|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixtieth General Assembly
8th Meeting (PM)
FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION BEST WAY TO ADDRESS RISK
OF PROLIFERATION, TERRORIST ACQUISITION, FIRST COMMITTEE TOLD
(Issued on 11 October 2005.)
The risk of chemical weapons proliferation loomed ever larger, given the wide availability of the components and know-how to produce those weapons and the potential for terrorists to acquire them, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) was told today during its thematic debate. It also heard the introduction of a draft resolution on a nuclear-weapon-free world.
Addressing the Committee on the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which monitors the destruction of declared stocks of chemical weapons and the facilities used to produce them, in line with the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, its Director-General, Rogelio Pfirter, said that, while the OPCW was not an anti-terrorist agency, full implementation of the Convention was one effective way to address that menace in the chemical weapons field. The OPCW remained an active partner in that struggle.
While the list of countries still outside the chemical weapons ban was shrinking dramatically, notable absentees remained, particularly in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula, he said. Still, the six chemical weapons possessors continued to destroy their declared stockpiles, and the Organisation had verified the destruction of more than 12,000 metric tonnes, or 17 per cent of the total agent stockpile. In addition, 2.3 million of the declared munitions and containers had been verified as destroyed by the inspection teams. Nevertheless, the “lion’s share” of the task still lay ahead, he said.
Introducing the draft resolution on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, South Africa’s representative said the text was short and focused on essential elements required for spurring further progress in non-proliferation. It recognized and sought to underline the importance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its universality to achieve nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The draft also sought to send a message to implement existing nuclear disarmament commitments, and it reaffirmed the view that disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing processes.
Participants in today’s thematic debate on nuclear weapons had included Australia’s representative, who, noting that much had been made of the bargain between the nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT, said his country had long supported practical efforts towards nuclear disarmament and had welcomed the unilateral and bilateral reductions made by nuclear-weapon States in their nuclear weapons stockpiles. But, there was another bargain central to the NPT, in which the non-nuclear-weapon States committed not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. Sadly, some States appeared to have forgotten those obligations and, thus, were putting the whole nuclear non-proliferation regime at risk.
On behalf of the European Union, the speaker from the United Kingdom said that nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technologies was again the subject of particular attention because of their dual-use nature. It was important to encourage access guarantees to nuclear-fuel-related services or to the fuel itself, under appropriate conditions. The Union supported the suspension of nuclear cooperation with a State when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was unable to give sufficient assurances that the State’s nuclear programme was intended exclusively for peaceful purposes. The suspension should continue until the Agency was able to provide those assurances.
Expressing concern about the slow pace of disarmament, however, Pakistan’s representative underlined the commitment to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under globally agreed conditions. The global security architecture was undergoing a profound change. The consensus, dating back to the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament and the one that developed in the post-cold war period, was not holding well. One way to remedy the situation was to indulge in a subtle and not-so-subtle blame game. The other way was to look at existing and emerging threats and try to understand the correlation between disarmament and non-proliferation in an objective setting.
China’s representative, suggesting that the end of the cold war and the new security situation had made possible the substantial reduction of nuclear weapons and their complete prohibition and thorough destruction, said that nuclear disarmament and the reduction of the role of nuclear weapons in international political affairs and national security policies was highly significant for improving the global security environment and promoting nuclear non-proliferation. It was outdated to stick to the cold war mentality, to advocate a pre-emptive strategy, to list other countries as targets of nuclear strike, to lower the threshold of using nuclear weapons, and to develop new types of nuclear weapons.
At the start of the meeting, Committee Chairman, Choi Young-jin ( Republic of Korea) expressed shock at the scale of casualties and the tremendous loss of life, following the weekend’s earthquake. Relief operations were in full gear to save lives and property in the affected region. He was confident that international solidarity and sympathy would remain with the people and Governments of the South Asian region. He also extended sympathy to the Central American Governments for the hurricane suffered last week, particularly in Guatemala, where the death toll was the highest. The international community should spare no efforts in assisting those regions.
