‘You Are Here Not Simply to Avoid a Nuclear Nightmare’, Secretary-General Tells Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review, ‘But to Build a Safer World for All’

3 May 2010
DC/3226

‘You Are Here Not Simply to Avoid a Nuclear Nightmare’, Secretary-General Tells Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review, ‘But to Build a Safer World for All’

3 May 2010
Meetings Coverage
DC/3226
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

NPT Review Conference

1st & 2nd Meetings (AM & PM)


‘You Are Here Not Simply to Avoid a Nuclear Nightmare’, Secretary-General Tells


Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review, ‘But to Build a Safer World for All’


Iran Says National Policies, Treaty Shortfalls Prompt Nuclear Weapons Development;

United States Warns against Fracturing along Familiar Lines, Ruts of Old Divisions


While many States had abolished nuclear weapons and reduced their arsenals, the global non-proliferation regime had been asleep for far too long, and it was now time to deliver on the deep global aspiration to build a safer world, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders as the month-long 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) opened at Headquarters today.


“We need this regime as much as ever,” Mr. Ban declared, citing the 40-year-old Treaty as its cornerstone.  Progress on disarmament could not await a world free of war or terrorism.  Nor could success in non-proliferation await the elimination of the last nuclear weapon.  The new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) between the Russian Federation and United States was an encouraging sign, and he urged States to build on that momentum.


“You are here not simply to avoid a nuclear nightmare”, he reminded delegates, “but to build a safer world for all.”


Describing five benchmarks for success, he said real gains towards disarmament were needed, and he encouraged States to expand on the 13 practical steps adopted at the Review Conference 10 years ago.  He also urged countries outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to accede to it as soon as possible.


Further, there was a need to strengthen the rule of law, he explained, saying he had long advocated for the entry into force of the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).  The time had come to think seriously about setting a time frame for ratification.  He also called for a conference to review implementation of the Convention on Nuclear Terrorism, and for the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiations immediately on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for weapons purposes.


He voiced strong support for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, while also calling on Iran to fully comply with Security Council resolutions.  “Let us be clear:  the onus is on Iran to clarify the doubts and concerns about its programme,” he stated.  He also encouraged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to the six-party talks as soon as possible, without preconditions, to realize the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  Finally, NPT implementation would benefit from more systematic national reporting.


United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Review Conferences, held every five years, had all too often fractured along familiar lines:  nuclear-weapon-States versus non-nuclear-weapon States.  Many had retreated into predictable positions to protect presumed interests.  “This time must be different,” she said.  States could not fall into the ruts of old divisions.


For its part, the United States had come with a larger agenda:  to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, she said.  To make that point, she announced that her Government would submit protocols to the Senate to ratify its participation in nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa and the South Pacific.  States would have the legally binding assurance that the United States would fully respect the nuclear-weapon-free-status of those zones.


Moreover, the Government was taking irreversible, transparent and verifiable steps to reduce its nuclear weapon numbers, she said, and would make public the number of nuclear weapons in its stockpile.  The Administration also was ready to start multilateral negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.  In the Middle East, the United States supported efforts to create a zone free of weapons of mass destruction.  For those who doubted the United States would do its part, those commitments sent a clear, unmistakable signal.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pointed out that the United States had never respected its commitments and, in past decades, had engaged in wars and conflicts with those that were once “friends”.  It was now clear that the production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and policies practised by some nuclear-weapon States, along with the weaknesses of and imbalance in the NPT provisions were the main causes of insecurity and motivated the development of those weapons.  It would be naïve and irrational to expect an effective voluntary initiative towards disarmament and non-proliferation, because those States considered nuclear weapons to be an element of superiority.


Offering his own proposals, he said the NPT should evolve into the “nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation treaty”, and an independent international group with authority from the Conference should prepare guidelines to carry out article VI of the NPT.  He also suggested the introduction of legally binding security guarantees; the adoption of a legally binding instrument to ban production, stockpiling, improvement, proliferation, maintaining and use of nuclear weapons; and the suspension of membership in the IAEA Board to those States that used or threatened to use nuclear weapons.


R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Treaty’s indefinite extension in 1995 did not imply the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by the nuclear-weapon State.  It was unacceptable that nuclear-weapon States and those remaining outside the NPT continued to retain — and even modernize — their nuclear arsenals, imperilling peace and security, particularly in the Middle East.  The Review Conference must reject policies of nuclear deterrence and place a ban on all forms of nuclear-weapon testing.  Delegates should call for a time frame with a list of specific actions for the implementation of the Treaty’s article VI and a mechanism to ensure compliance.  The NPT’s indefinite extension did not imply the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon States.


Speaking in his national capacity, he said Indonesia had initiated the process of ratification of the CTBT, and fervently hoped that such a commitment would encourage other countries that had not yet ratified that Treaty to do so.


Also today, the Review Conference adopted its draft rules of procedure, and approved requests for observer status for Palestine, as well as for the following organizations and associations:  the African Union; Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials; Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization; European Union; International Committee of the Red Cross; Inter-Parliamentary Union; International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN); International Science and Technology Center; League of Arab States; North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); NATO Parliamentary Assembly; Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America; and the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands Forum.


The Conference also approved the requests to attend meetings of the plenary or the Main Committee from 121 non-governmental organizations.


It elected the following as Chairmen of its main committees:  Boniface Chidyausiku (Zimbabwe) to Main Committee I; Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine) to Main Committee II; Takeshi Nakane (Japan) to Main Committee III, Andrzej Towpik (Poland) to the Drafting Committee and Abulkalam Momen (Bangladesh) to the Credentials Committee.


Elected as Vice-Chairpersons to those committees were Nineta Barbulescu (Romania) and Dell Higgie (New Zealand) to Main Committee I; Maged Abdelaziz (Egypt) and Marius Grinius (Canada) to Main Committee II; Attila Zimonyi (Hungary) and Alfredo Labbe (Chile) to Main Committee III; Ali Soltanieh (Iran) and Christer Ahlström (Sweden) to the Drafting Committee; and O. Ismayilzada (Azerbaijan) and Steffen Kongstad (Norway) to the Credentials Committee.


It also elected 34 Vice-Presidents.  From the Eastern European States Group, Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  From the Western States Group, Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Spain and Switzerland; and from the Group of Non-Aligned and Other States, Algeria, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Venezuela.


The Conference also confirmed Thomas Markram, as Secretary-General of the 2010 Review Conference.  In final business, it took note that an update for the first week of the Conference had been circulated as document NPT/CONF.2010/INF.5.


Also delivering opening remarks today were the President of the 2010 Review Conference and the Acting President.


The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency also spoke.


Also addressing the Review Conference were the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Luxembourg, Ireland, Philippines, Sweden, Spain, Brazil, Netherlands, Austria, Canada, Australia, Morocco, Romania, Bulgaria and Switzerland.


The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also spoke.


The 2010 Review Conference will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 4 May, to continue its debate.


Background


The 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation Nuclear Weapons (NPT) began today.  The Treaty aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.  It represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.


Conferences to review the Treaty have been held at five-year intervals since the Treaty went into effect in 1970.  Each conference has sought to find agreement on a final declaration that would assess the implementation of the Treaty’s provisions and make recommendations on measures to further strengthen it.  (For more information, please see http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/.)


Opening Statements


VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO ( Ukraine), Acting President of the 2010 Review Conference, said the honour of opening the Conference should have been accorded to the Chairman of the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee, Boniface Chidyausiku ( Zimbabwe), who had been delayed by a flight problem.


He said the Review Conference was the third held since May 1995, when States parties had adopted decisions on the Treaty’s indefinite extension, on strengthening the review process and on principles for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, together with a resolution on the Middle East.  The Treaty, which entered force 40 years ago, played a crucial role in nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  The present Conference was an important opportunity for States parties to reaffirm their commitment to the Treaty.


Introducing the Final Report of the Preparatory Committee (NPT/CONF.2010/1), he said that the Committee had held three sessions between April 2007 to May 2009.  Some 135 States parties had participated in the work of one or more of the sessions.  States not party to the Treaty, specialized agencies and international and regional intergovernmental organizations, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, had attended the Preparatory Committee.


