Thematic Debate Continues in First Committee, as Speakers Seek to Recast Norm against Nuclear Weapons Possession, Codify Global Security Architecture
Thematic Debate Continues in First Committee, as Speakers Seek to Recast Norm against Nuclear Weapons Possession, Codify Global Security Architecture
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
11th Meeting (PM)
Thematic Debate Continues in First Committee, as Speakers Seek to Recast Norm
against Nuclear Weapons Possession, Codify Global Security Architecture
Russian Federation , United States Jointly Submit Draft Noting Efforts to Reduce
Strategic Offensive Arms, Halt Production of Fissile Material; Five Texts Tabled
Joining forces to reduce nuclear arsenals, keeping promises, declaring zones free of nuclear weapons, stemming proliferation, abandoning the rationale for nuclear weapons retention and abolishing them were among the calls to action in five draft resolutions tabled today as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) concluded its thematic debate on nuclear weapons.
A new resolution on bilateral reductions of strategic nuclear arms and the new framework for strategic relations, if adopted by the General Assembly, would foster more favourable conditions for actively promoting security and cooperation and strengthening international stability, said the representative of the United States. He joined the Russian Federation in presenting the joint draft text that would have the General Assembly welcome the signing on 8 April by those countries of the new Treaty on Measures for Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START).
Among the terms of that text, the Assembly would note that the United States and the Russian Federation were committed to continuing the development of a new strategic relationship, and support their consistent commitment to the continuation of efforts for reducing strategic offensive arms.
It would note with approval that those two countries had stopped the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons and it would express support for the early start of negotiations on a verifiable treaty to end the production of that material for use in nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. The text also expressed the hope that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) would enter into force at an early date.
The representative of the Russian Federation said his country and the United States had clearly demonstrated, once again, their commitment to substantial reductions of strategic offensive arms and that deep reductions in strategic offensive arms undertaken by the two countries had led to a qualitative change in the situation in the field of nuclear disarmament. The narrowing numeric gap between the two countries’ stockpiles created a need for other States possessing nuclear weapons to gradually join those disarmament efforts, he said.
Accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments was the subject of another tabled resolution, which would call on all States to comply with all its promises, said the representative of Ireland, who introduced the draft text on behalf of New Agenda Coalition ( Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden). The true test of the value of the outcome of this year’s Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) would be the implementation of the commitments undertaken, and the draft text before the Committee underlined the importance of early progress and encouraged the taking of various steps in that regard, she said.
She said early engagement and substantive progress in implementation of the steps agreed at the Review Conference would be an important signal of the seriousness with which nuclear-weapon States viewed their undertakings and their commitment to implement the action plan on nuclear disarmament.
Part of that action plan was adding the Middle East to the group of existing nuclear-weapon-free zones in the world, said the representative of Egypt, who introduced two resolutions: establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East, and risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
He said the first would have the Assembly urge all Member States towards creating such a zone and the latter would have the Assembly stress the importance of taking confidence-building measures, in particular the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, in order to enhance peace and security in the region and to consolidate the global non-proliferation regime.
Despite recent gains, he said actual progress on nuclear disarmament was indeed limited. Much more needed to be done to, among other things, bring about NPT universality, cement security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, and launch negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty, he said.
At the end of the day, it was important to remember that these weapons and their use were immoral, said the representative of Malaysia, who tabled a draft resolution on follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. He said the opinion was a significant milestone in international efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament by lending a moral argument to the total elimination of those weapons. The draft took into account the recent progress on the nuclear weapons convention and on the application of international humanitarian law to nuclear weapons.
Also making statements were the representatives of Thailand, Austria, Republic of Korea, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, France, Algeria, Switzerland, Mexico, Iran and Senegal.
The representatives of Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea exercised their rights of reply.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 18 October to continue its thematic debates.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its thematic debate on nuclear weapons and to hear the introduction of related draft resolutions and decisions.
