Without Advancing Nuclear-Weapon-Free Middle East, Recasting Norm against Nuclear Weapons Possession, Non-Proliferation Treaty Will Come Up Short, Review Told

5 May 2010

Without Advancing Nuclear-Weapon-Free Middle East, Recasting Norm against Nuclear Weapons Possession, Non-Proliferation Treaty Will Come Up Short, Review Told

5 May 2010
Meetings Coverage
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

NPT Review Conference

5th & 6th Meetings (AM & PM)

Without Advancing Nuclear-Weapon-Free Middle East, Recasting Norm against Nuclear

Weapons Possession, Non-Proliferation Treaty Will Come Up Short, Review Told

Any Nuclear Cooperation, for Peaceful or Military Aims, with Non-Parties

To Treaty, Stark Violation, Barrier to Treaty’s Universality, Conference Hears

Strong efforts to advance the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and define the contours of a legally binding international convention to eliminate nuclear weapons were urgently needed to prevent the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) from being undermined, ministers and other officials warned the 2010 Review Conference as they continued into a third day of debate.

Non-accession to the 40-year-old Treaty, especially by Israel, set off intense discussion on the importance of putting into action a 1995 resolution on the Middle East and, more broadly, holding States parties accountable for not supplying nuclear material to countries that had not signed on to the Treaty.

Lebanon’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said failure to achieve progress in establishing a nuclear weapon-free Middle East risked the collapse of the NPT regime.  The Middle East resolution had been among the most important outcomes of the 1995 Review Conference and the basis on which the Treaty’s extension had been accepted.

Moreover, Israel’s refusal to accede to the Treaty, he said, threatened the security of Arab States, which could prompt them to review their position on that question.  Double standards perpetuated by States that transferred nuclear materials to others not party to the Treaty called for a mechanism for Arab States, should steps not be taken to render the region free of nuclear weapons.

Such a scenario argued for the creation of a global, legally binding nuclear weapons convention, Egypt’s delegate said.  To make that point, he said the “13 steps”, adopted at the 2000 Review Conference for systematic and progressive implementation of the Treaty’s disarmament provisions, did not enjoy the respect of nuclear Powers.  If military doctrines stipulated that weapons were needed, what prevented non-nuclear-weapon States from acquiring them for the same purpose?

Kuwait’s representative, among others, similarly pointed to the problem of States, such as Israel, not subjecting their facilities to IAEA guidelines.  Until Israel acceded to the NPT, nuclear-armed States parties were obliged to fulfil their obligations, which required that they not supply or aid Israel in developing its nuclear weapons programme.  He called on the IAEA to halt technical programmes made available to Israel unless that State acceded to the Treaty.

Any form of cooperation, regardless of whether it was intended for peaceful or military purposes, between States parties and States not party to the NPT constituted a stark violation of the Treaty, asserted Libya’s representative.  Moreover, such cooperation was not conducive to achieving the Treaty’s universality.  In furtherance of the aim of a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East, he suggested convening an international conference on the matter, with a view to starting negotiations by 2011, and to creating a standing committee of members of the Bureau of this Review Conference to follow up intersessionally on implementing the 1995 Middle East resolution.

In a solemn display of unity, the Russian Federation’s delegate, speaking on behalf of China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States — the five permanent Security Council members — expressed the group’s support for ongoing efforts to realize the full implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution, saying:  “We are ready to consider all relevant proposals in the course of the Review Conference”.  The group was also ready to engage in substantive discussions on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States.

The day’s debate also heard speakers, including at the ministerial level —Estonia, Portugal and Liechtenstein among them — voice support for the creation of a global nuclear fuel bank, administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on a non-selective basis, to guarantee the supply of nuclear fuel and reduce the risk of proliferation.

Belarus’s delegate favoured a multilateral approach to the nuclear fuel cycle and strengthening energy security for equal access to nuclear fuel.   Iraq’s delegate favoured an IAEA proposal on providing low-enriched uranium, whereby States could obtain advanced technology, without discrimination, at fair prices and in line with their development efforts.

“In short, we have to make the nuclear fuel cycle work completely and irreversibly for us,” said Estonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. “This will be a win-win situation for everyone.”

In other business, the Conference adopted a draft decision on the establishment of subsidiary bodies to the Main Committees, contained in document NPT/CONF.2010/CRP.1, as orally revised.  It also approved a request from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to participate with observer agency status, and also invited the representatives of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the League of Arab States to make statements at the end of the general debate.

In final action, the Conference appointed Turkey and the United Kingdom as members of the Credentials Committee.  They join the Czech Republic, Mauritius, the Republic of Moldova and Uganda, which were appointed on 3 May.

Also speaking in today’s debate were the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Argentina and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, as well as the Assistant to the President of Belarus.

The Deputy Director-General and Special Representative for Disarmament and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) of South Africa also addressed the Conference.  The Director of International and Human Security in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile spoke on behalf of States parties to the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia.

Also speaking were the representatives of Lebanon (in national capacity), Slovenia, Tunisia, Mongolia, Kenya, Uganda, Syria, Colombia, Cameroon (on behalf of the African Group), El Salvador, Cuba, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, Burkina Faso, Malta, Sudan, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Samoa and Bahrain.

The 2010 Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 6 May, to continue its debate.


The 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continued today.  The Treaty aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, promote cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.  It represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.

Conferences to review the Treaty have been held at five-year intervals since the Treaty went into effect in 1970.  Each Conference has sought to find agreement on a final declaration that would assess the implementation of the Treaty’s provisions and make recommendations on measures to further strengthen it.  (For more information, please see http://www.un.org/en/conf/npt/2010/.)

URMAS PAET, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, said that recent statements and steps towards the ultimate goal of disarmament and non-proliferation had included the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) agreement, the Washington, D.C., Nuclear Security Summit and efforts by States to seek early ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).  He urged States to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay.  Another constructive step would be the ban on fissile material for nuclear weapons.

At this Review Conference, he said that all States parties to the NPT should ensure strict compliance with their obligations, especially in light of recent worrying nuclear proliferation challenges.  Joint action was needed to effectively counter breaches to the NPT and to agree on measures to discourage States parties’ withdrawal.  He urged all States that had not yet done so to accede to the Treaty.

Verifiability, transparency and other confidence-building measures went hand-in-hand with reducing the spread of nuclear arms, he said.  Estonia recognized the indispensable role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system for verification and it supported the adoption and implementation of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and the Additional Protocol to further strengthen that system and to ensure greater detectability of violations of non-proliferation obligations.

Turning to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Estonia considered it crucial to facilitate lasting multilateral solutions, including the establishment of a low-enriched uranium bank under IAEA control and, with regard to the nuclear fuel cycle, the avoidance of market distortions and limitations on the right of peaceful uses.  “In short, we have to make the nuclear fuel cycle work completely and irreversibly for us,” he said.  “This will be a win-win situation for everyone.”

JOÃO GOMES CRAVINHO, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, said that on the fortieth anniversary of the Treaty, States must ensure that the NPT did not fall into a “middle” crisis and they must seize the new momentum created by United States President Barack Obama’s speech in Prague last year detailing a vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

He said that NPT States parties needed to break new ground in important areas and to implement existing disarmament instruments to make strides towards fulfilling article VI obligations.  Portugal strongly supported the early entry into force of the CTBT, which would create the momentum needed to allow progress in drafting a fissile material cut-off treaty.  Moving towards multilateralism of the nuclear fuel cycle would also be an important contribution to international non-proliferation efforts, and Portugal supported the creation of a nuclear fuel bank, under IAEA auspices.  The Agency must also be strengthened in its role as the NPT’s verification mechanism.

