Considering that there were enough nuclear weapons to put an end to the whole planet in minutes without anyone or anything able to help, nuclear doctrines were therefore “doctrines of death” in which “all were losers,” the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference heard today during its fourth day of deliberations.
Noting that nuclear Powers would invest billions modernizing their arsenals in the coming years, the representative of Venezuela said that was “a depressing picture”. Nine countries still possessed more than 16,000 nuclear weapons, and there were 1,800 warheads on maximum alert ready to be launched in minutes.
Seventy years had passed since the detonations on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he said. Today, the majority of those weapons were much more powerful — as many as 1,000 times greater than those dropped on Japan, which had reached temperatures of 4,000°C and vaporized everything in their path, including women, children, trees and buildings. The bombings had even changed the cellular make-up of the inhabitants, who, even now, were more vulnerable to certain cancers.
The Treaty, he stressed, was based on the security needs of all States parties, not just the nuclear-weapon States, and there could be no progress when the nuclear Powers did not observe their commitments.
“Despite all the public demands for disarmament,” said the representative of the Maldives, “we as leaders fail”. Global peace and security could only be achieved through collaboration and diligent action. Collectively, all countries, big and small, must stand together, side by side, and choose to close this “dark chapter of human history”.
Qatar’s representative said the five nuclear-weapon States must engage sincerely in consultations followed by concrete decisions to disarm their nuclear arsenals. Those must be coupled with concrete strategies for implementation in accordance with a binding timetable.
“We have a plan, now all we need is the political will,” said Nicaragua’s representative. Indeed, said Lithuania’s representative, the international community had agreed on several multilateral building blocks for achieving a world without nuclear weapons, and the mutually reinforcing pillars of the NPT should be promoted in a balanced manner to enhance the Treaty’s credibility, integrity and enduring importance.
All States must resolutely and urgently work to ensure that those weapons were never again used and were not proliferated, said Australia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Humanitarian Consequences Group.
At the same time, he acknowledged, eliminating nuclear weapons was only possible through substantive and constructive engagement with those States which possessed them.
The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the P-5 States Parties to the NPT, said that group was “ever cognizant” of the severe consequences that would accompany the use of nuclear weapons, and reaffirmed its resolve to prevent such an occurrence from happening. As NPT nuclear-weapon States, he said the group reaffirmed the shared goal of nuclear disarmament and did not target any state with nuclear weapons. Noting the importance of reducing the role of those weapons in national security strategies, he reaffirmed the P-5’s readiness to immediately negotiate a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
Also speaking were representatives of Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Morocco, Peru, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Australia (Vienna Group of 10), Niger, Montenegro, Thailand, Ghana, Nepal, Brunei Darussalam, Oman, Guatemala, Kenya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zambia, Malawi and Yemen.
Also speaking were representatives of Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, League of Arab States, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The representative of Iran spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Conference will meet again at 3 p.m. on Friday, 1 May, to continue its work.
GILLIAN BIRD (Australia), speaking on behalf of the Humanitarian Consequences Group, said the renewed global focus on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons had re-energized concerns about the horrific consequences that would result from a nuclear weapon detonation or a terrorist attack involving fissile material. The Group was concerned about the continuing nuclear risks to humanity and coalesced around a desire for a peaceful future for successive generations that underpinned its long-time advocacy for effective nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation progress.
She welcomed the statement delivered by Austria on behalf of a large number of countries on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, noting that it was in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear war must never occur. With more than 16,000 nuclear warheads still in existence, all States must resolutely and urgently fulfil their disarmament commitments and work to ensure that those weapons were never again used and were not proliferated. At the same time, eliminating nuclear weapons was only possible through substantive and constructive engagement with those States which possessed them.
Also needed were efforts to reduce hostility and tension among States, particularly those possessing nuclear weapons, and to pursue confidence-building measures, such as enhanced transparency of existing nuclear arsenals and a reduced role for those weapons in military doctrines. The powers of inspection, verification and reporting on global proliferation risks of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must also be strengthened. A multilateral framework or treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control was essential to a world without nuclear weapons, she said, urging Member States to work methodically and realistically to bring that about.