SIRIPORN CHAIMONGKOL ( Thailand) said that 40 years after the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), nuclear weapons still existed, with their proliferation remaining a threat to international security. The task before the international community, therefore, was to promote universal adherence to that Treaty and compliance with its obligations among States parties. At the 2010 NPT Review Conference in May, the international community had seen the renewed political commitment of the NPT States parties to realizing the Treaty’s objectives, as reflected in the review’s final document, adopted by consensus for the first time in 10 years. Thailand welcomed the 64-point action plan for the three pillars of the Treaty, as well as the recommended practical steps towards the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East. It hoped that the follow-on actions and recommendations would be duly and effectively translated into action.
She said her country also welcomed the joint ministerial statement on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) ministerial meeting, held in New York on 23 September. Although Thailand was not among the “Annex II” countries, it reaffirmed its strong commitment to accelerating the CTBT’s ratification process. In the meantime, it had cooperated closely with the CTBT Organization (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission and lent support to CTBT-related activities. To further enhance international efforts at nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the issues of negative security assurances and fissile material should also be addressed. In that regard, her country underscored the need for the Conference on Disarmament to resume its substantive work as soon as possible, including the early start of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. Substantive discussions were also needed on all aspects of negative security assurances.
MARCIE RIES ( United States) said that her country joined the Russian Federation in presenting a joint draft resolution regarding the New Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START). In April, the two countries had signed that Treaty, which aimed to further reduce and limit the number of strategic arms for both sides and renew United States-Russian leadership on nuclear issues. The draft resolution noted the continuing development of a new strategic relationship between the two countries, expressed support for the commitment they had shown to the further reduction of their strategic offensive arms and recognized the importance of their contributions to nuclear disarmament, as part of their commitment under article VI of the NPT.
She added that the draft resolution expressed the hope that the CTBT would enter into force at an early date, recalled that both countries had stopped the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons, and supported the early commencement of negotiations for the conclusion of a verifiable treaty to end the production of that material for use in nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.
When United States President Barack Obama had spoken in Prague in April 2009 about his vision of a world without nuclear weapons, he had recognized the need to create the conditions to bring about such a world, she went on. The new START was an important step in achieving reductions in nuclear weapons, and the draft resolution recognised that achievement. The Russian Federation and the United States alone, however, could not create all the conditions necessary; they must also play their part. The Conference on Disarmament remained deadlocked over a programme of work that would launch negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty, as well as substantive discussions on other disarmament topics. It remained her country’s strong preference to negotiate a fissile material treaty in the Conference, however, the patience of the international community was swiftly running out. If efforts to start negotiations in the Conference continued to stall, then interested States might have to consider other options for moving that process forward.
She said the entry into force of the test-ban Treaty was another essential step on the path towards a world without nuclear weapons. The United States had reaffirmed its commitment to that Treaty and had increased its level of participation in all activities of the CTBTO’s Preparatory Commission in preparing for the instrument’s entry into force.
VICTOR L. VASILIEV ( Russian Federation) said his country, being aware of its special responsibility as a nuclear Power for fulfilling the obligations under article VI of the NPT. continued in the spirit of goodwill the in-depth, irreversible and verifiable reductions of its nuclear potential. An important step in that direction was the new START, which replaced one of the most historically significant disarmament agreements: the United States-Soviet Union START of 1991. The new Treaty stipulated reduction targets to be met in the next seven years and created an impetus for the elimination or conversion of strategic offensive arms subject to reductions.
He said that the Russian Federation and the United States had clearly demonstrated once again their commitment to substantial reductions of strategic offensive arms. While negotiating the new START, Russia and the United States had kept in mind that nuclear disarmament was impossible without taking into account the developments in the field of strategic defensive arms, and that there were no existing limits on the deployment of strategic missile defence systems.
The Russian Federation, with the United States, had submitted a draft resolution entitled “Bilateral Reductions of Strategic Nuclear Arms and the New Framework for Strategic Relations” (document A/C.1/65/L.28), and he hoped the draft would be adopted by consensus. Deep reductions in strategic offensive arms undertaken by Russia and the United States had led to a qualitative change in the situation in the field of nuclear disarmament. The narrowing numeric gap between stockpiles of the Russian Federation and the United States and the other P-5 (permanent five members of the Security Council) countries had created a need for other States possessing nuclear weapons to gradually join the disarmament efforts of Russia and the United States.
