|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
11th Meeting (PM)
It Is ‘Bitter Reality’ in Complex, Dangerous World that Possession of Nuclear
Weapons by Some Gives Others Excuse to Acquire Them, First Committee Told
Delegate Asks How Disarmament Can Proceed When Nuclear-Weapon States
Not Only Intend to Preserve Their Arsenals, but Also Option to Use Them
In a complex and dangerous world, the “bitter reality” was that the possession of nuclear weapons by some gave others the excuse to acquire them, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) was told today during its thematic debate on nuclear weapons, which also heard the introduction of three draft resolutions.
The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania’s delegate said “we are cognizant of the fact that the nuclear weapons will not disappear overnight.” With that, he called for all “declared and undeclared” nuclear-armed States to embark on the path towards “Nuclear Global Zero” in a transparent and verifiable manner, under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
There was a need for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines, said India’s Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, introducing two draft resolutions: one on reducing nuclear danger and another on a convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons. She urged the progressive delegitimization of nuclear weapons was essential to their complete elimination.
India sought reaffirmation of the unequivocal commitment by all nuclear-armed States to the goal of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and specific legal measures, such as a “Global No First Use Agreement”, she said. India’s position on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was well known, and she explained that nuclear weapons were an integral part of the country’s national security and would remain so, pending non-discriminatory and global nuclear disarmament.
Indeed, said Iran’s Director for Disarmament and International Security, the development of nuclear weapons by some States in regions of conflict had forced threatened States to pursue the nuclear option to ensure their security. While there was no pretext to justify the possession of nuclear weapons in the hands of any country, it was a source of grave concern that certain nuclear-weapon States still allocated billions of dollars to develop new types of nuclear weapons, build new nuclear weapon production facilities, and modernize and replace such weapons.
In contravention to the NPT’s article VI, those countries continued to resort to obsolete nuclear deterrence policies and promote the role and status of nuclear weapons in their defence and security doctrines, he said.
In the race for strategic nuclear superiority following the Second World War, said Pakistan’s delegate, hopes faded for the super-Powers to reduce their arsenals and move towards complete and comprehensive nuclear disarmament. Nothing had changed in terms of the centrality of nuclear weapons to the security of major Powers, and the issue of nuclear disarmament remained confined to exhortations, declarations and rhetoric.
Multilateralism, he said, was the only way to craft international instruments in the field of security and disarmament that enjoyed legitimacy. “Such negotiations should pursue real disarmament and not just a façade,” he said. Denying negative security assurances only meant that the nuclear-weapon States wanted to preserve their option to use nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear-weapon States. “In such a scenario, how could the global environment be conducive to disarmament efforts when the nuclear-weapon States not only intended to preserve their nuclear arsenals, but also the option to use them?”
Some major States had resorted to shifting the international community’s focus towards a much more limited goal of nuclear non-proliferation, albeit, with a selective and discriminatory approach, he said. That was, perhaps, the reason for their focus on a treaty banning only the production of fissile materials and not the elimination of their fissile material stockpiles. A fissile material cut-off treaty that only sought to ban future production of such materials was not even a non-proliferation measure, let alone a step towards nuclear disarmament.
China’s representative said that all nuclear-weapon States should abandon the nuclear deterrence policy based on first use of nuclear weapons and take credible steps to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. Full use should be made of the positive elements in the current nuclear disarmament process, and the opportunity should be seized to implement the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference — championing a new thinking on security featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination and working to pursue comprehensive security, common security and cooperative security, with the view to fostering favourable conditions for making progress in nuclear disarmament, he said.
Very satisfied with the way the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) was being implemented, the representative of the Russian Federation said an analysis of that process would help to make plans on the substance of new steps towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.
However, he said, no real progress had been made to address the problems associated with missile defence. The Russian Federation was concerned primarily with the need to maintain strategic stability under the practically unlimited build-up of missile defence capabilities. Neither the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nor the United States had shown readiness to allow the equal participation in the development of the concept and architecture of the so-called “EuroMD” (European missile defence), or to start to elaborate adequate confidence- and transparency-building measures regarding missile defence.
New Zealand’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the seven members of the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and New Zealand), introduced the draft resolution entitled “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments”, which underlined the importance of the universalization of the NPT. The Coalition expected that the pace of disarmament would accelerate in the months remaining before the First Preparatory Committee meeting in Vienna of that Treaty’s next review.
The Ambassador of Mexico to the Conference on Disarmament expressed support for an incremental approach that legitimized unilateral, bilateral, and regional initiatives as a precursor to the global elimination of nuclear weapons. With more than 20,000 nuclear warheads in existence, the threat was real. “No one can feel safe before these numbers,” he said. “These numbers are absurd.”
The Ambassador of Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament spoke on behalf of the De-Alerting Group ( Chile, New Zealand, Nigeria, Switzerland, and Malaysia). The Ambassador of Canada to the Conference on Disarmament also delivered a statement.
The representatives of the Lithuania, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Spain, Senegal, Finland, Cuba, Czech Republic and Germany also delivered statements.
The representatives of Syria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Iran and the United States exercised their rights of reply.
The First Committee will meet again at 3 p.m., 14 October, to continue its thematic debate on nuclear weapons, hearing statements and the introduction of draft texts.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its thematic debate segment, hearing statements and the introduction by delegates of draft texts on the cluster on nuclear weapons and related issues. (For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3429.)