He said the Committee had devoted most of its meetings to a substantive discussion on all aspects of the Treaty, and consideration of three clusters of issues, as well as three specific blocks of issues:  nuclear disarmament and security assurances; regional issues, including with respect to the Middle East and the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East; and other provisions of the Treaty, including article X.


The present Review Conference then elected LIBRAN CABACTULAN ( Philippines) as its President.  Taking the floor, he said:  “We should redouble our efforts towards a world free from nuclear arms.”  An outcome for the good of all could only be obtained through maximum flexibility and by avoiding “obdurate attitudes”.  During his year-long consultations, he had observed fidelity to one common goal:  a successful review conference, which the Treaty regime “sorely needed”.  The Review Conference offered the best occasion to make progress on the three pillars.  “We must not waste this rare chance that we have been given,” he asserted.  “Opportunities like this are becoming few and far between.”


In leading the Conference, he said he aimed to follow a Chinese maxim ‑‑ that a leader was best when people barely knew he existed.  When the work was done and his aims were fulfilled, people would say “we did it ourselves”.  As President, he viewed his role as an “honest broker”, and he beseeched delegations to work with him, and more importantly, with each other.  To preserve the world against catastrophe, an important step must be taken:  the strengthening of the NPT regime.  In that context, he urged delegates to ensure that it effectively served mankind.


In his opening remarks, United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON reminded delegates that, “the work you undertake on this day is of immense importance to humankind”.  Hopes and expectations were high.  The world’s people looked to them for action to protect them from the power of nuclear weapons, to rein in spending on those weapons and to build a safer, more secure world.


He said that disarmament and non-proliferation were among his top priorities.  “Frankly, this agenda has been asleep for too long,” he said, noting that he had been sounding the alarm about the menace of nuclear weapons and had put forward a concrete action plan, convinced that “our moment is now”.  He sought to strengthen laws and instruments, and had expressed his commitment to serve as a bridge of different views.


On 6 August, the anniversary of the day when the first atomic bomb was dropped, he would visit Hiroshima and say, once again, that “we stand for a world free of nuclear weapons”.  Sixty-five years later, the world lived under the nuclear shadow.  “How long must we wait to rid ourselves of this threat?” he asked


The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty was among the most important multilateral accords in history, he said.  Though not perfect, it was the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime.  It enjoyed nearly universal membership.  “We need this regime as much as ever.”  The world’s people wanted more from States:  more progress on disarmament and more arms cuts.  There were doubts about compliance, and resentments between nuclear “haves” and “have-nots”.


He said progress on disarmament could not await a world free of war or terrorism; nor could progress on non-proliferation await the elimination of the last nuclear weapon.  Advancing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy could not be held hostage to either disarmament or non-proliferation.


There were encouraging signs of progress, he said, noting the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) agreement, signed by the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States.  The Nuclear Security Summit in Washington would be followed by another, in Seoul, in two years time.  “We must build on this momentum,” he urged.


Describing five benchmarks for success, he said the first was to make real gains towards disarmament.  He urged nuclear-weapon States to reaffirm the “unequivocal undertaking” to eliminate those weapons.  He also encouraged them to expand on the 13 practical steps adopted at the Review Conference 10 years ago, as they offered a platform on which to build.  “You do not need to start from scratch.”  Next, he urged countries outside the Treaty regime to accede to it as soon as possible.  Pending that, there was a need for measures to ensure the safety and security of those countries’ arsenals and technology.  Nuclear materials must not be acquired by non-State actors.


Other measures should include a moratorium on nuclear tests, tight export controls on fissile materials and stringent command and control systems for their arsenals, he said, also pointing to the need to ensure that the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes did not have unintended consequences.  Nuclear energy must be developed under agreed safeguards, especially given predictions of a nuclear energy renaissance.  There was also a need to strengthen rule of law.  The quest for a nuclear-weapon-free world included a legal framework that complemented the NPT.


Since 1999, when he had chaired the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), he said he had strongly advocated for its entry into force.  The time had come to think very seriously about setting a time frame for ratification, as the current mechanism for its entry into force dated to a time when there were questions about the Treaty’s monitoring.  “The bottom line is this:  it has been 15 years since the Treaty was opened for signature,” he said, welcoming Indonesia’s announcement that it would soon ratify the Treaty.  He urged others to follow suit.


Another vital instrument was the Convention on Nuclear Terrorism, and he had called for a conference to review its implementation, to be held this year or next.  Further, the Conference on Disarmament should begin negotiations immediately on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for weapons purposes.  If it could not agree on its programme of work, it might need stronger impetus from a higher political level.  He also urged all States to accept the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s capacity and system of safeguards.


Further, he strongly supported the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  He also called on Iran to fully comply with Security Council resolutions, and to cooperate with the Agency and accept its nuclear fuel supply proposal.  He encouraged the Iranian President to engage constructively.  “Let us be clear:  the onus is on Iran to clarify the doubts and concerns about its programme,” he stated.  In North-East Asia, he encouraged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to the six-party talks as soon as possible, without preconditions, to realize the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.


Finally, he said the NPT’s implementation would benefit from more systematic national reporting and better support.  Delegates might consider ways in which a small, permanent structure could help, as its lack of an effective tool for non-compliance cases was a significant “institutional deficit”.  The Security Council would be crucial in filling that gap.  He also recognized the importance of General Assembly initiatives.


He reminded delegates “you are here not simply to avoid a nuclear nightmare but to build a safer world for all”.  Many had shown leadership, abolishing nuclear weapons and reducing arsenals.  He challenged them to take steps today to set the stage for a breakthrough tomorrow.  “Now is our time to deliver on one of the deepest aspirations of humankind… and one of the founding resolutions of this Organization,” he said.  “It is in your hands.”


YUKIYA AMANO, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that nuclear power had enjoyed a growing acceptance as a stable, clean source of energy, with between 10 and 30 countries bringing nuclear power plants online by 2030.  The IAEA assisted interested countries in establishing nuclear infrastructure, and emphasized that nuclear power was accessible to all countries in a safe and secure manner.  In March, he had signed an agreement with the Russian Federation to establish a low-enriched uranium reserve to help assure nuclear fuel supplies to Member States.


He said that the Agency was helping countries harness nuclear technology in a variety of fields, including medicine and radiotherapy to fight cancer and environmental and agricultural fields.  Nuclear safety had improved since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, but the Agency needed to remain vigilant.  Security improvements had helped States to counter the risk of nuclear terrorism, he said.


The final document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference called for the expansion of the Agency’s technical cooperation programme, which had grown since then, with more than $100 million for projects implemented in more than 120 countries and territories.  However, predictable funding was needed, he said.


The IAEA was also working to resolve important safeguards implementation issues in three States.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had not allowed the Agency to implement safeguards since 2003, preventing the Agency from drawing any safeguard conclusions.  In April 2009, that country had ceased all cooperation with IAEA in the implementation of the ad hoc monitoring and verification arrangement pursuant to the six-party talks process.


In the case of Iran, the Agency continued to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material, but was unable to confirm that all nuclear material was in peaceful activities.  As for Syria, the Agency had not been able to make progress in resolving problems related to the nature of the Dair Alzour site destroyed by Israel and other locations.  Syria had not cooperated with the Agency since June 2008 in that regard and he continued to request it to engage with the Agency on all outstanding issues.


Adherence to IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreements (CSAs) and additional protocols had been increasing, but more should be done, he said.  There were currently 20 NPT Parties that had still not brought those agreements into force, and he urged all remaining NPT parties to conclude and implement them.  A total of 32 States had brought additional protocols into force since 2005.


Nuclear-weapon-free zones made an important contribution to achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.  The IAEA general conference had adopted resolutions in recent years on establishing such a zone in the Middle East and on Israel’s nuclear capabilities.


Progress in nuclear disarmament had a positive impact on non-proliferation efforts, and he welcomed the new START treaty concluded by the United States and the Russian Federation as a step towards nuclear disarmament.  A successful NPT Review Conference would enhance confidence in the non-proliferation regime and provide the Agency with a stronger basis for work in all areas.