Statements in the thematic debate were also made by the representatives of Japan, Bangladesh, Canada, Romania, and Uganda. Iraq’s representative responded to the statement by the Director-General of the OPCW. Guatemala thanked delegates for their expressions of concern.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 October, to continue its thematic debate on nuclear weapons and to hear introduction of further draft resolutions.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to begin its thematic debate, starting today with a discussion of nuclear weapons. The Committee was also expected to hear a statement by the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Once the list of speakers is exhausted for the debate, the floor will open for the introduction of draft resolutions and decisions.
On behalf of the European Union, JOHN FREEMAN (United Kingdom) said that the absence of any reference to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in the Summit Outcome Document, the disappointing results of the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), as well as the stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament reflected a regrettable lack of convergence in analyzing the challenges and the way those could be solved. The NPT Review Conference’s failure to agree on a substantive final document, which addressed the most pressing challenges to the Treaty, was a missed opportunity. The Conference, however, had provided an opportunity to discuss practical ways to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation and to promote nuclear disarmament. The Union was convinced that a multilateral approach to non-proliferation was the best means of countering the weapons of mass destruction threat to international security.
He said that the Union continued to support the decisions and resolution adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference and the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference. The final report of the 2005 review constituted a reference for the future review process. The Union also continued to work towards universal accession to the NPT and called on those States not yet party to the Treaty to join it as non-nuclear-weapon States. The international safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was essential to the verification of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and to the success of the multilateral system. The Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements, together with Additional Protocols, were the current IAEA verification standard. Those were the essential means for States parties to demonstrate that they were fulfilling their obligations under Article III of the NPT. The Union member States were also working towards making the Additional Protocol a condition of supply for nuclear exports.
Nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technologies were, once again, the subject of particular attention, because of their dual-use nature, he said. It was important to encourage access guarantees to nuclear-fuel-related services or to the fuel itself, under appropriate conditions. Discussions on the report of the IAEA experts group on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle, published in February, should begin as soon as possible. The Union supported the suspension of nuclear cooperation with a State when the IAEA was unable to give sufficient assurances that the State’s nuclear programme was intended exclusively for peaceful purposes. The suspension should continue until the Agency was able to provide those assurances. He also called for a strengthening of the Security Council’s role as final arbiter of international peace and security, in order that it could take appropriate action in the event of non-compliance with the NPT.
He said that the Iranian nuclear programme remained a matter of grave concern for the Union. It strongly supported the efforts of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, in association with the Union’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, to find an acceptable agreement to rebuild international confidence in Iran’s intentions. He recognized the inalienable right of NPT parties to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of the NPT. Maintaining the balance between rights and obligations as envisaged in the Treaty, however, was essential. It was incumbent on a non-compliant State to return to full compliance and to build the necessary confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities. In the specific case of Iran, that was through the suspension of fissile material production and enrichment-related activities.
The resolution passed by the IAEA Board of Governors on 24 September, finding Iran non-compliant with its NPT obligations, but deferring the report to the Security Council, had given Iran an opportunity now to address the clear concerns of the international community, he said. The European side, for its part, was prepared to resume negotiations within the framework agreed between the Europeans and Iran last November. “It is only when Iran demonstrated beyond any doubt that it is not seeking a nuclear weapons capability that it will be able to develop a better relationship with Europe and the international community as a whole”, he stressed.
He said the Union welcomed the joint statement by the participants in the six-party talks on 19 September and recognized the hard work, flexibility and cooperation shown by participants. He noted in particular the renewal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s commitment to abandon nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programmes and its undertaking to return to the NPT. That country’s nuclear weapons programme, however, was “a serious violation of its commitments” under the NPT, its IAEA safeguards agreement, the United States/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Agreed Framework and the Joint North-South Declaration on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. He continues to “deplore the DPRK’s stated intention to withdraw from the NPT and urges the adoption of measures to deal with withdrawal from the Treaty”. He looked forward to early implementation of those commitments and the establishment of effective verification arrangements. At the NPT review, he highlighted the possible implications of withdrawal from the NPT for global peace and security. Measures to discourage withdrawals from the Treaty were urgently needed and should be adopted in the NPT context.