He said that the inter-relationship between strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms, which was becoming more important as strategic offensive arms were reduced, was vital for strengthening strategic ability. He called for a broad international dialogue on missile defence issues. Russia’s goal was to establish a collective system to respond to missile-related challenges by countering missile proliferation and preventing the existing missile-related challenges from turning into missile-related threats.
The 2010 NPT Review Conference’s successful outcome had reiterated that the Treaty was the cornerstone of the international security system, he said, adding that all challenges to the regime must be addressed on the basis of the NPT. It was imperative now, as never before, that nuclear disarmament initiatives would not be left on paper, but be translated into practical steps. In that connection, he urged the earliest as possible entry into force of the CTBT. The task of intensifying the multilateral disarmament process was an urgent one, and he welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to launch substantive work in the Conference on Disarmament. He looked forward to the earliest launching of negotiations on banning weapons-grade fissile material at the Conference.
Regarding nuclear-weapon-free zones, he said Russia contributed to the process of establishing those zones and believed ways should be found to establish such a zone in the Middle East. He also attached great importance to increasing the efficiency of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification activities. Russia intended to further contribute to the strengthening of the IAEA Safeguards system, including through a national system of safeguards support. He also stood for the universalization of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
While moving along the non-proliferation track to create conditions to establish proliferation-resistant architecture of international cooperation in the area of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, it was important to ensure the inalienable right of all interested States to develop nuclear energy, he said. Russia’s nuclear infrastructure initiative was open for all States. Russia was disposed to constructive cooperation with all to tackle disarmament and non-proliferation issues. He called upon all States sharing the noble goal of reaching a world free of nuclear weapons to join its efforts.
SAIFUL AZAM MARTINUS ABDULLAH ( Malaysia) introduced the draft resolution on follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/65/L.50). He said that advisory opinion was a significant milestone in international efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament by lending a moral argument to the total elimination of such weapons. The draft text took into account the recent progress on the nuclear weapons convention and on the application of international humanitarian law to nuclear weapons. Support for the draft was a reaffirmation of the commitment to the multilateral process in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING ( Austria) said that nothing would come of the commitments made in the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference if the multilateral disarmament machinery was not fit for that purpose. While much could be done through bilateral agreements, the new commitments made this year required the international community to start putting in place immediately the central components for reaching “global zero”, such as a fissile material cut-off treaty. As the Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, Michael Spindelegger, had indicated at the high-level meeting on 24 September, it was necessary to address the blockage in the Conference on Disarmament or accept that that body faced becoming obsolete.
For that reason, he said his country had strongly supported the initiative of the Secretary-General to convene that meeting and it had been pleased that it had succeeded in shining a spotlight on the unacceptable situation in the Conference on Disarmament, which threatened to hamper disarmament efforts. Together with a group of sponsors, Austria would table a draft resolution on “Follow-up to the High-Level Meeting held on 24 September 2010 — Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations”. That draft would be introduced on Monday.
The process towards pursuing the legal foundations for a world without nuclear weapons had already begun and it was up to the international community, not only to identify the appropriate sequencing of steps, but to also associate itself with the best partners and institutions needed to proceed in the most effective manner, he said. Austria believed that civil society would assume a paramount role in that process. For that reason, it was supporting the establishment of a competence centre for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in Vienna. That centre would act as a hub or a platform for independent expertise, monitoring and advocacy with regard to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
HAN-TAEK IM ( Republic of Korea) welcomed the results of the NPT Review Conference and affirmed his country’s view that the NPT should continue to function as a cornerstone of global peace and security. The outcome in May represented a delicate balance among the NPT’s three pillars, which was vital to the durability of the regime. The Republic of Korea, as an ardent supporter of multilateral efforts towards disarmament and non-proliferation, believed that nuclear-weapon States needed to do their part to make further progress on nuclear disarmament, while non-nuclear-weapon States should maintain their commitment to non-proliferation. The Secretary-General’s dedicated efforts to realise a nuclear-weapon-free world, including his presentation of a five-point proposal in 2008, which stressed the early entry into force of the CTBT and the immediate negotiations of a fissile material cut-off treaty, were also noteworthy.