Statements


R.M. MARTY M. NATALEGAWA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said 40 years after the Treaty’s entry into force and 20 years after the end of the cold war, the world was still at a critical juncture.  There were some positive signs in the field of nuclear disarmament; however, more needed to be done.


He said that the NPT was the cornerstone of global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, and full implementation was essential to safeguard the world from the potential devastation of nuclear weapons.  The universalization of the Treaty and pursuit of its three pillars was also crucial.  While the new START developments between the United States and the Russian Federation were positive, they remained below the international community’s expectations.  The Movement encouraged nuclear-weapon States to bring about nuclear weapons reductions at a quicker pace, with greater political will and commitment.  A window of potential international cooperation had opened, but to exploit it optimally, all States must abide by the NPT, and States outside the Treaty must come into the fold, he said.


The Movement was disappointed that the 2005 Review Conference had failed to produce a final outcome.  That setback must be overcome.  He underlined concerns about the grave threats to humanity posed by nuclear weapons and the importance of establishing subsidiary bodies to the relevant main committees of the 2010 Review Conference to deliberate on the 13 practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.  It was unacceptable that nuclear-weapon States and those remaining outside the NPT continued to retain and even modernize their nuclear arsenals, imperilling the regional and international peace and security, in particular, in the Middle East.  That was a dangerous and destabilizing trend of vertical proliferation.  It also constituted non-compliance by the nuclear-weapon States with their article VI obligations.  Moreover, as long as some States possessed those weapons, there would always be a tendency for others to seek to possess them.


He strongly urged the Review Conference to clearly and categorically reject policies of nuclear deterrence and place a ban on all forms of nuclear-weapon testing, with a view to those weapons’ total elimination.  The Conference should call for a time frame with a list of specific actions for the implementation of the Treaty’s article VI and a mechanism to ensure compliance.  The NPT’s indefinite extension did not imply the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon States.  It should neither be interpreted as, nor result in, an indefinite extension of the lack of implementation of nuclear disarmament obligations.  That also did not foresee the indefinite “preservation” of the status of non-members to remain outside the Treaty and defeat the potential for realizing its universality.


Thus, consideration of a nuclear weapons convention banning all nuclear weapons, as mentioned in the Treaty’s article VII, should begin and should be an integral part of any plan of action on nuclear disarmament to be adopted by the Conference.  And, pending the total elimination of nuclear arsenals, conclusion of a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on security assurances to the non-nuclear weapon NPT States parties should be a priority.


The Treaty’s States parties had an inalienable right to research, produce and use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and the unimpeded and non-discriminatory transfer of that technology must be ensured, he said.  At the same time, the Treaty’s articles should be respected, such as the restrictions on sharing nuclear know-how for military purposes and on transferring nuclear materials to unsafeguarded facilities.  Regarding the Treaty’s article X, the Treaty was very clear, and the Movement’s States parties believed that the right of withdrawal of parties from treaties and conventions was governed by international treaty law.  He also recalled the position of the Movement’s States parties when that issue was first raised in 2005:  they had confirmed that the proposals put forward then on that issue went beyond the NPT’s provisions.


The Movement meanwhile welcomed efforts to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones in all regions of the world, especially the Middle East.  It was regrettable that 15 years after the Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone resolution was adopted, it had not yet been implemented.  The 2000 NPT Review Conference had reaffirmed the need for Israel to accede to the Treaty and place all of its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.  The fact that all Middle East States, except Israel, were States parties to the NPT was “unsustainable” and made the issue of implementation of that 1995 resolution a key priority of the present review, which must renew its unequivocal commitment to the resolution’s full implementation and adopt effective practical measures for that purpose.  It should also create follow-up mechanisms to strictly monitor progress in that regard.  In closing, he said, “We must all learn from the past, rise above our differences, and work together to make this Conference a success.  The present and future generations require that our most sincere and vigorous effort for attaining a nuclear free world that is safe and prosperous for all.”


MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, President of Iran, said no country could afford to ignore its security, without which it would be impossible to make a comprehensive plan for development.  Although a major part of countries’ resources were allocated towards national security, there was hardly a sign of improvements in the area of perceived threats.  The shadow of the nuclear weapon threat lingered, and no one felt secure.  “The nuclear bomb is a fire against humanity rather than a weapon for defence.”  The possession of nuclear bombs was not a source of pride; “it is rather disgusting and shameful”.  Even more shameful was the threat or use of such weapons, which had no comparable crime in history.  Those who committed the first atomic bombardment were considered to be among the most hated in history.  For 60 years, the United Nations, especially the Security Council, had been unable to establish sustainable security.  Wars, aggressions and the shadowy threat of stockpiling nuclear armaments, along with policies applied by a few expansionist States, had obscured the prospect of international security for all.  Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation had not been realized, and the IAEA had not been successful in its mandate.


He explained that underpinning the current situation were the policies and practices of certain States, including those that sought dominance by using the notion that “might” made “right”.  The first atomic weapons were produced and used by the United States.  That apparently had given the United States and its allies the “upper hand” since the Second World War, but it became the “main source” of the development and spread of nuclear weapons by others and brought about the nuclear arms race.  The production, stockpiling and improvement of nuclear armaments in a given country was the best justification for others to develop them, a trend that violated the NPT commitments.


The policy of using nuclear weapons as a deterrent only fuelled the arms race, he said, noting that more than 20,000 nuclear warheads existed worldwide, with half belonging to the United States.  He also said “the other competing party” also continued to develop nuclear weapons under the pretext of deterrence, in clear violation of NPT obligations.  “Regrettably, the Government of the United States has not only used nuclear weapons, but also continues to threaten to use such weapons against other countries, including Iran,” he said, adding that a European country had also made a similar threat against Iran several years ago and that “the Zionist regime” consistently threatened Middle Eastern countries.


Turning to nuclear technology, he said that none of the non-nuclear-weapon States had ever been able to exercise their rights to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without pressures and threats.  Double standards were in play; while “the Zionist regime” had stockpiled hundreds of nuclear warheads and had waged many wars in the region, that regime had enjoyed the unconditional support of the United States and its allies and received the necessary assistance to develop its nuclear weapons programme.  The same States imposed pressures on IAEA members on the false pretext of probable diversions in their peaceful nuclear activities, without providing credible proof to substantiate allegations.  Nuclear energy was clean and sustainable.  That technology also served medicine, industry and agriculture.  Nuclear-weapon States committed a grave injustice when equating nuclear weapons with nuclear energy, which was a violation of NPT provisions.


An imbalance between the NPT pillars and IAEA mandates demonstrated that there was no effective mechanism to address the actual threat of nuclear weapons, he said.  All efforts in that respect were limited to talks that lacked binding guarantees.  The IAEA had been pressuring non-nuclear-weapon States under the pretext of proliferation risks, while those that possessed nuclear bombs continued to enjoy full immunity and exclusive rights.  Eliminating nuclear threats and non-proliferation was the greatest service to establish sustainable peace, security and amity.  It was now clear that the production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and policies practised by some nuclear-weapon States, along with the weaknesses of and imbalance in the NPT provisions, were the main causes of insecurity and motivated the development of those weapons.  The question was whether granting extraordinary authority in the IAEA to the nuclear-weapon States and entrusting them with the critical issue of nuclear disarmament was appropriate.  It would be naïve and irrational to expect an effective voluntary initiative towards disarmament and non-proliferation, because those States considered nuclear weapons to be an element of superiority.  And, expecting the major arms dealers to work for the establishment of security was “illogical”.


He said that the United States Government insisted on assuming the leadership role in reviewing the NPT.  Its recent Nuclear Posture Review indicated that the United States would neither produce new nuclear weapons nor attack non-nuclear-weapon States.  However, the United States had never respected any of its commitments.  In past decades, it had had most of its wars and conflicts with those that were once its “friends”, and some NPT member States had been threatened with pre-emptive nuclear strikes.  The United States Government had always tried to divert the public’s attention from its non-compliance and unlawful actions by highlighting misleading issues.  It had recently raised the issue of nuclear terrorism, as part of its efforts to maintain and upgrade its nuclear arsenals on the one hand, and divert world public opinion from the issue of disarmament, on the other.  Arming terrorists with nuclear weapons was only conceivable by those States that had those weapons and had used them, and also had a long record of supporting terrorists.


