As First Committee Begins Focused Debate on Nuclear Weapons, National Positions Converge on Principles, Classic Differences Persist on Practical Enforcement
As First Committee Begins Focused Debate on Nuclear Weapons, National Positions Converge on Principles, Classic Differences Persist on Practical Enforcement
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
9th Meeting (PM)
As First Committee Begins Focused Debate on Nuclear Weapons, National Positions
Converge on Principles, Classic Differences Persist on Practical Enforcement
Nuclear-armed States Boast Deep Cuts in Arsenals, Revised Strategic
Doctrines, as Non-Aligned Movement Says Rationale Retained for Nuclear Weapon Use
The First Committee today opened its thematic debate segment, starting with nuclear weapons, during which national positions converged on the principles of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation while the classic differences over their practical enforcement persisted.
France’s representative said that “time for further discussions on the order of priorities had passed”. He noted that the Action Plan adopted at the 2010 review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) had called for the immediate launch of negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty in the Conference on Disarmament, and stressed that such a treaty was the “next logical step” in nuclear disarmament, since fissile material was the raw material for weapons.
Now was the time for concrete and realistic action, he said, placing emphasis on a step-by-step approach to disarmament. Proliferation remained the most serious threat to international peace and security, hindering the development of civil nuclear cooperation by undermining confidence and impeding progress to nuclear disarmament. France did not intend to take part in any arms race and maintained its arsenal at the lowest possible level, he declared.
The representative of the United States said her country was making deep reductions in its nuclear arsenals. Once the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) was implemented, the arsenals of both countries would be cut to their lowest levels since the 1950s.
She said her country had in place a policy that it would not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States that were party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations. It had grave concerns about non-compliance by Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Syria with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
The United States policy also prohibited the development of new nuclear warheads, she said. As such, it was not developing new nuclear weapons. The investments it was making in infrastructure and necessary safety improvements should not be confused with nuclear weapons development.
The Non-Aligned Movement, said the representative of Indonesia on its behalf, remained concerned, however, by the strategic defence doctrines of the nuclear-armed States and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that set out the rationale for using those weapons. The fulfilment of nuclear disarmament obligations should not be conditional, and a universal legally binding instrument on negative security assurances to all non-nuclear-armed States must be concluded.
The indefinite extension of the Treaty did not imply the indefinite possession by the nuclear-weapon States of their nuclear arsenals, he said. The Movement considered the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones an important measure and urged the conclusion of those agreements, with a view to establishing such zones in regions where they did not exist. He stressed, however, that such zones did not substitute for the legal obligation of the nuclear-weapon States for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Speaking on behalf of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, Turkey’s representative pressed for greater transparency from nuclear-weapons States, since a “culture of transparency” was vital to building confidence and, ultimately, to achieving the collective goal of a world without nuclear weapons.
Urging that the tragic consequences of nuclear weapon use must never be repeated, Japan’s representative said that, as the only country to have suffered from atomic bombings, it had engaged in practical and progressive efforts for a world without nuclear weapons. As part of those ongoing efforts, it would once again be submitting to this Committee a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament that placed emphasis on concrete and practical measures to be taken by the international community to advance nuclear disarmament.
The representative of Egypt, on behalf of the Arab Group, introduced two draft resolutions, on a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East and on the risk of proliferation in the region.
Also speaking were the representatives of Peru on behalf of Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Kazakhstan on behalf of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone, and Sweden on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition.
The representative of the European Union also spoke, as did the delegate from Australia in his capacity as Chair of the 2012 NPT Preparatory Committee.
Exercising the right of reply were the representatives of Syria, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Japan.
The First Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 18 to continue its thematic discussion on nuclear weapons.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to begin its thematic debate segment and introduction of all draft resolutions and decisions, beginning with its Cluster 1 on nuclear weapons.
Fikry Cassidy (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that nuclear weapons posed the greatest danger to mankind, and therefore, effective measures of nuclear disarmament and the prevention of nuclear war had the highest priority. While the final objective of States should remain general and complete disarmament under international control, the immediate goal was the elimination of the danger of a nuclear war through total elimination of those weapons. The Movement reaffirmed the importance of the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there existed an obligation to pursue negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament. He emphasized the need to start negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of those weapons with a specified framework of time, and he called for a nuclear weapons convention. He was concerned over the slow pace of progress and strongly called on the nuclear-weapon States to fully comply with their legal obligations to accomplish that goal without further delay, as well as to cease plans to further modernize those weapons.
