When It Comes to Non-Proliferation, Arms Limitation, Disarmament Agreements, ‘Rules Must Be Binding, Violations Must Be Punished’, First Committee Told
When It Comes to Non-Proliferation, Arms Limitation, Disarmament Agreements, ‘Rules Must Be Binding, Violations Must Be Punished’, First Committee Told
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
12th Meeting (PM)
When It Comes to Non-Proliferation, Arms Limitation, Disarmament Agreements,
‘Rules Must Be Binding, Violations Must Be Punished’, First Committee Told
United States Submits Draft Resolution on Compliance; Other Texts on Test-Ban
Treaty, International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion, Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones
For the United States, when it came to non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments, “rules must be binding, violations must be punished, and words must mean something”, that country’s representative told the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) today upon the introduction of a draft resolution on compliance.
This year’s resolution — one of six tabled this afternoon — would acknowledge the widespread recognition within the international community of the impact of non-compliance challenges on international peace and stability and of diplomacy as a tool to encourage a return to compliance by States not currently in compliance, she said.
Holding States accountable for failing to comply strengthened not only confidence in the integrity of the agreements and commitments, but also in the prospects for progress towards achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, she said. Failing to do so would undercut not only the integrity of agreements and commitments, but also the prospects for future progress, and pave the way for other States to follow the path of wilful noncompliance and undermine the authority of the relevant non-proliferation treaties.
Other draft resolutions introduced today were on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons; united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons; and the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaties.
Tabling the draft resolution on the Test-Ban Treaty, the Ambassador of Mexico to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, on behalf also of Australia and New Zealand, noted that commitment to the CTBT 15 years ago had led all 182 State signatories to abstain from nuclear explosive testing, even though the instrument had not yet entered into force. Its impact was without question, and those countries that remained outside the Treaty and had performed tests faced universal condemnation, he said.
Australia’s Ambassador of Disarmament added that in the complex and difficult path to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, there was no instant solution. “There is no magic bullet,” he said. “We have to work through a rigorous step-by-step approach.” However, it was a serious failure that 15 years after the CTBT had opened for signature, the Treaty had not yet entered into force, and he called on those States yet to ratify the instrument to do so as soon as possible.
The Test-Ban Treaty, said Sweden’s Ambassador to the International Organizations in Geneva, speaking also on behalf of Mexico as current article XIV (of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty) Process Coordinating States, would significantly constrain the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and make an indispensable contribution to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The overwhelming majority of the international community already agreed on the urgent need for its entry into force, and those numbers were growing. The built-in safety valve of the so-called “Annex II” should alleviate any possible concerns among States to commit to the Treaty.
The draft resolution, entitled “united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons”, said the Ambassador of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament, put emphasis on concrete and practical united actions to be taken by the international community towards the total elimination of those weapons. One year after the 2010 NPT Review Conference, it was necessary to be pragmatic and focus on the steady implementation of the Action Plan in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. With that in mind, last September, Japan and nine other like-minded States had launched a cross-regional group, the “NPDI” (Non-Proliferation and Disarmament), and would continue to make tangible contributions to promote the implementation of the NPT Action Plan.
Malaysia’s delegate tabled the draft resolution on the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion. Nigeria and Thailand tabled draft resolutions on the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties in their respective regions.
Also today, at the request of the Secretary-General, Sergio Duarte, United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, announced the appointment of Jaakko Laajava, Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, as facilitator, and the designation of Finland as the host Government for the 2012 conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Duarte said the Secretary-General had asked the facilitator to come to New York at the earliest possible date to initiate consultations on the matter.
Commenting on that announcement was the representative of Finland, as well as the delegations of Qatar, United States, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, Iran, Germany and Hungary.
Delivering statements during the thematic debate on nuclear weapons were the representatives of Switzerland, Algeria, Norway, Netherlands, Austria, Uruguay on behalf of Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), France, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Indonesia on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Exercising their rights of reply were the representatives of Iran and France.
The Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Monday, 17 October, to conclude its thematic debate on nuclear weapons and to hear the introduction of draft resolutions, and to begin its debate on other weapons of mass destruction.
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.
Announcement by High Representative
SERGIO DUARTE, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, at the request of the Secretary-General, informed the First Committee of a joint press statement of the Secretary-General and the Governments of the Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States, which he read out, as follows:
“In accordance with the practical steps endorsed by the Parties to the 2010 Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Secretary-General and the Governments of the Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States, as co-sponsors of the 1995 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and depository States of the Treaty, in consultation with the States of the region, are pleased to announce the appointment of Jaakko Laajava, Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, as facilitator and the designation of Finland as the host Government for the 2012 conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.”
Mr. Duarte said the Secretary-General had asked the facilitator to come to New York at the earliest possible date to initiate consultations on the matter.