Everything possible must be done to prevent access by terrorists to nuclear weapons or materials that could be used in radiological devices, he said. The illicit weapons of mass destruction-related trade, in particular, highly sensitive nuclear equipment and technology, was of serious concern. The world must be united in a common endeavour to strengthen the non-proliferation regime by closing existing loopholes. The Union was committed to strong national and global coordinated export controls to complement NPT obligations. It supported the strengthening of the Nuclear Supplier Group guidelines, and urged the Group and the Zanger Committee to share their experience on export controls to meet new non-proliferation challenges. Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) played a crucial role in developing an effective mechanism of prevention and counter-proliferation of mass destruction weapons, their means of production and delivery to or from States and non-State actors worldwide. The resolution, among other things, called on all States to take cooperative action to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their delivery systems.
He said the Union supported and encouraged States to participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, and the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. He particularly encouraged early ratification of the amendments to the nuclear Convention agreed at the diplomatic conference in Vienna in July. He emphasized the importance of the security of nuclear materials and installations and called on all States to ensure that effective arrangements for protection were in place. The Union also believed that the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as soon as possible was a further essential part of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime. He called on all States, particularly those listed in the Treaty’s Annex II, to sign and ratify that instrument without delay and without preconditions. Pending its entry into force, he called on all States to abide by a nuclear testing moratorium.
The test-ban Treaty required a fully functioning verification regime by entry into force, in order to provide assurance that all States were complying with their Treaty obligations, he said. The Union had been particularly encouraged by the good progress made in that regard. While the primary purpose of the CTBT’s verification system was Treaty compliance, he also supported the development of its civil and scientific benefits. If data from the verification technologies could mitigate the humanitarian consequences of certain natural disasters and save lives, the world had a moral responsibility to make them available to disaster warning organizations. Exploiting the important additional scientific knowledge offered by the verification system would encourage States to access those further benefits by signing and ratifying the Treaty.
ZHANG YAN ( China) said the end of the cold war and the new security situation had made possible the substantial reduction of nuclear weapons and the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of such weapons. Pushing forward the nuclear disarmament process and reducing the role of nuclear weapons in international political affairs and national security policies was of great significance for improving the international security environment and promoting a nuclear non-proliferation process. Nuclear-weapon States had special and primary responsibilities. It was out of date to stick to the cold war mentality to advocate a pre-emptive strategy, to list other countries as targets of nuclear strike, to lower the threshold of using nuclear weapons and to develop new types of nuclear weapons for specific purposes.
He said it was regrettable that the Review Conference on the NPT had failed to achieve substantial results. However, the NPT would continue to play an indispensable role in preserving the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. As a nuclear State, China had never evaded its responsibilities and obligations in nuclear disarmament. It had committed not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and in any circumstance, and had undertaken unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. Several measures should be taken to further promote the nuclear disarmament process. First, an international legal instrument on the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons should be concluded at an early date. Nuclear disarmament should be a just and reasonable process of gradual reduction towards a downward balance.
Furthermore, he said, before the goal of complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons was achieved, nuclear-weapon States should commit themselves to no first use of nuclear weapons and undertake unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States or nuclear weapon-free-zones. Nuclear-weapon States should abandon the policies of nuclear deterrence based on the first use of nuclear weapons and reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security. Nuclear disarmament measures should follow the guidelines of maintaining global strategic balance and stability and undiminished security for all. The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva should reach an agreement on its programme of work at an early date. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, posed a grave threat to international peace and security. Preventing proliferation of those weapons was a pressing task facing the international community.
Efforts should be devoted to creating a favourable international and regional security environment conducive to non-proliferation, he said. All States should resort to political and diplomatic means to solve the proliferation problem within the framework of existing international law. The existing non-proliferation regime should be strengthened and improved, in light of the overall non-proliferation situation and the global, economic, scientific and technological development. China firmly opposed the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It attached importance to, and actively participated in, international exchanges and cooperation in the non-proliferation field. It attached great importance to United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 and would work with all parties to endure the effective implementation of the resolution.