He said the Movement reaffirmed the importance of transparency, irreversibility and international verifiability in all measures related to the nuclear disarmament obligations. It remained concerned by the strategic defence doctrines of the nuclear-armed States and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Deterrence and Defence Posture Review, which set out the rationales for using those weapons. The Movement meanwhile reaffirmed the need for the conclusion of a universal legally binding instrument on unconditional negative security assurances to all non-nuclear-weapon States. It also underlined that the fulfilment of nuclear disarmament obligations should not be made conditional on confidence-building measures or other disarmament efforts.
The Movement States party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) called for the full implementation of the action plans adopted in 2010 on nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, he said. The indefinite extension of the Treaty did not imply the indefinite possession by the nuclear-weapon States of their nuclear arsenals. The Movement considered the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones an important measure and urged the conclusion of those agreements, with a view to establishing such zones in regions where they did not exist. It stressed, however, that such zones did not substitute for the legal obligation of the nuclear-weapon States for the total elimination of those weapons. Efforts, however, must be exerted to ensure the success of the conference in 2012 to establish such a zone in the Middle East. The Movement reiterated its commitment to work towards a high-level conference on nuclear disarmament.
OSAMA ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD ( Egypt), on behalf of the Arab Group, formally introduced the draft resolution entitled, “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East” (document A/C.1/67/L.2). The preamble portion noted with satisfaction that the Action Plan of the 2010 NPT Review Conference emphasized the importance of a process leading to the full implementation of the 1995 NPT resolution on the Middle East and a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a Middle East nuclear-free-zone. The operative section of today’s draft resolution reaffirmed the importance of Israel’s accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
Delivering remarks in his national capacity, in line with the Arab Group position, he formally introduced another draft resolution titled, “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (document A/C.1/67/L.1). This resolution reiterated the exact substantive content of General Assembly resolution 66/25 adopted by consensus under the same agenda item, with only technical updates. It reflected one of the most important regional aspirations supported by the General Assembly since 1974, for the future of the Middle East, where nuclear weapons should have no place. The operative part of the text urged all parties to consider taking steps for the implementation of such a zone. It invited countries to adhere to the NPT and called upon all in the region that had not yet done so to place their nuclear activities under IAEA safeguards. The draft was scheduled for adoption by the Committee on 30 October.
ENRIQUE ROMAN-MOREY (Peru), speaking on behalf of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), said that hope in the field of nuclear disarmament needed to be rekindled by concrete actions by the nuclear-weapon States. However, despite strides made – such as the implementation of the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) – current initiatives were not enough to move closer to the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. He acknowledged meetings among nuclear-weapon States to discuss implementation of steps contained in the 2010 Action Plan, but said those were not in itself an achievement, and concrete progress was expected. Statements made by those States during the first Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT review lacked ambition. The result of that Review Conference should include a binding timeframe for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, and UNASUR was committed to that goal.
He said that the Union was disappointed with the current impasse prevailing in the Conference on Disarmament, and urged the international community to take up multilateral disarmament negotiations in a comprehensive manner. The Union would continue to give its full support for a consensus formula that enabled the adoption of a Programme of Work by the Conference, leading to the negotiation of new disarmament and non-proliferation instruments. Further, it was fundamental that all States that had not yet done so ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as soon as possible, especially all nuclear-armed States. Pending its entry into force, nuclear testing moratoriums must be maintained.
He welcomed the decision taken by the last NPT Review Conference to encourage the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, on the basis of freely arrived at agreements among the States in each region. In that regard, he called on all States in the Middle East to take part in the conference on that subject in 2012. Further, he underlined the relevant contribution of the IAEA to the common efforts to establish a safer world and highlighted the importance of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC), the world’s only bi-national safeguards organization. Referring to remarks by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he said it was hard to explain why, 20 years after the cold war, there was massive military spending and new investments in modernizing nuclear weapons, and the speaker called on the nuclear-weapon-possessors to cut spending and invest instead in social and economic development.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA (Kazakhstan),speaking on behalf of the five States of Central Asia, said that, as coordinator of the treaty for the region’s nuclear-weapon-free zone, the instrument’s entry into force was an important step. The establishment of that zone had been possible owing to the joint constructive efforts of all five Central Asian States in their desire to ensure security, stability and peace in the region and create the necessary conditions for development and the prosperity of their peoples. The necessary impetus occurred in 1997, when they adopted the Almaty Declaration calling for the zone’s creation.