The representative of Qatar, on behalf of the Arab Group, said establishing such a zone in the Middle East was based on decisions reached at the 1995 NPT Review Conference. He reiterated that the Arab Group welcomed the nomination of Finland to host the 2012 conference and looked forward to the facilitator playing an important role. The Group was of the view that the vision of establishing such a zone in the Middle East, including a mission to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction, would be furthered, and it hoped that the conference would produce concrete results on that issue. It also hoped the 2012 conference would reach its objectives by the time of the next NPT Review Conference, in 2015.
The representatives of the United States, Russian Federation, and United Kingdom, welcomed the announcement, expressing confidence in the facilitator and thanking Finland for taking on the role of host for the 2012 conference.
The delegate from the United Kingdom expressed his country’s long-time support for the creation of a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone, as the issue was not just a regional one, but also an international one. A Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction was an achievable goal. “It will not happen overnight,” he said. “The conference represents a first step,” he added. It will be a real opportunity for the region to discuss and make progress on that issue.
The representatives of Ireland and Poland, the latter speaking in his role as President of the European Union, similarly welcomed the announcement. The representatives of Germany and Hungary associated with the remarks made on behalf of the European Union.
Iran’s representative said that, as the initiator of the Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone in 1974, the Government attached great importance to its establishment.
The representative of Finland said the country was honoured to take on the role of host: “We are humbled by the challenges ahead,” he said. The 1995 NPT Review Conference and the 2010 Review Conference opened new opportunities to move forward with issue. The task ahead was not easy but it is vital. Finland was convinced that consultations carried out by the facilitator ahead of today’s announcement would set a useful model for Conference negotiations. A zone free of weapons of mass destruction would be a major contribution to disarmament.
JUAN JOSE GOMEZ CAMACHO, Ambassador of Mexico to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, on behalf of Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico, tabled the resolution on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was tabled annually. He said that 15 years after the Treaty was opened for signature, its impact was without question. Although the Treaty had not yet entered into force, all 182 State signatories had abstained from nuclear explosive testing. Those countries that had remained outside the Treaty and had performed tests faced universal condemnation.
Welcoming the recent ratifications by Guinea and Ghana, he said that every new ratification constituted a powerful signal to the international community and to the States that had yet to ratify. However, it was important that the Treaty enter into force without further delay. That was reinforced strongly in the call contained in the Final Declaration adopted in September by the seventh conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT, held in New York and co-chaired by Mexico and Sweden.
He added that Mexico welcomed the steps taken by Indonesia and the commitment made by the United States in pursuit of the Treaty’s ratification. The Treaty had also been supported by the Secretary-General, the Security Council summit, the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and the General Assembly over many years.
MARCIE B. RIES, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the United States, said that her country was once again introducing its traditional resolution, entitled “compliance with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments under agenda item 98 “General and Complete Disarmament”. “We believe this resolution can make a useful contribution in reflecting the commitment of the international community to acting together to strengthen such compliance,” she said.
She said that the importance of advancing such compliance was shared by all the sponsors. President Barack Obama, in Prague in 2009, had called on all States to comply with their obligations and to hold other States accountable for their actions. He had emphasized specifically that rules must be binding; violations must be punished; words must mean something. Today, over two years later, the issue of compliance remained of fundamental importance. There was broad compliance with multilateral and international treaties, agreements and other obligations and commitments undertaken by United Nations Member States to prevent weapons of mass destruction proliferation and to regulate and/or reduce armaments, which was critical to international peace and stability.
The key objective in sponsoring the measure again this year was to reflect and strengthen that international consensus, she said. This year’s resolution would acknowledge the widespread recognition within the international community of the impact of non-compliance challenges on international peace and stability and of diplomacy as a tool to encourage a return to compliance by States not currently in compliance. Its adoption would be another concrete example of the international community’s determination to use diplomacy to advance compliance.
Holding States accountable for failing to comply with non-proliferation, arms limitation and disarmament agreements and commitments strengthened, not only confidence in the integrity of the agreements and commitments, but also in the prospects for progress towards achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear or other weapons mass destruction. On the other hand, failure to hold States accountable for their actions would undercut, not only the integrity of agreements and commitments, but also the prospects for future progress. Such failure would only pave the way for other States to follow the path of wilful noncompliance and undermine the authority of the relevant non-proliferation treaties. It would also dilute the benefits states have come to expect when they adhere to such agreements.
This year’s resolution on compliance was open for co-sponsorship, and the United States was hoping for a larger number of co-sponsors than it had when the text was last introduced.
PETER WOOLCOTT, Ambassador for Disarmament, Australia said his country, along with fellow sponsor New Zealand, strongly supported Mexico’s leadership this year of the CTBT resolution. However, it was a serious failure that 15 years after it opened for signature, the Treaty had not yet entered into force, and he called on those States yet to ratify the instrument to do so as soon as possible. Australia was under no illusion about the complexity and difficulty of achieving a shared goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world. “There is no magic bullet,” he said. “We have to work through a rigorous step-by-step approach.”