In addition, he said, the Secretary-General’s high-level meeting on revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament had been timely and of great significance. Not only internal efforts by the Conference, but also external political stimulus, were called for in order to break the deadlock in that body. All Member States should earnestly embrace the Chairman’s summary from that meeting so as to bring the Conference back on course as promptly as possible.
North Korea’s nuclear programme represented, not only a serious threat to regional peace and security, but also an unprecedented challenge to the international non-proliferation regime, he said. The international community had demonstrated a unified and resolute position against that country’s nuclear ambitions, as seen in the adoption of Security Council resolutions and the final document of the NPT Review Conference. His country looked forward to continued efforts by the international community to urge North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. Despite North Korea’s repeated acts of defiance of international concerns, the Republic of Korea would continue to exert efforts for a peaceful and comprehensive resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue. It was maintaining a two-track approach by implementing sanctions while leaving the door open to dialogue.
HOSSAM ELDEEN ALY ( Egypt) said recent successes included the new START and a successful conclusion to the NPT Review Conference. As an active member of the New Agenda Coalition ( Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden), he said actual progress on nuclear disarmament had indeed been limited. Much more needed to be done to, among other things, to bring about NPT universality, cement negative security assurances, and to launch negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty. There was also a need to bring about a treaty on preventing an arms race in outer space, and to bring peace to the Middle East. The consensus adoption of the final document at the 2010 NPT Review Conference had been a forward step to achieving the goals, including freeing the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction.
With that in mind, he said Egypt was introducing two resolutions. The first was a draft resolution on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East (document A/C.1/65/L.1), which would have the General Assembly urge all parties directly concerned seriously to consider taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, and, as a means of promoting this objective, would invite the countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
It would also have the Assembly call upon all countries of the region that have not yet done so, pending the establishment of the zone, to agree to place all their nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards.
He said the resolution and the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East had a vision of peace in the region. He hoped the text would be adopted to maintain that vision.
The second was a resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/65/L.3), which would have the Assembly, stressing the importance of taking confidence-building measures, in particular the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, in order to enhance peace and security in the region and to consolidate the global non-proliferation regime,
call upon that State to accede to the Treaty without further delay and not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, and to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope Agency safeguards as an important confidence-building measure among all States of the region and as a step towards enhancing peace and security.
LI YANG ( China) said the goal of achieving complete prohibition and the destruction of nuclear weapons was a daunting task. The international community should embrace a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination. It was imperative to strengthen the hard-won momentum of nuclear disarmament by continuously pushing forward the nuclear disarmament process and reducing the threat of nuclear weapons.
He urged the international community to continue to make efforts in a number of areas, including that all nuclear-weapon States should fulfil obligations under article VI of the NPT and that countries with the largest arsenals should work to reduce them. In addition, nuclear-weapon States should earnestly reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their respective national security policies and conclude an international legal instrument against no-first use and non-use of those weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States.
China had stood for the complete prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons, he said. It was firmly committed to a nuclear strategy of self-defence. China had adhered to the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons, at any time or under any circumstances, and had made the unequivocal commitment that it would unconditionally not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States and nuclear-weapon-free zones. That open and transparent nuclear policy made China unique among all nuclear-weapon States. China had never deployed any nuclear weapons on foreign territory and had not participated and would not participate in any form of nuclear arms race. China would continue to keep its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security.
He said his country supported the early entry into force of the test-ban Treaty and the early commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty. China would also continue to work with the international community to actively contribute to advancing the international nuclear disarmament process.
