Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Adopts Outcome Document at Last Moment; Though Imperfect, Complex Text Can Advance Process on All Fronts, Speakers Say

28 May 2010
DC/3243

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Adopts Outcome Document at Last Moment; Though Imperfect, Complex Text Can Advance Process on All Fronts, Speakers Say

28 May 2010
Meetings Coverage
DC/3243
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

NPT Review Conference

16th Meeting (PM)

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Adopts Outcome Document at Last Moment;

Though Imperfect, Complex Text Can Advance Process on All Fronts, Speakers Say

After intense negotiations and, at times, heated controversy, States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) today concluded the 2010 Conference to review and advance the landmark 1968 accord with the unanimous adoption of an outcome document that contained steps to speed progress on nuclear disarmament, advance non-proliferation and work towards a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

In its “conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions”, the comprehensive text contains a 22-point Action Plan on Nuclear Disarmament, outlining concrete steps in the areas of:  principles and objectives; disarmament of nuclear weapons; security assurances; nuclear testing; fissile materials; and other measures in support of nuclear disarmament.

Among other actions, the Conference resolved that the nuclear-weapon States commit to further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of deployed and non-deployed nuclear weapons, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures.  Specifically, the Russian Federation and the United States should commit to seek the early entry into force and full implementation of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START).

The Conference noted the Secretary-General’s five-point proposal for nuclear-disarmament, including consideration of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention, and it recognized the legitimate interests of non-nuclear-weapon States in constraining nuclear-weapon States’ development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of those weapons.

Further, all States agreed that the Conference on Disarmament should immediately establish a subsidiary body to deal with nuclear disarmament within the context of an agreed, comprehensive and balanced programme of work.  Reaffirming the legitimate interest of non-nuclear-weapon States in receiving unequivocal and legally binding security assurances, the Conference also resolved that the Conference on Disarmament should immediately begin discussing effective international arrangements for such guarantees.

In the area of nuclear testing, the Conference resolved that all nuclear-weapon States undertake to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and recalled the special responsibility of those States to encourage Annex 2 countries — particularly those not party to the Treaty that continue to operate unsafeguarded nuclear facilities — to ratify and sign it.  Pending the CTBT’s entry into force, all States would commit to refrain from nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.

The conclusions also outlined actions to be taken in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which, together with nuclear disarmament, constitute the three main pillars on which the Treaty is implicitly balanced.

The Conference encouraged all States parties to conclude and bring into force additional protocols of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as soon as possible and to implement them provisionally pending their entry into force.  The Conference underscored the importance of resolving all cases of non-compliance with safeguards obligations in full conformity with the Agency’s statute and Member States’ respective legal obligations.

A separate section focused on the Middle East, specifically on implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, which concerns the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in that region and represents the basis on which the Treaty had been indefinitely extended, without a vote, in 1995.  Reaffirming the importance of that resolution, the Conference stressed that it remained valid until its goals and objectives were achieved.

It also recalled the reaffirmation, by the 2000 Review Conference, of the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty and placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards.  It urged all States in that region to take relevant steps and confidence-building measures to realize the objectives of the 1995 resolution.

Towards that goal, it endorsed the convening of a conference in 2012, attended by all Middle Eastern States, on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by States in the region.  That conference would take as its terms of reference the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East.  And it endorsed the appointment by the Secretary-General and co-sponsors of the 1995 resolution of a facilitator to support implementation of that resolution.

In a section entitled “other regional issues”, the Conference strongly urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fulfil commitments under the six-party talks, including the complete and verifiable abandonment of all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in accordance with the September 2005 Joint Statement.  The country is also urged to return, at an early date, to the Treaty and to its adherence with IAEA safeguards.

Commenting after adoption, many delegates hailed the Conference as a success, given the complexity of the issues and sometimes wide divisions among delegations.  They pointed to a more favourable atmosphere for nuclear disarmament amid recent developments between the United States and Russian Federation, with Brazil’s delegate calling the high-level gathering a “decisive test” to confirm that new trend.

Egypt’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement States parties to the Treaty, said his delegation decided to “take advantage of the emerging goodwill” and considered the document to be a basis for “a deal” in the coming years.