He noted that the zone was the first located entirely in the northern hemisphere. It was also landlocked, and it was the only zone in a region where nuclear weapons had formerly been deployed. The States parties to the treaty had taken steps to ban nuclear weapons and their components on their territories. The establishment of firm guarantees of peace and security in and around the region assisted civilized integration into the global community. Those States had a common history and shared the values of all peoples of the planet, including respect, peace and cooperation. Central Asia was at the heart of the vast Eurasian continent, and she hoped that security space around the zone would grow so that all of the planet would become one continuous non-nuclear-weapon zone.
The voluntary desire of States to establish such zones, she said, must be, not only welcomed, but encouraged. In past resolutions, the General Assembly had welcomed the signing of the treaty in her region, defining it as an important step, which strengthened regional and international peace and security. The zone also contributed to combating international terrorism and preventing nuclear material from falling into the hands of non-State actors.
BENNO LAGGNER (Switzerland), taking the floor on behalf of Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria and Switzerland on the issue of decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems, called for practical steps to address the significant number of nuclear weapons that remained at high levels of alert. Those countries remained deeply concerned, as those weapons had the destructive capacity to kill billions of people and posed a threat to the survival of humanity. They found it anachronistic that while tensions that had marked 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. They felt strongly that rolling back operational readiness would result in a significant nuclear disarmament dividend through a reduction of the role of nuclear weapons in nuclear doctrines and security policies overall.
Against that background, he would once again table, on behalf of the group, the resolution entitled, “Decreasing the Operational Readiness of Nuclear Weapons”, the main objective of which remained unchanged in calling for further practical steps to decrease the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems, with a view to ensuring that all nuclear weapons were removed from high-alert status. The resolution was closely tied to the Action Plan agreed upon at the 2010 Review Conference, particularly the commitment of nuclear-weapon States to consider the interest of non-nuclear-weapon States in further reducing the operation status of nuclear weapon systems. The text acknowledged the dialogue under way among nuclear-armed States on that and other issues.
ANDRAS KOS, European Union delegation, said that the NPT remained the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation system, the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in accordance with its article VI, and an important element in the further development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In light of current proliferation risks, the NPT was now more important than ever and its authority and integrity needed to be preserved and strengthened. The NPT must be universalized, and he called on all States which had not yet ratified or joined to do so as non-nuclear weapon States. NPT States parties should actively pursue, without delay and in a balanced manner, the forward-looking Action Plan from the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
He said the European Union remained committed to ensuring the best safety, security and non-proliferation conditions by countries wishing to develop peaceful nuclear energy in a responsible way. The IAEA played a key role in that regard, and the Union was helping to enhance the capability of the Safeguards Analytical Services in financing the new Nuclear Material Laboratory. The international community continued to face major proliferation challenges, which needed to be addressed in a resolute way. Iran’s nuclear and missile programme defied many Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors resolutions, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s testing of a nuclear explosive device and delivery mechanisms were the most worrying examples in that regard. The same could be said of Syria’s non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement and its continued non-cooperation with the IAEA, which remained to be addressed in the Security Council.
He urged Iran to comply fully with all its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions and to meet the requirements of the IAEA, and he condemned the North Korean attempted launch in April. Credible assurances that States were honouring their non-proliferation obligations were indispensible components of the non-proliferation regime. The Union supported all measures designed to prevent terrorists from acquiring chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and, in that context, stressed the need to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions and called for improved security of radioactive material. He reaffirmed support for, among others, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the Nuclear Security Summits, the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and the Financial Action Task Force.
He attached the greatest importance to the entry into force of the CTBT, and called on all States, particularly the remaining Annex II States, to sign and ratify it. He recognized the fundamental value of the treaty’s verification regime, as it encouraged international cooperation and trust. He also attached great importance to the negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, in line with the agreed documents of the Conference on Disarmament, including verification provisions. In the interim, he called on all States concerned to declare and apply an immediate moratorium on the production of those materials. To overcome the impasse in the Conference, he called on all delegations to be flexible and to begin negotiations immediately. Also of great importance were nuclear-weapon-free zones. Such a zone in the Middle East would enhance security and stability in the region.