The United States was silent regarding nuclear strikes against certain nuclear-weapon States in order to concentrate the propaganda pressure on certain independent nations at a time when certain major terrorist networks were supported by the United States intelligence agencies and “the Zionist regime”, he said.  “Credible evidence is available in this connection that will be publicized, if needed, during the forthcoming conference on the global fight against terrorism in Teheran,” he said.  Comparing the Washington Nuclear Security Summit with the Teheran Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation Conference, he said that the efforts of the former were aimed at preserving the monopoly over nuclear weapons and superiority of other countries, while the latter emphasized that all participants were seeking a nuclear-weapon-free world, using the motto “nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for no one”.


Offering a series of proposals to realize the disarmament and non-proliferation aspirations, he said that the NPT should evolve into the “nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation treaty”, and an independent international group with authority from the Conference should prepare a set of guidelines to operationalize article VI of the NPT.  He also suggested the introduction of legally binding security guarantees; the immediate halt of all types of research, development or improvement of nuclear weapons and related facilities; the adoption of a legally binding instrument to ban production, stockpiling, improvement, proliferation, maintaining and use of nuclear weapons; and the suspension of membership in the IAEA Board to those States that used or threatened to use nuclear weapons.


Putting forth a suggestion to cease all kinds of nuclear cooperation with non-State parties to the NPT and to consider any threat to use nuclear weapons or to attack peaceful nuclear facilities as a breach of international peace and security, he called for swift action by the United Nations and the termination of all cooperation of NPT member States with the aggressor State.  He also suggested the immediate and unconditional implementation of the 1995 resolution to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, as well as the dismantling of nuclear weapons stationed in military bases of the United States and its allies in other countries, including Germany, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands.  Collective efforts should reform the structure of the Security Council, which was currently structured in a way that unfairly served nuclear-weapon States’ interests.


Iran was “not in need of nuclear bombs for its development and does not regard it as a source of honour and dignity”, he said.  “The logic and will of the Iranian nation is a reflection of the logic and will of all nations.”  He emphasized a dire need for global disarmament and the expansion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy:  “nuclear energy for everyone; nuclear weapons for no one”.


To those still stockpiling and producing nuclear weapons, he said they must realize that the era of reliance on nuclear bombs had already passed and that it was clear that the hegemonic policy had failed and the dreams for establishing new empires were vain hopes that would never come true.  A common movement throughout the world for reform based on monotheism and justice had already begun in international relations, and he invited United States President Barack Obama to join that human movement “if he is still committed to his motto of change, since tomorrow would be too late for this”.


He concluded that “through cooperation and solidarity and harmony, our aspiration for establishing a world blessed with justice and peace is achievable, and the motto of nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for no one is the basis for interaction among human beings, as well as between humans and nature”.


JEAN ASSELBORN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, associating himself with the European Union’s statement, said the Review Conference was taking place at a time when the non-proliferation regime faced significant challenges:  proliferation; the threat of nuclear or radiological weapons in terrorist hands; and a weak reaction to such issues.  Citing the United States President’s speech in Prague, which presented a vision for a world free of nuclear weapons, he said Luxembourg fully supported that vision.  That significant speech, along with the Security Council Summit held last September, in which resolution 1887 (2009) outlined the objective for a safer world, had elicited a huge wave of optimism.


Congratulating the United States and the Russian Federation for the conclusion of a new START agreement, he urged those countries to further reduce their nuclear arsenals and delivery vehicles.  It was important to continue disarmament efforts under the Treaty’s article VI, as such efforts should free up “colossal” resources, which could be channeled to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  The search for security at the lowest possible levels of armaments would contribute greatly to global security.  Together with Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Norway, Luxembourg had started debate within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to adopt a strategic concept for the new security environment.  He supported the United States President’s appeal to secure storage of nuclear material within four years.  Expressing hope for the entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty, he also called on the Conference on Disarmament to begin talks on a new treaty for nuclear disarmament.


Next, he turned to crises linked to proliferation, in Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, whose actions violated the integrity of the NPT regime.   Iran continued its sensitive nuclear activities and had refused to engage in full transparency of its past and present activities.  He urged the country not to miss out on dialogue proposed by the United States President and the European Union.  The global community expected Iran to respect its obligations.  Nuclear-weapon possession was not a source of pride; cooperation with the IAEA should be clear and viable.


In addition, he appealed to all States in the Middle East to move forward on the creation of a zone free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, in a genuinely verifiable manner.  States must support the Agency’s efforts to ensure that a system of guarantees remained reliable.  He appealed to all to adopt the Additional Protocol.  That, along with agreement on comprehensive guarantees, was essential.  It also was vital to think about measures for managing withdrawals from the Treaty.  States could use nuclear energy for electricity, among other things, but the duty for ensuring such civilian use must be carried out in the context of non-proliferation.


The Treaty was a major tool for collective security, and it was thus in the interests of all to strengthen its three pillars.  The Treaty was the foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, under article VI, as well as of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  Nothing should be done to violate its integrity.  With that, he said that Luxembourg hoped to contribute to consensus by supporting the decisions and resolutions of the Review Conference.  In particular, his Government would support measures to promote the Treaty’s objectives.


MICHEÁL MARTIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland, said his country’s association with the Treaty dated back more than half a century, when it introduced the first in a series of United Nations resolutions calling for the prevention of the further dissemination of nuclear weapons.   Ireland’s tireless efforts to forge a common approach on that issue culminated in 1961 with the unanimous adoption of the so-called “Irish Resolution”, which had paved the way for the Treaty.  When the Treaty was opened for signature in 1968, Ireland had been the first country to sign.  It had also been the first to ratify the Treaty.  In the cold war era, the world had regularly stood on the brink of nuclear catastrophe, but with the Treaty, it had taken a decisive step back from that abyss.  The Treaty had become the most powerful bulwark available against the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, and support for it was a cornerstone of Irish foreign policy.  He called on the small number of States that had not yet done so to adhere to it.


Among the most serious challenges to the NPT regime were those posed by Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said.  The Treaty also risked being undermined by some States’ reluctance to fully implement its provisions.  Selective approaches that stressed the urgency of non-proliferation and downplayed the need for progress on nuclear disarmament only weakened the Treaty.  At the same time, Ireland had been encouraged by the conclusion of the bilateral START accord. He urged those and other nuclear-weapon States to work quickly for further substantial reductions.  He also welcomed the publication last month of the United States Nuclear Posture Review.


Turning to the Review Conference, he said, first and foremost, “we must re-establish the authority of the NPT”.  States parties should reaffirm undertakings from previous Review Conferences and agree on a balanced package of decisions on all three pillars, as well as on the Middle East resolution.  For the majority of States parties, the Conference would not be a success without agreement on advancing disarmament.  Those who possessed nuclear weapons must show the leadership necessary to realize the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Also, implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East was a priority and agreement on steps that involved all regional States was needed.  Another concern was that the CTBT had not yet entered into force and he urged the nine remaining “Annex 2” States to ratify it “immediately and unconditionally”.  Similarly, talks on a fissile material cut-off treaty should begin at the earliest opportunity.


For its part, Ireland had pursued its disarmament and non-proliferation goals nationally, and through membership in the European Union, the New Agenda Coalition and the Vienna Group of Ten, all of which would address the Conference and table Working Papers, with which Ireland fully associated.  Circumstances were more propitious today for strengthening the NPT regime than they had been for a decade, but success would not be achieved without leadership and political will to find compromise.  All must play their part.


ALBERTO G. ROMULO, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said that weapons of mass destruction still plagued the world, and their threat to the future of humankind remained undiminished.  Non-State actors had shown blatant disregard for life, with a threat that they might one day possess nuclear weapons.  With fewer than 10 nuclear-weapon States, it was time to close the loopholes that made it possible for countries to legally acquire bomb-making skills.  For the Philippines, with over a tenth of its nationals spread across the world, the dangers posed by nuclear weapons were serious.  In the Middle East alone, there were 2 million Filipinos.  Promises made in the past must be kept, especially the 1995 resolution to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.