Though imperfect, it could “move us forward on all fronts”, he said.  Progress had been made in adopting an action plan to push towards implementation of the 1995 resolution to establish a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the region.  That would not have been possible without the committed engagement of all States parties and their dedication to pursuing that goal.

Hinting at the sharp debate surrounding the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, the United States representative, while lauding the decision to hold a regional conference in 2012 on issues relevant to that end, also recognized that essential precursors must be in place for its achievement.  The United States’ ability to create conditions for success, she said, had been seriously jeopardized with the document’s naming of Israel, which her Government “deeply regretted”.

On that point, the United Kingdom’s delegate warmly welcomed the agreement on taking the Middle East resolution forward, which he recognized had required difficult compromises.  He asked all interested parties to see what had been achieved today as an opportunity, and not a threat.  It was a time to move forward, and building confidence was essential for success.

Before the Conference concluded, Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament, read a statement by the Secretary-General that commended the State parties in finding common ground.

Closing the Conference, Chairman Libran Cabactulan ( Philippines) expressed his gratitude for the flexibility and support shown throughout the month.  State parties had achieved a better understanding of other delegations’ positions and of the need to strengthen the three pillars of the Treaty.

Though the issues were complex and could not be separated from political realities, he was pleased at the will shown to achieve success.  It was important that, through frank consultations, participants had given a boost to the global momentum to free the world from scourge of nuclear weapons.

In other business, the Review Conference also took note of the document’s article-by-article review of the Treaty’s operations, taking into account the decisions and resolution adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, as well as the final document of the 2000 Review Conference.

It also adopted its schedule of the division of costs for the Conference (document NPT/CONF/2010/47).  The Chairman said the division of costs was based on the participation of parties in the Conference and must be seen in conjunction with rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure, adopted on 3 May 2010.

Proceeding section by section, the Conference adopted a document on its organization and work (NPT/CONF.2010/L.1), containing sections entitled:  introduction; organization of the Conference; participation in the Conference; financial arrangements; work of the Conference; documentation; and conclusions and recommendations of the conference, the last of which was orally amended by the Chairman.

Presenting the Final Report of the Credentials Committee, its Chair said that as of 25 May, 172 States parties were participating in the Conference.  Of those, 98 States parties had submitted formal credentials, while 74 States parties had submitted provisional credentials.  Another 18 States parties had not submitted any written notice of their attendance or their credentials.  He further noted that, since the report was finalized, Mozambique had submitted is formal credentials, and the report would be amended to reflect that fact.

Explanation of Position

The representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said time constraints had “not allowed all we were aiming to achieve at this Conference”, but the Movement had decided to “take advantage of the emerging goodwill”.  Failure was never an option, and the Movement considered the document to be a basis for “a deal” in the coming years.  The Conference had been convened at a historical juncture, with the emergence of new leadership and stronger political will.  The Chair had succeeded in capitalizing on that positive environment, through an open, all-inclusive and transparent negotiating process.

Indeed, talks covered a wide range of issues that were critically important to the Treaty’s credibility, on one hand, and the security of States parties, on the other, he said.  Delegations had agreed on three forward-looking action plans on nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  His delegation was aware, however, that the final outcome had not benefited greatly from elements of a plan of action presented by the Movement on the total elimination of nuclear weapons and on the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East.

As such, he said his delegation planned to “vigorously pursue” the following priorities in the run up to the 2015 Review Conference:  realizing the full and prompt implementation of the nuclear disarmament commitments by the nuclear-weapon States, aiming at the total elimination of nuclear weapons by 2025; pursuing focused efforts to realize the Treaty’s universality as a requirement for its effectiveness and the global realization of its objectives; and promoting the start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention, as the route to realizing a world free from nuclear weapons by 2025.

The Movement’s States parties also would pursue the start of negotiations on a legally binding instrument to provide non-nuclear-weapon States with global, unconditional security assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; reaffirmation of the inalienable right of non-nuclear-weapon States parties to pursue their national choices to peacefully use nuclear energy, including their right to the nuclear fuel cycle, without undue restrictions that would contradict the Treaty’s article IV; and reaffirmation that voluntary arrangements and confidence-building measures taken by States parties should, by no means, be seen as legally binding.