YOSHIKI MINE ( Japan) said, in the year of the sixtieth anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the importance of the maintenance and strengthening of the nuclear disarmament and NPT regime could not be overemphasized. The NPT review and the World Summit were unable to produce any substantive documents. Other disarmament machineries and frameworks, including the Disarmament Commission and the Conference on Disarmament, were currently stagnating and facing profound challenges. It was imperative, now more than ever, that the First Committee enhance its role in realizing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Recent challenges to the NPT regime, such as non compliance and the proliferation of nuclear-related technology through underground nuclear proliferation networks, as well as the risk of the acquisition of nuclear weapons and related materials by terrorists, had highlighted the urgency for strengthening the NPT regime.
He said both nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States must remain fully compliant with their obligations and commitments under the NPT. Nuclear-weapon States should take seriously the commitment made to date by nearly all countries to renounce the option of nuclear armament under the NPT regime. The efforts of the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals should be duly appreciated. He called upon all nuclear-weapon States to take further steps leading to nuclear disarmament, including deeper reductions in all types of nuclear weapons, and called on all States not to act in any way that would lower the nuclear threshold. The danger of undermining the NPT regime also existed outside the framework. The States remaining outside the NPT that had developed or were suspected of developing nuclear weapons, risked sending out erroneous messages to NPT States parties, suggesting there were benefits to remaining outside the Treaty. He joined other States parties in continuing to call upon States not party to the NPT to accede to it without delay.
He welcomed the fact that at the fourth round of the six-party talks, an agreement was reached on a joint statement indicating the final goal to be achieved by those talks. The peaceful resolution of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear issue was an urgent security matter for Japan. The commitment for the first time by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs would provide an important foundation for achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. In September, the IAEA adopted a resolution finding Iran in non-compliance with the IAEA Safeguards Agreement and urged further cooperation with the IAEA, as well as the re-establishment of Iran’s suspension of uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Japan strongly urged Iran to respond to that resolution.
The early entry into force of the CTBT continued to be a top priority, he said. A fissile material cut-off treaty would be an essential building block towards the total elimination of nuclear arsenals. The universality of the IAEA Additional Protocol was the most realistic and effective means for enhancement of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Japan, which was the only nation in the world to suffer atomic bombings, had submitted draft resolutions on nuclear disarmament annually since 1994. On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the atomic bombings, as well as the establishment of the United Nations, Japan had decided to review and restructure its previous resolutions to create a strong and concise resolution, which it would submit to the First Committee.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY ( Bangladesh) said the issue of nuclear weapons was being discussed today against the backdrop of successive failures in the past couple of years, particularly in 2005. Success in nuclear disarmament did not hinge on technical issues, but was a matter of political will. Stronger political will and more innovative thinking, therefore, were needed to move forward. The 2005 NPT review was a missed opportunity to chart a future course to save the world from the scourge of the continued existence and possible use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. The disagreements, however, had not weakened the achievements of the 1995 and 2000 reviews. It was not possible to “simply walk away” from those commitment and obligations. What had been agreed must be implemented, particularly the 13 practical steps for the systematic and progressive implementation of the NPT’s Article VI.
He reiterated his call for the Conference on Disarmament to resume its substantive work in line with the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there was an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects, under strict and effective international control. Efforts should be strengthened towards the resumption in the Conference of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. It was also essential to agree on a substantive agenda of the 2006 Disarmament Commission session as soon as possible.
It was a matter of deep regret that the CTBT had not yet taken effect, he said. He called on the remaining “Annex 2” States to adhere to the Treaty as soon as possible. Entry into force of the CTBT would be the first essential step towards achieving the desired goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The nuclear-weapon States had made little progress in eliminating their nuclear arsenals, leading to nuclear disarmament. The destruction of some of the old nuclear warheads had been overshadowed by the provision of more precise targeting in the remaining ones. There were also efforts underway to develop new types of nuclear weaponry. Those developments would buttress war-fighting capabilities and enhance the propensity for use. That would be extremely destabilizing. If possession of nuclear weapons appeared to strengthen the sense of security, their acquisition would become attractive. If some had them and appeared to benefit, others would want them, too. That was simple, but incontrovertible, logic.
MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) discussed rescue and relief operations, which were going on at full speed, and international and humanitarian assistance, saying those had been timely and swift. He thanked delegates for the tremendous global outpouring to assist the people of Pakistan, following the weekend’s earthquake.