Thematic Debate on Nuclear Weapons, Introduction of Drafts
VICTOR VASILIEV ( Russian Federation) was very satisfied with the way the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) was being implemented, as an active information exchange had been launched and inspection activities were being conducted. Within a few days, the Bilateral Consultative Commission established by the Treaty would start its second session in Geneva. The Treaty’s full-scale implementation would not only strengthen the security of its parties, but also boost international stability, helping to enhance the nuclear non-proliferation regime and expand the nuclear disarmament process. The successful implementation was based on strict compliance with principles of equality, parity, and equal and indivisible security of the parties contained therein.
He said he would present more details on the issue during a joint Russian-United States briefing on 20 October. Given the expectations for further steps, his country was open to a dialogue on that issue and believed that it was essential now to gather practical experience gained during the START implementation and to assess objectively the quality and viability of the agreement. Such an analysis would help to make plans on the substance of new steps towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.
There was a growing need to give nuclear disarmament a multilateral dimension, as progress would be impossible without it, he said. The Final Document of the 2010 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), agreed upon the basis of mutual compromises, created a foundation for further development of multilateral approaches in nuclear disarmament. That also concerned the conditions needed for progressive reductions of nuclear weapons, which could only be achieved with due attention to all factors affecting strategic stability.
Missile defence was one of the most important areas today, with no real progress having been made in addressing the problems, he said. Russia was concerned primarily with the need to maintain strategic stability under the practically unlimited build-up of missile defence capabilities. Neither the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nor the United States had shown readiness to allow the equal participation in the development of the concept and architecture of the so-called “EuroMD” (European missile defence), or to start to elaborate adequate confidence- and transparency-building measures regarding missile defence. Existing problems should not be kept in silence; they needed to be addressed consistently and constructively, instead of “covered up” by declaratory and non-committal statements about “non-targeting” of missile defence.
Nuclear-weapon-free zones were an important instrument to increase levels of regional and international security, and his country fully supported the idea of creating such a zone in the Middle East, convinced that its earliest establishment would ensure a comprehensive solution to issues of non-proliferation and the effective maintenance of peace and stability in that region, he said. It also supported the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty in Central Asia, and believed all nuclear-armed States should support it. He hoped consultations among the “P5” (permanent five members of the Security Council) and Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) would remove any remaining questions and open the way to the signing of the relevant protocol on security assurances to that Treaty.
The Russian Federation considered the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to be a priority, and he called urgently on all States to join it as soon as possible. Russia had co-sponsored a relevant draft resolution on the topic in the First Committee.
Also during the session, the prospect of launching negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament deserved acute attention, he said. He strongly believed that it was the Conference’s format that could ensure the participation in negotiations of all States possessing relevant capabilities. As such, he called on all delegations to strive towards a compromise, including in the context of the First Committee draft resolutions on a fissile material cut-off treaty and the Conference on Disarmament report. “This needs to be done without delay,” he said, “since tomorrow it may be too late, and we risk facing a collapse of the entire multilateral mechanism.”
ALEXANDRE FASEL, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament, spoke on behalf of the “De-Alerting Group” — Chile, New Zealand, Nigeria, Switzerland, and Malaysia — on the issue of decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems. Since 2007, those countries had called for action to address the significant number of nuclear weapons that remained today at high levels of readiness — action that was now urgently needed. It remained of deep and abiding concern that 20 years after the end of the cold war, doctrinal aspects from that era — such as high alert levels — were perpetuated today.
He said that while tensions marking the international security climate during the cold war had lowered, corresponding decreases in the alert levels of the arsenals of the largest nuclear-weapon States had not been forthcoming. The lowering of alert levels by some nuclear-weapon States was welcome, and the group stressed that steps to decrease the operational readiness of nuclear weapons should be irreversible, transparent and verifiable. The group also welcomed recent reductions in the number of nuclear weapons, but also necessary was increased recognition that the high level of alert of those remaining weapons was disproportionate to the current strategic situation, and that steps should be taken to address that inconsistency.
It was disappointing that recent reviews of nuclear doctrine had not resulted in lowered levels of alert, although it was encouraging that the door had been left open for further work in that area. Regarding last year’s NPT Review Conference on the issue of de-alerting, he said it was of the utmost importance to achieve greater transparency levels than currently existed with regard to military doctrines. He further said that a lowered operational readiness of nuclear-weapon systems would be an important interim step towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.
While the group remained committed to the operational readiness issue, it would not be tabling a resolution this year as it had done in previous sessions of the General Assembly. Rather, it would be looking ahead to the forthcoming review cycle of NPT, starting with next year’s preparatory committee meeting in Vienna, and measuring progress in that context. The group would be putting forward a paper for discussion next year, canvassing the substantive arguments in favour of lowering the operational readiness of nuclear arsenals, as well as considering the full range of steps available in the multilateral political process to take the issue forward.
RITA KAZRAGIENE ( Lithuania) said a nuclear-weapon-free world remained his country’s general vision. Effective implementation of existing multilateral and bilateral agreements related to nuclear arms control and disarmament paved the way to achieving that goal. As a non-nuclear-weapon State, Lithuania regarded confidence-building measures, reciprocal transparency and verification as an integral part of the nuclear arms control and disarmament process, which should apply to both strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons. However, non-strategic weapons should be a priority because of their absence from arms reduction treaties.
