Mideast situation – NPT Review Conference/Statements – Press release (excerpts)




Failure of Nuclear Weapon States to Meet Disarmament Promises,

Nuclear-Free Middle East among Other Issues Raised in General Debate


The Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continued its general debate today.  For further information, please see Press Release DC/2954 of 28 April 2005.


STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) …

Bulgaria had been among the first countries to sign and ratify the Agency’s Additional Protocol, and he called for its universalization.  He fully supported speakers’ calls to have that approved as an indispensable verification norm.  Regrettably, the CTBT had not yet entered into force.  That Treaty was a major instrument for strengthening the non-proliferation and disarmament regime.  He, therefore, called on the Conference to reconfirm its significance and on all States to accede to it as soon as possible.  The immediate start of talks on a non-discriminatory and comprehensive fissile material cut-off treaty was imperative.  Nuclear-weapon-free zones also played an important part in safeguarding regional peace and security.  Those additional instruments might build confidence and could be implemented with positive results in various regions.  He expressed support for the transformation of the Middle East into a zone free from nuclear weapons.  The Conference could not afford to fail, given what was at stake, he said.


To strengthen the NPT regime, he supported the establishment of a subsidiary body, as soon as possible, to draft a legally-binding instrument relating to the negative security assurances.  A nuclear-weapon-free zone must be established in the Middle East, as a matter of urgency.  The IAEA should also be strengthened, particularly where its safeguards work is concerned.

JAMAL NASSER AL-BADER (Qatar), on behalf of the Arab Group, …

Qatar supported the principle of strengthening the safeguards regime, but under current international circumstances, it was necessary to adhere to the Additional Protocol on a voluntary basis, he said.  The right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes should be guaranteed, without discrimination.  The Arab countries, therefore, joined their voice with others who had stated that the Treaty’s text should not be interpreted in any way that negatively affected the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  An important issue on the regional scene was the denuclearization of the Middle East.  The Arab countries had acted over the years to render the region free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  Through Syria, they had submitted to the Security Council in December 2003 a draft plan to render the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, but that had been thwarted.

He recalled that the outcomes of the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences had included the plan to denuclearize the Middle East, but Israel remained the only State in the region not party to the NPT.  He asked Israel to proceed urgently to join the Treaty and to submit its nuclear facilities to global IAEA safeguards.  He asked the Conference to give all necessary time for consideration of the matter and to agree on practical machinery that would allow for implementation of that 1995 Review Conference resolution on the Middle East.  He specifically called for the creation of a subsidiary body as part of the Disarmament Commission, as well as the creation of a support or standing committee to deal with the issue.  During the intersessional period, the Group also asked that the nuclear Powers to shoulder their responsibility and affirm that commitment to that resolution.

Action on Observers

The Conference then decided to allow the Observer of Palestine to participate in its in proceedings as an observer.

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Document symbol: DC/2962
Document Type: Press Release
Document Sources: Secretary-General
Subject: Arms control and regional security issues
Publication Date: 10/05/2005

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