On the subject of today’s debate, he said everyone was familiar with the malady; what was needed was the correct prescription. One way to rectify the situation was to indulge in a subtle and not so subtle blame game. The other way was to look at existing and emerging threats and try to understand the correlation between disarmament and non-proliferation in an objective setting. The international community should try to assess whether a new security architecture was emerging and identify its objectives. The process must start from reality. The global security architecture was undergoing a profound change. The consensus, dating back to the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament and the one that developed in the post-cold war period, was not holding well.
He said there were varying approaches and perspectives in dealing with disarmament and non-proliferation. The consensus underpinning that process had eroded and the disarmament multilateral machinery had been weakened, opening the way for unilateral, discriminatory and coercive approaches. The NPT Review had ended on a “strategic pause” and negotiations had broken down on the Summit outcome because of prevalent and diverging security interests. That could create a vacuum, dangerous for peace and security, especially in regions of tension. Nature abhorred vacuums. He urged consultations and agreement among all Member States, and not just among some self-selected States. He also advocated elaborating equal security for all States, for which the multilateral approach was viable. Underlying motives must be addressed, which drove States to acquire mass destruction weapons. Those included threats posed by both conventional and unconventional forces.
Weapons of mass destruction proliferation multiplied the threat of those weapons’ possible use, and proliferation could be contained only if it was accompanied by a parallel effort to realize disarmament, he said. The discriminatory and asymmetrical possession of mass destruction weapons would not ensure global stability. The new threat of terrorists’ acquisition of those weapons must be addressed. Existing and emerging threats required a new security consensus, which took into account challenges to regional security. In terms of how to evolve the new consensus, he proposed that the Committee Chairman hold open-ended informal consultations to evolve such a consensus, or, at least, make a start. That could also be a salutary build-up to a fourth special session on disarmament.
He said he was concerned about the slow pace of disarmament, although he acknowledged the measures being undertaken. The commitment to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under globally agreed conditions should continue. Concerning a fissile material cut-off treaty, the question was whether the treaty would be verifiable or unverifiable. That was where talks were presently “stuck”. Meanwhile, linkages in the context of a comprehensive and balanced work programme were not artificial or contrived, but anchored in history and substance. There was also a need to reconcile the nuclear reality within the global non-proliferation regime: there were eight, and not five, nuclear-weapon States. If work was to commence within the Conference on Disarmament, the “A-5” proposal for an agenda was “good enough”, and talks should commence without preconditions. There was nothing wrong with the disarmament machinery, but it should be fully utilized for the specific role assigned to each. A new synthesis, a new consensus, should be sought -– sincerely, earnestly and effectively.
PAUL MEYER, ( Canada) said the United Nations First Committee was meeting at a very troubled time for non-proliferation and disarmament. The World Summit declaration did not contain one single paragraph on non-proliferation or disarmament. Also, the failure of States Parties to the NPT to come to agreement on substantive issues was unfortunate. In the First Committee forum, the large majority of States might demonstrate a commitment to the NPT without the limitation caused by the need for unanimity. The CTBT had grown to 176 signatories, but the Treaty’s legal entry into force remained frustratingly out of reach. There were still 11 remaining Annex II States. Canada was pleased by the final recommendation of the recent conference that called on States to consider ratifying the CTBT in a coordinated manner.
He said regional security dynamics tended to be a strong impediment to ratification of the CTBT by some. Why should States ratify when others in the region refuse to do so? By doing it simultaneously, both Annex II and non-Annex States could build security and confidence. Other disarmament and non-proliferation mechanisms, such as the fissile material cut-off treaty remained to be negotiated. Turning the tap off of fissile material production was a pressing priority. The Conference on Disarmament had been given a specific negotiating mandate, which it had failed to realize, due to gridlock. Canada had stated its willingness to be flexible, as part of a compromise package on a conference programme of work, and it continued to urge others to display flexibility. Since all nuclear-weapon States had the responsibility to make sure their actions were compatible towards nuclear disarmament.