MANSOUR AYYAD AL-OTAIBI (Kuwait) said that the three pillars of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) should be accorded great importance. His country was committed to that Treaty and all relevant consequent documents. The current Review Conference was not just confined to searching for the best means for disarmament, but had become a dialogue for achieving that end. The only means to non-proliferation would be to get rid of nuclear weapons completely, and the only means to dispose of those weapons completely was for the possessor countries to pledge not to use them or threaten to use them. The 2010 Action Plan had pave the way for the holding of a conference on establishing a zone in the Middle East free from nuclear and other mass destruction weapons by 2012. That document, adopted by States parties, confirmed the importance of Israel’s accession to the NPT and its submission of all its nuclear installations to IAEA oversight. In addition to the earnest efforts exerted by the Arab States, Kuwait was working positively and would continue to do so for the aspirations of its people. He called on the Secretary-General to hold the Middle East conference 180 days from the adoption of a final outcome document of the present review.
ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka) said the Review Conference was an opportunity to chart a way forward avoiding the pitfalls of the past and to grasp the reality of the emerging world order. A fundamental shift in the mindset of reliance on nuclear armaments was essential to achieve the three pillars of NPT. The Review Conference was the test of the international community’s collective resolve and goodwill to strive towards ridding the world of those and other mass destruction weapons. Progress on disarmament, the central component of the Treaty regime, had been stalled for several years, and the “peaceful uses” concept had faced obstacles on its path towards practical realization in many developing countries. The promise of non-proliferation itself had been breached, with one or two regions specifically moving in the opposition direction. While efforts should continue towards the objective of general and complete disarmament, a new paradigm had emerged in the discourse, which made it imperative to achieve nuclear disarmament based on humanitarian norms.
RAMLAN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) said the destructive power of a nuclear weapon was phenomenal and it was unacceptable that enough stockpiles remained capable of destroying the world many times over. In recent years, there had been initiatives outside the Treaty that placed more focus on achieving the non-proliferation goals, which had Malaysia’s support. However, the objectives of the Treaty’s disarmament pillar had not been pursued with the corresponding urgency. This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the “infamous bargain” that facilitated the Treaty’s indefinite extension. Although some efforts had been made to reduce the numbers of nuclear weapons, the pace of disarmament was slow, as nuclear-weapon States harped on the need to accelerate non-proliferation while ignoring their disarmament obligations. Malaysia was concerned that the perennial imbalance might soon lead to a situation where “non-proliferation non-compliance” existed as a result of “disarmament non-compliance”. Article IV vested States parties with the inalienable right to nuclear equipment, materials and technology for peaceful purposes, in conformity with respective safeguards. In that context, Malaysia was perplexed about why States outside the NPT enjoyed such rights.
CALEB OTTO (Palau) said his country was proud to be the first nation in the world to have adopted a Constitution banning nuclear weapons. As a Pacific Island nation, it had a particular interest in realizing a nuclear-weapon-free world. Its region had experienced the catastrophic and ongoing humanitarian consequences of more than 300 nuclear test explosions conducted over the course of five decades. He expressed solidarity with the Marshall Islands in its proceedings before the International Court of Justice aimed at compelling the nuclear-armed States to fulfil their legal obligation to disarm.
Forty-five years after the entry into force of the NPT, it was unacceptable that more than 15,000 nuclear weapons remained in the world, threatening human survival and the planet’s fragile ecosystems. Today, his country was within striking distance of nuclear warheads from an “unfriendly” nation. He expressed support for the various initiatives undertaken to build momentum for a treaty banning nuclear weapons, such as the pledge delivered at the Vienna Conference in December 2014, stating that such a treaty would complement the NPT and others, including the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
ROBERT G. AISI (Papua New Guinea) said collective efforts must be reinvigorated to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction, which continued to case a “dark and ominous shadow of obliteration and death”. He was also deeply concerned at the scant disarmament progress had been made; since the NPT 2010 review, all NPT nuclear-armed States had been investing in the modernization of their nuclear armaments with the clear intention of retaining them for many more decades. That ran counter to the Treaty’s article VI. He appreciated the recent focus on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons. He also supported the pledges issued at the Vienna Conference on that issue to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. At the regional level, nuclear weapons had been prohibited through the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone. His country was also hosting a radionuclide international monitoring station, as part of the global network established by the United Nations to monitor and detect atmospheric and underground weapons testing.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said the nuclear Powers would invest billions in the modernization of their nuclear arsenal in the coming years, which was a depressing picture. Nine countries still possessed more than 16,000 nuclear weapons, and there were 1,800 warheads on maximum alert ready to be launched in a few minutes. The majority of those weapons were much more powerful than those dropped on Japan. How could there be progress on the NPT when the nuclear Powers did not observe their commitments? The Treaty was based on the security needs of all States parties, and not just the nuclear-weapon States, and he urged them to make speedy progress towards eliminating their arsenals.