She said that coherent multilateral efforts were needed to promote and strengthen the effectiveness of the IAEA safeguards system. Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and additional protocols represented a verification standard, which should be universalized, further strengthened, and applied as an obligatory condition for nuclear material and technology supplies worldwide. She also called for a stronger connection between nuclear safety and security, with IAEA playing a vital role.
The development of any peaceful nuclear energy project in any State must be implemented with due responsibility to the population of its own and other States, she said. Open and honest consultations with all potentially affected countries, constructive settling of transnational disputes, full transparency and information sharing must be a universal norm. She also urged all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify CTBT without delay.
JUSTIN N. SERUHERE (United Republic of Tanzania) said that his country was against the lethal nuclear weapons of all eras, whose presence and advancement continued to pose an indiscriminate threat to peace and security of all humankind. Whereas the research and development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, such as curing deadline non-communicable diseases and power generation was the best innovation of the past century, its use in weapon systems remained “our worst nightmare”, he said. The potential use of those weapons in a new millennium, in which several States possessed them, would be a catastrophe of unimagined proportion.
He said his country supported all efforts by the international community that were geared towards a total, irreversible and verifiable disarmament of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. It was party to (NPT) and CTBT, and was pleased with the commitment expressed by some delegations to the Plan of Action adopted at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Its full realization would lead to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. He, likewise, supported the entry into force of CTBT. His Government was also party to the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty). Consideration of its protocol by the United States’ Senate would be a great gift to the African continent.
His Government welcomed into force, this February, the new START. “We are cognizant of the fact that the nuclear weapons will not disappear overnight,” he said. “It is a matter of great comfort, however, that they are being dismantled,” he added. It was a bitter reality that their possession gave other States an excuse to acquire them. In a complex and dangerous world, those were dangerous realities. Thus, he deemed complete disarmament to be the best way out of that quagmire. In that regard, he called for all “declared and undeclared” nuclear-weapon States to embark on the path towards “nuclear global zero” in a transparent and verifiable manner, under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
CARLOS D. SORRETA ( Philippines) said that the international community must implement, urgently, the agreements contained in NPT, the outcome of the 2000 NPT Conference, and the final document of the 2010 NPT review Conference. The Philippines urged the nuclear-weapon States to act on their commitments, including actions 3, 5, and 21 of the “Conclusions and recommendations for follow-on action” agreed at the 2010 NPT review. He commended the United States and the Russian Federation for ratifying the new START. The Philippines was concerned about tactical nuclear weapons, which could easily be smuggled through porous borders and used by terrorists and other non-State actors.
Since NPT was the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament regime, he stated, it was important for the few countries that remained outside it to heed the call for the Treaty’s universal application. States must now also seriously consider the negotiations of a nuclear weapons convention. The Philippines strongly supported CTBT and urged the remaining so-called “Annex 2” States, as well as the non-Annex 2 States, to ratify it. The Philippines saw the negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices as a key component and essential step to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
He added that the emergence of nuclear-weapon-free zones and the negative security assurances they offered were tangible and effective opportunities to advance the global disarmament and non-proliferation agenda. The Philippines put a premium on the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East, and urged the co-sponsors of the 1995 Middle East resolution and the Secretary-General to undertake the necessary actions, such as appointing a facilitator that would be acceptable to all States in the region and to designate a host Government for the 2012 conference on the matter. He concluded that a rules-based approach was important on the issue of nuclear weapons and reaffirmed the need for all States at all times to comply with applicable international law.
KWON HAE-RYONG, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Conference on Disarmament, said nuclear disarmament was crucial in reducing the threat of nuclear war and ensuring that such unthinkable power was never again used for destructive purposes against mankind. In the last few years, the world had seen significant progress in the disarmament and non-proliferation area. However, given a wide gap in perception still existed between nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States, it would be hard to assert that nuclear disarmament had been as successful as had been hoped. In order to rekindle global efforts in that regard, it was of the utmost importance to restore trust and nurture a spirit of cooperation between the nuclear- and non-nuclear-armed States.
He called on those States that had not yet ratified CTBT, in particular, the remaining Annex 2 States, to do so immediately. It was crucial to maintain a moratorium on nuclear testing until the Treaty’s entry into force. A fissile material cut-off treaty was indispensable, not only for nuclear non-proliferation, but also for nuclear disarmament, and the time was ripe to start those negotiations in the Conference of Disarmament. He called upon all the Conference members to show more flexibility and political will. Any meaningful progress in the pace of negotiations for the conclusion of such a treaty would serve as a “locomotive” for revitalizing the entire disarmament regime.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme continued to pose a dire threat to regional peace and security, as well as an unprecedented challenge to the international non-proliferation regime, he said. Its pursuit of a uranium enrichment programme was a clear and flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions requiring it to immediately cease all nuclear activities. Last month, the international community had once again demonstrated a unified and resolute response against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme at the IAEA General Conference in a resolution. That text reaffirmed that, contrary to the requirements of the Security Council resolutions, that country had not abandoned its existing nuclear programme. How to tackle that nuclear issue remained vital to securing peace and security in Northeast Asia, as well as sustaining the integrity of the global non-proliferation regime.
The Republic of Korea also shared the concerns of the international community about the outstanding questions regarding the nuclear programme of Iran and Syria, he said. Iran’s continued enrichment activities and lack of cooperation with IAEA were sources of profound concern. Syria still refused to allow IAEA access to its entire nuclear activities and sites. His country urged Iran and Syria to cooperate fully with IAEA to resolve all outstanding questions about their nuclear programmes.