He said that the adoption of the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan was a substantial achievement, however the plan, “our road map”, would only be as good as its implementation. “This is now the time for hard work,” he said, encouraging all relevant States to continue to cooperate constructively on the endeavour to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. But implementing the Plan of Action was the responsibility of all NPT States parties. Australia, with Japan, had convened an initiative to implement the Action Plan and had, among other things, developed and shared with five nuclear-weapon States a draft standard nuclear disarmament reporting form.
Turning to a fissile material cut-off treaty, he said its negotiation was long overdue, as such a ban would be an essential step towards irreversible nuclear disarmament and complement the CTBT. His country supported Canada’s efforts through its annual fissile material resolution to move such a treaty beyond its current impasse.
Australia was gravely concerned about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear activities, which were in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions, he said. He shared serious concerns about the mounting evidence of possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme, as that country continued to defy binding United Nations Security Council resolutions.
With the number of positive non-proliferation and disarmament developments, it was important to build on that momentum, he said. It was not a time for complacency, as there remained much work to be done.
MARI AMANO, Ambassador of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament, noted the submission, once again this year, of the draft resolution, entitled “united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons”. The text put emphasis on concrete and practical united actions to be taken by the international community towards the total elimination of those weapons. He strongly hoped that an even larger number of States would support the text this year.
One year after the 2010 NPT Review Conference, it was necessary to be pragmatic and focus on the steady implementation of the Action Plan in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. With that in mind, last September, Japan and nine other like-minded States had launched a cross-regional group, the “NPDI” (Non-Proliferation and Disarmament) and would continue to make tangible contribution to promote the implementation of the NPT Action Plan.
He said that the 2010 NPT Final Document had reaffirmed the unequivocal undertaking of nuclear-weapon States to eliminate and reduce nuclear weapons. Under action 5, those countries had pledged to accelerate progress on concrete steps and were called upon to report, in 2014, their undertakings to the Preparatory Committee for the next NPT review in 2015. Japan welcomed the first follow-up meeting of the “P5” (permanent five members of the Security Council) in Paris; Japan had shared with them the “NPDI” proposal for a reporting form in accordance with action 21.
Japan also valued the ratification of the new START Treaty by the United States and the Russian Federation, he said. It was critical that the CTBT be put into force immediately, and Japan urged all countries to ratify it. Equally important was for the international community to immediately begin negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or explosive devices. It was deeply regrettable that the Conference on Disarmament, in 2011, had been unable to commence such negotiations. It was also necessary to establish further nuclear-weapon-free-zones, and Japan welcomed the intensive talks held recently in New York between the five nuclear-weapon-States and the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the ratification of the protocol of the South-East Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.
He added that the nuclear issues related to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran were of prime concern to the international community. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to immediately abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes, and said that Iran must win the confidence of the international community. To address those issues effectively, it was essential to strengthen IAEA safeguards to reinforce and maintain the nuclear-non-proliferation regime.
JAN KNUTSSON, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the International Organizations in Geneva, speaking on behalf of Mexico and Sweden as current article XIV (of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty) Process Coordinating States, said that achieving of entry into force of that Treaty — the CTBT — was an important priority for nuclear disarmament. Mexico and Sweden had jointly taken on the role of Coordinating States for the next two years to facilitate the Treaty’s entry into force. They shared the resolute support for the CTBT and its operation, as well as a wider interest to strengthen the global security architecture.
The Treaty, he said, would significantly constrain the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and make an indispensable contribution to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The overwhelming majority of the international community already agreed on the urgent need for its entry into force, and those numbers were growing. The built-in safety valve of the so-called “Annex II” should alleviate any possible concerns among States to commit to the Treaty. Moreover, the unprecedented verification system had proven itself and demonstrated that the CTBT, once in place, would indeed work effectively.
He said the Annex II States, whose ratification was needed for the Treaty’s entry into force, had a special responsibility, and the need to act could not be passed on to others. Currently 35 of those 44 States had assumed the responsibility and ratified the Treaty including, three nuclear-weapon States. While nine Annex II countries had not chosen to do so yet, he was convinced that that would change as it became increasingly clear what the potential future options might be: a world where nuclear testing would again risk inflaming international relations; or a global community that had put such dangerous practices behind itself for good.
The CTBT ratification was an evolving process, and two remaining Annex II States had announced their intention to pursue ratification, he noted. Any further ratifications, particularly by nuclear-armed States, could untie the knot and pave the way for a series of ratifications. Until the Treaty’s entry into force, the moratoriums on nuclear testing must be upheld, keeping in mind that voluntary testing bans could not replace legal instruments.
ALEXANDRE FASEL, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament, said that, despite recent positive momentum, challenges in the field of nuclear disarmament remained numerous. Thousands of nuclear weapons were still deployed today, posing a potential threat to mankind’s survival. Worse, a significant number of those were being kept on a high level of alert and were ready to be used within minutes. The nuclear arsenals of some States were still increasing quantitatively, and all nuclear Powers were strengthening their arsenals at a qualitative level through modernization programmes.