Despite the 1967 Treaty of Tlateloco, he said, the Latin American and Caribbean region still felt threatened by a possible nuclear attack, and therefore, appealed to the nuclear-weapon States to pledge to never use those weapons against any of those countries. Seventy years had passed since the detonations on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, reaching temperatures of 4,000°C, vaporizing everything in its path including women, children, trees and buildings. The explosions changed the cellular make-up of the inhabitants, even those who had survived, and today, they were even more vulnerable to certain cancers. Some of the bombs detonated in tests had a potency far greater than those used in Japan — as many as 1,000 times greater than Hiroshima. There were enough nuclear weapons to put an end to the whole planet in minutes, without anyone or anything able to help. Given that, he asked why the international community could not put an end to those weapons. Nuclear doctrines were “doctrines of death”, where all were losers.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania), associating with the European Union, said the mutually reinforcing pillars of the NPT should be promoted in a balanced manner to enhance the Treaty’s credibility, integrity and enduring importance. The international community had agreed on several multilateral building blocks for achieving a world without nuclear weapons; the two next logical steps were the early entry into force of CTBT and immediate negotiations on a treaty to ban the production of fissile material. In today’s turbulent security environment, non-proliferation challenges continued to threaten international stability. Twenty years ago, Ukraine, following Belarus and Kazakhstan, had joined the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States and removed Soviet-era nuclear weapons — the third largest arsenal in the world at the time — from its territory in exchange for security assurances. The Russian Federation, by illegally occupying Crimea and using a whole array of means to destabilize eastern Ukraine, had breached United Nations Charter obligations, the Budapest Memorandum, as well as the very foundations of international law. Those blatant violations had serious ramifications for the NPT and disarmament as a whole.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said the irreversible consequences of the use of nuclear weapons on the environment and human lives compelled Member States to advance more than ever the prohibition of those weapons. Deploring the delay in CTBT’s entry into force, he urged all States, especially all nuclear Powers, to ratify it. He stressed that there should be no barriers to respect the right of States to peaceful use of nuclear energy. The non-proliferation regime relied on a delicate balance between rights and obligations — a balance that must be preserved and strengthened, he said, urging all States to respect the commitments they had undertaken. The Review Conference must undertake measures to ensure the holding of the conference on the Middle East without further delay on establishing a zone there free of nuclear and other mass destruction weapons, thereby strengthening regional peace and security.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Review Conference should culminate in a consensus document supporting disarmament. If the world wanted to reduce remaining nuclear arsenals, it was also necessary to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. He welcomed the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms and urged the parties to make progress. The possibility of acquisition of radioactive materials by non-State actors was a real threat, and he called on relevant parties to increase the security of nuclear facilities and for strengthened capacities for detection and verification. It was also essential to bolster the IAEA safeguards regime. He supported the decision to open an office in Monaco to examine oceans with the Ocean Acidification Coordination Centre.
FREDERICK M.M. SHAVA (Zimbabwe) said the total elimination of nuclear weapons must remain the highest priority of the NPT, and he called on States parties to demonstrate the requisite political will. Expressing grave concern over the reported modernization of the existing nuclear weapons, he stressed the need to engage in candid and honest dialogue with the States possessors not party to the NPT, in an effort to bring them on board. After all, whether nuclear weapons were possessed by States parties to the NPT or by those on the outside, those weapons nevertheless threatened humankind. Zimbabwe viewed the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995, not as a sign of success, but as a warning that the world was increasingly sliding into the danger zone. Before totally eliminating their arsenals, nuclear-weapon States must continue to provide concrete legally binding security assurances, particularly to non-armed States. While recognizing the inalienable right of all countries to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Zimbabwe believed that IAEA, as the chief nuclear watchdog, must never be seen as biased towards some and lenient towards others.
ÁLVARO MENDONCA E MOURA (Portugal) said strengthening the NPT in its three pillars by promoting its universalization and credibility was a crucial task that remained underperformed, therefore, requiring further collective engagement. Effective, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament was key to prevent all the risks of their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. He supported the complete fulfilment of NPT article VI obligations through further reductions of nuclear arsenals, their de-alerting, the entry into force of CTBT and the beginning of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty. Furthermore, he stressed the need for all States to participate in those negotiations, and urged an expanded membership in the Conference on Disarmament, which would contribute to overcoming its lengthy stagnation.