On the crucially important issue of the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, a central component of the indefinite extension of the Treaty, which remained unimplemented after 15 years, he said the Conference had achieved progress in adopting an action plan to push towards its implementation, to establish a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the region.  That would not have been possible today without the committed engagement of all States parties and their dedication to pursuing that goal.

The Movement’s States parties planned to engage constructively with all concerned parties to implement the practical steps adopted today in the process leading to the full implementation of the 1995 resolution.  “The road ahead is not easy but it’s the only way forward,” he said.  The reaffirmation by the Conference of the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty and placement of all its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comprehensive safeguards, confirmed States parties’ continued resolve to pursue the 1995 and 2000 commitments in that respect.

The adoption of the forward-looking outcome provided “solid and uncontested” evidence that the Movement’s States parties had shown maximum flexibility throughout negotiations.  Though imperfect, it could “move us forward on all fronts”.  He invited other States parties to join in the efforts ahead of 2015 to promote the Treaty’s universality and balanced implementation of all its provisions.

The representative of Lebanon, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, expressed satisfaction with the final document.  He highlighted section IV of the conclusions and follow-on actions on the Middle East and the 1995 resolution as a critical element.  He underlined the need for Israel to join the Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon State along with the region’s other countries, in order to pursue peace and stability in the region.  As chair of subsidiary body 2, Ambassador Alison Kelly of Ireland had made enormous efforts along those lines, he said.

The Arab Group understood the importance of this historic turning point, he said, underlining the great value it saw in the final agreement.  The Group looked favourably on the recommendations and looked forward to the 2012 conference, as the world sought to ensure that the people in the Middle East lived in a nuclear-weapon-free zone like many around the world.  For that reason it had accepted the final document without adding to or reducing it in its current form.  He called on all delegations to go beyond narrow political views and move ahead in a positive direction with the text, which allowed for a better hope for the Middle East.

The representative of Spain, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed pleasure at the final document and underlined the Union’s willingness to move forward immediately on its provisions.  It would, he said, advance the three pillars of the NPT and move forward on the 1995 resolution on the Middle East.

The representative of the United States said that, over a year ago, in Prague, President Barack Obama set out a vision for a world free of nuclear weapons.  Over the last four weeks, State parties had worked tirelessly to review the Treaty’s implementation and reaffirm the consensus it embodied.  The United States had made every effort to renew that consensus and guarantee access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes to all those abiding by their obligations.

“This Treaty matters because it is the principal international legal instrument holding member States accountable, discouraging the spread of proliferation and bringing benefits of nuclear energy to all corners of the world,” she said.

The document advanced President Obama’s vision and the collective commitment to strengthen the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime, she continued.  It showed the unified resolve to strengthen the Treaty’s three pillars, with inclusion of recommendations and follow-on actions, and the “forward-looking and balanced” action plan established benchmarks for future progress and committed Parties to seek a world without nuclear weapons.  It recognized the achievement by the United States and Russian Federation on a new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) Agreement.  It encouraged the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the need to “get on” with long-delayed negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.

The outcome document also affirmed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguard agreements, she said, which were essential for the Agency to carry out it responsibilities in that area.  It emphasized that the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be made available to all compliant parties and recognized the importance of multilateral mechanisms for assurances of nuclear supply.  Her delegation was pleased that the President’s report highlighted the view of “most in this hall” that parties should be held responsible for violations committed prior to withdrawal, and had noted that the document called on States to comply fully with the Treaty, in order to uphold the instrument’s integrity.

In that context, she recalled remarks made by the United States Secretary of State, which noted that Iran was the only State found by the IAEA Board of Governors to be in non-compliance with its safeguards obligations.  Iran had done nothing to enhance international confidence in its performance.

The text also included an agreement to hold a regional conference in 2012 to discuss issues relevant to a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, which the United States had long supported, but it recognized that essential precursors must be in place for its achievement.  She said the United States took seriously its obligations and would work to create conditions for success.  However, its ability to do so had been seriously jeopardized with the document’s naming of Israel, which her Government “deeply regretted”.