Renewed and unequivocal negative security assurances by nuclear-weapon States should also be provided to all States in compliance with the Treaty and to all nuclear-weapon-free zones.  The creation of such a zone in the Middle East should take into account the interests of all States in the region and would help to enhance non-proliferation efforts in a highly sensitive area of the world.  The Iranian nuclear programme was another decisive issue, and Portugal called on Iran to engage in serious negotiations concerning its programmes and to comply with all Security Council and IAEA obligations.  Regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Portugal urged Pyongyang to renounce its nuclear programme, return to the six-party talks and promptly resume compliance with its NPT and IAEA obligations.

Portugal favoured reinforcing the NPT regime, including its institutional dimension, particularly concerning withdrawal from the Treaty, he said.  Conditions under which a State party might withdraw should be clarified and should be absolutely exceptional.  A revision of article X should foresee clear consequences for withdrawal, such that international peace and security were not endangered.  “We believe that the historical moment that we are living through may be regarded by future historians as the moment when a safe world came into being,” he said.  “Alternatively, future historians may look at the record of missed opportunities and unsuccessful negotiations as having condemned us to a more precarious existence on this planet.  Each of us must do our duty to make sure that future history tells a story that is happier, rather than tragic.”

OL’GA ALGAYEROVÁ, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, said strengthening the authority and integrity of the NPT could only be done through a balanced approach to the Treaty’s three pillars.  Guarantees must be given that there was no misuse of nuclear energy and that there was real progress on nuclear disarmament.  An environment should be created to motivate the peaceful use of nuclear energy needed to satisfy growing energy demands.  Slovakia placed the principles of multilateralism at the centre of the international community’s quest for disarmament and non-proliferation, yet appreciated any initiatives that resulted in reducing nuclear arsenals, such as the START agreement.

However, she said she was concerned about challenges of non-compliance with non-proliferation obligations, which should not be tolerated.  Multilateral instruments existed and must be preserved to provide confidence.  The IAEA safeguards system was designed to verify the absence of activities not consistent with the NPT.  Slovakia was convinced that the Additional Protocol should be an integral part of that system, and called on all States parties that had not yet done so to sign and ratify it.

Growing numbers of States had shown interest in developing nuclear energy programmes to boost energy needs, including Slovakia, she noted.  Article IV of the NPT was a vital part of the Treaty, and she stressed the importance of the understanding that the instrument’s compliance obligations and verification mandates did not stand in the way of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

VALENTIN RYBAKOV, Assistant to the President of Belarus, said the Treaty was a key element in the non-proliferation regime and the entire international security system.  The balance of the three inter-complementary pillars was a guarantee of its successful functioning.  Belarus had chosen to renounce the possession of nuclear weapons and was confident that general and complete disarmament was the major strategic objective.  His Government favoured a realistic, balanced approach to that process, and welcomed the signing of the new START agreement as a substantial contribution to strengthening global security.

He said that the disarmament process must consist of the destruction of nuclear warheads and their deployment vehicles, and provide commitments to further reduce those weapons.  Most important was speedy entry into force of the CTBT and launch of negotiations on conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty.  Belarus had made efforts to reach agreement on a programme of work for those negotiations and hoped to quickly eliminate differences on that issue.

On the problem of guarantees of non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT, he said such guarantees were about trust and predictability, and they were necessary for enhancing the Treaty’s authority.  There was discussion of a universal and legally binding document on security guarantees for States not possessing nuclear weapons.  Belarus was committed to its international obligations on non-proliferation.  Strengthening the verification potential of IAEA would promote strengthening of the non-proliferation regime.

Noting that the Treaty allowed for the development of peaceful nuclear programmes, he said his country was interested in full implementation of those rights of States parties, on a non-discriminatory basis.  Belarus also favoured a multilateral approach to the nuclear fuel cycle, and strengthening energy security for equal access to nuclear fuel.  He drew attention to a Belarus-Russian Federation working paper on cooperation in that field.  Strengthening the non-proliferation regime, meanwhile, was important for combating international terrorism.  To counter those challenges, he urged consolidating efforts.  Multilateral mechanisms and export controls played an important role.  Genuine progress in achieving the Treaty’s objectives would be found only through collective action.

NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, called the Treaty the linchpin for creating a world free of nuclear weapons.  While the recent agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation was an important step, failure to achieve progress in establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East risked the collapse of the NPT regime.  Four working papers had been submitted expressing the positions of Arab States on that issue.

He said that the Middle East resolution had been among the most important outcomes of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, a basis on which extension of the Treaty had been accepted.  He voiced grave concern at the failure to implement 15 years later.  Israel’s refusal to accede to the Treaty and its defiance of international resolutions threatened the security of Arab States, all of which had acceded to the NPT.  That situation might prompt those States to review their position on that question.  The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones effectively promoted the NPT regime, and there was a need to render the Middle East as such a zone.  That would be a major step towards NPT universality.  The Treaty was based on a balance between the promotion of peace and security through non-proliferation and disarmament on the one hand, and, on the other, the right of non-nuclear-weapon States parties to develop and use nuclear energy peacefully.

However, there was a double standard in transfer of nuclear materials to States that were not parties to the Treaty, and a mechanism should be created for Arab States in case the global community did not take measures to render the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  The Council of Arab States in 2009 had adopted a strategy for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  He expressed regret at the IAEA’s statement against Syria, which could be misinterpreted as accusing Syria of shirking its responsibilities.  Israel had committed aggression and was a stumbling block that prevented the Middle East from becoming a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  Syria had been among the first to accede to the NPT and to implement IAEA commitments, including a comprehensive safeguards agreement.  It also had submitted to the Security Council an initiative to rid the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction.

In closing, he emphasized that the IAEA safeguards agreement was the only legal framework for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  The Additional Protocol was a non-binding, voluntary document.  The Group called on Israel to accede to the Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon State and place all its nuclear facilities under the safeguards agreement.  He also called on the IAEA to implement relevant resolutions, including the 2009 resolution on Israeli nuclear capabilities, and on States parties to achieve the Treaty’s universality.  Cooperation with non-party States only encouraged them to stay outside the Treaty and undermined the non-proliferation regime.

Speaking in his national capacity, he said that 2009 and 2010 had seen fresh momentum in the field of non-proliferation, such as the signing of the new START accord and the Washington, D.C., Summit.  However, many threats remained unaddressed.  Some 23,000 warheads still existed, and he urged implementation of the General Assembly resolution on reducing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems.  The memory of the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference lingered, and there was a duty to live up to the expectations of constituencies who wished to see a nuclear-weapon-free world.

He said breakthroughs should be achieved on four tracks, first on addressing outstanding issues, such as the implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution.  Israel’s long-held policy of “nuclear ambiguity” clearly had been broken.  Citing Jane’s Defence Weekly magazine, among other sources, he said Israel had 200 nuclear warheads, which placed it among the most advanced nuclear-weapon States, roughly on par with Great Britain.  The IAEA also had expressed concern at its capabilities.

Next, he said States must move forward on nuclear disarmament and implement the 13 practical steps.  The international legal system must be enhanced, notably with the early entry into force of the CTBT and creation of mechanisms that would end the situation whereby States that rejected the Treaty still received cooperation.  Finally, measures should be taken to give assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty, such as universal adherence to the “no-first-use” principle, departure from reliance on nuclear weapons in military doctrines and relinquishing the threat of using nuclear weapons as a means of advancing strategic interests.

MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, New Agenda Coalition (NAC), African Group and Arab Group, delivered remarks on behalf of Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, Minister for Foreign Affairs.  He said that, in order to create a more conducive international environment for nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States to implement commitments, it was essential to focus on the Treaty’s three pillars and on assuring the immediate implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution.  Success required halting attempts to change the “delicate balance” upon which the Treaty was founded.  Nuclear-weapon States’ implementation of their disarmament obligations did not consequently commit non-nuclear-weapon States to accept any additional obligations.