He urged fundamental changes in the way some States addressed their security concerns.  Cold war adversaries should now be “disarmament disciples”.  The world was at a crossroads of history.  On a multilateral front, nuclear disarmament was taking centre stage of the United Nations agenda under the Secretary-General’s leadership.  General Assembly President Abdussalam Treki had convened a special thematic debate two weeks ago on disarmament, and last week, States parties and signatories to nuclear-weapon-free zone agreements had met at the United Nations, expressing strong support for this Review Conference.  The Nuclear Security Summit last month in Washington reiterated world leaders’ commitments to disarmament.  On bilateral issues, the United States and the Russian Federation’s new START treaty was a huge leap in the right direction towards reduction.  On the national front, recent policy changes adopted by the United States helped to set the stage for greater advancement towards a world without nuclear weapons.


The majority of States adhered to the NPT, but timelines and realistic benchmarks were needed for nuclear disarmament by nuclear-weapon States, he said, adding that the CTBT was a crucial complement to that treaty and must come into force.  The NPT Review Conference must help to bolster the work of the Conference on Disarmament, particularly on negotiations for a treaty on fissile material.


The IAEA’s system of safeguards must be respected.  Also, nuclear-weapon-free zones should further strengthen non-proliferation and disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy must be reaffirmed as an inalienable right of NPT States parties.  The NPT should be strengthened, and ways to do so were before the Review Conference for close consideration.  The NPT regime would become far stronger and more resilient when it achieved universality, he said, calling on States that had not yet done so to become parties to that crucial agreement.


He said his country appreciated the trust placed on it to lead this critical meeting, and took that responsibility with a firm belief that international peace and security was a concern for all.  Each year, billions of dollars went to nuclear weapons research at a time when the World Food Programme projected a 2010 shortfall in its requirements, which covered a fraction of funding for nuclear weapons research.  “When countries continue to spend lavishly on weapons of mass destruction, mortgaging our children’s future and letting people die of disease and hunger, then clearly there is still much that we must do towards making our planet a free and peaceful world,” he said.  “We must continue to transform our words and our commitments into actions.”


CATHERINE ASHTON, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said the NPT was more important now than ever before, and the Union continued to promote all of its objectives, amid the renewed momentum in global arms control and disarmament and an international public debate on ways to advance all the objectives in the Treaty.  She welcomed and supported Security Council resolution 1887 (2009) and the successful conclusion of the new START agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation.  The Union had contributed to a positive outcome of the recent Washington Nuclear Summit and reaffirmed its commitment to seeking a safer world for all and to creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.  It was working towards general disarmament, notably nuclear disarmament.


She said that strengthening the non-proliferation regime should be a priority for all States.  However the European Union was gravely concerned about proliferation challenges posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran.  All NPT parties must ensure strict compliance with their non-proliferation obligations, including the enforcement of Security Council resolutions.


Each country had its own right to define its energy strategies, and NPT States parties had an inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  The European Union had been a major provider of international assistance and would continue to cooperate with third countries and provide its full support to the IAEA, with a view to promoting international cooperation for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  She called upon all States parties to live up to challenges and opportunities and work towards reaffirming the NPT’s fundamental principles.  She stressed the need for full compliance with the Treaty and underlined the need for national policies and strategies to be consistent with its provisions.


The Review Conference should help to foster a sense of common purpose among States parties and create a more secure international context by expressing renewed support from the entire international community for the goals and obligations of the NPT.  “We must seize the opportunity of this Review Conference to move forward toward a safer world, one in which it is possible to meet all the objectives enshrined in the NPT,” she said.


The European Union had come to the Conference with a firm determination to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and to help to build consensus on the basis of a balanced approach between the three pillars.  It sought adoption of a set of balanced, concrete and consensual measures for stepping up international efforts against proliferation, pursuing disarmament and ensuring the responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  She called upon all States not yet party to the NPT to join as non-nuclear-weapon States and, pending their accession, to pledge adherence to the Treaty’s terms.


She noted that the Union had elaborated forward-looking proposals on all three NPT pillars, introduced as Working Paper 26 at the Third Preparatory Committee, which could be part of an action plan at the Review Conference.  Within the new European Union Council Decision, she identified priorities that should be considered, including a reaffirmation by all States parties of their commitment to comply with their obligations and to fulfil NPT goals; strengthening the Treaty’s implementation through adoption of a set of concrete measures for bolstering international efforts; reaffirming the commitment to and stressing the need for concrete advancements on the nuclear arms control and disarmament processes; and strengthening the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of the non-proliferation regime.  She also highlighted the need for strengthening the Treaty through a common understanding among States parties of how to respond effectively to withdrawal from the Treaty, bearing in mind current challenges, which included issues involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran, and finally, broadening acceptance and support of the concept of the responsible development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.


CARL BILDT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, associating himself with the European Union, said his Government had worked towards the success of the Conference within the New Agenda Coalition ( Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden).  Last year had seen important contributions towards the goal that united all nations, including the Security Council Summit, the new START agreement and the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last month.  START, in particular, was of great importance:  substantive in the agreed reductions and symbolic in demonstrating that nuclear weapons were increasingly weapons of the past.  In that context, he urged the United States and Russia to engage in talks on reducing their sub-strategic nuclear arsenals, leading to their eventual elimination.


In addition, he said, efforts to prevent new nations from acquiring such weapons must be strengthened.  “The Treaty must be respected, fully and by all,” he added, voicing deep concern that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued its policy of withdrawal from the Treaty.  He urged it to end its confrontation with the international community.  And, while no one had denied Iran the same rights as all other Treaty members, it was beyond dispute that Iran had been conducting activities in violation of its NPT commitments.  A dark cloud of suspicion would hang over Iran until it clarified all open issues.  That could only be done through full cooperation with the IAEA; adherence to the Additional Protocol would go a long way towards establishing trust.


Moreover, he expressed support for a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  States must be united in the determination to avoid any step that could endanger that objective and be ready to discuss steps towards that aim.  Stressing the importance of making the peaceful use of nuclear energy available to any nation that desired it, he said Sweden relied heavily on nuclear power.  Despite that dependence, the country had never seen the need to invest in the complete nuclear fuel cycle.  Though the global market for nuclear fuel generally functioned well, he strongly supported the IAEA’s work on multilateral approaches to the fuel cycle.  The Review Conference should give further support to those efforts.  The vision of a world where every nation had access to peaceful nuclear energy was well within reach and delegates had a duty to move forward on that issue.


MIGUEL ANGEL MORATINOS, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, said the Review Conference should renew and strengthen the NPT by reaching agreement on an ambitious action plan that would advance nuclear disarmament, prevent proliferation and strengthen the security of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  The current positive momentum, seen in the unanimous approval of Security Council resolution 1887 (2009), must be seized.  Security and disarmament were complementary and mutually reinforcing; there could be no disarmament without security.  New threats to international peace and security were linked to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors and States outside of or in violation of international law, a fact recognized at the recent Washington Summit.


He said that the conference had begun with a spirit of optimism to forge a new global consensus on strengthening the international disarmament and the non-proliferation regime.  That renewed political drive would lead to a more secure world free of nuclear weapons, in full recognition of the inalienable right to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.


All aspects of the NPT were interrelated and complementary, he said, pointing out that nuclear disarmament in the terms reflected in article VI of the Treaty had become a realistic ambition.  At a time when two States held 95 per cent of the world’s nuclear weapons, the recent START accord between the United States and the Russian Federation was a step towards arms reduction.  The United States’ new security review was another step.  Also important had been the agreement on a work programme reached in the Disarmament Conference in May 2009.


Efforts must be continued to achieve the NPT’s full universalization, and it was essential that mechanisms be found to advance implementation of the resolution to rid the Middle East of nuclear weapons.  Adoption of concrete decisions in respect of that region could contribute significantly to increasing mutual trust among the countries there.  Spain supported related initiatives in the context of the NPT, including the appointment of a coordinator and the convening of a conference among all countries of the region to advance the goal of the agreement reached in 1995 to create a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East.