In other matters, he welcomed the entry into force of the new START. He recalled the continued existence of significant deployed and stockpiled arsenals not covered by formal arms control agreements, and encouraged the United States and the Russian Federation to continue negotiations in order to achieve greater reductions in their nuclear arsenals, including non-strategic weapons.
ULF LINDELL ( Sweden), speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition ( Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden), said that the Coalition would once again table its resolution entitled “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: Accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments”. The draft text had been circulated to all delegations, he said, noting that the Coalition remained committed to the achievement of a world free of nuclear weapons, and the draft resolution thus addressed several nuclear disarmament issues on which progress was essential.
He said the draft reiterated the need for nuclear-weapon States to take concrete, transparent, verifiable and irreversible steps to eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, and highlighted the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of their use, as well as the vital importance of the entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty and the value of nuclear-weapon-free zones. While the text called for full compliance with all the decisions, resolutions and commitments made at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Nuclear NPT Review Conferences, it drew attention in particular to the elements contained in Action 5 of the 2010 Action Plan, and called on nuclear-armed States to implement those in a timely manner and to report on their efforts. In that, transparency and a standard reporting format were important.
The draft resolution reiterated the Coalition’s call on nuclear-weapon States to further diminish the role of nuclear weapons in all military and security concepts, doctrines and policies, he said. It also spoke to the importance of ensuring the irreversible removal of all fissile material no longer needed for weapons, and noted the need to develop disarmament verification capabilities and arrangements. The latter topic had been the subject of a working paper presented by the Coalition at the 2012 Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT review. The draft welcomed positive bilateral and regional developments, and recalled the encouragement of the 2010 NPT Review Conference to the United States and the Russian Federation to continue discussions on follow-on measures to the new START, in order to achieve deeper reductions in their nuclear arsenals. It also encouraged a broadening of the process to involve other nuclear-armed States, and it stressed the need to fully implement the 1995 Middle East resolution.
Furthermore, the Coalition, he said, called upon the nuclear-weapon States to submit comprehensive, substantive reports on their undertakings under Action 5 to the Preparatory Committee in2014. It also called again on India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the NPT and place their nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. It urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to rescind its announced withdrawal from that Treaty and verifiably terminate its nuclear weapons programme. The Coalition reaffirmed its opposition to any nuclear weapons test and stressed the fundamental importance of the ratification and entry into force of the CTBT. The Coalition encouraged all Member States to support the draft resolution, noting the growing support it had seen in recent years.
PETER WOOLCOTT (Australia), speaking in his capacity as Chair of the 2012 NPT Preparatory Committee, said that the first such session had proceeded smoothly and all necessary procedural decisions to initiate the new cycle had been made. From the initial consultations, States parties were looking for substantial discussion. The most important outcome had been their focus on the Action Plan, to which they remained committed as a basis on which to move forward. Given the plan’s breadth and detail, that was not guaranteed, but it was an important outcome, nonetheless, and the credit belonged to the States parties themselves.
He said he had challenged the NPT States parties with the question as to whether the international community was collectively moving in the right direction or not. Now, he would answer that question in the affirmative, although with some qualifications, given the challenges that confronted it. Implementation of the Action Plan remained uneven, and the third pillar of the treaty was moving ahead of the first and second pillars. A conference on the Middle East was on a path, with the coming conversations among the facilitator and co-conveners, but of course, that was a work in progress
There was genuine interest and “hunger” for information on what nuclear- weapon States were doing to keep their commitments, and active transparency was in their best interest, he said. That was also in the interest of non-nuclear-armed States, and he encouraged them to report as comprehensively as their capacity allowed, as that built pressure on others to be more transparent. Concluding, he said the States parties had come to the Preparatory Committee with a strong sense of realism and a strong sense that 2010 was a genuine achievement worth consolidating. But the fact that the session had provided a solid base on which to move forward did not necessarily mean a successful review conference in 2015. That would be determined by continuing efforts and political will.
JEAN-HUGUES SIMON-MICHEL (France), associating with the statement by the European Union, said that positive advances had been made in the nuclear field this year, but the increase in nuclear proliferation and the dysfunctional multilateralism remained major sources of concern. He commended the progress made by the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT review. His country had wasted no time in getting down to work to meet the objectives set forth in the 2010 Action Plan, and he highlighted some of its initiatives.