ZHANG JUN’AN ( China) said that in recent years, there had been signs of revival of the international nuclear disarmament process. Full use should be made of the positive elements in the current nuclear disarmament process, and the opportunity should be seized to implement the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference — championing a new thinking on security featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination and working to pursue comprehensive security, common security and cooperative security, with the view to fostering favourable conditions for making progress in nuclear disarmament.
He said that countries with the largest nuclear arsenals should continue to take the lead in making drastic and substantive reductions in their nuclear weapons in a verifiable and irreversible manner. CTBT should be brought into force at an early date. The Conference on Disarmament was the sole appropriate forum for the negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty. Those should commence with the participation of all relevant parties at the Conference, as soon as possible. When conditions were mature, other nuclear-weapon States should also join the multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament.
All nuclear-weapon States should abandon the nuclear deterrence policy based on first use of nuclear weapons and take credible steps to reduce the threat of those weapons. Indeed, those States should unequivocally undertake a treaty on no-first-use of nuclear weapons against one another. They should also unequivocally undertake not to use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-armed States or in nuclear-weapon-free zones, and conclude a legally binding international instrument in that regard at an early date.
He said that nuclear disarmament must follow the principles of promoting international stability, peace and security, and undiminished and increased security for all. Multilateral negotiations processes to prevent the weaponization of arms race in outer space should also be vigorously promoted. The international community should extend strong support to efforts made to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones. China hoped that all parties would actively participate in the preparatory process to achieve positive outcomes for the conference in 2012 on establishing such a zone in the Middle East.
China has adhered to a policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstance, and 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, he said. That open, unequivocal and transparent nuclear policy had made China unique among all nuclear-weapon States. China had never deployed any nuclear weapons on foreign territory. China had never participated in any form of nuclear arms race, nor would it ever do so. China continued to keep its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said the post-Second World War nuclear era had witnessed a race for strategic nuclear superiority, and the development of nuclear weapons by some States in regions of conflict had forced threatened States to pursue the nuclear option to ensure their security. It was hoped that the super-Powers, by reducing their arsenals, would lead towards the complete and comprehensive nuclear disarmament. Those hopes had faded away, as nothing had changed in terms of the centrality of nuclear weapons to the security of major Powers, and the issue of nuclear disarmament remained confined to exhortations, declarations and rhetoric. Pakistan, along with the Non-Aligned Movement, had been stressing the need for nuclear disarmament for decades as the top priority of international security.
He said that instead of hailing those growing risks and reversing negative trends, the major nuclear Powers had followed discriminatory policies based on double standards that had further increased the nuclear threat. In pursuit of the balance of power, containment and commercial gains, they had violated their own principles of non-proliferation and gravely undermined the international non-proliferation regime. The imminent danger posed by those policies in his region had forced Pakistan to confront the consequences of those double standards.
Multilateralism, he said, was the only way to craft international instruments in the field of security and disarmament that enjoyed legitimacy and respect. “Such negotiations should pursue real disarmament and not just a façade,” he said. The United Nations Charter obliged nations not to use or threaten to use force. Denying negative security assurances could only mean that the nuclear-weapon States wanted to preserve their option to use nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear-weapon States. “In such a scenario, how could the global environment be conducive to disarmament efforts when the nuclear-weapon States not only intended to preserve their nuclear arsenals, but also the option to use them?”
Some major States had resorted to shifting the international community’s focus towards a much more limited goal of nuclear non-proliferation, albeit, with a selective and discriminatory approach, he said. That was, perhaps, the reason for their focus on a treaty banning only the production of fissile materials and not the elimination of their fissile material stockpiles. A fissile material cut-off treaty that only sought to ban future production of such materials was not even a non-proliferation measure, let alone a step towards nuclear disarmament.
The retention of huge stockpiles of fissile material would allow major nuclear Powers to continue producing nuclear weapons even if such a treaty was to be negotiated successfully, he said. “If we are desirous of a treaty on fissile materials that has genuine non-proliferation and disarmament objectives, it must include reduction in the high stocks of existing fissile materials, a belief shared by many countries in addition to Pakistan,” he said. “This approach is essential to ensure equal security of States, which is a cardinal principle in disarmament negotiations.” There was a need to redress the existing asymmetry in fissile material stockpiles in his region, he added.
The pursuit of discriminatory policies by some major States regarding nuclear cooperation had fundamentally and qualitatively altered Pakistan’s security environment, he said. “We can not remain oblivious to these dangerous developments,” he said. “A [Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty] that only envisages a ban on the future production of fissile material would accentuate this precarious situation. Pakistan is, therefore, obliged to oppose negotiations on a [Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty] due to its legitimate security concerns.”
Pakistan was ready to commence negotiations on the three other issues — nuclear disarmament, negative security assurances and preventing an arms race in outer space — before the Conference on Disarmament. After all, the Conference was not there only to negotiate a fissile material treaty. Since the Conference was unable to commence negotiations on any of those issues, it was clear that there were States in the Conference that were opposed to commencing negotiations on those three agenda items. If the States had legitimate security concerns, they should openly state their reasons for opposing commencement of negotiations on the other three equal, if not more important, issues on the Conference’s agenda. The fact that they had chosen not to do so raised serious questions regarding their motives and commitment to nuclear disarmament and, indeed, to the work of the Conference itself.