He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran to comply immediately with the relevant Security Council resolutions.  At the same time, Spain reaffirmed the right of all States to develop peaceful nuclear energy programmes within the provisions of the NPT.  Proposals aimed at developing multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle must not be perceived as new constraints, but as cost-effective initiatives, adapted to current situations.  Trust and good faith played a determining role, he said, expressing his confidence that all States parties to the NPT were seeking a global agreement, in good faith.


HILLARY CLINTON, Secretary of State of the United States, said President  Obama had made reducing the threat posed by nuclear weapons a central foreign policy mission.  The NPT was at the core of that mission.  Reading a section of the President’s message to the Conference, she said that the Treaty was under increasing pressure, and he had made it a priority to strengthen each of the Treaty’s pillars in an effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.  Today, the eyes of the world were upon delegates, and the coming weeks would offer an opportunity to show where they stood.  “Do we seek a twenty-first century of more nuclear weapons, or a world without them?” she asked, quoting the President.  Such queries must be answered.


She said that there were many perspectives represented today, as well as doubts about whether nuclear-weapon States were present to foster such efforts.  The United States would do its part.  She had come to the Conference with “sincere and serious” proposals to advance the aims of the Treaty and to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.  The United States recognized the rights of all States parties to the Treaty to realize the benefits of nuclear energy, and it would commit resources to spread those benefits.


As a nuclear-weapon State, the United States also had the duty to move towards disarmament, she explained.  As it worked to uphold its end of the bargain, the United States asked that all signatories do the same:  abide by the rules and hold accountable those who violated them.  The Conference came 40 years after the Treaty entered into force, when the world was at a crossroads.  Many had thought that by 1975, up to 20 countries might have nuclear weapons; others had said that proliferation was inevitable.  The world could be grateful that the Treaty had helped to dispel the darkest predictions of that era.


Today, the world again stood at a crossroads, amid the prospect of a new wave of proliferation and claims that the spread of nuclear weapons was unavoidable, she said.  Some said that the world must learn to live with fear and instability, and more nuclear-armed States and networks.  The majority of States were living up to their non-proliferation obligations, but a few outliers had expressed their determination to defy the international community.  One had said it would withdraw from the Treaty, after having been caught cheating.  Another said it had abided by the Treaty, only to violate its safeguards, fail to cooperate with the IAEA and ignore the Security Council.


Most nations, however, had the opportunity to choose a different path and there was new urgency to do so:  rules must be binding and violators punished.  “Words must mean something,” she said, stressing that it was time for a strong global response.  Review Conferences had been held every five years but had too often fractured along familiar lines:  nuclear-weapon States versus non-nuclear-weapon States.  Many had retreated into predictable positions to protect presumed interests.  “This time must be different,” she urged.


There were some that would choose not to be constructive.   Iran had offered the same “wild accusations” against the United States, she said, but that was not surprising.   Iran would do whatever it could to divert attention from its own record and evade accountability.  But all States would be measured, not by how assertively they claimed their rights, but by how faithfully they upheld their responsibilities.   Iran was the only country here today that had been found by the IAEA Board of Directors in non-compliance with its nuclear safeguard obligations.   Iran had defied the Security Council and placed the future of the non-proliferation regime in jeopardy, which was why it faced increasing isolation.


The United States had come with a larger agenda:  to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, she explained.  It was time to focus on practical solutions and build consensus, not block it.  She urged Iran to join the global community in fulfilling its international obligations and in moving towards the goal of a more secure world.  States could not fall into the ruts of old divisions.  All States were in this together and must set a course for 40 more years of progress.


For its part, the United States realized that it must recommit to strengthening the Treaty’s three pillars, and its commitments had begun with efforts to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons in its arsenal, she said.  It understood that the greatest threat came from networks like Al-Qaida, and not from nuclear war.  The Government was taking irreversible, transparent and verifiable steps to reduce its nuclear weapon numbers.  START would limit the number of strategic nuclear weapons to levels not seen since the 1950s.  The Nuclear Posture Review had ruled out the development of new nuclear weapons, and stated that the United States would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States that were parties to the NPT and in compliance with its obligations.


The United States was also ready to start multilateral negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty, and, she announced, would submit protocols to the Senate to ratify its participation in nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa and the South Pacific.  States would have the legally binding assurance that the United States would fully respect the nuclear-weapon-free status of those zones.  Her Government also supported efforts to realize the goal of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, as that region might present the greatest proliferation threat in the world.  A few countries had violated their Treaty obligations.  She would thus support practical measures to move in the direction of ridding the region of those weapons.


She said her country would continue to seek further nuclear weapons reductions and would pursue steps to improve transparency of its arsenal.  Towards that goal, it would make public the number of nuclear weapons in its stockpile and the number dismantled since 1991.  For those who doubted the United States would do its part, those commitments sent a clear unmistakable signal.


The United States unequivocally supported the rights of NPT States parties to access nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and wished to expand all States’ ability to use that energy, she said.  It had provided over $200 million to the IAEA’s technical cooperation fund and would make an additional $50 million commitment over the next five years for a peaceful uses initiative.  Those funds would be used to manage water resources and food security, among other things.  The United States was also strengthening bilateral technical cooperation arrangements with more than 40 States.


However, the Treaty was weakened every time States flouted the rules, she said.  When the IAEA asked for more resources to verify non-compliance, “we must respond”, she asserted.  When it called on States to sign an Additional Protocol to ensure that they were meeting their obligations, “we must act”.  Potential violators must know that they would pay a high price if they broke the rules.  That was not the case today.  The IAEA’s record on enforcing compliance was not acceptable, and she urged suspension of technical cooperation projects, for example, until compliance was restored.  Ways should also be found to dissuade States from using a withdrawal provision to avoid their obligations.  The world could not stand by when a State did so in an attempt to escape penalties.  The Review Conference must provide the foundation for future action.  She also called for a negotiated fissile material cut-off Treaty.  The last 40 years had proved that proliferation was not inevitable.  It could be stopped but everyone must work to find common ground.  Sceptics often said that when countries gathered at the United Nations, a lot of words were used up ‑‑ it was time to prove them wrong.  “Our children and our grandchildren will live with what we decide this month,” she said.  There was no greater reason to act together and decisively.


CELSO AMORIM, Minister of External Relations for Brazil, said the NPT was not only unfair but that it divided the world into “haves” and “have nots”, with nuclear weapons being the sole source of prestige and power.  The Security Council structure, with the five nuclear Powers having permanent status, maintained that false image that nuclear weapons equalled political power.  Moreover, the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world remained a “mirage”, he said.  Brazil believed that the only way to achieve that goal was the complete elimination of those weapons.  Ratifying the NPT had established his Government’s wish to make firm commitments towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.  The 13 practical steps towards nuclear disarmament reinforced the notion of the total elimination of those weapons, but the reality was that that goal was only a hope.


Brazil had proposed suggestions and a working paper, he noted.  Last year, the United States and the Russian Federation committed themselves to a nuclear-weapon-free world.  The new START agreement added a necessary step in the right direction, but more needed to be done.  The Washington Summit saw countries making commitments, but most had agreed that the most effective approach was the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  Disarmament required concrete steps and strategies.  The days of mutually assured destruction were long gone, but that mindset seemed to linger.  Nuclear weapons diminished the security of all States, and the risks of relying on command and control were considerable.  Elimination of those weapons offered the ultimate guarantee to non-proliferation.


At the same time, peaceful uses of nuclear energy must be permitted; however, violations must be reported and addressed, he said.  The NPT was part of the overall goal to promote peace in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter.  For its part, Brazil had had discussions with Argentina, and both had engaged in a system of accounting for nuclear materials, which should be a source of inspiration to other countries.  The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones contributed to international peace and security, especially in conflict-ridden areas such as the Middle East.


The world would only be a safe place when all countries were treated with fairness and respect, and the root causes of poverty were overcome, he said.  Nuclear weapons bred insecurity and instability.  “Let us not wait another five years to translate our goals into action,” he concluded.