He said that interest among non-nuclear-weapon States parties to use nuclear energy for developmental benefits was a legitimate right and should not be the basis to impose restrictions, especially in the area of verification and safeguards.  Forty years had shown that only one State had withdrawn from the Treaty and developed nuclear weapons.  “But that State did not exploit the provisions of the Treaty,” he said.  Rather, political conflict had led the Board of Governors of the IAEA and the Security Council to fail to address that issue.  The verification system accepted in the Treaty was structured on material evidence as a basis for assessment.  It was also based on non-interference in States’ internal affairs, particularly in evaluating development objectives and assessing needs of enriched uranium to realize them.  Developing countries rejected politically motivated classifications of States.

That issue applied mainly in regions, he noted, where one State or more remained outside the Treaty, especially in the Middle East and North and South Asia, which were being viewed as parties of “questioned” loyalty to the Treaty, simply because they sought development for their peoples through nuclear energy use.  Regarding the failure to implement the 1995 resolution on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, he underscored the need for its effective and comprehensive implementation.  Egypt had presented proposals in the last three Preparatory Committees aimed at launching real negotiations among all regional States.  Those proposals had the support of the Arab League and Non-Aligned Movement.

Outlining challenges ahead, he said the implementation of Treaty objectives on nuclear disarmament was below expectations.  The 13 steps did not enjoy the respect of nuclear-weapon States and their implementation was far from any verification by non-nuclear-weapon States.  That confirmed the need for a legal framework to eliminate nuclear weapons through conclusion of an international legally binding convention.  Next, military doctrines still relied on nuclear deterrence.  If they stipulated that such weapons were needed to ensure peace and security, what prevented non-nuclear-weapon States from taking those weapons for the same purpose?  Non-nuclear-weapon States had not received security assurances against the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons against them.

Pointing to Treaty shortcomings, he said the right of non-nuclear-weapon States regarding the NPT’s article IV was undermined in the field of technology transfer.  Also, some States still tried to reinterpret article X on withdrawal, which was an inalienable right if the Treaty failed to fulfil a State’s security.  Further, the Security Council’s intervention in the implementation of commitments persisted, and the Treaty contained no institutional organizational framework or reference to follow up its work in the intersessional periods.  Success depended on restoring the Treaty’s balance and credibility.

ABDUL S. MINTY, Special Representative for Disarmament and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) at the Department for International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa, said common ground should be an impetus to further strengthen the NPT, including previously agreed principles.  Those included the “Grand Bargain”, whereby the five nuclear-weapon States had agreed to legally binding commitments, the need to build upon their undertakings to accomplish the total elimination of their arsenals, and that the full implementation of all non-proliferation commitments were important, but required the full implementation of all of the Treaty’s pillars.

At this Conference, he said, States parties should be able to agree that the strengthened IAEA safeguards system was an essential element of collective efforts to address the proliferation threat, that the Additional Protocol could be recognized as an important confidence-building measure and that peaceful use of nuclear energy was another essential component of the Treaty.  The Conference should underscore that the non-proliferation aspects of the Treaty would not be used to deny States, especially developing countries, the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones remained an important aspect of the Treaty, and the Conference should agree on measures to urgently implement such a zone in the Middle East, he said.  Other areas that needed strengthening included support for legally binding security assurances, recognizing the importance of the signing and ratification of the CTBT and encouraging progress on a fissile material ban.

He said that article X of the Treaty acknowledged the right of States to withdraw in exercise of their national sovereignty in certain defined circumstances and in accordance with the procedures set out in the article.  The issue of withdrawal was a serious matter that needed to be considered, particularly in relation to the continued application of safeguards on already transferred material, equipment and technology.

He urged all five nuclear-weapon States to do their part in concrete measures to implement the practical steps agreed in 2000, which was long overdue.  His delegation was pleased to note the renewed commitment expressed by the United States on Monday to the elements of transparency, irreversibility and verifiability agreed during the 2000 Review Conference, and it urged all five nuclear Powers to similarly do their part.  As for the NPT pillar allowing for peaceful use of nuclear energy, that had always lacked the necessary resource base.  He attached great importance to the commitment made by the United States at the Conference and hoped that other countries, particularly developed States, would also contribute meaningfully, thereby promoting sustainable development, achieving the Millennium Development Goals and addressing the poverty divide.

MANSOUR ALOTAIBI ( Kuwait) said disarmament was one of the unmet goals of the United Nations.  Instead, $1 billion in military expenditures were on the rise, a fraction of which would help States achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  The recent United States and Russian Federation START advances were positive, but there were challenges, particularly the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and States, such as Israel, not acceding to the NPT and not subjecting their facilities to IAEA guidelines.  Until Israel acceded to the NPT, nuclear-weapon States were obliged to fulfil their obligations, which required that they did not supply or aid Israel in developing its nuclear weapon programme.  He called on the IAEA to halt technical programmes made available to Israel unless that State acceded to the Treaty.

He said his country had acceded to the NPT and ratified the safeguards agreement and Additional Protocol with the IAEA.  It was also party to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions.  A plan of action should be established to implement the NPT unconditionally, as well as to implement previous related agreements, such as the 1995 resolution to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

The CTBT should enter into force as soon as possible, he said, voicing Kuwait’s support for the role of the IAEA and NPT.  Kuwait also backed peaceful nuclear energy and programmes to help supply States with nuclear fuel, under IAEA auspices.  He advised Iran to use nuclear energy peacefully, and hoped for a peaceful resolution to any misgivings concerning the nature of its nuclear programme.

SANJA ŠTIGLIC ( Slovenia) said the NPT was the cornerstone of international peace, security and stability and States should do their utmost to preserve its integrity and strengthen its future role.  Positive developments had set the stage for further steps, she said, calling on all NPT States parties to ratify the CTBT and to begin negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty.

Challenges remained, she said, including the unilateral withdrawal from the NPT.  It was the sovereign right of any State to withdraw from the Treaty, but it must be ensured that the State concerned was in compliance with all its IAEA safeguards obligations and that the Agency could verify the absence of undeclared activities to prevent a global threat.  Some nations also violated their international obligations, giving rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions of their nuclear programmes.  Universality of the NPT was still unfinished business, she said.

The peaceful use of nuclear energy was an engine for development, she said, adding that that revival or expansion of nuclear energy would surely bring greater prosperity, but might also increase proliferation risks.  New States would be attaining nuclear technology, and appropriate control measures must be in place to prevent the misuse of that sensitive technology.  Slovenia welcomed the initiatives by the IAEA’s Director General in the area of medical applications, particularly in cancer detection and treatment, in developing countries.  Slovenia was assisting partners in the western Balkans.  The use of nuclear technologies in health, food production, agriculture and hydrology offered great hope for humanity and sustainable development.

Regarding nuclear safety and security, Slovenia had ratified the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and called upon other States parties to the NPT to do the same.

GHAZI JOMAA ( Tunisia), aligning with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, said that international enthusiasm today was legitimate, as progress had been made.  That the Disarmament Conference had devised a programme was a source of hope and showed that it was not at such a stalemate as previously thought.  The new START accord showed that political will, indeed, existed, and he expressed hope that such developments would lead to other trust-building measures.  The global community must make use of that context to advance disarmament and non-proliferation.  He reiterated appeals for fully applying the commitments made by the nuclear-weapon States in 2000 to eliminate their nuclear arsenals and to comprehensively apply the 13 practical steps.  In the meantime, it was necessary to put in place effective guarantees concerning the use or threat of use of those weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States.

Regarding the 1995 Middle East resolution, he said there was still tension and it would be difficult to achieve progress, as Israel did not adhere to the NPT.  However, he called on all States to make efforts to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  States must apply the Treaty in a non-selective manner.  There was no Treaty provision that affected States’ rights to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful aims.  The financial and energy crises underscored the importance of rethinking the need for nuclear power.  Nuclear-weapon States should launch negotiations to completely eliminate their nuclear weapons in the context of a nuclear weapons convention.  In closing, he said the 2010 Conference must ensure that future generations lived in cooperation, and not confrontation.