He said France did not intend to take part in any arms race and maintained its arsenal at the lowest possible level. Aware of the need to work towards a safer world for all, France cooperated with its “P5” partners, which were fully committed to promoting the entry into force of the CTBT, as well as to supporting the launch of negotiations for a fissile material ban. France had long supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones and stood ready to sign the Protocol to the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Bangkok Treaty) as soon as possible. France had also signed two parallel declarations with Mongolia on the country’s nuclear-weapon-free status. The implementation of the NPT Action Plan was the responsibility of all, as disarmament depended, above all else, on mutual trust between States and the perception of security.
Proliferation remained the most serious threat to international peace and security, hindering the development of civil nuclear cooperation by undermining confidence and impeding progress to nuclear disarmament, he said. France would make every effort to scale up action to counter proliferation. Iran continued to violate its safeguards agreement and the resolutions of the Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors. The latest IAEA report, dated 30 August, found that Iran had not changed its attitude. France was determined with its “E3+3” partners to find a long-term diplomatic solution to that crisis.
He said that North Korea was also continuing with its nuclear and ballistic missile programme in violation of Security Council resolutions. The dismantlement of that programme was a priority for the international community. Also, light still needed to be shed on Syria’s nuclear activities. Regarding non-proliferation, the work of the IAEA should be supported to enable its safeguards system to remain fully effective. He called on NPT States parties, which had not yet done so to conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement. France considered that the combined implementation of a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol were the verification standard.
Turning to multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, he said that the time for more discussions on the order of priorities had passed. The Action Plan called for the immediate launch of negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty at the Conference on Disarmament, which was a next logical step in nuclear disarmament, since fissile material was the raw material for weapons. France valued the Conference highly, as its expertise guaranteed that the agreements it negotiated would be truly universal. Now was the time for concrete and realistic action, with the emphasis on a step-by-step approach to disarmament. France welcomed the progress made regarding nuclear terrorism, as presented at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit and the Secretary-General’s high-level meeting on the topic. France, together with Germany, would again present its resolution on the prevention of the acquisition of radioactive sources by terrorists, with the aim of keeping up international momentum against that latent threat.
MARI AMANO ( Japan) said that the tragic consequences of nuclear weapon use must never be repeated. As the only country to have suffered from atomic bombings, Japan had engaged in practical and progressive efforts for a world without nuclear weapons. As part of those ongoing efforts, Japan would once again be submitting to this Committee a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament entitled, “United action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons”. This resolution, as in previous years, placed emphasis on concrete and practical measures to be taken by the international community to advance nuclear disarmament.
He welcomed the unilateral and bilateral measures taken over the past few years by the nuclear-weapon States of France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States to cut the size of their nuclear arsenals. Japan encouraged them not to stop there, but to make further reductions in all types of nuclear weapons. It was indispensible for the nuclear-weapon States to pursue disarmament on a multilateral basis in order to bring them closer to a nuclear- weapon-free world. Because the principle of transparency was also crucial, Japan had submitted the reporting form to the first Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference this year as an annex to its working paper on transparency.
Japan was convinced that a fissile material cut-off treaty was the next logical step towards nuclear disarmament, he said, expressing regret that there were no emerging prospects in the Conference on Disarmament of negotiations on such a treaty. Japan strongly supported the Canadian efforts this year to break through the current situation by presenting, once more, a resolution on a fissile material ban. Until the conclusion of such a treaty, Japan called on all States possessing nuclear weapons to declare a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Japan believed that the CTBT must also enter force as soon as possible. Japan had organized the sixth CTBT Ministerial Meeting at which a joint statement calling for the entry into force had been adopted.
The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones contributed to global and regional peace and security, he said, and his country supported the convening of a conference in 2012 on the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East. He called on all parties in that region to participate. He also hoped that the nuclear-weapon States would sign and ratify the Protocol to the Bangkok Treaty at an early date. In parallel with nuclear disarmament, it was important to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation. The nuclear issues related to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran posed a serious challenge. Japan strongly urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes. It urged Iran to comply fully with its obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions and the requirements of the IAEA Board of Governors resolutions.