MAXIME VERHAGEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, said that a successful NPT Review Conference would be yet another step on the ladder to a world free of nuclear weapons, and the best way of forging broad-based measures on disarmament and non-proliferation was strengthening the system of international treaties based on the NPT.  The conclusion of a new START had been another important step.  While nuclear-weapon States took the lead, non-nuclear-weapon States must do their part, he said, advocating for a phased approach in the reduction of the role and numbers of nuclear weapons in Europe.  That discussion had already begun in NATO.  The Netherlands suggested that American sub-strategic nuclear arms in Europe be the subject of arms reductions talks between the United States and Russian Federation.


He said that two decades after the end of the cold war, halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction had become ever more relevant, with high risks posed by their proliferation.  He applauded United States’ President Obama for organizing the Nuclear Security Summit last month, dubbed a “nuclear spring”.  International safeguard systems must be enhanced, and countries such as Iran should comply with IAEA demands.  The contribution of the Iranian President consisted of a series of unfounded and unacceptable accusations towards Israel and the United States, as well as unhelpful remarks regarding European countries.  He did not want the Iranian case to monopolize discussions at this review, as the NPT was too important for international security.  That was even truer now, as more countries than ever sought out nuclear energy programmes.  Transparency was key, and the Netherlands had assumed its responsibilities, equipping all of its nuclear facilities with the most stringent safeguards and opened them to peer review.  He called on all States to take similar steps.


The Review Conference must agree on measures to ensure that non-compliance cases were addressed; verification and compliance were pivotal for building trust, he said.  Nuclear energy was a legitimate option for meeting future energy demands and, to ensure that the development of nuclear power was consistent with safety, security and non-proliferation standards, the Review Conference should properly address the issue of supply security.  The Netherlands had always supported talks and efforts related to multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle, which did not infringe on anyone’s rights, but instead could help realize States’ inherent rights to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  That debate should be carried forward during the Conference.


MICHAEL SPINDELEGGER, Foreign Minister of Austria, said that 40 years after the NPT’s entry into force, it was disturbing that the number of nuclear weapons was so high, that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had developed nuclear arms and that Iran was still unable or willing to dispel concerns about its nuclear ambitions.  The world still awaited progress on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, the entry into force of the test-ban Treaty and negotiations on a fissile material ban.


However, he said, since 1970, few new States had acquired nuclear weapons, States had given up nuclear arsenals and the IAEA had established a monitoring and verification system, becoming the accepted authority on nuclear issues.  The most significant sign of life of the NPT was this Review Conference, where almost the whole world had gathered to support the Treaty as the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.  The Conference was an occasion to reflect on the past and focus on the future.  A new sense of optimism, inspired by President Obama’s new approach, had enabled developments such as the new START agreement.  He hoped that atmosphere could enable progress at the Conference, with concrete steps forward, including on nuclear arsenal reductions, nuclear test and fissile material bans, the Additional Protocol, confidence-building and a process towards establishing a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East.


Austria would contribute to those efforts, especially towards the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, he said, highlighting promising ideas, including the United Nations Secretary-General’s five-point plan.  The most effective way to advance “global zero”, however, was through a universal nuclear weapons convention, equipped with a strict multilateral verification mechanism.


Austria had recently adopted a formal resolution on a world without nuclear weapons and would examine closely how disarmament was dealt with at this Conference, he said.  While the NPT remained the cornerstone of nuclear non-proliferation, the static regime had lost its vision and could benefit from fresh ideas.  He advanced some suggestions, including strengthening the multilateral system.  As the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs shouldered a large mandate, and Under-Secretary-General Sergio Duarte last year stressed the need for more attention to meetings on nuclear issues in Vienna ‑‑ Austria had proposed that the Office establish and maintain a permanent liaison office in Vienna, with support from the Austrian Government.  Also, support for civil society was vital in disarmament matters, he said, pointing to successes such as the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine-Ban Treaty.  Strengthening the monitoring role of civil society could further the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.


LAWRENCE CANNON, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, said his country’s strong commitment to keeping nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of non-State actors and terrorists could be seen in Prime Minister Harper’s leadership at the Washington summit.  IAEA safeguards were a fundamental element of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and while progress had been made since the last Review Conference, there were still 21 States parties that had yet to sign and bring into force the safeguards required under the NPT.  Canada remained a strong supporter of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy as an inalienable right under the Treaty’s article IV, which was linked to requirements for compliance in articles I and III.


He said that the Review Conference was taking place at a time of challenges, with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea demonstrating its disregard for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament objectives by announcing its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003.  Canada called upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to the NPT, dismantle its nuclear weapons programme and accept comprehensive IAEA safeguards.


The United Nations Secretary-General this morning, he recalled, had made clear that the onus was on Iran to dissipate doubts and concerns about its nuclear ambitions, but it was unfortunate that President Ahmadinejad had decided to ignore that invitation and instead had delivered a predictable and aggressive statement.  Iran’s extensive past undeclared nuclear activities, with its efforts to acquire the full nuclear fuel cycle without any justifiable reason, had resulted in deep concerns that it was seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability, contrary to Treaty commitments.  Immediate and complete cessation of Iran’s uranium enrichment and other delicate proliferation-sensitive activities was the only objective indicator of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.


Canada recognized that regional security was crucial for those States outside the Treaty, and it supported efforts to bring peace to the Middle East, as well as efforts to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons, he said.  Canada called upon the three States that had not yet adhered to the Treaty to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States.  Canada had proposed, in Working Paper 3, institutional reform to strengthen the Treaty’s review process and to make it more responsive to States parties.  The Conference was taking place, not just at a challenging time, but also at a time of renewed optimism and great opportunity.  “Let us seize that opportunity,” he urged.


STEPHEN SMITH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, said that some 40 years on, the fundamental bargain that underpinned the NPT was as valid today as ever:  the pledge by non-nuclear-weapon States not to acquire nuclear weapons; the commitment by nuclear-weapon States to pursue disarmament; and access for all States parties to peaceful nuclear energy.  The Review Conference must reaffirm the shared commitment to the Treaty’s core principles and achieve outcomes that strengthened both non-proliferation and disarmament, and facilitate access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as “the international community can afford nothing less”.


He said Australia was committed to ensuring the success of the review, and towards that goal, had carried out essential work between 2005 and today.  In 2008, Australia and Japan had established the independent International Commission on Non-Nuclear Proliferation and Disarmament.  That body’s report, which had been released in December 2009, contained thoughtful analysis and recommendations for action on many critical items before the Review Conference.  The two countries had also submitted to the conference a package of practical disarmament and non-proliferation measures aimed at achieving consensus steps towards strengthening the Treaty.


Continuing, he said that the Review Conference was taking place as momentum was growing towards ensuring a world free of nuclear weapons.  As recent examples, he cited the new START, as well as the unilateral steps taken by the United Kingdom and France to reduce their nuclear arsenals from cold war levels.  “We want to see further, deeper verifiable and irreversible cuts in all nuclear arsenals, and a continuing reduction of their role in national security strategies,” he said, stressing that the entry into force of the CTBT would be a major step forward.


Still, he cautioned that positive momentum was being tempered by “worrying developments”, such as Iran’s nuclear programme, about which Australia was deeply concerned.  He called on Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA and abide by relevant resolutions adopted by the Agency and the Security Council.  Also, while the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea claimed to have withdrawn from the NPT, Australia called on that country to resume international negotiations and return to full compliance with the Treaty and its associated safeguards.  The best way to bolster and ensure compliance was to make sure that the IAEA had the tools and authority to provide credible assurances that a State party did not have any undeclared or covert facilities, and that all such facilities were peaceful.   Australia believed that issues of non-compliance and withdrawal must be adequately addressed, by the Security Council, if necessary.


TAIB FASSI FIHRI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, said that the NPT constituted an important asset, allowing the international community to lay the foundations of a multilateral nuclear consensus; however, the Treaty had faced significant challenges in the past decade, jeopardizing the consensus.  Renewed interest, namely President Obama’s landmark speech in Prague, the signing of the follow-on START accord and the recent Washington Summit were all positive initiatives that had created a favourable climate.  States parties to the NPT should take stock of the Treaty’s implementation and revive the spirit of collective ownership of its noble objectives.