AHMAD HASSEN AL HAMMADI (Qatar), associating with the Arab Group and Non-Aligned Movement, said the five nuclear-weapon States must engage sincerely in consultations followed by concrete and decisive decisions to disarm their nuclear arsenals. Those must be coupled with concrete strategies for implementation in accordance with a binding timetable. In the meantime, there must be strict security assurances to put an end to the use of such weapons. He encouraged the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones and reiterated the priority need for security assurances. The right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy had been affirmed as inalienable, he said, urging all to work together to promote that right and not to endanger it.
RICHARD MATHEWS, Director of the Department for Foreign Affairs of Australia, speaking on behalf of the Vienna Group of 10, discussed the group’s meetings, which revolved around so-called “Vienna issues”, including peaceful use of nuclear energy, nuclear safety, security and safeguards, export controls and nuclear testing. Additionally, the group discussed withdrawal from the NPT, as that carried inherent risks to non-proliferation. On the NPT, he noted slow progress on the implementation of nuclear commitments, lack of universality and non-compliance challenges, which had undermined confidence in it. Despite those challenges, the Treaty’s full implementation remained essential to facilitating the use of nuclear applications in human health, water management, agriculture and environment protection. The paper prepared by the group represented a carefully negotiated consensus, consisting of specific recommendations and supporting background material, in the hope it would encourage delegates to focus on the importance of Vienna issues.
ZEINABOU MINDAOUDOU SOULEY (Niger), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the 2010 Review Conference had been deeply concerned about the potential catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons use. With the coming adoption of the post-2015 agenda, which sought to place human beings and the environment at the heart of development, nuclear disarmament should be integrated, as well. No country or organization had the means to respond to such disasters. The indefinite extension of the NPT was no argument to delay the elimination of the nuclear threat, which was the best pathway to global security. Her country had acceded to the NPT and ratified the CTBT. It worked closely with the Security Council 1540 Committee on the implementation of that resolution. Niger hosted a primary seismic station and was in the process of installing a monitoring system able to detect noble gases. The international context was marked with difficulties for nuclear disarmament and the entry into force of CTBT, despite supporters and facilitators, and she, therefore, recommended greater transparency, confidence-building and increased political will.
IVANA PAJEVIĆ (Montenegro), associating with the European Union Delegation, said universalization of the NPT, one of the most important preconditions for full implementation of its provisions, should remain high on the agenda. The prompt entry into force and universalization of CTBT and immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty were also priorities. Her country was strongly committed to the fulfilment of all international obligations arising from its membership in various multilateral arms control and non-proliferation agreements. It had established an effective export control system, taking into account measures, such as intangible technology transfers and others requiring particular vigilance. It had adopted a national action plan for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) and further strengthened its national security system in order to contribute to in that area.
CHAYAPAN BAMRUNGPHONG (Thailand), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that a world free of nuclear weapons was not a “pipe dream”, but rather a clear and achievable goal. Although NPT obligations had remained largely unfulfilled, no one was to blame, but everyone was responsible. Nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States alike needed courage, as well as creativity and flexibility to “move the mountain” forward in a constructive manner. Support was needed for more focused discussions, as well as to address the legal deficit on nuclear weapons and forge ahead with further international law. Thailand was the depository State of the Bangkok Treaty, establishing the South-East Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone, and strongly supported such efforts in all other regions.
PHILBERT JOHNSON (Ghana), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, said his country had benefitted from peaceful nuclear technologies in the areas of agriculture, health, industry and the environment, among others. He expressed appreciation for IAEA’s support, but noted that Ghana required further assistance in capacity-building, as well as support in peaceful nuclear technology for sustainable development. He called for the total elimination by nuclear-weapon States of those weapons and urged States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the CTBT, NPT and other related instruments. Pending the total elimination of nuclear arsenals, he joined the call for nuclear-weapon States to pursue and conclude a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument that provided negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.
SEWA LAMSAL ADHIKARI (Nepal) expressed gratitude for the support, sympathy and solidarity from friendly countries and donors, including the United Nations, for the tragic earthquake of 25 April. It was still very difficult to assess the full damages and destruction to life, property and other infrastructure. There were more than 5,000 people dead and over 11,000 wounded, but those counts were rising. At the current stage, the focus was on search, rescue and relief operations on an emergency basis with a focus on remote villages that were isolated and out of the reach of transportation and communication networks.
Associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, she said that history had witnessed many conferences and commitments to the non-proliferation and disarmament of nuclear weapons since the NPT came into force in 1970. The Treaty’s three interlinked pillars were part of an integrative whole, and a selective approach was costly. An effective implementation of the 13 practical steps adopted as part of the final document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference was crucial to realize the Treaty’s disarmament obligations. A time-bound, general and complete disarmament of all biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons of mass destruction was necessary for sustained peace. Nuclear-weapon-free zones in all regions were a building block for complete disarmament at the global level.
NORAZLIANAH IBRAHIM (Brunei Darussalam), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement States parties to the NPT and Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said his country had a well-established policy that prohibited the development, acquisition and proliferation of any kind of weapon of mass destruction or their delivery systems. He stressed the importance of the early commencement of negotiations on a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons to prohibit the same and to provide for their destruction. Noting the importance, as well, of the full entry into force of the CTBT, he called on the remaining Annex 2 States, whose signature and ratification were crucial, to materialise their commitment. Increasing regional security remained a top priority for his country, and in that regard, being a State party to the Treaty of the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone was an effective way to contribute significantly to the maintenance of peace and security in the region. He expressed support for the ongoing efforts to increase security in other regions and for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
MOHAMED AHMED AL-SHANFARI (Oman) stressed that the credibility of the NPT itself was under review, as it should be based on its three pillars. He supported initiatives that underscored the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and called for the universalization of the NPT. Turning to the Middle East, he urged Israel to join the Treaty and place its nuclear weapons under IAEA safeguards. A nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region was necessary, and he asked Member States to take into consideration the paper submitted by the Arab Group. The right to peaceful use of nuclear energy should be enjoyed by all countries, he added, especially if it accelerated their economic and social development.
MATTHEW ROWLAND (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the P-5 NPT States parties, reaffirmed the group’s enduring commitment to the Treaty, describing it as indispensable to the maintenance of international security. Every State party benefited from a strong and effective NPT regime and could contribute to its implementation by helping to prevent proliferation, foster the safe and secure use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and create conditions conducive to nuclear disarmament. He expressed commitment to strengthening each of the Treaty’s mutually reinforcing pillars, which was complementary goals and should be pursued together. As NPT nuclear-weapon States, the group reaffirmed the shared goal of nuclear disarmament in general and complete disarmament as referenced in the preamble and provided for in article VI. The group continued to pursue progressive and concrete steps towards that end, including the recommendations of the Action Plan, in a way that promoted international stability, peace and security, and based on the principle of increased and undiminished security for all.
He said that an incremental, step-by-step approach was the only practical option for making progress towards nuclear disarmament, while upholding global strategic security and stability. Ever cognizant of the severe consequences that would accompany the use of nuclear weapons, the P-5 reaffirmed its resolve to prevent such an occurrence from happening. The group further affirmed that it did not target any State with nuclear weapons and noted the importance of reducing their role in national security strategies. The commitment to nuclear disarmament extended to efforts to bring the CTBT into force at an early date. The P-5 reaffirmed its support and readiness to immediately negotiate a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The group also reaffirmed its commitment to existing security assurances regarding the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and continued to reiterate the importance of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East. The group reaffirmed the right of NPT parties to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful use, without discrimination and in conformity with their non-proliferation obligations. While States parties had the right to withdraw from the NPT, such a withdrawal must be done in accordance with its article X.
MONICA BOLAÑOS (Guatemala) noted the full implementation of the NPT as a legal obligation, which must be demonstrated and not postponed. Billions of dollars were wasted to maintain and modernize nuclear arsenals. In the current and complicated international security context it was urgent to pursue disarmament, she said, appealing to the nuclear-weapon States to increase transparency and make progress towards a total and verifiable process. She welcomed the central role of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, especially in light of the fact that no State was able to cope with a nuclear explosion. It was, therefore, essential to agree on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear arms, she added, while urging a moratorium on nuclear testing until the CTBT entered into force.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua) recognized progress made in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and in non-proliferation, crediting the NPT. Nevertheless, 16,000 nuclear warheads still existed and were ready to be launched. That, he added, could “put an end to Mother Earth and human beings”. Yet, those weapons’ modernization continued. General nuclear disarmament was the only viable option, he said, making a strong appeal for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. A specific timeframe with concrete measurements was needed, and in that connection, he hoped for a universal and legally binding instrument at the end of conference. Recognizing that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was a crime against humanity, he said “we have a plan, now all we need is the political will”.
