Press Releases

    DC/2960
    6 May 2005

    Non-Proliferation Treaty Challenged by Clandestine Programmes, Withdrawal, but Remains Global Security “Cornerstone”, Review Conference Told

    NEW YORK, 5 May (UN Headquarters) -- The 2005 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continued today at United Nations Headquarters with non-nuclear-weapon States parties continuing to underline troubling signs of erosion of the 35-year-old regime, but two nuclear-weapon States parties -- France and the United Kingdom -- expressed unwavering support for that [cornerstone of global security] and pointed a way forward for addressing the challenges it currently faced.

    France’s Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva said it was time to draw conclusions from the now mature debate and unite to implement concrete measures in keeping with the challenges to be addressed.  Many States parties feared that strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime would call into question the right to peaceful uses of nuclear power.  Quite the reverse:  it was the unrestricted development of proliferation by some States that posed such a risk.  France would ensure that the right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was preserved and fully exercised for countries that “unambiguously” complied with their international obligations.

    He said that the consequences of withdrawal from the Treaty should be studied, both for the State concerned and for the rest of international community.  The Conference must recall the principle whereby a State remained internationally liable for Treaty violations committed before a possible withdrawal.  The Security Council should be encouraged to consider all cases of withdrawal from the Treaty.  Also useful would be for intergovernmental agreements on major transfers of nuclear items to contain a clause prohibiting the use of previously transferred nuclear materials, facilities, equipment and technologies in the event of a withdrawal.  The Conference should affirm that a State withdrawing from the Treaty must freeze -- under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) control -- and then dismantle and return the nuclear items purchased from a third country for peaceful uses and prior to withdrawal. 

    The United Kingdom’s representative added that, to be frank, a few States had taken advantage of the Treaty to develop clandestine nuclear weapons programmes.  In so doing, they had challenged all who cherished and valued the NPT.  Everyone must work to prevent future abuses of the Treaty, so as to ensure that nuclear energy could continue to be available to all those States who sought it for peaceful uses only.  Concerted action was needed to resolve cases of States parties in violation of their nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards obligations, such as through suspension of nuclear fuel cycle cooperation.

    He agreed with France and several other speakers during the course of the debate that the issue of withdrawal from the Treaty must be addressed.  It must be ensured that any State deciding to withdraw could not subsequently benefit from nuclear technologies obtained while a State party, or seek to use them in furtherance of an illegal nuclear weapons programme.  He noted with concern the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s claimed possession of nuclear weapons in violation of its commitments under the NPT and its IAEA safeguards agreement.  He called on that country to cease and declare all past nuclear activity, and to completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programmes. 

    Insisting that international peace and security could not be achieved through acquisition or threat of use of weapons of mass destruction, Libya’s representative said that, on 19 December 2003, his country had voluntary announced it was ridding itself of all equipment and programmes leading to the production of mass destruction weapons.  It had, thus, placed before the nuclear-weapon States their responsibility to provide assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  The non-nuclear-weapon States had undertaken not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons provided that the nuclear-weapon States show good intentions as well.  He was particularly disappointed, therefore, at the lack of any progress towards nuclear disarmament, especially the retention of those weapons by Israel, outside IAEA safeguards. 

    The Treaty became operational in 1970 and aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, foster the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and further the goal of general and complete disarmament.  Review Conferences have been held every five years, and the current one began here Monday.  All but three UN Member States -- India, Israel and Pakistan -- are parties to it.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea announced its withdrawal in January 2003.

    Before adjourning the meeting this afternoon, Conference President, Sergio de Queiroz Duarte (Brazil), announced the election of five candidatures from the Group of Non-Aligned and Other States, as additional Vice-Presidents:  Senegal; Bangladesh; Malaysia; Philippines; and Mexico. 

    In the first plenary meeting, the Conference had appointed five of six members of the Credentials Committee.  Following the recommendation of the Group of Non-Aligned and Other States, the Conference today elected Guyana as the sixth member of the Credentials Committee.  The following posts remain vacant:  three Vice-Presidents; Chairman of the Credentials Committee; and Vice-Chairmen of Main Committee I and II, as well as of Vice Chairman of the Drafting Committee. 

    Statements in the general debate were also made by the representatives of Ukraine, Jamaica, Bangladesh, Singapore, Viet Nam, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Serbia and Montenegro, United Republic of Tanzania, Cuba, Cambodia, Marshall Islands, and Mauritius.

    The NPT Review Conference will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 6 May, to continue its general debate.

    Background

    The 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) met today to continue its general debate.  (For background on the month-long Conference, see Press Release DC/2954 issued on 28 April.)

    Statements

    IHOR DOLHOV, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said that Ukraine’s landmark decision to forswear its nuclear arsenal -- the world’s third largest -- had been crucial for progress in nuclear disarmament.  That move had been among the factors that led to the successful outcome of the 1995 Review Conference.  Ukraine strictly abided by the basic guidelines set out by the major multilateral export control regimes.  Concerning new measures taken by the international community to prevent nuclear proliferation, he noted the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).  Ukraine participated in the PSI and was currently exploring ways to broaden its participation. 

    Noting that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons continued to exist, he urged the nuclear-weapon States to demonstrate in practice their determination to pursue nuclear disarmament under article VI of the Treaty.  Ukraine, as a State that had contributed to the cause of nuclear disarmament within the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) I framework, believed that the reductions in nuclear arsenals, particularly under the Moscow Treaty, should be irreversible.  Ukraine continued to call on the two nuclear-weapon States to pursue the reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons. 