He said that disarmament should not be perceived as a concession, but as an effective and necessary contribution to a world free of nuclear weapons.  Morocco called for the fulfilment of NPT obligations and underlined the need to reinvigorate the work of the Conference on Disarmament.  He looked forward to an early negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty, and called for practical steps to ensure the early operation of the CTBT.  Establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones had strengthened the NPT; however, it was regrettable that such a zone had yet to be established in the Middle East.  It was necessary to undertake measures to free that region of nuclear weapons, he said.


Morocco also underlined the importance for all States parties to comply with NPT obligations and called upon the international community to adopt a policy of zero tolerance for violators, he said.  The ability to respond to challenges to the NPT required enhanced efforts to strengthen its effectiveness and uphold its credibility.  Regarding nuclear security, Morocco welcomed the successful outcome of the Washington Summit.


He reiterated the need to respect the inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, saying his country remained convinced that the safe, transparent and responsible use of this energy would undeniably contribute to social and economic development.  Enhancing the non-proliferation regime should not raise additional obstacles to the promotion of global cooperation and technology transfer for peaceful purposes, and Morocco actively contributed to the dialogue on the multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycles, welcoming proposals aimed at facilitating and organizing access to energy.  Morocco also called for setting up an international coalition to enhance the contribution of the peaceful purposes of nuclear energy in realizing social and economic development goals.


TEODOR BACONSCHI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania, said it was in everyone’s interest to support and further strengthen the Treaty.  Energy was essential for human development, and nuclear energy had the potential to be a reliable, sustainable energy source, provided that it was used responsibly.  As an IAEA member since 1957, and a Treaty party since 1970, Romania had a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the Agency, reinforced by the Additional Protocol.  It had implemented the integrated safeguards system in June 2007, which was presently applied to all main facilities of the nuclear fuel cycle.  The national nuclear programme was started in the 1950s, with a Soviet-designed reactor commissioned in 1957, used in research and development for radioisotope production.  It was permanently shut down in 1997, after 40 years of activity.


He said that cooperation with the IAEA had led to one of the most successful activities ‑‑ the full conversion of the TRIGA reactor from highly-enriched to low-enriched uranium fuel.  The reactor had been among the most powerful in the world to undergo such a conversion.  The Romanian Nuclear Research Programme assured technical support for operating the nuclear power plant in Cernavodă, alongside development of various non-power applications, notably in health care and agriculture.  Construction, halted in 1990, would resume on two other reactors at Cernavodă.  The safeguards system was the instrument by which Romania accepted control applied by the IAEA to all nuclear raw materials and special fissionable materials, which were used in all peaceful nuclear-related activities.  The IAEA’s most recent assessments had concluded that nuclear materials in Romania were used only for peaceful purposes and that there were no undeclared activities involving nuclear materials.


Romania had benefited from international support while committing itself to implementing the safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol, he said.  A major objective was to ensure an adequate regulatory framework to verify compliance with legal requirements and, as such, training courses were organized in Romania, with the aim of improving the capacity for upgrading the nuclear security of the infrastructure. Romania had also benefited from the Tripartite Initiative to return fresh and spent fuel from Russian-designed research reactors abroad.  Under the auspices of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, all spent highly enriched uranium fuel from the TRIGA reactor had been returned to the United States, the country of origin, in 2009.  In closing, he appealed to all States parties to show flexibility and make way for a larger picture of peace, security and prosperity.  He assured the Conference of Romania’s commitment to active participation in negotiations.


NICKOLAY MLADENOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, said halting the spread of nuclear weapons was a mission that went above politics, diplomacy, national ambitions and personal egos.  In prolonging the period of indecision, those who sought to challenge the NPT would grow more strong and dangerous.  All nations must set aside disagreements and procedural wrangling and make it a universal priority to assure adherence.


He remarked on a new sense of urgency that had emerged since the last Review Conference, with clandestine nuclear networks coming to light, making more real the “spectre” of non-State actors equipped with weapons of mass destruction.  For the first time, a signatory had announced its withdrawal, while renewing its programme for producing highly enriched uranium.  Bulgaria considered all States parties to be bound by their Treaty obligations, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and urged that country to comply with its Council obligations and IAEA standards, and to return to negotiations.  He also voiced concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme, saying it needed to “unconditionally, unequivocally” comply with its obligations as well; anything short of full compliance was unacceptable.  A major step would be its ratification and application of the Additional Protocol.


He called on the international community to reaffirm its commitment to creating a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone, and to uphold Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) to prevent non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.  Export controls were essential to non-proliferation, and the idea that they were impediments to cooperation and technology transfer was a “false assumption”.  The Conference should welcome the supporting role of the Proliferation Security Initiative, and issue a call to secure the world’s vulnerable fissile material.  Hundreds of tons of such material were not tightly protected and were, therefore, potential targets for sabotage, misuse or diversion.


He cited various hopeful developments, including the release of the United States Nuclear Posture Review; the agreement between the United States and Russia on a nuclear arms reduction treaty; a nuclear security conference that discussed measures to reduce the chances of a nuclear attack; and a renewed commitment by President Obama to seek ratification of the CTBT and to start negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.  Important goals going forward were:  strengthening the IAEA’s verification instrument; enhancing the enforcement measures of the non-proliferation regime; and tightening withdrawal provisions to prevent abuse by non-compliant States.  The comprehensive safeguard agreements and Additional Protocol were key to current verification standards.


Mr. NATALEGAWA, Foreign Affairs Minister of Indonesia, speaking now in his national capacity, said setbacks on the road towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation had included a stalemated Conference on Disarmament; a failure by the nuclear-weapon States to keep their part of the bargain, which had been the basis for the indefinite expansion of the NPT in 1995; and unmet NPT commitments by many States.  However, the world must think anew and reflect on positive developments, including the realization by many countries of the urgency for nuclear disarmament, the recent United States and Russian Federation agreement and the American Nuclear Posture Review.  Further progress should provide a new momentum towards the final goal of complete nuclear disarmament.


He said that Indonesia had initiated the process of ratification of the CTBT, and fervently hoped that that demonstration of commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation would encourage other countries that had not yet ratified that Treaty to do so.  As the NPT Review Conference got under way, all nuclear-weapon States must demonstrate, in deeds and not merely in words, their commitment to nuclear disarmament and to effectively addressing nuclear proliferation threats, without discrimination.  They must also demonstrate respect for the inalienable rights of the NPT parties to carry out research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  The world must work together to produce a universal nuclear weapons convention with a specific timeline for complete nuclear disarmament.


It was self-evident that the three pillars of the NPT were mutually reinforcing, and it was of the greatest urgency that all States adhere to the Treaty, striving to make it universal, he said.  All States not yet party to it should join as soon as possible.  “The vision of a world of zero nuclear weapons is not a new vision,” he said.  Indonesia had always deemed that to be a valid and necessary goal.  “We must all share and support this vision and strive together to attain it through a sustained and constructive engagement among the non-nuclear-weapon States and the nuclear-weapon States.  We must all play our respective roles.”  All States must find the political will to fulfil their respective obligations and responsibilities, he said.


MICHELINE CALMY-REY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, said positive steps, including the new START agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation was a sign of forward developments in the nuclear arena.  However, nuclear weapons devices and their existence showed that there were problems that needed to be addressed.  Those weapons were unusable, immoral and could cause massive damages in terms of human life, destruction and environmental consequences.  They were weapons of extermination and could not be used without violating international humanitarian law.


She said that Switzerland hoped this Conference would give rise to an action plan to bolster nuclear disarmament progress in a forward-looking way.  Nuclear disarmament was still the poor relation of the three pillars of the NPT.  For the Conference to be successful, all the pillars should be addressed, she said.


Looking at the humanitarian component of the debate on nuclear disarmament, Switzerland believed that nuclear weapons should be de-legitimized, she said.  A world free of nuclear weapons was possible, and States, civil society and all men and women had a role to play.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.