OCHIR ENKHTSETSEG ( Mongolia) said the Review Conference was taking place amid signs of encouraging progress that gave a new sense of hope that the global disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation agenda would be brought to fruition.  Her Government had taken note of many developments in that respect, including the new strategic arms treaty between the United States and Russian Federation, and the Nuclear Security Summit recently held in Washington, D.C.  Mongolia supported the Secretary-General’s five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament, which it believed was a balanced, realistic and promising initiative.  Further, the entry into force of the Central Asian and African nuclear-weapons-free zones was another positive development that contributed to the goals of disarmament and non-proliferation.

“At this critical juncture, we call on all States parties to seize the opportunity and make tangible progress towards strengthen the NPT in all three [priority] areas,” she said, reminding the Conference participants that they did not have to “go back to the drawing board” because the decisions reached at the 1995 and 2000 reviews contained important agreements that required follow-up action.  Among those, the 13 practical steps towards disarmament and non-proliferation agreed in 2000 were most important.  Meanwhile, the CTBT had yet to enter force, negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty had yet to begin, and the NPT was not yet universal.  Those were well known issues that States parties could act on as soon as possible, and she urged them to do so.

She went on to say that Mongolia was a strong supporter of nuclear-weapon-free zones, and the Second Conference on such zones and Mongolia had been held in New York last week.  It had reaffirmed the conviction that the only real guarantee against the threat or use of nuclear weapons was their total elimination, “a goal for which we must all strive”.  She added that implementing that meeting’s outcome document could substantially contribute to promoting the goals of the NPT and creating a nuclear-weapon-free world.  More nuclear-weapon-free zones were being considered, and Mongolia believed that a comprehensive study should be undertaken to examine the evolution of that issue, since it was first considered by the United Nations in 1975.  Such a study should also chart the course for future action and provide effective support for such zones as practical regional measures to promote the goals of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Mongolia also strongly believed that every country could and should make its contribution to promoting the goals of nuclear non-proliferation, she said.  With that in mind, as well as to demonstrate that a viable alternative to ensuring national security by acquiring nuclear weapons at any cost or by hosting nuclear weapons was to ensure national security by diplomatic and legal means, in 1992, Mongolia declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone and had since been working to institutionalize that status.

MOHAMMED AL-HUMAIMIDI ( Iraq) said his Government was striving to create a world free of nuclear weapons and was supporting all efforts towards that goal.  Keen on ensuring the success of those efforts, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to and respect for international treaties, conventions and arrangements pertaining to disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.  It had taken several legislative and executive measures to translate obligations under those accords into reality.  Universal adherence to and broad compliance with agreements on weapons of mass destruction, leading to their eventual elimination, would provide the international community “with a certain guarantee against the use or threat of use of those weapons”.

He said Iraq had affirmed that it would be free of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery means.  His country had also confirmed its commitment to the core disarmament and non-proliferation conventions and treaties, following the harsh experience of the Iraqi people under the policies of the former regime.  That regime had acquired and used such weapons, leading to devastation inside Iraq, the loss of the country’s wealth and destruction of its infrastructure.  The Review Conference was being held at a crucial time for Iraq, when the country was in consultations with the Security Council to review the remaining restrictions imposed on the former regime under resolutions 687 and 707, both adopted in 1991.

“The new Iraq had adopted a policy of permanently disregarding the heavy legacy left by the previous regime,” he declared, adding that that policy, spelled out in the Iraqi Constitution, obligated the Government to respect and implement its international obligations regarding non-proliferation, non-development, non-production and non-use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.  In implementing that policy, Iraq had fulfilled all its obligations under Security Council resolutions relating to disarmament, which had led to the termination in 2007 of United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the special IAEA team in the country.  He stressed however, that despite its efforts, Iraq still faced some constraints, which prevented it from benefiting from available scientific and technological progress, which limited the country’s potential to be an active member of the international community.

With all that in mind, Iraq’s Foreign Minister had addressed a letter to the President of the Security Council and to the Director General of the IAEA, laying out the steps it had taken and would take in that area of disarmament, he noted.  The Council had issued a presidential statement in February welcoming those steps.  In light of its progress, Iraq expected the Council to act positively, following the 11 March letter from the IAEA Chief, in which that official had asserted Iraq’s excellent cooperation with the Agency and recommended the adoption of a resolution lifting the remaining restrictions imposed on Iraq.

Turning to the Middle East, he said that was a singular region — sensitive, of strategic importance and based on a unique economy.  Thus, any weapons escalation there would have far-reaching implications for global peace and security.  The Middle East remained host to one of the world’s longest-running contemporary crises — the Arab-Israeli conflict — as well as to other military conflicts and political unrest.  Therefore, failing to implement the 1995 resolution calling for a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East would perpetuate instability and tension in that region and further frustrate the already complex effort to ensure universal adherence to the NPT.  Nuclear terrorism was one of the most dangerous threats to international security.  Tight security measures were necessary for preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear material, as there were indeed groups with the intention and ability to cause massive destruction if such materials were available on the black market.

Finally, he emphasized that the NPT guaranteed the right to conduct research and produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  However, in addressing the dual-use nature of nuclear energy, permanent arrangements should be adopted to reconcile the right for peaceful uses and non-proliferation.  Transparency and cooperation with the IAEA, the application of safeguards, and other relevant measures must be emphasized.  Perhaps one path that could be considered was the IAEA proposal on providing low-enriched uranium, whereby States retained the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, to obtain advanced technology and to uranium enrichment, without discrimination, at fair prices and in line with their efforts of achieve development for their people.

ZACHARY D. MUBURI MUITA (Kenya), associating with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said nuclear disarmament must remain the ultimate goal, and it was vital to speed negotiations on that issue.  He urged the Conference on Disarmament to embark on substantive work as a matter of urgency.  He underscored the merits of the 13 practical steps to implement the NPT’s article VI, as well as the need to start negotiations leading to an international convention on the elimination of nuclear weapons.  The United States President’s Nuclear Security Summit last month should be followed up with concrete multilateral disarmament steps.  He invited States that were not party to the NPT to join it.  Also, the test-ban Treaty should enter into force as soon as possible.

Further, he said, a delicate balance must be maintained among the Treaty’s three pillars, and it must not be forgotten that, in giving up acquisition of nuclear weapons, non-nuclear-weapon States had understood a corresponding commitment among nuclear Powers to disarm.  It was a concern that disarmament appeared to have “taken a back seat”.  Negotiations could contribute to the elaboration of a disarmament agreement.  The IAEA should be strengthened to ensure that verification exercises were undertaken, and the Agency should be provided with adequate resources.  Also, nuclear-weapon-free zones had an important role to play, and he encouraged regions that did not have one to give that consideration.  Kenya called on all concerned parties to engage in the creation of such a zone in the Middle East.  The IAEA should help ensure a non-discriminatory approach to nuclear fuel supply and an atmosphere of trust between consumers and suppliers.

RUHAKANA RUGUNDA (Uganda), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, as long as some countries possessed nuclear weapons, others would aspire to have them.  Uganda was committed to the Treaty in the belief that it was the cornerstone of efforts to contain proliferation.  Uganda supported a package of proposals that would recognize past commitments and advance the Treaty’s core principles to achieve outcomes that strengthened disarmament and non-proliferation, and that facilitated access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  It was important that all countries take their obligations seriously and, in that context, he underscored the need to ensure implementation of the three pillars in a non-discriminatory manner.