The United States also deplored the defiance of international law by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she said. That country should understand it would never achieve acceptance without complete abandonment of its nuclear weapons programme.  Its failure to implement commitments under the six-party talks and return to the NPT and IAEA safeguards at an early date, called into question the utility of negotiating with that country.  The six-party talks could be an effective mechanism only if North Korea took early and irreversible steps to return to Treaty compliance and establish, through action, its credibility as a negotiating partner.

In closing, she said her Government was deeply grateful for all the contributions that had resulted in a constructive outcome.  All were charged to carry out its commitments.  The United States looked forward to working in the Conference on Disarmament, among other forums, to ensure that the document was “one in which all of us can take pride”.

Welcoming the document as an ambitious road map, France’s representative thanked the Chair and the Chairmen of the main committees and subsidiary bodies, acknowledging this success as theirs.  Addressing his colleagues, he thanked them for the efforts not to reopen the document in the last few hours.  Indeed, the agreement was a “collective success” for the goals of non-proliferation and disarmament.  It demonstrated the international community’s commitment to the Treaty and represented a concrete and balanced approach for the coming years.

Nevertheless, France believed it should have gone further, particularly regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and issues of Iranian proliferation.  As his delegation had repeatedly emphasized during the Conference, words were not enough.  By firmly reacting to proliferation crises in this document, by pursuing non-proliferation and disarmament efforts in the Security Council, and by cooperating for the civilian use of nuclear energy, the world would show its resolve.  For its part, France hoped the 1995 resolution on the Middle East would be fulfilled and was ready to work towards that goal with its partners in the years and months to come.

Congratulating the Conference for the final document’s consensual adoption, China’s representative said that, 10 years after the review’s last success, it had achieved a substantial result that was useful for strengthening the Treaty’s effectiveness, authority and universality.  Indeed, it was very conducive for achieving the Treaty’s three main goals, and he hoped the outcome document would be effectively implemented.

Nevertheless, he emphasized that China advocated for the complete and thorough destruction of all nuclear weapons and supported the negotiation of an international treaty in that respect.  It also supported the negotiation of a binding treaty on security assurances, as well as an early conclusion of the fissile material cut-off treaty, which was the only effective method for controlling the production of fissile material.  China adhered to the promotion of the CTBT’s ratification and its early entry into force.  China joined the other NPT parties in making every effort to promote its implementation, including the recommendations in today’s final document, particularly those on the Middle East.

The representative of the Russian Federation thanked the Chairman and all those who helped him in his work, notably the Chair of Main Committees, Chairs of the subsidiary bodies, and Norway’s ambassador for his skill and professionalism in addressing complex challenges in the last hours of the negotiation process.  Without those efforts, the enthusiasm and belief in the ability to achieve consensus would not have flourished.  Each delegation had worked as best as it could.  His Government would not forget the last discussions in which all had tried to achieve progress.

Many had expressed doubts about the Conference, he said, but each delegation had supported the joint activities of the international community to strengthen the NPT regime, he said.  A clear plan had emerged for strengthening nuclear disarmament and the other NPT pillars.  Carrying out the action plan would make a practical contribution to strengthening the NPT regime.  His Government had noted the decision on the 1995 resolution.  For the first time in 15 years, the Conference had been able to set forth concrete steps to begin joint work on creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East.  The basis of that decision had been ideas put forth by his delegation.

Four weeks of in-depth discussion had shown that, for States parties, the Treaty remained the cornerstone of the international disarmament and non-proliferation system and a key element to constraining the threat of weapons of mass destruction and achieving peaceful use of nuclear energy, as shown by the wide range of ideas that had been submitted.  The Russian Federation was satisfied by the constructive atmosphere that had reigned throughout the Conference, and he called on delegates to maximize that dynamic and step up common efforts to strengthen the NPT regime.  His country was ready to implement its obligations.  The main objective now was to ratify the new START and begin its implementation.

His Government would do everything to implement all of the decisions taken at the Conference, in a way that would show that disarmament strengthened each State.  “Our security is indivisible,” and only together would results be achieved, he said.  Throughout the Conference, the Russian Federation had tried to support the Chairman and his team.  He assured participants of ongoing support for further cooperation, and thanked everyone for their interest in the joint, intensive work.