Additionally, he said, none of the nuclear Powers had called into question the notion of deterrence, yet a reduction in the importance attached to those weapons could discourage further proliferation. Efforts towards nuclear disarmament seemed random — rather than systematic, coordinated and verified — and often went hand in hand with budget cuts or technological developments, instead of a genuine desire to disarm. Efforts so far were clearly insufficient, requiring a stronger commitment — namely, a legally binding instrument to ban nuclear weapons.
In order for real progress to take place, the legitimacy of nuclear weapons needed to be questioned, he said. While it had been argued that national stability would be weakened without nuclear weapons, all States — nuclear and non-nuclear — needed to join together to determine how security could be assured in a world without those weapons. Reductions in arsenals should be accompanied by the initiation of activities at the multilateral level, including a fissile material cut-off treaty, negative security assurances and nuclear disarmament. The opening of negotiations on a fissile material ban encompassing both the future production and existing stockpiles was of particular importance since an instrument of that nature could contribute to both disarmament and non-proliferation.
While no resolution would be submitted this year on decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons, he said a group of countries — Chile, New Zealand, Nigeria, Switzerland and Malaysia — would continue to campaign in favour of the theme in all relevant bodies, including the General Assembly, and planned to return to the resolution in coming years.
He noted that the 2010 NPT Review Conference had adopted specific measures concerning the creation of a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. While recent political developments had not made it easy to hold a conference to cover those concerns, it did make it a matter of greater urgency. He appealed to all involved to do everything in their power to ensure that the conference took place and was a starting point of a sustainable process.
Turning to nuclear proliferation, he said that, unfortunately, there had been no developments in the past year towards envisaging the closure of pending dossiers in the near future. Diplomacy remained the only way to resolve those issues, and Member States should comply with the applicable norms and decisions.
DJAMEL MOKTEFI ( Algeria) said the general atmosphere in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament remained positive, however, there had been few substantial results and many unfinished tasks remained. The First Committee’s general debate had raised a number of examples. Multilateralism was undeniably the path to achieve the three pillars of the NPT. It was high time disarmament and non-proliferation issues received equal treatment, as those efforts were truly inseparable. Algeria was concerned that the 13 practical steps agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference had not even begun to be applied, with no agreement from the nuclear Powers on a timeframe for taking those steps.
Meanwhile, he stressed, non-nuclear-weapon States felt threatened without negative security assurances from nuclear-weapon States. To remove that threat, the NPT must become universal and the CTBT must enter into force. He called on the Annex II States to ratify the CTBT as soon as possible. The peaceful use of nuclear energy was an engine for economic and social development, and States had a right to pursue it. Algeria stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation to ensure that terrorists did not acquire nuclear weapons, and in that, it supported Security Council resolution 1540.
The Pelindaba Treaty, he said, contributed to international peace and security, and the country urged all States to ratify it. That zone was an example that should be followed by others. He supported today’s announcement of a facilitator for the 2012 conference to establish such a zone in the Middle East. That conference was a true opportunity to achieve concrete results, making it possible to set up such as zone in the Middle East.
INGA M.W. NYHAMAR, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, said that it was of vital importance that the NPT Action Plan of 64 steps be fully implemented. Norway welcomed the ratification and implementation of the new START agreement and was pleased with the recent “P5” meeting on fulfilling the obligations of the nuclear-weapon States under the NPT Action Plan. Despite those positive steps, it was sad that the international community had not moved any closer in multilateral efforts towards nuclear disarmament or in negotiations towards a fissile material cut-off treaty.
She said that Norway acknowledged the need to negotiate a legally binding instrument to fulfil the provisions of article VI of the NPT, but questioned the call by many States for the negotiation of such an instrument to be conducted in the Conference on Disarmament. Norway was ready to contribute to a successful Middle East conference next year on a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Norway was also convinced that the IAEA must be fully equipped to carry out its non-proliferation task and that the international community must do its part to fully implement the IAEA comprehensive safeguards and the Additional Protocol. Norway also fully supported the Action Plan adopted at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. Cooperative arrangements must be developed for producing nuclear fuel for civilian reactors, and the use of highly enriched uranium in nuclear research reactors must be reduced.
It was crucial to bring the CTBT into force, and verification systems should be robust enough to provide the necessary confidence in the integrity of both the non-proliferation and disarmament processes. The United Kingdom and Norway had cooperated at the expert level for several years on exploring technical and procedural challenges associated with a possible future nuclear disarmament verification regime and would partner on a workshop in London in December to consider the lessons learned from that.