KIM YONG JO (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), highlighting his country’s position on nuclear weapons, said that priority should be given to nuclear disarmament. The international community aspired to a general and complete abolition of nuclear weapons, and monopoly of nuclear superiority by one country could never be absolute. The wanton refusal by the largest nuclear-weapon State to implement nuclear disarmament and its decision to “throw it in the back seat” was a challenge to the aspiration of the international community. That attitude would only invite more States to have an interest in acquiring nuclear weapons.
He said that the main factor responsible for the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament for the past decade was the refusal of the largest nuclear-weapon States to embark on nuclear disarmament, while placing emphasis only on issues of non-proliferation and a ban on fissile material. Bilateral efforts for nuclear disarmament could no longer be the method for achieving comprehensive nuclear disarmament; nuclear disarmament was of multilateral nature and should be achieved in a verifiable and irreversible manner, under international and legally binding control, within a specific time frame.
Non-proliferation should not be misused as a pretext for attacking sovereign States, he continued. The double-faced position of the United States towards nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula and the Middle East showed clearly that that was the genuine purpose of the so-called non-proliferation often “loudly chanted” by that country. The nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula had been created by the United States, which introduced nuclear weapons in South Korea back in 1957 and had increased the number of those weapons to more than 1,000 by the 1970s. The United States had concealed its proliferation crimes on the Korean peninsula and, under the pretext of non-proliferation, had been pursuing a hostile policy against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, along with manoeuvres to overthrow that country’s regime.
MANI SHANKAR AIYAR ( India) said that addressing the threat to international peace and security posed by nuclear weapons, in a sustainable and comprehensive manner, required those weapons’ global elimination on a non-discriminatory basis. While non-proliferation was important and all States should fully and effectively implement obligations arising from the agreements or treaties to which they were party, sight should not be lost of the essential and mutually reinforcing linkage between disarmament and non-proliferation. Progress on nuclear disarmament would reinforce non-proliferation like no other measure could. Progress on non-proliferation could not be a precondition for progress on nuclear disarmament. International efforts in that regard should build the necessary confidence among States and international treaties and agreements should be multilaterally negotiated and freely accepted. That would be the true test of their legitimacy and credibility. India had acceded to and was in full compliance with two non-discriminatory international conventions banning biological and chemical weapons.
India’s position on the NPT did not need reiteration, he went on. There was no question of India joining the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon State. Nuclear weapons were an integral part of his country’s national security and would remain so, pending non-discriminatory and global nuclear disarmament. It was natural that the countries with the largest nuclear arsenals should bear a special responsibility for nuclear disarmament and, in that regard, India welcomed the new Russia-United States agreement to cut their nuclear arsenals. Between them, the two countries still held more than 90 per cent of the nuclear weapons in the world, and the new START was a step in the right direction.
As part of its credible minimum nuclear deterrent, India had espoused the policy of “no-first use” against nuclear-weapon States and “non-use” against non-nuclear-weapon States, he went on. The country was prepared to convert those undertakings into multilateral legal arrangements. It supported negotiations with a view to reaching agreement on effective arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. It was also committed to a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.
ÉRIC DANON ( France) said the road map for all nuclear issues was now the action plan adopted by consensus as the most recent NPT Review Conference, which focused on the three pillars of the Treaty. The strengthening of the non-proliferation regime was an absolute priority for France, a country that had taken irreversible disarmament measures and, among other efforts, had reduced by half in 15 years the number of its nuclear warheads. France’s determination to work with other nuclear-weapon States included the invitation to its “P-5” partners to Paris for the first follow-up meeting to the Review Conference. The success of the action plan concerned everyone, he stressed.
Nuclear-weapon States should not shirk from their individual responsibility, especially not in the area of nuclear disarmament, he said. The improvement of the strategic situation always preceded each new step with respect to reducing nuclear arsenals. Only sustained momentum towards resolving the serious tensions that were affecting the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Korean peninsula would permit decisive progress in disarmament in those regions.