ERTUGRUL APAKAN (Turkey), speaking on behalf of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative – Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates – recalled that action 5 of the 2010 NPT Action Plan called on nuclear-weapon States to take steps to implement their commitments in a timely manner and to report on their efforts. In that regard, a key priority of the Initiative was to press for greater transparency from those States. A “culture of transparency” was vital to building confidence and, ultimately, to achieving the collective goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The Initiative would welcome progress in the dialogue between the United States and the Russian Federation on all categories of nuclear weapons, including sub-strategic nuclear weapons. With respect to nuclear arsenals in general, it sought further quantitative cuts and parallel steps towards reducing their significance in the security strategies and military doctrines.
On regional issues, he reiterated support for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and for efforts to implement the decision to hold a conference to that effect in 2012, to be attended by all States in the region. He also endorsed fully the efforts of the facilitator to consult broadly with all relevant stakeholders to prepare for a successful conference, and he called on all parties in the Middle East to participate and engage in the spirit of genuine and constructive cooperation.
He urged the remaining eight Annex II States to ratify the CTBT as soon as possible. He welcomed Indonesia’s ratification as a crucial mark of progress. Further, he remained deeply concerned by the lack of substantive work in the Conference on Disarmament across the four core issues on its agenda, and urged the adoption and implementation of a comprehensive Programme of Work that included the immediate commencement of negotiations on a treaty banning production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
LAURA KENNEDY ( United States) said her country was actively undertaking progressive, mutually reinforcing steps to move closer to the shared goal of a world without nuclear weapons. That goal was at the heart of President Barack Obama’s nuclear agenda, presented in Prague three years ago. Only a balanced approach to maintain international security would move the world closer to its goal, which required strengthening the global nuclear non-proliferation regime while working towards nuclear disarmament. A year ago, the United States initiated consultation among the P5 and other countries to unblock the fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations. Bringing those countries to the table was the best means to move such a treaty forward.
She noted that there were calls for alternate approaches to achieve a world without nuclear weapons and, while the United States shared that goal, it did not share that approach at a fundamental level. Disarmament was hard work. There were no shortcuts or practical alternatives to the step-by-step approach. Trying to accomplish everything at once would distract from more realistic efforts. For that reason, the United States did not support proposals to set up new United Nations mechanisms to address nuclear disarmament. Such mechanisms would fare no better than existing bodies. Rather, the five NPT nuclear-weapon States were engaging on a wide range of topics related to the NPT Action Plan. Washington had hosted a P5 Conference in June on the matter. Work was under way on a common glossary of nuclear terms. The group was also focusing on transparency, reporting confidence building, and verification, as well as towards the entry into force of the CTBT and commencement of fissile materials cut-off treaty negotiations.
The United States recognized its responsibilities, along with the Russian Federation, as the countries holding the largest nuclear arsenals, she said. They were successfully implementing the new START, and when treaty reductions were completed, American and Russian deployed nuclear weapons would be at their lowest levels since the 1950s. The United States was committed to step-by-step reductions, including the pursuit of further reductions with Russia in all categories of nuclear weapons. As they made deep reductions, the Untied States policy prohibited the development of new nuclear warheads. Her country was not developing new nuclear weapons. The investments it was making in infrastructure and necessary safety improvements should not be confused with weapons development.
She said her country had worked to extend legally binding negative security assurances under the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. The Administration had submitted to the United States Senate for advice and consent to ratification the relevant protocols to the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) and the South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga). It was also working to arrange for P5 signature of the Protocol to the Treaty of Bangkok as soon as possible, and expected the pace of consultations with the parties to the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty to accelerate. The P5 and Mongolia had recently made parallel declarations regarding Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status.
More broadly, she said, the United States had in place a policy that it would not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States that were party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations. In that spirit, the United States was continuing to implement the 2010 NPT Review Conference Final Document and to work with the IAEA to resolve all cases of non-compliance with non-proliferation obligations. The United States had grave concerns about non-compliance by Iran, “DPRK” and Syria with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
The United States, meanwhile, was enhancing support for the NPT’s third pillar, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, she said. It had pledged to provide $50 million to the IAEA’s Peaceful Uses Initiative between 2010 and 2015 and had already provided $21 million. It also believed that the entry into force of the CTBT would play a central role in leading the world towards diminished reliance on nuclear weapons and was committed to pursuing the treaty’s ratification. It was also working to reduce its holdings of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Under the U.S.-Russian Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, each side would verifiably dispose of no less than 34 metric tons of weapon-grade plutonium – enough in total for 17,000 nuclear weapons. A fissile material cut-off treaty was an absolutely essential step for global nuclear disarmament and the next logical step in halting the increase of nuclear arsenals. The Conference on Disarmament remained the optimal place to negotiate that treaty and the States most directly affected by such an instrument treaty should be involved in its negotiation.