Continuing, he called on nuclear-weapon States to take measures to eliminate their nuclear arsenals and to abide by their Treaty obligations.  He urged States not party to the Treaty to accede to it.   Uganda commended the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones and encouraged more regions to create them.  Many developing countries faced severe energy deficits, and international cooperation was needed to promote the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  Uganda wished to harness the potential of its uranium deposits and had put in place an institutional framework to facilitate nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, said his country had signed the Treaty in 1968 in the belief that nuclear weapons possession was a grave global threat.  Had parties made the Treaty non-discriminatory?  Had parties, particularly the nuclear Powers, brought Israel to book over its refusal to accede to the Treaty, or to resolutions of the Security Council, IAEA and General Assembly?  Had parties achieved Treaty universality in light of its status as a legally binding instrument?  “This Conference is duty-bound to respond to all these questions,” he said, emphasizing the importance of the Treaty’s third pillar on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

He said article IV provisions, which allowed States the right to obtain and use nuclear technology in peaceful applications, must be applied.  The IAEA’s cardinal role must be preserved, notably in facilitating the exchange of information and material for nuclear energy’s peaceful use.  Syria had signed the comprehensive safeguards agreement and subjected its activities to international inspection.  That agreement with the IAEA had been ratified and a national regime had been created to supervise nuclear material.  All actions had been taken to enable IAEA inspectors to discharge their tasks.

He recalled that in 2007, Israel had attacked Syrian territory and destroyed a military building that contained no nuclear activities, violating international law.  “This requires strong and clear-cut condemnation,” he urged.  Fabricated claims on the nature of that building were “devoid of credibility”.  They also had been made months after the Israeli aggression; information should have been presented before such events.  Syria had permitted the IAEA to visit, submitted all available information and responded to all questions on that front.  The outcome was that the site was found to be “devoid” of any nuclear activity.  Syria had been cooperating fully with the IAEA in all matters related to its Treaty obligations and Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.  He urged all States to achieve the universality of the safeguards system and not impose additional restrictions on non-nuclear-weapon States.  The Conference must draw a line between the Treaty’s legal obligations and voluntary measures meant to demonstrate transparency and build trust.  Parties must preserve that distinction.

He voiced grave concern at the failure to elaborate a time-bound programme for nuclear-weapon States to eliminate their arsenals.  The 2010 Conference should adopt resolutions to address those concerns, especially through the establishment of subcommittees.  States had a sovereign right to withdraw from the Treaty.  Also, the Conference had to result in practical steps to implement the 1995 Middle East resolution, which should remain integral to Review Conferences until it was implemented.  He emphasized the need to place all nuclear facilities in the Middle East under IAEA auspices.  The Conference should consider the security concerns of Arab States and urge nuclear-weapon States to pressure Israel to accede to the Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon State.  He called on Treaty parties to stop supplying Israel with nuclear assistance.

CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said that, despite the devastating effects of nuclear weapons, those weapons had not yet been banned.  It was imperative to achieve the universalization of the NPT, and she encouraged all nuclear-weapon States to honour their commitments to eliminate their nuclear arsenals and to apply the 13 practical steps adopted at the 2000 Review Conference.  Those States must also guarantee not to use or threaten to use those weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States, and she hoped that a legally binding instrument could provide those negative security assurances.  Banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons was also essential.  The CTBT must be universalized, and so-called “Annex 2” States should sign and ratify that instrument, urgently.  She also pressed States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the IAEA’s safeguards agreements and additional protocols.

She said her country had expressed its own commitment by becoming a State party to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), the NPT and treaties that prohibited nuclear tests, among them the Antarctic Treaty.  It also took part in related initiatives, including the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation and the Proliferation Security Initiative.  Colombia also supported the IAEA.  Latin America and the Caribbean had been the first densely populated area of the planet freed of nuclear weapons, but it was essential that nuclear-weapon States respected their denuclearization status and not use or threaten to use those weapons against States parties to the Tlatelolco Treaty.  She also urged them to withdraw the interpretative declarations they made when signing or ratifying Protocols I and II of that Treaty.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones were a great contribution to disarmament and non-proliferation, she said, inviting the United Nations to include in its programme of disarmament scholarships a segment dedicated to those zones, as an effective mechanism for complete and general disarmament.  On the subject of peaceful use of nuclear energy, Colombia insisted on the importance of international cooperation to promote exchanges of equipment and materials, as a required step in making the right to that energy source a reality.  The role of the IAEA could contribute to States’ socio-economic development.  At the same time, Colombia warned the global community about the risk of terrorists acquiring and possibly using nuclear weapons and, as a country victimized by terrorism, stressed the need for strict fulfilment of the NPT and the rigorous application of IAEA norms and mechanisms.

ANATOLY I. ANTONOV ( Russian Federation), on behalf of China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, presented a joint “P-5” document to the Review Conference.  Starting from the view that the NPT was fundamental to protecting global peace and security from the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, he said that those delegations were committed to the Conference, with the aim of finding substantive solutions for strengthening the Treaty.  The United Nations Security Council Summit on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament and the unanimous adoption of resolution 1887 (2009) had been important in creating the current positive atmosphere.  Other recent positive developments included the recent United States and Russian Federation START agreement, the Washington Summit and the Paris Conference on access to civil nuclear energy.

He said that, in their joint statement, the NPT nuclear-weapon States reaffirmed their commitment to fulfilling their obligations under the Treaty’s article VI and their responsibility to take concrete steps towards irreversible disarmament.  The statement recalled the unprecedented progress and efforts made by nuclear-weapon States in arms reduction, disarmament, confidence-building and transparency, noting that stocks of nuclear weapons were now at lower levels than any time in the past 50 years.  Each State planned to provide information on individual contributions to systematic and progressive efforts in fulfilling article VI obligations.

The P-5 also reaffirmed their determination to abide by respective moratoriums on nuclear test explosions before the entry into force of the CTBT, bearing in mind that such moratoriums could not substitute for legally binding commitments under that Treaty, he said.  He also called for the early commencement of a fissile material cut-off treaty at the Conference on Disarmament, reaffirming that all States must strictly comply with their non-proliferation obligations under the NPT.  Underlining the importance of the IAEA and its safeguards system, he noted that 130 States had signed an Additional Protocol and 99 States had it in force.  He called on all non-nuclear-weapon States that had not yet done so to bring the safeguards agreement into force.

He welcomed the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, in accordance with article VII of the NPT, and supported enhanced consultations and cooperation among parties to existing zones, calling for the consideration of establishing new ones, where appropriate.  He supported ongoing efforts to realize the full implementation of the 1995 NPT resolution to establish such a zone in the Middle East.  “We are ready to consider all relevant proposals in the course of the Review Conference,” he said.

Regarding security assurances, the group was ready to engage in substantive discussions on that issue, he added.

He said he recognized the inalienable right reflected in article IV of all States parties to the NPT to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination.  He noted the increasing demand for nuclear energy and was ready to further work with States parties to the Treaty.  He explained that the P-5 statement contained concrete proposals.

The inalienable right to withdraw from the NPT under article X should not mean that the said right should be automatically exercised, he said.  A State party remained responsible for violations of the NPT committed prior to its withdrawal and, at the same time, any decision taken in relation to withdrawal from the Treaty should not lead to the revision of article X or to reopen the text of the Treaty.

He said he had focused on only several aspects of the joint statement, which would be submitted to the Conference secretariat to be issued as an official document.  He hoped the statement would contribute to defining ambitious, though balanced, goals during the consideration of the Review Conference’s final document.

MICHEL TOMMO MONTHE ( Cameroon), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the Treaty’s three pillars were mutually reinforcing.  As such, nuclear-weapon States should implement all of their obligations and grant, unconditionally, negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States within a legally binding framework.  There was an urgent need for them to commit to the 13 practical steps, including to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in their security policies as a step towards non-use in any circumstance.  He reaffirmed the IAEA as the sole authority responsible for verifying and assuring compliance by States parties with their safeguards agreements.  Early entry into force of the CTBT would be a meaningful step in realizing a systematic process to achieve disarmament.