Turning to the Conference on Disarmament, he said constructive proposals should be made to break the deadlock. The work of the Conference had been suspended as a result of political animosity, and procedural improvements would not be enough to end the stalemate. “We must, firstly, together show the countries which think they can profit from this deadlock that they are now moving in the opposite direction to before,” he said.
He said that Pakistan’s speaker had yesterday confirmed that it did not wish to participate in the next stage, deemed however by the entire international community as necessary in order to collectively advance to reduction of arsenals, for instance, the suspension of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. “That comes under its responsibility,” he said. “However, it justified its choice by giving reasons, and that was not saying much. That did not convince us. Its analysis of the attitude and the vision of the nuclear-weapon States was marked by so many historical misinterpretations.” Regarding the work of the Conference on Disarmament, Pakistan’s national concerns were invoked as the pretext for changing the order of emergency priorities, which Pakistan itself had set. “While we are on this topic, I am not going to make much of the offensive personal attacks that we heard at the end of the speech. I appeal for greater dignity in our debates,” he said.
Turning to the present work of the Committee, he said it was important that certain drafts not be reopened on compromises that had been hard to achieve. One example concerned references to the last NPT Review Conference. The content of certain resolutions tended to modify and intensify certain obligations entered into within the framework of the action plan adopted by consensus in May. “Let’s endeavour to maintain the spirit that allowed us to make this multilateral progress,” he said.
DJAMEL MOKTEFI ( Algeria) said the current positive atmosphere was still problematic. The options of zero nuclear weapons had raised hopes. Despite satisfaction over the 2010 Review Conference and other meetings, those events were falling short on action. The nuclear-weapon States had particular responsibilities and obligations to respect. The NPT was cornerstone of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime. What mattered most was the three pillars of the Treaty were preserved. It would be unacceptable if efforts were restricted to horizontal proliferation. None of the 13 steps agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference were being implemented. Obligations under article VI of the Treaty should be put into place. Moreover, there was still no legally binding instrument on negative security assurances. The advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice was a reminder that the use of nuclear weapons violated international humanitarian law.
At the same time, he said it was vital for the credibility of the NPT to ensure that States could exercise their rights to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Security and safety concerns had already been addressed by the IAEA. Nuclear terrorism was a grave concern, and Algeria stressed the need to strengthen international cooperation in addressing that danger.
JURG LAUBER ( Switzerland) welcomed adoption of the final document and action plan at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Many States, including his, would have preferred a more ambitious action plan in the field of nuclear disarmament. Nevertheless, the plan was valuable in that it was a road map that would make it possible to assess the implementation of the various measures adopted. Switzerland also welcomed the inclusion of certain completely new elements in the final document. On the one hand, the objective of nuclear disarmament was expressed for the first time in terms of a world without nuclear weapons and, on the other hand, new indications were put forward as to how to achieve that objective.
He said his country had long held that nuclear disarmament must be carried out in a verifiable, irreversible and transparent manner. It, therefore, particularly welcomed the fact that the nuclear-weapon States had committed themselves to improving transparency in relation to their nuclear arsenals. Hopefully, they would be able to adopt, without delay, a reporting form on disarmament measures and regularly submit that information to the Secretary-General.
Switzerland regretted that persistent obstacles in the way of the Conference on Disarmament were preventing any progress towards negotiating a fissile material cut-off treaty, despite the fact that the vast majority of States wanted to move forward, he said. Tangible progress within the Conference on security guarantees was also necessary. Forty years after the entry into force of the NPT, it was high time that the States that had renounced nuclear weapons received assurances that they would not be attacked with or threatened by those weapons. In view of that, Switzerland agreed with the suggestion made by the Secretary-General after the high-level meeting on the revitalization of the Conference on Disarmament that that body must adopt, at the beginning of the 2011 session, a programme of work that would open the way to negotiations. Switzerland was ready to support a work programme that did not only initiate negotiations on a fissile material ban, but also on the four core issues on the Conference’s agenda.