JUAN JOSE GOMEZ CAMACHO, Ambassador of Mexico to the Conference on Disarmament, associating his comments with the statement of the New Agenda Coalition, said that currently there were more than 20,500 nuclear weapons in the world, including 5,000 deployed and ready for use. “No one can feel safe before these numbers; these numbers are absurd,” he said. Looking at the relationship of forces in the post-cold war era of deep crisis and today’s immense challenges of climate change and economic crises, he said those were “scandalous commitments”.
He said that the notion that weapons had strategic value for security was incomprehensive, if not irrational. What would be the justification for using them?, he asked. Their use would be a crime against humanity and violation of international law. Mexico wanted to see renewed commitment to the Action Plan of the 2010 Review Conference of NPT. There were some encouraging signs. For its part, Mexico had increased its nuclear non-proliferation efforts. Among others, it sought to participate in different export control regimes and, domestically, there was legislation to comply with those regimes. Mexico had also fully implement IAEA safeguards, including a new protocol.
However, he said, the only guarantee against use of nuclear weapons was their total elimination. “What does not exist cannot be used and cannot proliferate,” he said.
Mexico welcomed the reduction in armaments through the new START, as well as signs of openness and transparency among nuclear-weapon States. He hoped recent meetings between them would lead to the irreversible and transparent elimination of those weapons. Mexico believed that unilateral, bilateral and regional actions were valid and complementary to multilateral approaches. As an Annex 2 CTBT country, Mexico had successfully ratified the instrument, and had welcomed the latest conference to facilitate that Treaty’s entry into force. CTBT was a priority, and the unequivocal commitment of nuclear-weapon States to disarm was the cornerstone of the world’s disarmament and non-proliferation regime.
For the past 15 years, the Conference on Disarmament had been a prisoner to its own rules of procedure and not been able to reach the destination assigned to it by the international community, he said. Mexico requested Member States to be flexible and open about the operation of the Conference and questioned the concern with structure and mechanics over substance. While the Conference continued to fail, the international community would not be able to provide incentives to the nuclear Powers to disarm.
VICTORIA GONZÁLEZ ROMÁN ( Spain) said that, despite positive developments, such as the new START, the standstill at the Conference on Disarmament had ultimately undermined the multilateral regime. The entry into force of CTBT was a priority, as was its verification regime. However, the political will was still absent to bring it into force. Spain was concerned about the lack of progress on a fissile material cut-off treaty in the Conference on Disarmament. During that impasse, she called on all nuclear-weapon States to declare a moratorium on the production of fissile material meant for nuclear weapons.
She said her country welcomed nuclear-weapon-free zones as regional arrangements. It supported the establishment of such zones in South East Asia and the Middle East. She reaffirmed Spain’s commitment to the universalization of NPT. Focusing on the international scenario, there were reasons for concern. The international community must remain united when facing the challenges. She understood States aiming to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, provided they followed strict safety guidelines. Weapons of mass destruction could fall into the hands of terrorist groups, and Spain supported the Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).
Disarmament mechanisms needed review, she said. There was an obligation to move ahead. The dynamic of consensus was possible in the area of disarmament. “We all know where the problems are and the great majority of the international community agrees to solutions,” she said. “All we need to do is move from words to deeds.”
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO, Ambassador of Senegal, said the total and complete elimination of nuclear weapons was the only guarantee against their use. NPT needed to be strengthened, and the follow-up on the implementation of the 2010 Review Conference Action Plan was a crucial step towards nuclear disarmament. NPT States parties must uphold their commitments by adopting a list of specific actions to take, based on an agreed timetable.
He called for general and complete disarmament as a decisive step forward, adding that there could be no general and complete disarmament if States bypassed NPT in their quest for nuclear material. IAEA had a key role to play in countering the vertical and horizontal spread of nuclear weapons. The non-proliferation regime, as it stood now, was far from credible. The 1995, 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conference outcome documents must be implemented, he urged.
A nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East must be the goal of the 2012 conference on the issue, he said. Senegal was convinced that such a zone would add value to the global non-proliferation regime and in establishing trust between the States of the region. A fissile material cut-off treaty would strengthen efforts towards general and complete disarmament, and negative security assurances would build confidence between States. Only political resolve would help to achieve those goals.
TARJA PESÄMAA ( Finland) said NPT remained the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, and her country remained committed to strengthening it. A reduction in tactical or non-strategic nuclear arsenals and the inclusion of those weapons in a legally binding, verifiable international treaty system was highly important. Today, no treaty arrangement limited tactical nuclear weapons. The reduction and elimination of tactical nuclear weapons would strengthen security and would positively impact on international security as a whole.
Finland, she noted, had hosted a Sherpa Meeting in Helsinki in early October in preparation of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. Loose or poorly guarded nuclear or radioactive materials posed a threat to all mankind, and therefore, specific action was required on a national, regional, and global level. The process was a new and unique opportunity to strengthen existing nuclear material security architecture, as well as an important and high-level politico-technical process that raised general awareness of the need to secure nuclear materials worldwide.
As a longstanding friend of CTBT, Finland was firmly committed to promoting its early entry into force, she said. Current voluntary moratorium on nuclear weapons tests was of great importance, but was no substitute for a global ban. It was time to close the door on nuclear weapons tests, and the Treaty’s entry if force would considerably strengthen the global security architecture. As was seen in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident, CTBT’s verification regime was able to provide crucial assistance through its monitoring stations by issuing rapid alerts to populations in costal areas.