KOKI MULI GRIGNON (Kenya), recognizing the growing tensions between major Powers and differing expectations and assessments of the implementation of the 2010 Action Plan, reiterated the need for all States parties to agree on the next course of action. Addressing nuclear-weapon States, she emphasized their need to comply with their respective disarmament commitments and for the Conference to move away from the incremental, step-by-step approach, to a more concrete and results-oriented one. She welcomed the growing momentum on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, asking that related recommendations become key elements of the deliberations on the Conference’s outcome document. That text, she added, should be both backward and forward looking and avoid the “rollover” approach, hoping rather for an action-oriented outcome.
JEFFREY SALIM WAHEED (Maldives), noting recent progress on implementation of the three pillars of the NPT, said only nine States held nuclear weapons today. However, as of the middle of 2014, an estimated 16,300 remained in global stockpiles, and not all parties to the NPT had decreased them. Evident, too, was the continued role of those weapons in national security policies. Further, with the rise of non-State actors, including terrorist groups, which operated unregulated, outside the NPT framework, there was an ever growing risk that nuclear weapons could fall into the wrong hands.
He urged all States to prevent the proliferation of those weapons, and nuclear-weapon States to honour their commitments to full disarmament and refrain from nuclear testing. Turning to non-proliferation education, he said individuals must be trained and empowered to contribute to achieving disarmament and non-proliferation under effective, international control. More urgent was enlightenment on those issues at the leadership level. “Despite all the public demands for disarmament, we as leaders fail,” he said. Global peace and security could only be achieved through collaboration and diligent action. Collectively, all countries, big and small, must stand together, side by side, and choose to close this “dark chapter of human history”.
MIRZA PAŠIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), associating with the European Union Delegation, said her country had joined the NPT in 1994 and ratified the CTBT in 2005. She called upon all States parties to work in a spirit of compromise and flexibility in order to reach a constructive outcome in connection with the three main pillars of the NPT. Bosnia and Herzegovina had no nuclear facilities and it had no plans to build any. However, some types of ionizing radiation sources were used in the country, mostly in medicine and in smaller volume in industry, agriculture and other fields. The country fully supported the work and mission of the IAEA and would continue to engage both as a member State and a member of its Board of Governors. To make the radiation sources safe and secure for its citizens, it fully cooperated with the IAEA in the fields of technical assistance, education and training, among others. In 2007, it had adopted the Act on Radiation and Nuclear Safety, which regulated the system of control and protected the people and the environment from exposure.
ERICK MWEWA (Zambia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, welcomed the recent global focus on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, noting that it had brought much energy and impetus to nuclear disarmament discussions. Recalling the pledge issued at the Vienna Conference, he said filling the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons would require the negotiation of a treaty that clearly prohibited those weapons based on their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. Expressing support for the IAEA, he underscored the importance of strictly observing its statute and relevant comprehensive safeguards agreements. Regarding a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, he urged all stakeholders in the region to implement in full the 1995 resolutions which remained valid. In closing, he called for universalization of the NPT.
GEORGE JAFFU (Malawi) said the only way to be assured of security and posterity was to outlaw and eliminate nuclear weapons. Noting the lack of commitment to complete disarmament, he said what was evident instead was the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology. Further, the humanitarian initiative had shown that there was a legal gap that had to be filled, which could be addressed only by developing another legally binding instrument to outlaw and eliminate those weapons. As a signatory to the Pelindaba Treaty, his country aimed for a world free of nuclear weapons and would continue to cooperate with other like-minded States and actors to achieve that goal. Recalling the Austrian pledge made at the end of the Vienna Conference, he reiterated Malawi’s support for placing the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons at the centre of the disarmament agenda.
AMJAD QUAID AHMED AL-KUMAIM (Yemen), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the League of Arab States, stressed the need for transparent and inclusive multilateral efforts towards reaching the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The Treaty’s three pillars must be implemented in a balanced and impartial manner, which was the key to its success. Nuclear weapons were a threat to humanity and international peace and security, which was justification enough for their elimination. It was time to begin negotiations on a comprehensive convention that ended the threat once and for all. Israel’s pursuit of nuclear weapons had plunged the region into danger, he said, stressing the importance of creating a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. The peaceful use of nuclear energy was the inalienable right of NPT States parties and they needed to do so in a transparent and verifiable manner.