SIRIPORN CHAIMONGKOL ( Thailand) said the development and possession of nuclear weapons had led to insecurity and instability. Global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts needed to be transparent, verifiable, and irreversible. The entry into force of the new START, as agreed upon by the United States and Russian Federation, was encouraging, and she called for the full and strict implementation of the outcomes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. She also sincerely urged all relevant States to ensure the success of the 2012 conference on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
She said that a vision of a world free of nuclear weapons would never be realized if nuclear testing continued, nor could the international community achieve nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation if fissile materials were not effectively controlled. She underscored the need for the Conference on Disarmament to resume its substantive work as soon as possible and begin negotiations on a fissile material ban at the earliest opportunity. Nuclear terrorism was a compelling reason for all Member States to cooperate and coordinate their efforts to prevent such a cataclysm. Thailand was committed to implementing Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), with a view to addressing the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors. As far as nuclear safety was concerned, the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had raised concerns. It was crucial to strengthen the Global Nuclear Safety regime in order to restore public confidence on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Regional efforts were indispensible in supporting global efforts on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, she said. The Treaty on the South-East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty) had played a significant role in the region. Thailand and fellow ASEAN members had continued close consultations with nuclear-weapon States to resolve outstanding issues, and she expressed the hope that the latter countries would accede to the Treaty’s Protocol soon. ASEAN was once again tabling the biennial draft resolution on the Bangkok Treaty for the consideration of the First Committee during the session, and she asked for its consensus support from the international community.
PAUL VAN DEN IJSSEL, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Conference on Disarmament, said his country had been among the 10 to have launched the “NPDI”, which linked the issues of nuclear disarmament, proliferation risks, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The group was convinced of the need to focus on the practical implement of the NPT Action Plan. At the ministerial “NPDI” meetings in Berlin and New York this year, it had been deemed necessary to press for great transparency in the way nuclear-weapon States reported their disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation efforts. At the same time, the Netherlands had stepped up efforts for universal application of the IAEA’s Additional Protocol, as it was vital to ensure that nuclear activities remained peaceful. The combination of a comprehensive safeguard agreement and an Additional Protocol was the current standard for verification.
He said that to advance the global non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control agenda, the Netherlands believed it was vital that an agreement was reached on a way to overcome the continued deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament, which also prevented the start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty — the start of which was long overdue. The Netherlands remained committed to ensuring the best safety, security and non-proliferation conditions by countries wishing to develop, in a responsible way, their capacities in the field of peace uses of nuclear energy. The IAEA’s role in strengthening nuclear non-proliferation, in guaranteeing the safety and security of nuclear energy and in advancing nuclear technology to the benefit of all, could not be overestimated. It was crucial, therefore, to equip the Agency with the required resources to ensure it had the authority, expertise and capabilities to fulfil its mandate.
Major challenges persisted, in particular with Ian, Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in the field of nuclear non-proliferation, he said, expressing grave concern about the Iranian nuclear programme. Iran must suspend all its enrichment activities and heavy water-related projects, including research and development, fully implement its safeguards agreement, bring into force the Additional Protocol, and fully cooperate with the IAEA in order to clarify all outstanding issues, which have given rise to increased concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme. “ Iran must comply with its international obligations and implement the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors,” he stressed.
He said that the key objective was to engage Iran in a meaningful diplomatic process. “The door for Iran remains open, and we call on Iran to enter into such talks to reach a negotiated settlement,” he said.
The Netherlands, he said was “seriously concerned” about the non-compliance by Syria with its Safeguards Agreement. The Netherlands welcomed the decision by the IAEA Board of Governors in June to report the matter to the Security Council. His country urged Syria to fully cooperate with the IAEA “to resolve all open questions, to comply with its Safeguards Agreement and to bring into force an Additional Protocol as soon as possible”.
He reiterated his country’s “grave concern” at the decision made by the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cease all cooperation with the IAEA. The Netherlands remained extremely concerned regarding that country’s revelation of its uranium enrichment programme. Those activities represented another violation of its international obligations. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “must comply, without delay, with all its international obligations under the relevant resolutions of the [United Nations] Security Council and the IAEA, and demonstrate its willingness to implement previous commitments through concrete actions, which would create an environment conductive to the resumption of the six-party talks aimed at achieving the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” he urged.
He voiced his support for the establishment of a zone in the Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
ALEXANDER KMENTT, Director for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation for Austria , said that nuclear weapons posed one of the gravest dangers and key challenges for the international community. Their continued possession by some States was a key driver for the quest for those weapons by others. Last year at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, all States parties committed to pursue policies that were fully compatible with the Treaty and the objective of a world without nuclear weapons. The action plan affirmed that all States needed to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons. Also noteworthy was the Secretary-General’s five-point proposal for nuclear disarmament, which proposed consideration of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or agreement on a framework of separate mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a strong system of verification.
He said that the fact that such an agreement was possible in 2010 provided a little respite for the NPT, however, whose credibility, remained challenged on all fronts. The situation was on borrowed time; the commitments agreed in 2010 should be implemented by all NPT States parties without delay. That required tangible and credible progress in this NPT review cycle. The IAEA’s pivotal role on non-proliferation and nuclear safety and security needed to be reinforced, both in light of the troubling proliferation challenges on the agenda in Vienna and the urgent need for serious reflection in the wake of the Fukushima Daichi disaster about the potentially devastating risks inherent in any use of nuclear energy.