Lauding the 2009 entry into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba), he called on nuclear-weapon States and other States that had not done so to ratify the Treaty’s protocols unconditionally and without further delay.  Reiterating support for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, he urged implementation of relevant General Assembly resolutions and the text adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference towards that goal.  The Group also called on States parties, including nuclear-weapon States and the three sponsors of the 1995 resolution to support regional efforts to create that zone.

At the same time, he stressed the need for developed countries to facilitate the legitimate development of nuclear energy for developing countries, allowing them to participate in the transfer of nuclear equipment, materials, and scientific and technological information for peaceful purposes.

CARMEN MARÍA GALLARDO HERNÁNDEZ ( El Salvador) said her country’s commitment to eradicating nuclear weapons was based on the moral and political nature of that endeavour.  El Salvador joined others in their concern at those weapons’ possible use.  Possession of nuclear weapons generated a “reactive” effect in other countries, which could embark on a similar path.  That, in turn, could spark an expensive arms race, absorbing resources that could otherwise be used to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Nuclear-weapon States should give up their deterrence policies, as those undermined peaceful coexistence.  Instead, she encouraged disarmament by way of open, sincere dialogue that led to verifiable agreements.  She also called on the nuclear Powers to adhere to the non-proliferation regime and respect the relevant instruments.  The NPT should be universal and be implemented in a balanced, non-selective manner.

She advised nuclear-weapon States to meet the 13 practical steps agreed at the 2000 Review Conference, including on verification regimes and IAEA safeguards agreements.  El Salvador welcomed efforts by the United States and the Russian Federation to limit their strategic arsenals, as well as unilateral measures taken by France and the United Kingdom.  She encouraged a process of verifiable nuclear disarmament in regions of conflict, moving towards a process of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  El Salvador rejected the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent in military doctrines.  There was a need for a legally binding instrument committing nuclear-weapon States not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against States that did not possess them.  She supported the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on that matter.  She urged political will and flexibility during the Conference, which, in turn, would strengthen international peace and security.

PEDRO NÚÑEZ MOSQUERA (Cuba), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said Cuba had fully shown its political will to comply with Treaty obligations and had submitted a report to the Conference.  The satisfactory outcomes of IAEA inspections had demonstrated Cuba’s strict adherence to the Treaty.  Cuba was also party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, and participated in the IAEA database on illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.  No incident of that sort had been reported so far.  He shared the deep concern at the slow progress in disarmament and the lack of progress among nuclear-weapon States to fully eliminate their arsenals.  There were still 32,300 nuclear weapons in existence, more than 12,000 of which were ready for use.

He said the best way to fight nuclear terrorism was by eliminating all nuclear weapon arsenals without delay; no pretext was acceptable.  Pending that, work should be done to obtain legally binding security assurances against the use, or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  There was a clear need for undertaking a no-first-use policy of nuclear weapons.  It was also important to fully implement the 13 practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement the nuclear disarmament elements of the Treaty.  Cuba was greatly concerned that nuclear deterrence still figured into military doctrines and found it unacceptable that military spending was higher today than during the cold war, and further, that only one State was responsible for nearly half of those expenditures.  The close relation between disarmament and development was a priority for developing countries, which suffered under the unjust order imposed on them.

The new draft of the United States Nuclear Posture Review included changes that were merely “cosmetic” and it again stressed the modernization of nuclear weapons, he said, voicing additional concern at the imposition of “unilateral recipes” by the Security Council, among others, in decisions over which the IAEA was recognized as the sole authority.  Cuba hoped to see nuclear-weapon-free zones established worldwide, and reaffirmed the need to create such a zone in the Middle East.  The Review Conference must adopt a mechanism to implement the 1995 resolution on that issue.  Free, peaceful nuclear technology transfer for civilian nuclear energy use must be ensured, without politically motivated obstacles.

GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ ( Peru) said that the NPT would be strengthened if nuclear arsenals were reduced and concrete measures to do so were increased.  He called on all States, especially “Annex 2” countries, to ratify the CTBT and urged its early entry into force.  The nuclear posture review of the United States was a step forward, as was Indonesia’s planned ratification of the CTBT.  He urged other countries to refrain from nuclear testing and for the start of fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations.

He acknowledged that the legal gaps regarding the accessibility of nuclear materials needed to be addressed.  Meanwhile, security was paramount and international obligations and Security Council resolutions should be respected.  Results of the recent Washington Nuclear Security Summit would contribute to combining and increasing security for sensitive materials.  Initiatives of that type required broad participation that would lead to a transparent process.

Regarding Iran, he demanded that the IAEA continue to report on that country’s nuclear programme.  A climate of dialogue and transparency, as outlined in Security Council resolutions, should be fostered.  Nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, include in the medical arena, was essential, and Peru had identified priority areas.  IAEA proposals in that regard should move forward to achieve concrete progress on multilateral plans for the nuclear fuel cycle.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones were a critical contribution to non-proliferation and disarmament, and such a zone should be established in the Middle East, he said, voicing Peru’s support for the proposal to convene a conference on that topic.  Among other issues the Review Conference should address were the sensitive issue of withdrawal from the NPT, about which Peru welcomed all proposals, including that of the Russian Federation and Ukraine.  Institutional reform of the Treaty’s infrastructure, as Canada had proposed, should also be studied.

JORGE TAIANA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, said nuclear arsenals in the possession of States parties to the NPT continued to grow and represented the gravest threat to collective security and proliferation.  Although, recent positive developments, including the United States and the Russian Federation START commitments and the United States’ declaration not to produce new nuclear weapons or conduct nuclear tests, must be followed by the entry into force of the CTBT and negotiations on a fissile material ban, along with an instrument of security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States.

He called on nuclear-weapon States that had ratified the Additional Protocol to the Treaty of Tlatelolco with reservations and unilateral interpretative declarations to withdraw those declarations, in accordance with the Treaty’s provisions and to avoid diminishing its efficacy.

Argentina had successfully completed the process of reducing the use of highly enriched uranium in its nuclear research reactors, being the first country to rely on low-enriched uranium for its total production of radioisotopes, he said.  The country would always be open to continue working bilaterally or in the IAEA framework to share the multiple benefits of the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  The growth of that activity, within the next few years, both in Argentina and worldwide, revealed the importance of having international trade that was capable of offering the best available technologies, avoiding para-technological distortions or other irresponsible attitudes.  Transparent trade strengthened all of the NPT’s objectives, he said.

Several years ago, Argentina and Brazil eliminated the “ghost of nuclear competition” in Latin American, which would have diverted deeply needed resources from the well-being of their populations and only increased mistrust between them, he said.  The results achieved with the establishment of a system of mutual safeguards on nuclear installations and material applied by the Brazilian-Argentine Agency on Accountability and Control was a sound example of cooperation in that field.

He stressed that the nuclear weapons proliferation had to be avoided in a clear and verifiable manner.  Non-compliance with the NPT should be condemned by the international community.  It was also inadmissible that a State tried to withdraw or threatened to withdraw from the Treaty and its legally binding provisions.  “We will spare no efforts to prevent that from happening, as well as to act resolutely to preserve the integrity of the NPT and its universality,” he said.  He commended the strong commitment expressed for the IAEA at the recent Nuclear Security Summit, and noted that the follow-up summit in Seoul would be preceded by expert-level meetings in Buenos Aires in the coming months.

JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica ) said implementation of the NPT should be balanced and non-discriminatory.  The present unprecedented juncture should lead to the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime.  It was urgent to ensure the entry into force of the CTBT, improve IAEA safeguards and protocols, create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, promote new disarmament initiatives for nuclear-weapon States and spearhead negotiations for a multilateral, non-discriminatory and effectively verifiable treaty banning fissile material production for nuclear weapons.