YADIRA LEDESMA HERNÁNDEZ ( Cuba) said peace and international security continued to be threatened by the existence of 22,000 nuclear warheads. It was unacceptable that certain nuclear-weapon States were not renouncing their use. Worse, they continued to update their arsenals. Cuba believed the use of nuclear weapons was illegal and immoral. Indeed, their use would be a flagrant violation of international norms and would amount to genocide. That was also true for conventional weapons, which were similarly lethal.
She said that nuclear disarmament should be highest priority in disarmament field. The NPT Review Conference had made it clear that there was much distance between the rhetoric and reality of disarmament. Cuba sought the universalization of NPT. The new START was a positive sign, but it was insufficient.
A lack of will was perpetuating paralysis in the Conference on Disarmament, urging the Conference to begin negotiations to prevent and eliminate nuclear weapons along a concrete timetable. A fissile material cut-off treaty would be a positive step, but in itself, it would not be enough. Cuba was concerned at the selective approach by some States that ignored the quest for general and complete disarmament. Cuba supported nuclear-weapon-free zones and negative security assurances, and affirmed that nuclear disarmament was the highest priority of the Non-Aligned Movement in the area of disarmament.
LADISLAV STEINHÜBEL ( Czech Republic) said that his country, as a non-nuclear-weapon State, supported NPT. But, the long-term goals of eliminating nuclear weapons could only be achieved if that Treaty was fully implemented.
He reiterated that the universal adoption of the IAEA agreements and protocols was essential, as those two instruments were the Agency’s most important tools. He supported the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan, nevertheless, the international community was far from setting a concrete deadline for eliminating nuclear weapons.
It was of utmost importance for all States to ensure strict compliance with non-proliferation agreements, he urged. The Czech Republic believed it was IAEA’s security programme that should address the threat of nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists and non-State actors. He respected the inalienable right of countries to seek nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, however, irresponsible behaviour slowed the progress of non-proliferation.
SUJATA MEHTA, Ambassador of India to the Conference on Disarmament, said that her country had been consistent in its support of a world free of nuclear weapons. Her Government had always tempered the exercise of its strategic autonomy with its sense of global responsibility. She believed that nuclear disarmament could be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment, and an agreed global and non-discriminatory multilateral framework. There was a need for a meaningful dialogue among all States possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence, and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines. The progressive delegitimization of nuclear weapons was essential to their complete elimination.
She said that in a working paper submitted to the General Assembly in 2006, India had suggested several such measures, including reaffirmation of the unequivocal commitment by all nuclear-weapon States to the goal of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and specific legal measures, such as a “Global No First Use Agreement”. All States should fully and effectively implement the obligations arising from the agreements or treaties to which they were party. India’s position on NPT was well known and needed no reiteration. Nuclear weapons were an integral part of India’s national security and would remain so, pending non-discriminatory and global nuclear disarmament.
India was introducing, on behalf of the co-sponsors, a draft resolution on reducing nuclear danger, she said. The resolution highlighted the need for a review of nuclear doctrines and immediate steps to reduce the risk of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons. It advocated an objective that was modest yet crucial for the safety and security of mankind. India was pleased that the issues raised by this long-standing resolution were finding great resonance and recognition in the international community.
India, she said, was also presenting a draft resolution on a convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons. The text reflected India’s belief that a multilateral, universal and legally binding instrument prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would contribute to the process of de-legitimization of nuclear weapons, and would create a favourable climate for negotiations on an agreement on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
KELLY ANDERSON, Ambassador of Canada to the Conference on Disarmament, said that the progress in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament had come in spite of, rather than because of, the existing multilateral disarmament machinery. Congratulating the United States and the Russian Federation on the ratification and entry into force of the new START, she said that Canada was working within the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative to make practical contributions which were outlined in a recent Statement released by the Initiative’s Foreign Ministers. The Initiative was focused on efforts to begin negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.
She said that Canada, as the first president of the Conference on Disarmament in 2011, had expended considerable effort to get the Conference back to work. All those efforts had ultimately been unsuccessful, as Conference member States continued to hold mutually exclusive positions. It was disappointing that consensus had been blocked last year on the fissile material cut-off treaty resolution; only two years ago, it had enjoyed the support of all the members of the Committee. Canada was again running the resolution and had made efforts to present a text that strove for consensus.
Canada called on Syria and Iran to cooperate with IAEA to resolve outstanding questions about the nature of their respective nuclear programmes, and on North Korea…
On a point of order, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea asked that the Canadian delegate refer to his country by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Continuing, Ms. Anderson called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to demonstrate a sincere commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. She said it was also Canada’s concern about the ongoing nuclear activities of North Korea…
On another point of order, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s representative requested that Canada’s delegate refer to his country as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Ms. Anderson said nuclear activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were her country’s concern, leading Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, to suspend Canada’s participation in the Conference on Disarmament during the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s presidency.
She concluded that multilateral disarmament negotiations must not indefinitely remain hostage to procedural tactics and abuse of the consensus rule in the Conference on Disarmament.