Vienna was also host to the CTBT Organization’s Preparatory Commission, which also had a crucial role to play in developing the effective nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, he said. Austria welcomed the declared commitment of Indonesia and the Untied States to move towards ratification of the CTBT and hoped that those announcements would be followed up as soon as possible. Austria also urged remaining Annex II States to ratify the CTBT without delay. The 2012 conference on a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East was an integral and decisive part of the consensus reached at the NPT Review Conference last year. It was important that the process was put on a credible track and that all stakeholders approached it with a sincere mindset of wanting to make progress. That was of utmost importance, not only to the countries in the region, but to the entire NPT membership and, indeed, to the international community at large.
Noting that the Conference on Disarmament has been unable to deliver on its mandate for 15 years now, he said the “silent majority” complained and lamented about the state of affairs and appealed for change, but there had been no real consequences. Unless the international community coalesced around a much more determined course of action, the inertia would continue and any meaningful multilateral disarmament process would remain elusive for a very long time. Austria, together with Mexico and Norway, would present a draft resolution on “Taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations”, which identified such a credible and constructive path ahead.
LILIAN SILVEIRA ( Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), renewed the group’s commitment to the promotion of the world free of nuclear weapons. The international community was increasingly aware that while nuclear weapons existed, there would be a real risk of their use and proliferation. The existence of those weapons diminished the security of all States, including those who possessed them. The Common Market hoped that the nuclear-weapon States fulfilled their commitments and entered, in good faith, into a general, transparent, irreversible and verifiable process, under a well-defined schedule, with a view to achieving nuclear disarmament.
He cited recent positive events in the nuclear field, including measures by some nuclear-weapon States regarding to strengthen their negative security assurances and announcements to pursue ratification of the CTBT. In that connection, the group welcomed the ratifications by Ghana and Guinea. As members of the first densely populated nuclear weapons free zone, MERCOSUR, through the adoption of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, highlighted the contribution of those zones to the promotion of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It was also important to highlight the decision to hold a conference in 2012 for the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.
He also drew attention to the Brazilian-Argentine Agency of Accounting and Control of Nuclear Material (ABACC), which was the only bi-national safeguards organization in the world. As a regional safeguards body, its main objective was to guarantee both countries and the international community the safety of all nuclear materials for only peaceful purposes. The agency was the first link of integration between Argentina and Brazil in the nuclear field. Its existence revealed a clear political will by both countries to provide transparency to their nuclear programmes, enabling an environment of mutual trust and cooperation. It also showed the countries’ commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
MERCOSUR believed that nuclear weapons had no role in the new world order, which was fairer, more prosperous and democratic, he said. Its member countries were convinced that if resources for nuclear weapon programmes were spent in support of social and economic development, that would benefit mankind. Nuclear weapons were the result of a regrettable era that had already ended. MERCOSUR expected the decisions and resolutions of this Committee to reflect that reality.
ERIC DANON, Ambassador of France to the Conference on Disarmament, said despite the positive advances of the new START and the summer meeting of the “P5” aimed at fulfilling their 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan commitments, dangerous and destabilizing new steps aggravating nuclear proliferation had also occurred. Furthermore, much frustration had been shown over the Conference on Disarmament deadlock during the Committee’s general debate.
On nuclear disarmament, France was one of the rare States that had taken irreversible disarmament measures, eliminating half of its arsenal, capping a ceiling of 300 warheads, and reducing by 30 per cent airborne and sea-based components. France had ratified the CTBT and dismantled test sites, ceased weapons-grade plutonium and uranium production and maintained a strictly defensive doctrine that severely limited the use of nuclear weapons, restricting their use to extreme circumstances of self-defence. France worked with other nuclear-weapon States and had initiated a series of consultations to encourage the swift commencement of negotiating a fissile material cut-off treaty.
By 2014, he said, France would be ready to report on the results of its actions and progress on the NPT 2010 Action Plan. That plan’s success was an issue to all. France assumed its responsibility through concrete actions. He pointed out that improving strategic context, in which all had a role to play, always preceded any new step aimed at reducing nuclear arsenals. “This, for example, the significant reduction in the number of nuclear warheads in the United States, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and France over the last 20 years was made possible by the ending of the cold war and the construction of a Europe that was finally reunited,” he said. In the same way, only a sustained effort to reduce serious tensions affecting, in different but always extremely dangerous ways, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Korean peninsula, would allow for decisive progress on disarmament in those regions.
The greatest threat to international security was proliferation, he said, and the past year did not inspire optimism. Iran remained one of France’s main concerns, since its military, nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions constituted a growing threat for international security and stability of the region, violating Security Council and IAEA resolutions to pursue a “fait accompli” policy and tripling its enriched uranium production without credible purposes while installing the first centrifuges in Qom, constructed undercover and unknown to the international community until 2009.