He said that one of the biggest obstacles for the consolidation of the non-proliferation regime was the lack of progress in disarmament, as evidenced by the nearly “irrelevant” reductions of nuclear weapons and trillions of dollars spent on vertical proliferation.  What was originally conceived as a symbiotic process aimed at simultaneously invigorating disarmament and non-proliferation had, in effect, become a source of weakness for both processes.  It was essential to strengthen the principles of transparency, irreversibility and verification of disarmament activities; to promote the generalization of negative security assurances by all nuclear-weapon States; to put an end to the militarization of outer space; to include sub-strategic weapons in disarmament negotiations; to promote unconditional adherence to the protocols of the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties; and to de-alert nuclear weapons in order to have the necessary time to ensure the interests of all mankind.

International verification was imperative for confidence building and must be based on the principles of science, guaranteeing national interests and be in compliance with international law, he said, adding that there were no exemptions from verification with regard to nuclear issues.  Recent signs of solid political will, including the Security Council’s attention to disarmament issues, its resolution 1887 (2009) and increased cooperation to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into non-State actors’ hands, were overshadowed by a history of hesitations and setbacks.  The legacy of the regime in need of fixing today was one of more nuclear weapons with greater destructive power than in 1968.

“It is necessary for the world to recover the sanity that it had back in 1968, a sanity that gave way first to the madness of mutually assured destruction and then to the demented doctrine of nuclear deterrence,” he said.

Costa Rica was assuming its responsibility, he said, noting that it had chaired and participated in various related meetings, including of the CTBT Organization, the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missiles and the Security Council 1540 Committee.  Today, it called on all those whom were guided by narrow national interests to join the overwhelming majority that wanted to adopt new agreements on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, which would make possible a world without nuclear weapons.

MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said that the NPT remained a vital instrument in disarmament, but unfortunately, no substantive progress had been made since the Treaty’s inception.  Weapons were more sophisticated, demonstrating that the arms race was indeed a reality that posed potential risks of disaster.  A balance between the Treaty’s three pillars was the most pressing challenge.  The IAEA had said a growing number of States sought nuclear energy.  The logical step now was to work towards the universalization of the NPT.

He said that, despite progress, including the recent START agreement, more gains were needed to fulfil the Treaty’s provisions.  Burkina Faso reaffirmed its dedication to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which offered a plethora of possibilities in socio-economic areas.  Towards implementing the NPT’s three pillars, it was necessary to move forward on the CTBT, to work harder on weapons reductions and to avoid other States turning to nuclear weapons.  The physical protection of fissile materials was also needed to reduce threats of nuclear terrorism.  Confidence must be strengthened, and transparency was critical for developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he said.

The question of how plans could be made for a civilian nuclear programme without triggering suspicion had been raised by Burkina Faso’s President in 2009, he recalled.  For its part, Burkina Faso would spare no effort to contribute to all actions under way to make a reality of the ultimate objective:  a world forever free of nuclear weapons.

ALFREDO LABBÈ, Director of International and Human Security in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, speaking on behalf of States parties to the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia, said the group of 116 States parties and signatories to treaties that establish such zones had convened its Second Conference on 30 April, producing a final document aimed at sending a constructive message to this Review Conference.  Those States not only fostered a vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world, but were aware now that that vision was already more than 50 per cent materialized.  The final document would be transcribed and submitted to this Conference for consideration as an official document.

He read out the 36 paragraphs of the document, which, among other things, reaffirmed the urgent need to advance towards the priority goal of nuclear disarmament and the achievement of the total elimination and legally binding prohibition of nuclear weapons.  It underlined the importance of reducing nuclear weapons arsenals, recognizing the recent START talks, but added that that was only one of a series of forward steps to achieve nuclear disarmament.  The text also called for further deep cuts, including in the area of non-deployed and non-strategic nuclear weapons.

The final document, he said, welcomed zones that had been newly established and encouraged the creation of others.  Also, the group urged nuclear-weapon States to sign and ratify relevant protocols to nuclear-weapon-free zones, and reiterated its support for the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER ( Liechtenstein) said that after modest progress on NPT implementation in the past decade, recent developments, including the new START accord had thrust the momentum forward.  However, much more was needed to convey the sense that real disarmament was under way.  He supported the long-term goal of a nuclear weapons convention, in line with the Secretary-General’s plan, suggesting that this Conference should prepare an action plan, with goals and a time frame for such an instrument.  De-alerting of nuclear weapons presented another avenue for immediate action.  Lengthening nuclear launch procedures not only reduced the risk of error, but could also serve to further reduce the role of nuclear weapons in military strategy.

He said that nuclear-weapon-free zones, such as in Africa and Central Asia, were notable, and he supported the creation of such a zone in the Middle East.

In areas of security and safety, he said steps could be taken to prevent the misuse of civil nuclear programmes for military or terrorist ends, and, as the world would witness growing demands for nuclear energy in the coming two decades, it would be important to address the risks posed by the nuclear fuel cycle.  A big step in the right direction would be to make the IAEA Additional Protocol the verification standard and he supported a proposal of an international fuel bank under IAEA auspices, which would guarantee supply and significantly reduce the nuclear proliferation risk.  To further reduce that risk, it was crucial for States to fully comply with and implement mechanisms established by Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).

Sensitive technologies should be used responsibly in ways that did not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation, he said.  Activities undertaken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran were causes for grave concern in that regard and seriously tested the resolve of the international community.  He hoped the Conference would strengthen that resolve and bring both countries closer to cooperation.  He urged non-States-parties to the CTBT to sign and ratify the Treaty, and he hoped the deadlock over a fissile material cut-off treaty would be broken.  Liechtenstein’s immediate goal was to bring all non-States-parties into the NPT regime as non-nuclear-weapon States to ensure universal adherence.

SAVIOUR F. BORG ( Malta) said the Review Conference was an opportunity to build upon historic agreements, and he urged States that had not yet done so to join the conventions on counter-terrorism and the NPT.  Malta supported articles I, II, III, and IV of the NPT and encouraged the universalization of the IAEA safeguards and its Additional Protocol as a verification regime.  The CTBT and a fissile material cut-off treaty should move ahead, as they were indispensable steps towards the fulfilment of the NPT’s article VI.

Acknowledging that the causes of tension and persistent problems in parts of the Mediterranean hindered efforts to strengthen security and cooperation there, he urged Mediterranean States to “make that extra effort” to create the necessary conditions for strengthening confidence-building measures in the region, including in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.  He also called for concrete measures to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and expressed support for all such zones.  Pending its establishment in the Middle East, all nuclear activities and facilities there should be placed under IAEA safeguards.

Positive steps, including the Security Council resolution 1887 (2009) and the recent Washington Summit, were important elements for building critical momentum in non-proliferation and global arms control and disarmament, he said.  Malta was convinced the multilateral regime of disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements was the path towards international peace and security.

ABDURRAHMAN M. SHALGHAM ( Libya) said the disarmament arena suffered from imbalances and spotty accomplishments, evident in the continued existence of enormous nuclear arsenals and the development of new weapons, in plain disregard for the NPT.  Of particular concern was the Treaty’s resolution on the Middle East, which may not be realized because of the intransigent Israeli attitude, he said.

He said his country had taken practical steps to dispose of all its nuclear and chemical armaments and programmes in 2003.  It was convinced that the non-proliferation regime could not be sustained unless nuclear-weapon States proved that they too were committed to the implementation of the NPT’s provisions.  The lack of balance could be seen in the IAEA’s mandate, but could be addressed if all States not party to the NPT placed their nuclear facilities under the Agency’s safeguards.  The Agency should also prohibit the transfer of all nuclear-related equipment, information, material and facilities, and resources or devices and the extension of assistance in the nuclear scientific or technological fields to States not party to the Treaty, without exception.