He encouraged all nuclear-weapon States to reduce or dismantle their arsenals with a maximum degree of transparency and called on those outside the NPT to join. States must fulfil their non-proliferation commitments. Iran must address the case of its non-compliance until all outstanding questions were resolved. It must suspend its uranium enrichment activities. In view of the recent IAEA Board of Governor’s resolution finding Iran in non-compliance, the issue must be reported to the United Nation’s Security Council. He welcomed the six party talks for resolving nuclear proliferation concerns on the Korean peninsula.
Mr. COSTEA ( Romania) said this year, he had seen a bleak assessment of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, including in the Committee’s general debate. He shared many of the concerns, which were caused by the repeated failures of the international community to take common action against the nexus of new threats to global peace and security. The failure of the NPT Review, the Disarmament Commission and the World Summit were all missed opportunities for strengthening multilateral norms and measures aimed at furthering the disarmament and non-proliferation objectives. He had joined the Norwegian-led initiative in an attempt to bring along proposals on that process for the Summit outcome. He had been encouraged by the support of those proposals, but that had not been enough to bridge the divergent positions and priorities of the entire international community.
He said that, while designing new mechanisms, the existing ones must also be reinforced, as those were complementary, and not competing. As such, Romania attached particular importance to the Proliferation Security Initiative and to Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). Also welcome had been the recent opening for signature of the international Convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism. At the same time, attention should be paid to the implementation of obligations under the NPT, as well as the decisions of its 1995 and 2000 reviews. He noted last week’s update on article VI of the NPT by the United States, which recently completed the de-activation of its Peacekeeper ballistic missiles, according to its obligations under the 2002 Moscow Treaty. He also welcomed the Russian Federation’s five-fold reduction of its aggregate strategic nuclear weapons stockpiles since 1991, and a four-fold reduction of its non-strategic stockpiles.
It was urgent to immediately start negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a treaty banning fissile material production, he said. He, meanwhile, urged all States, no matter their status, to apply a moratorium on fissile material production for nuclear weapons. He had been pleased at the high level of support for those talks this year in Geneva. That was an achievable and realistic goal for the next Conference session, especially at a time when it would be celebrating 10 years since completion of its last negotiating session.
DUNCAN MUHUMUZA ( Uganda) said he joined other delegations in expressing regret at the lack of tangible progress in the areas of non-proliferation and disarmament. Unfortunately, it seemed to be back to the drawing board with the important questions of the day still unanswered. He called for the complete prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons, which posed the greatest threat to international peace and security, especially if they fell in the hands of terrorists. The only way to be sure terrorists would not get weapons of mass destruction was for the weapons not to exist in the first place. He deplored the dumping of hazardous wastes off the coast of Somalia and called upon the culprits to clean up the mess. It was deplorable that those counted on for assistance were taking advantage of the situation, in collusion with warlords, to dump hazardous waste. The dump could constitute an arsenal for terrorists in their quest for weapons of mass destruction.
He said the threat was very real considering terrorists could request quantities that could be recycled from toxic stockpiles. Uganda was a strong proponent of multilateralism, and the Conference on Disarmament was the appropriate forum for disarmament. It was deplorable that the Conference failed to agree on a programme of work and that it wasted valuable time on non-issues. The World Summit Outcome had not pronounced on disarmament matters and the impasse should prompt a renewed determination in the international community. There was a relationship between disarmament and development.
CRAIG MACLACHLAN ( Australia) said he regretted the lack of a substantive outcome from the NPT Review, but he would work to strengthen the Treaty in the face of the challenges confronting that essential pillar of the global security architecture. Much was made of the bargain between nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States in the NPT. Australia had long supported practical efforts towards nuclear disarmament. For that reason, he welcomed the unilateral and bilateral reductions of nuclear weapons undertaken by nuclear-weapon States, and he encouraged further efforts in a transparent and progressive manner. But, there was another bargain central to the NPT, in which the non-nuclear-weapon States committed not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. That bargain was exemplified in the non-proliferation obligations, which were at the very heart of the Treaty. Sadly, some States appeared to have forgotten those obligations and, thus, were putting the whole nuclear non-proliferation regime at risk.