Aligning his remarks with those made on behalf of the European Union, the representative of the Netherlands expressed great gratitude to the Chairman’s work and efforts, which had brought the Conference to this moment.  His delegation was particularly pleased that after 15 years, the Conference had made progress regarding its resolution on the Middle East.  Still, the Netherlands would have preferred a more balanced reflection of the challenges in the region.  Nevertheless, he hoped the approach would result in a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

Algeria’s delegate, noting that the Conference had been held at a moment when the international community was favourably inclined towards disarmament and non-proliferation, said its participants had gathered with the determination to advance the shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.  The agreement reached on the implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution constituted a major achievement.  Today, States parties managed to adopt concrete measures, which would hopefully result in the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone there.  He highlighted the Arab Group’s contribution to that outcome.  Emphasizing that nuclear weapons were the most serious threat to mankind, he said their abolition should be the main collective goal of the international community.

Japan ’s representative, expressing his utmost appreciation to the Chairman for his strong leadership, which had led to the document’s achievement, said the Conference had faced enormous difficulties on many issues.  A very important contribution had been made by various initiatives of the United States, starting with President Obama’s speech in Prague.  The new START had also made a significant contribution.

Calling the action plan addressing all three pillars “unprecedented”, he said the Conference had agreed on actions for nuclear-weapon States to promptly engage in various steps and to undertake their obligations.  Further, the Conference had agreed that transparency was a principle of nuclear disarmament, along with verifiability.  Indeed, transparency was the most fundamental requirement to disarmament.  It was highly recommended that States reduce their arsenals in a transparent way, as shown by the United States and the United Kingdom.  The Conference also had agreed to encourage all States parties to conclude and enter into force IAEA additional protocols, and reaffirmed the importance of safeguards and safety when developing nuclear energy.

At the same time, the action plan did not meet all expectations, he said, noting that, despite the many urgent calls by non-nuclear-weapon States, the importance of declaring a moratorium on the production of fissile materials had not been mentioned.  Such actions were indispensable to nuclear disarmament and should be realized on a global basis.  Thousands of hibakusha — victims of nuclear weapons, many of whom were now over 70 or 80 years old — had travelled to New York and followed closely what diplomats would come up with.  The outcome in some cases was not satisfactory.  Overall, however, the Conference was a great success, especially compared to 2005, and even to 2000.  There had been many steps forward.  “With this achievement in hand, we must move on and implement faithfully what we have agreed to,” he said.

The representative of the United Kingdom underlined the achievement, not only of the final outcome, but an unprecedented agreement across all three pillars, as well as a plan for implementing the 1995 resolution on the Middle East.  Most importantly, the final document demonstrated the international community’s continuing commitment to engage in building confidence and to bridging differences in the spirit of shared interest.

Stressing that the path to the current moment had been long, he singled out the presidents of the Conference’s Preparatory Committees for particular thanks.  He noted a few inconsistencies in the text, before warmly welcoming the agreement on taking the Middle East resolution forward, which he recognized had required difficult compromises.  In that regard, he paid tribute to Ambassador Kelly of Ireland.  Finally, he asked all interested parties to see what had been achieved today as an opportunity, and not a threat.  It was a time to look forward and to move forward, and building confidence was essential for success.

Cuba’s representative said the Conference had led to high expectations.  His Government had worked actively and constructively, guided by the position that nuclear disarmament should continue to be the highest priority.  Results had been mixed; conclusions adopted had included steps forward.  At the same time, the text was still far from what was necessary.  The final results left clear that there was still distance between rhetoric by some nuclear Powers, on the one hand, and concrete steps they were willing to take, on the other.

He regretted that the document was not aimed at strengthening the Treaty.  It reflected the ideas of the Conference president, and not the States parties.  The procedure used regarding the review of the Treaty’s implementation should not become a precedent or be used as a future practice.  The plan of action, while a step forward, was “limited and insufficient”.  Many of the actions proposed by the Non-Aligned Movement had been reflected only as “diluted hopes and aspirations”.  Cuba had done all it could to include a 2025 deadline timeline to attain the elimination of nuclear weapons.  That had not been possible.