Progress in disarmament could be made, in light of the United States’ declaration that it was committed to ratifying the CTBT, and the continued negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty, he said.  But the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only real solution.  The IAEA was the only competent authority responsible to verify and ascertain that all States parties complied with safeguards agreements.  Any form of cooperation, regardless of whether it was intended for peaceful or military purposes, between States parties and States not party to the NPT constituted a stark violation of the letter, spirit and objectives of the Treaty.  Such cooperation was not conducive to the achieving universality of the Treaty, and would threaten its credibility and contradict its purposes and principles.

He said that establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones was a real contribution to disarmament.  He called for the implementation of the IAEA resolution, adopted in September 2009, on Israeli nuclear capabilities.  As Israel was the only country in the region that had neither acceded nor declared its desire to accede to the NPT, it stood as an obstacle on the path to achieving the Treaty’s universality.  The international community and its institutions must exert pressure on Israel to accede without delay as a non-nuclear-weapon State, subject all its nuclear facilities to IAEA comprehensive safeguards and relinquish its nuclear arms in accordance with Security Council resolution 487 (1981).  That was essential to reaching the desired goal of a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East and to preventing a nuclear arms race in the region.

Indeed, reaching agreement on practical steps towards the implementation of the Treaty’s 1995 Middle East resolution, as outlined in the Arab Group’s proposal, would make this Conference a success.  He suggested convening an international conference, in accordance with General Assembly resolutions on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, in order to commence negotiations on the establishment of that zone by 2011.  He also suggested the creation of a standing committee of members of the Bureau of the 2010 Review Conference to follow up intersessionally the implementation of the recommendation concerning the 1995 Middle East resolution, as well as the establishment of a subsidiary body of the 2010 Review Conference under the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) to discuss the resolution’s implementation, determine a mechanism for its implementation and agree on related recommendations.

ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD (Sudan), aligning himself with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement, African Group and Arab Group, said it was important to avoid trends of developing new technologies under the pretext of pre-emptive deterrence and imposing conditionalities on developing nations that sought technologies for peaceful purposes.  The unilateral interpretation of the Treaty could erode it.  The Sudan looked forward to bilateral and international agreements that would lead to practical steps, benchmarks and timetables for eliminating nuclear weapons.  Also, there was a need to “dynamize” the Disarmament Conference, launch talks on a fissile material cut-off treaty, and facilitate the CTBT’s operation.

He said that the NPT did not single out any pillar, as some nuclear-weapon States promoted, but rather, it recognized the right of all parties to peacefully use nuclear energy.  The Sudan called for strengthening the IAEA’s role in hopes it would not perpetuate the Security Council’s negative practices, but be used instead in the service of all States.  The creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones was an important non-proliferation step.  Such a zone in the Middle East, despite its strategic importance, could not be realized, however, owing to Israel’s intransigence in submitting its facilities to IAEA supervision.  The 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference was conditioned on the creation of that zone.  As such, all Treaty parties should urgently take steps to implement that resolution.

He also called on all parties to take urgent measures to guarantee Israel’s immediate accession to the Treaty and to submit its nuclear facilities to IAEA supervision.  Measures must be taken to ensure nuclear-weapon States’ unconditional security guarantees for non-nuclear-weapon State NPT parties.  All information on the nature and scope of Israeli activities and facilities must be revealed, including on material previously transferred to that country.  He called on countries that had not yet done so to accede to the Treaty.  The Sudan had been among the first to accede to the NPT, the CTBT and the Pelindaba Treaty.

HAMIDON ALI (Malaysia), noting positive developments, such as the recent signing of the new START accord between the Russian Federation and United States, said nuclear-weapon States had to do more to eliminate nuclear arsenals, address the pursuit by some countries of nuclearization programmes and insistence by others to remain outside the NPT, and deal with the slow pace of reductions in strategic and non-strategic weapons.

He said that, in order to fulfil the basic nuclear bargain, it was important to address how best to promote transparency, the bedrock of trust and confidence.  Achieving the total elimination of nuclear weapons must be undertaken in a balanced and verifiable manner.  He urged an approach that incorporated step-by-step measures, within a comprehensive, time-bound framework in pursuing disarmament and non-proliferation.  Also important was the creation of an incentive system to ensure that all States parties in compliance with IAEA safeguards and verification measures were given preferential treatment in establishing programmes for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

For its part, Malaysia, since 1997, had submitted a resolution to the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) reminding States of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, in effect, reaffirming the disarmament obligation under the NPT’s article VI.  Nationally, Malaysia had enacted a new law, which would allow for supervision of the export, transhipment, transit and brokering of all strategic items.  Malaysia also supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said there was no greater threat than the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Citing the United States nuclear posture, the landmark new START accord and the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., as positive developments, she said the Secretary-General had lauded Kazakhstan’s decision to shut down a facility and urged others to follow that example.  Urgent measures should be undertaken to ensure the universality of the NPT.  The global community had not advanced its main goals of disarmament within the Treaty’s framework.  It was essential that States undertake their Treaty obligations and that nuclear-weapon States, in particular, make efforts to implement article VI.  Kazakhstan highly valued the START in that regard.  Her Government also supported the conclusion of an international legally binding nuclear weapons convention, and urged revising military doctrines.

Also, she said the CTBT was an important component of the global security architecture, and her Government had often urged its early entry into force.  Kazakhstan was encouraged by Indonesia’s announcement that it would soon ratify it.  Her country supported the inalienable right to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, which meant there should be no monopolistic approaches or double standards.  Further, the IAEA’s role should be strengthened in the inspection and transfer of fissile materials.  Kazakhstan had proposed that it host an international fuel bank to help eliminate the “blind spots” in the international legal arena.  Nuclear-weapon-free zones promoted the strengthening of collective security, and her country expected negative security assurances to demonstrate the will of the “P-5” in achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.  She welcomed the entry into force of the Pelindaba Treaty, and called for the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.

ALI’IOAIGA FETURI ELISAIA ( Samoa), recalling that the Pacific had been the scene of the only hostile uses of nuclear weaponry, said that nuclear testing had had long-term effects on the Pacific people.  The scars of fear and mistrust, as a consequence of real-life experiences, had given rise to a shared point of reference that had shaped people’s perspectives.  Nuclear weapons posed needless threats, especially to non-nuclear-weapon island States, such as his own.  The Treaty probably had some deterrent capability, but giving it unqualified credit for the absence of nuclear confrontations did not offer complete safety.

He said that Samoa had continually called for effective disarmament and the total elimination of weapons of mass destructions.  Nuclear weapons, in particular, imposed a “global curse”.  Their existence cast a shadow of danger and was one of the greatest threats to global security.  Samoa was party to various international agreements, which had as their main goal the abolition and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The world did not have the luxury of time when it came to eliminating those dangers.  All States parties must work together in an environment of trust to ensure that the risks were minimized, if not altogether eliminated.

TAWFEEQ AHMED ALMANSOOR ( Bahrain) said that the NPT represented a cornerstone in the non-proliferation arena.  This Conference was particularly important as the Treaty was facing numerous challenges, including the non-implementation of the resolution on the Middle East.  He urged States not party to the NPT to accede to it and for all States to submit their facilities to the IAEA.

He said that progress was being made, including the START agreement and the Washington Summit.  But a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and the resolution calling for its establishment must move ahead.  Based on the principle that that resolution was an integral part of the review process, the region had only one State, Israel, that had not acceded to the NPT.  The silence of the international community was a source of amazement.  The international community must demand that Israel accede to the Treaty and submit its facilities to IAEA safeguards.  If no progress was made on that resolution, then the Conference would fail.  Practical measures should be adopted to ensure the text’s implementation.

Nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes, as laid out in the NPT, could promote development worldwide, he said.  In closing, he stressed Bahrain’s hope that the international community would adopt the necessary resolutions, including one on holding an international conference to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.