A recent IAEA report, he noted, underlined insufficient cooperation from Iran and expressed growing concern of the “possible existence in Iran of secret par or current activities” linked to possible military dimensions with respect to developing a nuclear warhead for a ballistic missile. That evidence rested on top of Iran’s continued efforts to development a ballistic and space programme. France continued to work with its partners of the E3+3 ( China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States) to durably solve that major crisis. In North Korea, it was the revelation of a secret enrichment programme, in violation of Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009). In Syria, it was the violation of the safeguard agreement with the IAEA that resulted in the Syrian issue being referred to the Security Council by the Agency. France, more than ever, was determined to take action with its partners to combat those particularly grave threats.
The political deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament could not be broken by procedural changes, he said. Pakistan had confirmed its position of not wanting to participate in the next step, which was deemed necessary by the entire international community in order to move towards a fissile material cut-off treaty, and had proposed that the international community change the order of its priorities. That was not acceptable, he said. The resolutions submitted this year were important as they tried to contribute as concretely as possible to restart the cut-off treaty negotiations. France supported Canada’s resolution on the issue, which proposed a mechanism aimed at making real progress even if the Conference on Disarmament would again prove it was incapable of adopting a programme of work, he said.
He added that the current preparation of some resolutions tended to modify or amplify certain commitments contracted within the framework of the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan. “That doesn’t seem to be very productive to us,” he said. “We’ve collectively worked on achieving a consensus that will allow us to make progress toward greater security for everyone. Let’s now try to preserve the spirit that allowed us to strengthen multilateralism and to focus on the effective implementation of the Action Plan.”
MOHAMMED RASHED AL MANSOORI ( United Arab Emirates) called upon nuclear-weapon states to implement their obligations and undertakings, as reaffirmed by successive NPT Review Conferences, including the 2010 NPT Review Conference. He also urged States not party to the NPT to accede to it, without delay. The international community must intensify international efforts aimed at exerting pressure on Israel to subject its nuclear facilities to IAEA control, and it must comply with the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, including that issued by the Sixth Review Conference of the NPT in 2000, which called for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
The United Arab Emirates, he said, demanded of the international community, particularly the nuclear-weapon States and other “effective” countries, to demonstrate a genuine political will in order to achieve an early progress in the full implementation of the Action Plan adopted at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and in the efforts of the Arab States aiming at establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. His country hoped that preparatory efforts with all countries of the region for holding a conference on that issue in 2012 would be crowned with success.
Similar to every other country, Iran also had the right to use and develop peaceful nuclear technology, he said. Accordingly, Iran had the obligation to fully implement the IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreement as well as other relevant international requirements, including the resolutions of the Security Counsel and that of the IAEA Board. The United Arab Emirates had adopted a clear and detailed policy on the development of its peaceful nuclear energy programme in 2008, which highlighted the Government’s views and commitments related to the use of nuclear energy. Its basic principles were complete transparency, commitment to the highest standards of non-proliferation and full cooperation with the IAEA, which should be the fundamental principles for any nuclear activities.
The United Arab Emirates, which had acceded to the IAEA’s Additional Protocol and had begun implementing it in December 2010, believed that that instrument would “allow better ways to provide assurances about the nuclear activities of States”.
MOHD ISHRIN MOHD ISHAK ( Malaysia) said that despite the fact that 65 years had passed since the General Assembly adopted its first resolution which spoke of, among others, “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all major weapons adaptable to mass destruction”, 20,000 nuclear weapons remained. The advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the “Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons” had lent a powerful moral argument for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Malaysia, he added, had, since 1996, tabled a resolution on the “Follow-up to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons”, and would continue to do so. Important decisions of the International Court of Justice had been retained in their existing form in the draft resolution, specifically in operative paragraphs 1 and 2. References to some of the elements contained in the 2010 NPT action plan on nuclear disarmament had also been incorporated.
He stated that among the other major elements contained in the draft was the call for a nuclear weapons convention to prohibit the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat, or use of nuclear weapons and provide for their elimination. Malaysia believed that the incremental-comprehensive approach to be encapsulated in such a convention would enable States to reach a balanced implementation of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. To progress further on that issue, a consensus was required on commencing multilateral negotiations, and Malaysia called upon the States concerned to demonstrate the good faith to do so.
FATIMA ALDHAEN (Bahrain), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement statement, expressed gratitude for the appointment of the facilitator and invitation of the host country for the 2012 conference on a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction. It was clear, he said, that today’s world was aspiring towards cooperation and collectively tackling the challenges that hindered it in the nuclear sphere. Bahrain wanted to achieve a more stable and safe world, which would allow all States to achieve the objectives of the NPT based on its three pillars. Bahrain was optimistic following the comments of the Secretary-General of the United Nations determination to re-launch efforts to conclude a treaty on nuclear weapons, with which all countries must comply.