Among other limitations, he said the document did not include a reference on the need to start negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.  Nor was there a clear commitment on stopping the development of those weapons.  Furthermore, the text did not contain a demand for the immediate withdrawal of nuclear weapons in States that did not have them.  There were no commitments on adopting an international, legally binding instrument, with universal security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States.  The “step-by-step approach” could not be used as a pretext for preserving the status quo.  Nuclear disarmament could not be a continually delayed objective.  There were no reasons for either rejoicing or for pessimism today.  The result should serve as motivation.  “We cannot rest until we attain a world free of nuclear weapons,” he said.

Austria’s representative said his delegation considered the NPT as a cornerstone of the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, and wished to carry forward the optimism in the debate.  He also welcomed the progress on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

He recalled that when he had first submitted a draft of the action plan two weeks ago, the Chair had written him an e-mail saying, “This is bold.”  Two weeks later, the final text did not contain everything that had been hoped for, but it was a strong package of concrete measures, and Austria would use it as a scorecard to measure progress in the coming review cycle.  Austria joined consensus in the understanding that it would address certain parts of the action plan according to its federal Constitution, he said, underlining that his country had no interest in and would not be involved in the development of new nuclear reactor generations.  Moreover, Austria believed the appropriate levels of safety should be measured against IAEA standards.

Iran’s representative, associating with Egypt’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement States parties to the Treaty, said the existence of nuclear weapons was most immediate danger to humanity; their catastrophic consequences conferred on all the duty to adopt all measures to prevent such event.  Their indiscriminate nature categorized them as prohibited under international humanitarian law.

He stressed that modernizing nuclear arsenals should be condemned, and not tolerated.  An increase in nuclear capability should equal a reduction in political credibility.  The international community had legitimately expected actual steps to prohibit the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons within a definite timeline.  In 2000, following extensive negotiations, 13 steps had been identified, but unfortunately, they had not been implemented, and further, measures contrary to them had been adopted.  Abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which violated the 2000 agreement, along with the increased operational status of nuclear weapons and their increased role in national security doctrines, had led to a new phase of development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons.  Such policies had been the main reason for the failure of the 2005 Review Conference.

The 2010 Conference had been convened at a time when some nuclear-weapon States had adopted unilateral measures.  Contrary to expectations, positions taken by those States showed they were not ready to refrain from certain positions.  It was unfortunate that the draft lacked a clear reference to the fundamental principles established at the previous Review Conferences.

By way of example, he said the reaffirmation by nuclear Powers to reduce the operational status of their arsenals had been “watered down”, rendering it useless.  Reaffirmation of nuclear-weapon States’ commitment to cease development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons had been changed to take into account the “legitimate interests” of those States.  Also, the text did not recognize that nuclear-armed States should abolish the role of nuclear weapons in their doctrines, but only asked them to “diminish” those weapons’ significance.

Other portions of the text drew a “rosy picture” of disarmament by welcoming insufficient unilateral or bilateral measures, he said.  The United States, in breach of its Treaty obligations, officially announced it would invest $100 billion in nuclear-weapon delivery systems to modernize its strategic systems.  And, it was unfortunate that France and the United States, to keep the status of their arsenals unaffected, had blocked agreement on prohibiting the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons.

On the transport of nuclear weapons on the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States, the text failed to call for the withdrawal of those weapons, he said.  Also absent was the important request of non-nuclear-armed States for a legal framework with a specified timeline for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, including a nuclear weapons convention by 2025.  That was not an achievement.

He said the text’s “universality” section was silent in calling on Israel to stop developing nuclear weapons and to accede to the NPT, “a clear setback”.  It was also silent on the legitimacy of the 1995 agreement between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon States parties on the transfer of source fissionable material and equipment.

On the issue of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, he said that after 15 years of non-implementation, the global community and countries in the region expected the commitment of certain nuclear Powers to fulfil obligations.  The text failed to call on Israel, the only obstacle to the zone’s creation, to accede to the NPT, without precondition.  The language went beyond current political realities in the region, to which he expressed reservations.  Other examples showed the Conference coming up short on the global community’s expectations.  The limited measures identified in the document, however, were still a step forward.  The text could serve as a viable benchmark towards the common goal of nuclear disarmament.

Iran had joined consensus to show respect for the views of others and to demonstrate political goodwill, he said.  Iran was determined to pursue, with other non-nuclear-weapon States, notably in the Non-Aligned Movement, the full implementation of the Conference’s decisions and further steps to realize the expectations not fully fulfilled by the Conference.

