first such meeting to occur in Vienna, the home of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which will soon commemorate its fiftieth anniversary. This is also the first time a Secretary-General has sent a message to an NPT Preparatory Committee, a step I believe is necessary because of a persisting crisis of confidence in the Treaty.
Evidence of such a crisis is widespread. The 2005 NPT Review Conference ended with a disappointing outcome. There continues to be insufficient progress in nuclear disarmament, as well as a lack of universal adherence to the IAEA safeguards agreements and cases of non-compliance. Nuclear tests were conducted in 1998 and 2006, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty faces difficulties. Ongoing tests of nuclear-capable missiles, possible discrimination in peaceful nuclear cooperation and a failure to implement the proposal to establish a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East have also raised serious concerns.
The NPT review process offers an appropriate forum for creative responses to these developments. By looking both backward and forward, the process can help States parties to keep the Treaty in step with changing times, to strengthen accountability of States parties and to promote constructive engagement with civil society.
The Treaty is worth reinforcing. It has done far more than create a norm of non-proliferation. It commits the nuclear-weapon States to disarmament, while affirming the inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, consistent with other treaty obligations.
I am encouraged that this preparatory meeting will also consider progress that has been made in establishing regional nuclear-weapon-free zones, and the prospects for creating new ones. The growth of membership in such zones -- which encompass well over 100 States -- is one of the greatest achievements in the atomic age.
I call upon all delegates to build on the Vienna spirit, and adopt its traditional, non-confrontational approach to dealing with these and other difficult issues. I urge you to show the world what multilateral cooperation can achieve in building a safer world and advancing the interests and ideals of humanity. Please accept my best wishes for a constructive session.
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