He stressed the need to implement the resolution, and recommendations from States, concerning the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Bahrain wished to prevent any lag in implementation of the Action Plan agreed at the 2010 Review Conference. Israel should join the NPT and submit its nuclear facilities to IAEA safeguards, as well as comply with Security Counsel resolutions. Overall, he felt there was a real opportunity to establish a world with true prosperity and security. The NPT was a crucial tool in creating collective security. Bahrain was confident that the world was in a position today to carry out what it could not in the past.
RI TONG IL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said more than half a century had passed since the appearance of the first nuclear weapon, and 20 years since the end of the cold war. Still, there was a growing tendency to rely on nuclear weapons, and the modernization of nuclear weapons was being accelerated by the nuclear Powers. A country with the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons, having designated specific countries as the targets of pre-emptive nuclear strikes, had drawn up an operation plan for nuclear attacks and was conducting nuclear war exercises under that plan in an undisguised manner.
He drew attention to several issues, including that nuclear disarmament should be oriented towards a total ban on the use of those weapons and their eventual elimination. The existence of nuclear weapons and their use, or threat of use, constituted a constant threat to humankind. As long as nuclear weapons existed outside legal frameworks, there was no guarantee for world peace and security. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was steadfast on the comprehensive and total abolition of nuclear weapons and, to that end, insisted that a convention on the prohibition of nuclear weapons with a timeframe should be adopted. Nuclear disarmament should be multilateral in nature, verifiable and irreversible. His country also supported the proposal for the establishment of a special committee and an early start of negotiations on nuclear disarmament.
The non-nuclear-weapon States were demanding mandatory and legally binding negative security assurances from nuclear Powers on non-use of nuclear weapons under all circumstances, he said. The type of international relations, where a certain country was free to pose nuclear threats while others were exposed to threats, should no longer be tolerable. Nuclear Powers should remove the “nuclear umbrella” over their allied countries and withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed outside their own territories, as well as abandon a nuclear doctrine based on pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons. Expecting that the present meeting would play a due role in achieving substantial results for achieving disarmament, he assured the Committee of his country’s active cooperation with the Committee and the Conference on Disarmament, he concluded.
MAGDIEL SAMAKI ( Nigeria ), aligning himself with the statement made by the De-Alerting Group, introduced the draft resolution entitled “African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty”, which had already been circulated to colleagues and delegates, on behalf of the Group of African States. He welcomed the overwhelming support for that resolution, and appealed to nuclear-weapon States that had not yet done so to ratify it so as to ensure the resolution’s effectiveness.
He noted that the opening words of the United Nations Charter declared that the Organization’s noble goal was to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. The “scourge of war” addressed all acts of war and conflicts fought with deadly weapons, but nuclear weapons were the most deadly of all and were an unacceptable means of prosecuting wars and defence of States. They were, by their very nature, the most inhumane weapons ever conceived and were intended to be used most indiscriminately to kill, maim and destroy. The continued existence of such weapons was a robust invitation for other Member States to acquire them as well.
He called on States parties to the NPT to respect its three-pillared system and to submit their nuclear facilities and programmes to the IAEA’s safeguard inspections, as the threat of nuclear confrontation was of major concern to the international community. He welcomed the discussion of the de-issuing of nuclear weapons during last year’s NPT Review Conference and called for the continued commitment of nuclear-armed States for the further reduction of operational systems. He placed faith in the usefulness of the CTBT in the overall process for nuclear disarmament, and called for the removal of all impediments that continued to stall its entry into force, even after 15 years. Nigeria would continue to promote a multilateral process and join other States, including those of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, in expressing support for the NPT as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime.
BHIMA DWIPAYUDHANTO ( Indonesia), on behalf of ASEAN, congratulated the facilitator and host country of Finland for the upcoming 2012 conference on a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction. He said that nuclear disarmament remained the highest disarmament item on ASEAN’s agenda. South-East Asia would be preserved as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. ASEAN was increasingly playing a vital role in Asia and in the Pacific region. It hoped those efforts would contribute towards international peace and security.
ASEAN, he said, was introducing its biennial resolution on the South-East Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the hopes of making a significant contribution to the non-proliferation regime towards the common goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world. ASEAN would welcome universal support from Member States for the resolution, which would help pave the way towards meeting that goal. The draft was open to additional co-sponsors.
Rights of reply
The representative of Iran, exercising his right of reply, categorically rejected France’s claims against Iran. He said France had a long history of non-compliance, including when France had conducted many nuclear tests from North Africa to the South Pacific Islands, inflicting damages on many people.
He said France was not qualified to talk about nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East, as it had supplied nuclear technology to the “Zionist regime”, clearly in non-compliance with the NPT. In violation of article VI of the Treaty, France had developed nuclear submarines. France was also working on a nuclear-sharing project with the United Kingdom.
France also assisted the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, a point Iran’s representative would elaborate on in his statement during the segment on other weapons of mass destruction.
Taking the floor, France’s delegate said he would reserve his right of reply to comment on Iran’s right of reply statement for Monday’s meeting.
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