Right of Reply
The representative of Syria, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the European Union had named his country in its statement, but had ignored the unique nuclear arsenal in the region — Israel’s — aimed at his country. Members of the European Union had even helped to build up that arsenal, showing its alliance with Israel. Israel had attacked Syria’s territory and destroyed a building that had nothing to do with nuclear capability. That aggression should have resulted in condemnation, especially because the IAEA deemed that the destruction of that site was unilateral.
He said his country had been one of the first to have joined the NPT, in 1968, before European Union members. His country also supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in its region and had presented a draft to the Security Council to that effect. However, it was met with opposition from a nuclear-weapon country and had remained “in the drawer” since. Israel had not joined the NPT, and the European Union knew that better than anyone. In fact, the Union had helped Israel’s military programme, which was a threat. Regarding the French regime, he recalled a reference last year to the issue of nuclear testing, which had led to humanitarian and environmental disasters.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said he was responding to the “provocative” statement by Japan, which was misleading and distorted the truth about the reality on the Korean peninsula. Concerning the nuclear activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, its nuclear deterrent was a response to the hostile policy and nuclear threats of the United States. If nuclear weapons were not deployed by the United States in South Korea, the issue would never have been raised. The question of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula was due to of the deployment of nuclear weapons by the United States. Because of that country’s “blackmails and threats against the sovereignty and survival of the DPRK and its people”, the country had been compelled to possess a nuclear deterrent for self-defence and to safeguard its security.
Regarding the Security Council resolution, he said his country had rejected that text, which never addressed the threat imposed by the United States nuclear weapons. The Council’s mandate was to address international peace and security, but it had not addressed the situation against his country. An example of the United States blackmail and threats was its listing of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, together with Iran and Iraq, as a pre-emptive nuclear target. That pre-emptive strike strategy continued. The Security Council should address that first, as a matter of international peace and security.
Concerning Japan, before “touching the DPRK issue”, it should talk about the blackmails and threat of the United States against his country, he said. With regard to the enrichment issue, it was of a peaceful nature and legitimate under international law. With regard to Japan’s position on the nuclear issue, the country was already nuclear-weapon capable, with more than 40 tons of plutonium. It was ready to manufacture nuclear weapons. It was “hell bent” on becoming a military Power in the Asia Pacific region, and was fully armed with all types of offensive weapons, and sought to create territorial disputes in neighbouring countries.
Speaking next in right of reply, the representative of Japan said that the allegations of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were groundless on three points: Japan’s adherence to the three nuclear principles remained unchanged and its determination to eliminate all nukes was unshakable; Japan maintained a defence-oriented policy, so exercises conducted did not target any particular country, and its ballistic missile system was purely defensive and did not threaten any country; and Japan had been in compliance with the NPT, and its peaceful uses of nuclear energy had been confirmed by the IAEA. Japan had also regularly reported its amount of plutonium.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking again in exercise of the right of reply, totally rejected Japan’s comments as misleading and distorting the truth. As everyone knew, Japan was under the nuclear umbrella of the United States, even though it had suffered as the first country to have been attacked by nuclear weapons. It was very contradictory, but it was using the nuclear umbrella of the very same country that had dropped nuclear bombs on it. Second, the Japanese Government had itself admitted that it had concluded a nuclear deal with the United States in 1960. Under that deal, which was confidential, it had allowed military warships into Japanese territory. Japan could not reject that fact. Third, Japan was “hell bent” on jointly developing a missile defence system capable of first pre-emptive strike.
The representative of Japan, exercising his right of reply again, said he would be limiting his reply to one point — the “alleged” allowance of nuclear weapons on its territory. There were no facts to support that Japan had ever allowed nuclear weapons from the United States into its country, including vessels or aircraft. Japan continued to maintain a policy of adhering to its Three Non-Nuclear Principles.
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