ALISON KELLY ( Ireland), on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, introduced a draft resolution on “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments” (document A/C.1/65/L.25). She said that the members of the coalition were firmly committed to the NPT in all its aspects, as was made clear in the text of the draft text, which welcomed, in its entirety, the adoption of the NPT Review Conference’s final document. It also reaffirmed that nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing processes, and called on all States to comply fully with all commitments made regarding nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.
However, she stressed, the specific focus and raison d’etre of the coalition was nuclear disarmament. The members made no apology for that. It had been dissatisfied at the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament in the aftermath of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, which had led to the coalition’s establishment in Dublin in 1998 and continued to inform its work today.
The coalition believed that the true test of the value of the outcome of this year’s NPT Review Conference would be the implementation of the commitments undertaken, she went on. The draft resolution being presented today underlined the importance of early progress and encouraged the taking of various steps in that regard. The members also believed that early engagement and substantive progress in implementing the steps agreed at the Review Conference would be an important signal of the seriousness with which nuclear-weapon States viewed their nuclear disarmament commitments in the action plan. Providing information on activities undertaken was an important means of increasing confidence, and the Coalition encouraged all nuclear-weapon States to do that. The draft resolution reiterated the long-held views on issues such as the importance of the NPT and its universalization, as well as the fulfilment of past commitments.
PABLO MACEDO ( Mexico) said that with regard to action five of the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, some concrete progress had been made. He hoped that the international community would be able to welcome the new year with a new START Treaty that had been ratified by both the United States and the Russian Federation, as that would give effect to the commitment made at the treaty’s signing in April. Mexico also hoped that ratification of the CTBT would also be a reality next year.
With regard to the role of nuclear weapons in nuclear doctrines, he said that the only absolute guarantee against those weapons’ use was their complete elimination. Thus, doctrines, which were completely obsolete, should not and could not remain in force and there was no justification for keeping those weapons by saying that they were a deterrent. He regretted that the opportunity represented by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Lisbon next month would not be used to revise an archaic doctrine based on nuclear weapons and insist on immediate removal of nuclear weapons from European countries that did not posses such weapons. The existence of those weapons in those countries was not in conformity with the NPT
Mr. Macedo added that the upcoming Paris meeting would be key for reaching significant agreement for full compliance with NPT obligations. That would help to generate a climate of trust which would promote nuclear-weapon-free zones where they did not exist. Mexico would be presenting a draft resolution on progress in that regard. It would also note the Second Conference of Parties to such zones, which had been held in April. The text would call on the nuclear-weapon States to withdraw their interpretative statements made when they signed the protocols to nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. Mexico hoped the draft would be adopted with full support of the Members States.
TAGHI M. FERAMI ( Iran) said nuclear disarmament was the highest priority on the disarmament agenda, forming a fundamental part of the package agreed in 1968 with the birth of the NPT. Although the international community had taken note of the recent START agreement, provisions of that treaty did not go beyond the de-commissioning of nuclear weapons, and its parties did not have any obligation to destroy those weapons. Moreover, no multilateral verification mechanism had been envisaged in the treaty. It, therefore, did not take into account the principles of increased transparency, diminishing the role of nuclear weapons and irreversibility, agreed at the 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conferences, he said.
He said that as a result of the blatant violations of the legally binding commitments under article VI of the NPT, the Treaty’s integrity had been endangered and the confidence of non-nuclear-weapon States had been eroded. The Treaty was the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts and its full implementation, in a balanced and non-discriminatory way, would safeguard the world from the potential devastation of nuclear weapons. In the Middle East, the “Zionist regime” still remained outside the Treaty, while being helped and supported technologically and financially “by certain nuclear-weapon States” in a blatant contravention of the articles II and III of the NPT. He was disappointed that despite the successful conclusion of the last NPT Review Conference in forwarding a plan of action to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone, the early reaction of the “regime” and its main protégé dimmed the success of that forthcoming road map.
The doctrines of nuclear deterrence or “conditioning the nuclear disarmament to any multilateral process for maintaining the so-called international and regional balance and security” were not the viable or credible justifications for retaining such weapons in the nuclear-weapon States’ arsenals. The deployment of hundreds of nuclear weapons in non-nuclear-weapon States, including Belgium and Japan, and training fighter-bomber pilots to handle and deliver those weapons were serious concerns to the international community and contravened the NPT.