He urged the international community to strengthen the framework that reinforced the NPT’s non-proliferation obligations. He supported universal application of the IAEA’s strengthened safeguards system –- the Additional Protocol. The combination of comprehensive safeguards and an Additional Protocol were now the contemporary safeguards standard necessary to maintain the integrity of the IAEA safeguards system and the international community’s faith in compliance with the NPT. Australia announced earlier this year that it intended to make the Additional Protocol a condition for the supply of Australian uranium to States, together with comprehensive safeguards agreements.
The risk of NPT parties misusing the Treaty’s peaceful nuclear energy provisions, in order to acquire the technical basis for a rapid breakout to nuclear weapons, was a serious matter, he said. A new framework was needed to limit the spread of sensitive technology, while respecting NPT parties’ rights to peaceful nuclear energy. That could include enhanced controls on supply of sensitive technology, strengthened verification and detection in States with such technologies, and internationally guaranteed measures to ensure reliable access to fuel for civil reactors by States that forego enrichment and reprocessing.
He said that the entry into force of the CTBT would greatly enhance global security by inhibiting weapons development by potential new nuclear-weapon States and making it more difficult for States with nuclear weapons to develop more sophisticated nuclear warheads. The recent Conference of CTBT parties had confirmed the near-universal commitment to that Treaty. He continued to urge the immediate start of negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty. Such a treaty would advance nuclear disarmament by capping the amount of fissile material available for nuclear weapons use and further strengthen the barriers to leakage of fissile material, both to States and potentially to terrorists.
While terrorists and others remained determined to acquire mass destruction weapons, the international community must remain vigilant against the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons, he said. Measures to strengthen the non-proliferation regime -– which benefited all States -– must not be held hostage to movement on other NPT issues, important as those might be. Moreover, it was impossible to conceive of a world free of nuclear weapons in the absence of complete and permanent assurances of non-proliferation.
ROGELIO PFIRTER, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said huge challenges remained before the First Committee -- to achieve universal adherence to the Convention, to meet the timelines for destruction envisaged by the Convention, to translate its operative provisions into an effective web of national laws and implementing authorities and arrangements, and to achieve the highest level of assurance to which the Convention aspired. The international community must stay the course and sustain the important momentum already created. Widespread support from Member States was vital. There were now 174 States parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and it continued to be the fastest growing disarmament treaty in history. The six chemical weapons possessors continued to destroy their declared stockpiles, which originally exceeded 71,000 metric tons of chemical agents and nearly 9 million munitions and containers. Those chemical weapons stocks had been secured and 17 per cent of the total stockpile had been destroyed.
However, he said, the lion’s share of the task still lay ahead. Most of the efforts continued to be deployed in the Russian Federation and the United States. No less than six facilities in Russia were to become operational in the next four years, in addition to the destruction facility at Gorny, where 1,000 metric tons had already been destroyed. A new facility was about to become operational in Kambarka, and others would follow. The Russian Government had made assurances to move ahead decisively to accelerate the pace of destruction and meet its obligations. That was a welcome sign, as the magnitude of the remaining stockpiles in Russia were impressive and the pace of destruction so far had not been nearly as sustained as would have been expected. In the United States, seven destruction facilities were currently operational. With more than 32 per cent of the United States stockpile destroyed to date, it was clear there was an unwavering commitment to the disarmament effort.
The Chemical Weapons Convention saw April 2012 as the final deadline for the entire construction effort, he said. He continued to believe that the solemn commitments undertaken by all parties to the Convention would be honoured. In addition to the chemical weapons stockpiles, all of the 64 former chemical weapons production facilities were expected to be destroyed or converted by 2007. One note was the fact that Libya was now able to convert two of its former production facilities, as a result of a change to the Verification Annex of the Convention approved by States parties. India had continued its destruction campaigns at a satisfactory pace and was ahead of schedule. Albania was moving forward and was expected to start with possible disposing of the declared stockpile.