REZA NAJAFI, Director for Disarmament and International Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, said the continued existence of thousands of deployed and non-deployed strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons around the world continued to seriously threaten international peace and security, and the very survival of human civilization. While there was no pretext to justify the possession of nuclear weapons in the hands of any country, it was a source of grave concern that certain nuclear-weapon States still allocated billions of dollars to develop new types of nuclear weapons, build new nuclear weapon production facilities, and modernize and replace such weapons. In contravention of Article VI of NPT, those countries continued to resort to obsolete nuclear deterrence policies and promote the role and status of nuclear weapons in their defence and security doctrines.
He said that NATO’s statement last year, that the organization would “remain a nuclear alliance” gave Member States the rationale for the use of nuclear weapons, a clear setback to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and a violation of the legal obligations under NPT, and the commitments agreed at successive NPT Review Conferences since 1995. Under that Treaty, each nuclear-weapon State party undertook not to transfer to any recipient nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or devices, however there were still hundreds of nuclear weapons deployed in Europe, and air forces of non-nuclear-weapon States had been trained to deliver those weapons under the cover of military alliances. The United States 2010 Nuclear Posture Review clearly confessed the deployment of United States nuclear weapons in the territories of the European Union, which was tantamount to a serious case of non-compliance under NPT.
Nuclear sharing by nuclear-weapon States was an area of concern, he said. Sharing information, particularly between the United Kingdom and France, and transferring that information and nuclear materials to non-parties to NPT was a clear case of non-compliance with the Treaty. Nuclear-weapon States, especially the United States, United Kingdom and France, instead of “crying wolf” at other countries’ behaviour, should fully comply with their obligations under Article I of the Treaty by refraining from nuclear-sharing, under any pretext, including via security arrangements or military alliance. By maintaining their nuclear arsenals and their horizontal proliferation through the transfer of nuclear technologies and weapons-grade materials to non-parties to the Treaty, those nuclear-weapon States had also contributed to the emergence of new nuclear weapons possessors.
Certain countries, in particular the United States and France, were non-compliant parties by nuclear-sharing with “the Zionist regime”. France covertly had also provided that regime with all kinds of missile technology and materials to promote its capacity in delivering weapons of mass destruction, he said, noting that the Jericho-1 ballistic missile of that regime was based on the French MD-600 missile. “Now, it is ironic that France cried wolf in this Committee about the proliferation of missiles in the region,” he said.
NPT was the cornerstone of the disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, and blatant violations by certain nuclear-weapon States had damaged the instrument’s integrity and credibility, he said. Iran supported the need for negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified timeline, including for the start of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament to conclude a nuclear-weapon instrument. Pending the conclusion of such a convention, nuclear-weapon States must honour their obligations. Any attempt to undermine the Conference by hijacking its established mandate, or pushing it towards a one-sided programme of work, was “doomed to fail”. In that context, the recent proposal for negotiations on one of the four core issues outside the Conference was “in clear contravention with the agreements reached at the 2010 NPT Review Conference”.
Although the international community noted the new START, the Treaty did not go beyond decommissioning nuclear weapons and lacked any verification mechanism. Also, the indefinite extension of NPT in 1995 did not imply the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by the nuclear-weapon States, he said. Moreover, in recent years, certain nuclear-weapon States, by overemphasizing the obligations of non-nuclear-armed States on non-proliferation, had attempted, not only to overlook their own nuclear disarmament obligations, but also to infer that as if nuclear-weapon States had no obligations related to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. That false and misleading propaganda persisted, even while all the nuclear activities of the non-nuclear-weapon States parties to NPT were under full-scope IAEA safeguards, and they had already foregone the nuclear option.
The statement by the United Kingdom’s delegate yesterday, and Canada today, referred to the development of “nuclear weapons” in Iran. All nuclear activities in Iran were exclusively for peaceful purposes and IAEA had never found any diversion in those activities, he said. Iran, as a victim of weapons of mass destruction, would pursue vigorously the goal of a world free from those weapons, but would never submit to intimidation and pressure, he concluded.
HELLMUT HOFFMANN, German Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, said that Germany’s assessment of the current situation in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation was mixed. In line with European Union Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Germany remained dedicated to the principles and objectives of effective multilateralism, prevention and international cooperation. Germany also firmly subscribed to the long-term goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world and supported all appropriate steps toward that goal. Practical steps were crucial to facilitate implementation of the 1995 NPT Resolution on the Middle East. Germany supported the establishment of internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones, as a means to reinforce the global non-proliferation regime and to contribute to nuclear disarmament.
He said the international community faced serious nuclear proliferation challenges. Grave concerns about the nature of the Iranian nuclear programme persisted. Germany called upon Iran to comply with its international obligations and to implement the resolutions of the Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors in order to restore the international community’s confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Germany remained committed to work towards a comprehensive, negotiated long-term solution together with its E3+3 partners and the European Union High Representative. He said that Iran must now take a strategic decision to seriously address the nuclear issue.
Germany also remained deeply concerned by the persistent unwillingness of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cooperate with IAEA and by its revelation of a uranium-enrichment programme, he said. Germany urged the country to comply with its international obligations, including fulfilling all commitments made within the framework of the six-party talks in order to create the conditions for their resumption at the earliest possible date. Germany also supported IAEA’s decision to report Syria’s non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement to the Security Council.
He noted with deep regret that the multilateral disarmament machinery remained in a virtual state of paralysis. The Conference on Disarmament had moved even further away from the adoption of a programme of work in the past months. Negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices was the next logical step, and a necessary one towards a world without nuclear weapons. CTBT was an irreplaceable pillar in the global disarmament architecture. Fifteen years since its opening for signature, it had received nearly worldwide support. Its entry into force would be a core element of advancing nuclear disarmament and remained a high strategic priority for Germany.