“Instead of threatening the other and crying wolf at other countries’ behaviour, these States, including European Union member States hosting nuclear weapons, themselves should comply with the NPT and observe their obligations,” he said. “It was unacceptable that the nuclear-weapon States and those remaining outside the NPT continue to retain and even earmark tens of billions of dollars to modernize their nuclear arsenals, imperilling the regional and international peace and security. This is a dangerous and destabilizing trend of vertical proliferation. It also constitutes non-compliance by the nuclear-weapon States, in particular, the United States and France, with their obligations under article VI of the Treaty.”
He reiterated Iran’s long-standing position that the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against their use or threat. Iran continued to believe in the need for negotiations on a phased programmed for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, within a certain time period, which could start in 2011 — the year deemed by Iran’s President to be the Year of Nuclear Disarmament. He supported the position of the non-aligned movement for the start of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a nuclear weapon ban. Pending the conclusion of such a convention, States must honour their obligations and cease to do any kind of research, development or modernization of nuclear weapons and their facilities.
BABACAR MBAYE ( Senegal) said he was presenting today a report that was to be delivered Monday. He said Senegal was committed to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons) and its protocols, which banned weapons that were incompatible with humanitarian law. Efforts of High Contracting Parties involved had made the Convention an important tool to address those issues.
He said that the final report of the 2009 meeting of parties to the Convention included a provision requesting the chairman to provide an update. He informed the Committee that the number of States parties to the Convention and its additional protocols had grown from 110 to 113. Those were Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic and Qatar. Universalization would remain a priority in the coming years. He hoped recent events would encourage countries in the African region to join the Convention. The next review conference would be held in 2011. Two meetings for the preparation of that review had been held. The official report would be submitted to the Secretariat for distribution.
Right of Reply
The representative of Syria, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the Committee had listened to the statement made by the representative of Canada. That speaker, once more, had engaged in an issue on which it was evident that there was ill will, both politically and in other aspects, to mislead the public. Aspersions had been cast on the position of his country regarding its cooperation with IAEA. The speaker was not in a position to give advice or criticism to Syria.
He said that Syria had preceded Canada in acceding to the NPT and it had launched an initiative at the Security Council in 2003 in the name of the Arab Group to free the Middle East of nuclear weapons. Syria was party to both the NPT and the CTBT and had received IAEA inspectors regularly. Syria’s commitment and observance of its treaty obligations had been confirmed.
Israel had committed an act of aggression against it by destroying a military installation that had nothing to do with nuclear weapons, he said. If the colleague from Canada had been speaking in good faith, she would have spoken in a different vein, especially as IAEA considered that the demolitions by Israel had affected its ability to verify the installation. Syria had answered all questions posed by IAEA in that regard. His country reiterated its full interest in the full implementation of all three pillars of the NPT. It cooperated with IAEA in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Agency and of its safeguards agreements.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, also exercising his right of reply, rejected in strong terms the argument from Japan and the Republic of Korea regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula. That situation had been created by the United States which had nuclear weapons in and around South Korea and which threatened pre-emptive strikes.
He said that the current United States Administration had excluded his country from its list for negative assurances in its new nuclear policy review. If any other State found itself in that position, it would understand why his country had not chosen, but had been compelled, to “go nuclear”. It was the United States that had been the first country to manufacture nuclear weapons and to use them. During the cold war, that country had carried out criminal horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons to South Korea and to some countries in Western Europe. It continued to threaten the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with its nuclear weapons. Japan and the Republic of Korea were shying away from that reality by not mentioning who had caused the situation, and that position could never help the situation on the peninsula.
On the six-party talks, he said that the responsibility for the difficulties rested entirely with United States and the Republic of Korea, which had rejected the spirit of equality and were denying his country the right to use outer space for peaceful purposes. Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula could only come when the United States abandoned its hostile nuclear stand against his country.
* *** *