Saying the spirit of cooperation had been critical to the Conference’s success, Australia’s representative expressed support for the text.  It was a wide-ranging and forward-looking plan of action across the three pillars of the NPT that built on the outcomes of the previous review sessions.  However, his delegation would have liked to see an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile material, as well as more transparency.  It also wanted a stronger outcome on strengthening IAEA safeguards and would work to build consensus in the coming years.  He thanked his partners, including Japan and the “Vienna Group of 10”.

The representative of Argentina said that, after four intense and very constructive weeks, his first comment went to the Chair, whose spirit of optimism had been contagious.  While many matters had been left by the wayside, the document was an important step.  Indeed, the text was a complex, well-articulated document that outlined clear, concrete measures, and its conclusions and follow-on actions were a step forward over those of 2000.

In particular, he said the document provided a plan to orient work in the area of disarmament, and his delegation hoped that a complete report on further progress in nuclear disarmament would be possible in 2015.  For its part, Argentina would, starting Monday, work in the Conference on Disarmament for a fissile material cut-off treaty.  Turning to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, he said his delegation was satisfied that the document adequately prepared the international community for the areas of growth that lay ahead.  Finally, he hoped that the Secretary-General would soon name a facilitator to allow preparations to begin for the 2012 Middle East Conference.

Libya’s delegate said that, despite the fact that the document did not live up to all expectations, it could not be said that the Conference had failed.  His country had hoped the text would have dealt with the commitments by the nuclear-weapon States set out in Article VI of the Treaty for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the establishment of a convention towards that goal.  However, that orientation had been strongly opposed by nuclear-weapon States, and, in that regard, was a failure.  As a result, Libya would consider convening a conference to amend the Treaty to ensure the inspection of nuclear facilities in nuclear-weapons States.

Continuing, he said it was regrettable that big Powers employed double standards in the area of non-proliferation for purely political reasons against the backdrop of their domestic agendas.  While some countries opposed singling out by name certain countries and the need for them to accede to the NPT, they themselves continued to invoke the name of other specific countries.  That approach, he warned, might prompt withdrawal from the NPT.  While Libya was unhappy with the way the document dealt with Israel, it hoped the recommendations would foster progress towards the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and he hoped the depository parties of the NPT would do their part towards that goal.

The representative of South Africa said the final draft document presented last night addressed the issues in some ways that fell short of expectations.  Although some might be tempted to promote additional amendments, they had resisted doing so, however, in the understanding that draft sought a delicate balance and that Treaty needed strengthening.  Moreover, the current agreement was not an end in itself, but signalled a step towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.  South Africa expressed gratitude to those who had exercised flexibility, as well as responsibility, he said, stressing that the Conference would only be judged a success if the measures agreed to today were fully implemented.

Chile’s delegate said the Treaty remained the cornerstone of international security.  Today’s results sent a positive signal to the entire international system.  The final document was clearly far from perfect, but potent seeds had been sown throughout the Conference for a vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.  Those parts of the world that had created nuclear-weapon-free zones celebrated that the message sent from the Conference had been partially recognized.  He welcomed that a meeting to be held on nuclear-weapon-free zones had been incorporated into the fabric of the Review Conference.  Among the most central results had been the decision to launch a political campaign to realize such a zone in the Middle East.  The NPT review process was evolving, and supported by previous actions.  Civil society had been very present, deploying enthusiasm that might be “the most beautiful adornment” of the Conference.  Their names filled 29 pages in the participants list and he extended his appreciation to them.

Canada’s representative said his delegation had listened carefully to the Chairman’s comments yesterday that the final document was “the best that can be offered”.  Canada offered its full backing to the text.  Its recommendations and follow-up actions had taken State parties further in strengthening the Treaty’s three pillars.  Many had retained the hope of strengthening the process, as envisioned in 1995 and 2000.  Canada wanted to move forward and truly strengthen the NPT process.  Everyone wanted a substantive outcome, aimed at attainment of the Treaty’s universality and implementation of its forward-looking agenda.  After 10 years, we “almost achieved” progress beyond mere platitudes.  Canada understood the bigger issues at play, and at risk.  It supported the entire document, and along with other real friends of reform, would work to bring the agenda forward.