LUIZ FILIPE DE MACEDO SOARES, Secretary-General of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, said the starting point of the ninth Review Conference was the final document of the last one. It was, therefore, necessary to assess the level of compliance with the 2010 Action Plan in order to make prospective decisions and commitments for the next five years. The NPT review process could not be a “circular cycle” always returning to the point of departure. There were delays and setbacks, but the vision had to be future-oriented. The Conference was responsible for making decisions to ensure compliance with all NPT undertakings, including action 5 adopted in 2010, which stated that it must “take stock and consider the next steps for the full implementation of article VI”.
During the last five years, he said, new conflicts had emerged in the global scenario. In many regions, the humanitarian and political conditions had seriously deteriorated, as in the case of the Middle East. That was an additional reason to move ahead in implementing the 1995 resolution on the Middle East and the decision to convene a conference on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction there. The Agency submitted to the Conference for consideration a working paper containing 16 items that Latin America and Caribbean States deemed essential for progress in the implementation of the NPT and urged their inclusion in the final document.
AHMED FATHALLA, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, said the Arab League met its non-proliferation obligations through submission of an annual report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) at the regional level. He expressed several concerns about non-compliance, such as that revealed in a declassified American document dated April 1987 and released in March 2015, which indicated cooperation with Israel that contributed to its production of hydrogen bombs — if such information was accurate. The situation must be rectified immediately and any technical cooperation with the States that were not party to the Treaty, particularly Israel, must be stopped. Also of concern was the resolution of the Nuclear Suppliers Group on cooperation with States that were not parties to the Treaty, as well as the failure to achieve the universality of the Treaty, with Israel rejecting accession to it.
He stressed the right of all States parties to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. He rejected double standards, noting that States parties to the NPT made exceptions for non-States parties to peaceful uses of nuclear energy outside the scope of the Treaty and the IAEA safeguards regime, while attempts existed to impose additional restrictions on the peaceful uses for States parties to the Treaty. He regretted the failure to convene the 2012 conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of all weapons of mass destruction. Despite the cooperation and flexibility of the Arab States over the past five years, the Israeli position had been obstinate, insisting on involving issues outside the conference framework, considering only its so-called security concerns. Arab States would continue to work constructively to establish that zone, and a working paper on that had been submitted to the Conference.
PHILIP SPOERRI, delivering a statement on behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said it was the horrific suffering witnessed in Hiroshima, while supporting the Japanese Red Cross in assisting the victims of the atomic bombing, which led the organization in September 1945 to call on States to prohibit nuclear weapons. Five years ago, States parties to the NPT recognized for the first time the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”. The 2010 NPT final document committed nuclear-armed States parties to accelerating progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament and to take further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons.
Yet, 45 years after the NPT’s entry into force, there had been little or no concrete progress to fulfilling that goal, he said. Nuclear weapons were the only weapon of mass destruction not explicitly and comprehensively prohibited under international law. In light of their catastrophic consequences, which the NPT States parties had recognized, filling the gap was a humanitarian imperative. Until the last nuclear weapon was eliminated, more must be done to diminish the immediate risk of intentional or accidental detonations. The seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should inspire all States to reaffirm the commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons and to take concrete action in that direction.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Iran said Canada’s delegate had made baseless allegations against the peaceful nuclear programme of his country, which he did not want to dignify with a reply. Canada, as a member of a well-known military alliance, continued to support the use of nuclear weapons against other countries. Moreover, Canada’s silence on the threat posed by Israel to the region indicated the hypocrisy and deceit of its policies. While all parties welcomed the preliminary agreement between the P5+1 and Iran, Canada espoused a stubbornness that was compatible with Israel’s.
Furthermore, he said, a country of the Persian Gulf that invaded a neighbour had, ironically, accused Iran of interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. Resorting to the logic of force was certainly doomed to fail. As a source of stability in the wider region, Iran would continue its constructive role in restoring peace and stability.
Referring to the 2015 Review Conference’s decision to allow Israel to participate as an observer, the Iranian representative said that that move in no way could be construed as his country’s recognition of Israel. The mere presence of Israel at the Review Conference in no way diminished the threat it posed to the region. Iran would not object to the Conference’s decision if Israel would soon desist from violating its international obligations.