DELL HIGGIE ( New Zealand), speaking on behalf of the seven members of the New Agenda Coalition ( Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and New Zealand), introduced the draft resolution entitled “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments”. The Coalition was committed to the achievement of a world free of nuclear weapons, and the draft resolution underlined the importance of the universalization of NPT. The Coalition expected that the pace of disarmament would accelerate in the months remaining before the First Preparatory Committee meeting in Vienna of that Treaty’s next review.
She added that the agreement at the 2010 NPT Review Conference of an Action Plan on nuclear disarmament provided a clear blueprint for action in the short-term, and the onus was now on stakeholders to ensure its full and effective implementation, as only through such action would its promise of progress towards a nuclear-weapon-free world be realized. The draft resolution, therefore, focused on the implementation of the Action Plan in the coming review cycle leading up to the 2015 Review Conference. The true test of the value of the 2010 “RevCon outcome” would be the implementation of the commitments undertaken by all, and she urged all Member States to support the draft resolution.
Right of Reply
The representative of Syria, exercising his right of reply, said the delegate from the Republic of Korea had repeated a similar message each year, with the same allegations. The statement was clear proof that there was deliberate bad faith. Unfortunately, that delegate made Syria’s delegate think that the Republic of Korea did not respect, nor did it afford importance to the implementation of NPT. The Republic of Korea had authorized the presence of nuclear weapons on its territories, violating the Treaty. He wondered about the clandestine nuclear programme developed by the Republic of Korea.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s representative, exercising his right of reply, responded to remarks by South Korea, which called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “a threat”. He asked South Korea’s delegate about the role of United States’ nuclear weapons in existence for almost six decades. He said that delegate’s remarks were misleading.
He pointed out several factors, including that the United States deployed weapons to the Korean peninsula and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had a right to defend itself by having a nuclear deterrent. The six-party talks were under way. While that was going on, he was sceptical about the negative remarks made by South Korea.
On a point of order, the representative of Germany asked why the delegate from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had referred to the Republic of Korea as “ South Korea” when that delegate had complained when Canada had referred to his country as “ North Korea”.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, exercising his right of reply, said “we are brothers” and “we are one country”, that was why.
Also on a point of order, the representative of the Republic of Korea asked that his country be addressed as “ Republic of Korea”.
Exercising his right of reply, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s representative said he would not call it “ Republic of Korea”. The Korean peninsula was divided, and it was one country.
The Committee Chairman said that within the United Nations, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea were treated as two States.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, exercising his right of reply, said that South Korea was the one that allowed nuclear weapons on the peninsula. South Korea called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “a threat”.
The Committee Chairman asked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to respect the United Nations Member State at the Republic of Korea’s request, and to please use the official name.
The representative of France, exercising his right of reply, said Iran mentioned France in the nuclear area, saying that it had made threats against non-nuclear-weapon States. He requested the Iranian delegate to read the French President’s statement on nuclear weapons, which was very clear.
France’s delegate said it was important to refocus on what was essential, which were the concerns of the international community about Iran’s nuclear programme, including the Security Council resolutions on the issue and the calls that were being made to Iran to come back to negotiations. It was high time, because it had been two years, he said. He would be developing that further in his statement to be made to the First Committee tomorrow.
The representative of the United Kingdom, exercising her right of reply in response to Iran’s statement, said that the United Kingdom took its NPT commitments seriously. Iran had itself announced the transfer of centrifuges to triple capacity, an amount that no valid civilian purposes could justify.
The Republic of Korea’s representative, exercising his right of reply, said “ North Korea” had argued about several things, including that “ South Korea” was part of the six-party talks. The Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had had bilateral meetings regarding the six-party talks. Regarding nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula, several countries had expressed grave concerns about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s enrichment programme. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to respond to concerns through concrete action instead of provocation, as shown today.
Exercising his right of reply, Iran’s representative said that the French delegate had said that the issue of Iran was an international concern. He noted the statement made by the 120 countries of the Non-Aligned Movement regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. The “P5” were not justified to say what was an international concern or not. He suggested the delegate ask the General Assembly and its members about international concerns, the most important of which was the presence of nuclear weapons. “Smoke-screening the real issues” was what was happening, he said.
He said that Iran’s nuclear programme had always been peaceful. He said the United Kingdom and France had signed a nuclear-sharing agreement. He pointed out that the assassination of a nuclear scientist had implicated the United Kingdom.
Regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, he said IAEA had never reported non-compliance by his country.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s representative, in a right of reply, said the delegate of South Korea had raised another question, by stating that there was no presence of United States’ nuclear weapons. But, there was no verification of that. South Korea had also said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was a threat. But, military exercises were scheduled to take place, which was a great concern to the region.
Also in a right of reply, the United States representative associated itself with the remarks made by the United Kingdom and Republic of Korea.
The United Kingdom’s delegate, using her right of reply, reiterated that her country took its NPT obligations seriously. She rejected any claims of assassinations of any scientists.
Exercising his right of reply, the Republic of Korea’s delegate asked about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s comment that North and South Korea were “brothers”. He wished to clarify the meaning of “brother”. Last year, an incident at sea cost dozens of lives. Did a brother kill a brother?, he asked. The Republic of Korea and the United States conducted military exercises. He asked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to stop any further provocation.
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