He said the destruction of existing stockpiles was not the only challenge. The risk of chemical weapons proliferation loomed even larger, particularly in view of the potential for terrorists to acquire chemical weapons and materials for their production. Of the more than 2,200 inspections carried out by teams of OPCW inspectors, at more than 865 sites in 72 countries, the majority had been conducted at production, storage and destruction facilities relating to chemical weapons, as well as about 900 inspections at nearly 700 chemical industry facilities. The support and cooperation of Member States and of the global chemical industry for non-proliferation activities were crucial. The components and know-how to produce simple chemical weapons were widely available.
But, not every Member State of the OPCW was in a position to detect, pursue and prosecute a breach of the Convention by its nationals within that Member State’s jurisdiction, he said. Therefore, since the adoption in 2003 by the First Chemical Weapons Convention Review Conference of an Action Plan to enhance national implementation, efforts were intensifying to identify areas for improvement. The OPCW Action Plan foreshadowed by a year United Nations Security Council resolution 1540, which created a binding obligation upon all Member States to enact the legislation necessary to create an interlocking web of systematic declarations, monitoring, and regulatory measures. It would take a vast effort to face the daunting task at hand. In the past two years, over 100 States parties had requested and received from the Technical Secretariat and several Member States the support needed to establish an autonomous capacity to apply the chemical weapons ban nationally.
The OPCW was not an anti-terrorist agency, but full implementation of the Convention was recognized as constituting one effective means of addressing the menace of terrorism. The strongest possible emphasis had been given to the pursuit of the universality of the Convention as soon as possible. Total OPCW membership now stood at 174 States. The number of States not party had been reduced to 12 signatory and eight non-signatory States. Universality had now been achieved across many regions and subregions. There was almost near universality in the Asia-Pacific. But notable absentees remained, particularly in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula. The OPCW stood ready to support the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in its consideration of the issue that virtually every other country in the region had taken the decision to renounce the chemical weapons option forever. Iraq’s Government had indicated its intention to adhere to the Convention. That was a promising development.
The Convention belonged to everyone, he said, and all countries were directly concerned. It should not be perceived as a treaty for a few countries, namely, those possessing the weapons or having the industrial capacity to develop them. Through its verification activities, the intensification of its efforts in support of enhanced national implementation and its programmes in the areas and assistance initiatives, the OPCW was staying the course and making a tangible contribution to peace and security.
GHALIB AL-ANBAKI ( Iraq) said the OPCW had provided many forms of assistance to Iraq to prepare Iraqi technicians, who would undertake the work in case Iraq adhered to the Convention. On 8 December 2004, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq had sent a letter to the Director-General in which he emphasized Iraq’s upholding of non-proliferation agreements and stated that he intended to join the Organization, as soon as the Iraqi Government had been elected. Iraq had participated as an observer in the ninth conference of the OPCW held in The Hague. A delegation of Iraqi experts had participated in the seminar held by OPCW in cooperation with the Government of Cyprus. Moreover, Iraqi experts had participated in the workshop held by the OPCW held in The Hague from 6 to 8 July 2005. He thanked the missions of the United States and the United Kingdom in The Hague, who had provided assistance in this area. He emphasized that an ad hoc committee had been established and was studying in-depth the recommendations considering the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Introduction of Drafts
CLAUDINE MTSHALI ( South Africa ), on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, said the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime presently faced many challenges. International peace and security remained threatened by nuclear weapons. The Coalition’s draft resolution coincided with the sixtieth anniversary of the atomic bombings at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, as well as the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations, which had failed to reach an agreement on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at the recent Summit. The draft was short and focused on the essential elements required for spurring further progress in non-proliferation. It recognized and sought to underline the importance of the NPT and its universality to achieve nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
She said the text sought to send a message about the importance of implementing existing nuclear disarmament commitments. It represented an approach that emphasized compliance with nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation commitments. It reaffirmed the belief that disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing processes. The partners of the New Agenda Coalition had consulted widely in their resolution. It appreciated constructive comments from other delegations. As the text of the resolution had already been shared, she said she would not delve into detail, except to say the text was drafted in a manner that all States should be able to support.
BONILLA GALVAODE QUEIROZ ( Guatemala) said she deeply appreciated the concern expressed by other delegations about Guatemala’s recent mudslides. She also expressed condolences to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan for the catastrophic earthquake.
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