The representative of Mexico said that, while the document was not perfect, it did build bridges.  Paraphrasing the second Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, he said that, while the final document would not “bring us to heaven, it distanced us from hell” — the hell of a nuclear war.  Mexico considered that the document established commitments for nuclear-weapon States to move towards a world free of nuclear weapons.  Stressing that his country would continue to work towards the elimination of that most deadly of humanity’s inventions, he welcomed the message the Conference was sending to the world community today.

The representative of Indonesia, associating his delegation with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the forthcoming statement to be made on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the failure in 2005 had not held back this year’s review.  Indeed, the necessary political will to make this review a success had been mustered, and, as the only viable option for moving forward with nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the final document spelled out concrete action plans for all States.  He stressed that the momentum must be seized, and all the text’s measures equally implemented in order to achieve the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

The representative of Viet Nam, speaking on behalf of ASEAN and associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, congratulated the Chair and welcomed the adoption of the final document.

Brazil’s representative said the final document and the agreed action plan was balanced, and his country was determined to work unwaveringly towards its implementation.  Invoking the recent favourable atmosphere for nuclear disarmament, he said the Conference had been a decisive test to confirm that new trend by quite successfully overcoming a hurdle.  Efforts towards that goal must continue in all relevant bodies, starting with the resumption of work in the Conference on Disarmament, through the adoption of a programme of work in the coming weeks.  Further, that work programme should be implemented starting this year.

Commending the Chair, his team and the secretariat, Colombia’s delegate said that after 10 years of paralysis, the Chair’s work and achievement took on special meaning for his country.  It laid out the work that lay ahead, and he vehemently desired that five years down the road, the next review conference also would be met with success.  Colombia believed that actions 36, 44 and 45 clearly set out the responsibility of States vis-à-vis those actors that resorted to terrorism.

Nigeria’s representative said the outcome had been happily influenced by the improvement in the international environment in favour of a nuclear-weapon-free world and demonstrated what the international community could achieve in the face of nuclear dangers when there was political will, as well as shared values and interests. He congratulated the delegations for the flexibility in the last weeks.

Noting that the credibility of the NPT had been at stake, the representative of Norway congratulated the Chair on the successful outcome.  It had not been easy to achieve.  While Norway would have liked more on disarmament — particularly the establishment of strict timelines and stronger non-proliferation actions — it accepted that, at this juncture, the best possible action plan had been adopted.  It restored the 1995 and 2000 compacts, and importantly addressed the Middle East resolution.  Finally, he said the participation by the non-governmental organizations community demonstrated the value and necessity of their involvement.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said today’s significant outcome dispelled any lingering doubts about the future of the NPT and established the Treaty’s revitalization.  His delegation was particularly pleased with the unified stance shown by the international community regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  That issue was a threat to international peace and stability.

Venezuela’s delegate said the document took important steps forward on the long road towards a world free of nuclear weapons, even though the tireless negotiations over the last four weeks showed how far the world was from ensuring that the nuclear Powers accomplished that goal.  Still, humanity in all corners of the Earth called for such a world.

She commended the agreement reached today, but said the work remained incomplete.  This was particularly true regarding the Non-Aligned Movement’s proposal for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons by 2025.  Her delegation understood the Conference could not go beyond the steps set out in section IV regarding the Middle East, but hoped further progress would be made in 2012.  Finally, she lamented the fact that agreement on revising the Treaty had not been reached.

Sudan’s representative, aligning his remarks with those made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, while the text did not fully meet aspirations, it could be considered progress.  It was hoped that the outcome would be an incentive and a strong driving force in moving quickly towards the implementation of the Middle East resolution and converting the Middle East into a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  It was also hoped that the next five years would see significant movement towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.

The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, reiterating his delegation’s support for the outcome of the conference, associated himself with the statement made on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement, particularly regarding the Middle East resolution.  Underlining the importance of the NPT, he said it was self-evident that nuclear weapons should be relegated to history’s dust bin, while countries should be allowed to enjoy the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  He said it was essential not to lose the recent momentum between the United States and the Russian Federation.  He also highlighted South Africa’s renunciation of nuclear weapons, another step towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.

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