    Pending the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), he urged all States with nuclear capabilities to abide by the global nuclear weapon test moratorium and refrain from any actions, which might undermine the CTBT objectives.  He also stressed the necessity to spare no effort to surmount the protracted political impasse in the Conference on Disarmament and to commence negotiations on the fissile material cut-off treaty.  In addition, he called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the States that sought to play a leading role in the settlement of the crisis on the Korean peninsula to do their best to resume the six-party talks with an aim to settle the crisis in accordance with international law. 

    He believed that legally binding security assurances by the nuclear-weapon States to the non-nuclear-weapon States would significantly strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime by eliminating plausible incentives for pursuing nuclear capabilities.  In addition, the establishment of zones free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction facilitated the maintenance of peace and security at both the global and regional levels.  He welcomed the efforts made by the Central Asian States to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in that region.

    STAFFORD O. NEIL (Jamaica) said that many statements made from this podium during the week had expressed disappointment at the continuing lack of any real progress in the multilateral disarmament agenda.  He fully shared those concerns.  Since 2000, the feeling had grown stronger that the NPT was in crisis.  Reports of developments of new nuclear weapons and improvements in weapons capability among nuclear-weapon States, a withdrawal from the Treaty, and reports of clandestine networks that might have assisted nuclear weapons proliferation had been troubling.  Equally troubling had been the negative attitude of the nuclear Powers and the accusations made against certain countries as being part of a network of instability.  All of that had contributed to a heightened sense of insecurity.  In the face of inherent threats against their security, some States had begun to place greater emphasis on the nuclear option, in order to bolster their right to self-defence.  That had put at risk the delicate balance of disarmament and non-proliferation objectives of the NPT, which were essential to peace and security.

    He said that there had been some positive steps, including accession to the Treaty by Cuba and Timor-Leste and agreement among the Central Asian States to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in their region.  Yet, much remained to be done.  The CTBT had still not entered into force, and a nuclear-weapon-free zone had still not been established in the Middle East.  It might be time for the review process to consider alternative and pragmatic ways to encourage the Treaty’s universality by recognizing the valid security concerns of countries.  The so-called “grand bargain” that allowed agreement to be reached on the Treaty must be adhered to both in letter and spirit.  Progress towards nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament anticipated by previous Conferences had not been realized.  The main burden of responsibility for that situation must be borne by the nuclear-weapon States, which had, so far, failed to live up to their article VI obligations to pursue negotiations in good faith for nuclear disarmament.

    The Conference should also address the predominance of non-proliferation concerns in relation to horizontal rather than vertical proliferation at the expense of disarmament commitments, he said.  Similarly, the view should consider ways to strengthen the disarmament regime through implementation of the NPT.  In addition, special group arrangements to support non-proliferation should be subjected to universal, intergovernmental discussion before being integrated as part of the NPT regime.  Preservation of article IV obligations was also of paramount importance.  In a time of diminishing resources and increased energy costs, the benefits to be gained through the peaceful application of nuclear energy remained of value to the developing world.  Such access should not be denied based on a selective and limited interpretation of events.  The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) role in providing monitoring and verification should also be strengthened.

    IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that nuclear proliferation, both vertical and horizontal, must be dealt with in a comprehensive manner to achieve the goal of general and complete disarmament.  He called on all to implement the 13 steps outlined in the final document of the 2000 Review Conference, and expressed concern at the lack of progress in compliance of the nuclear-weapon States in that regard.  He also called on all States to start negotiations to conclude a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. 

    He welcomed the reduction of nuclear arsenals through arrangements outside the NPT.  However, he believed that those should complement, not substitute, the NPT.  He was also concerned at the continued development of new types of nuclear weapons.  Enhanced sophistication and increased precision could only raise the dangers of use.  Bangladesh, located in an extremely volatile part of the world, attached particular importance to universalization of the NPT.  Two States in his region, India and Pakistan, had acquired nuclear weapon capability.  He was encouraged by their decision to impose a self-moratorium on further nuclear testing.  At the same time, he called on them to join the NPT, and to submit their nuclear facilities to full surveillance of the IAEA, as envisaged in the 2000 Final Document. 

    Negative security assurances were vital to strengthening the NPT, he said.  It discouraged non-nuclear States from opting for nuclear weapons.  That arrangement had largely been diluted in recent years through imposition of unrelated preconditions by the nuclear-weapon States.  He called on the nuclear-weapon States to reaffirm their commitment to providing negative security assurances, which would go a long way towards preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  In addition, he placed enormous value on the work of the IAEA in preventing nuclear weapons proliferation, and encouraged the Agency to further strengthen its comprehensive safeguards and verification systems.  He also favoured further deepening of the Agency’s technical assistance programmes.

    VANU GOPALA MENON (Singapore) said that compliance with various non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament treaties, above all the NPT, remained a key priority for Singapore.  Compliance provided the international community with the credible assurance that the NPT’s integrity and inviolability was maintained.  A key step to strengthening compliance was to strengthen the IAEA’s safeguards system through universal adherence to and full respect for obligations.  States parties who had yet to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency should do so without delay.  Heightened international security concerns had raised calls for the adoption of the Additional Protocol as the new non-proliferation standard.  That was a valid concern that his country shared, and it hoped to conclude the Additional Protocol at the earliest opportunity. 

    While Singapore supported efforts to help countries reap the benefits of harnessing the peaceful use of nuclear technology, he strongly urged countries to use such technology responsibly.  The Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference explicitly highlighted the prominence of the NPT’s non-proliferation and safeguards commitments in relation to peaceful nuclear technology transfer and technical cooperation activities.  Ensuring that such peaceful nuclear activities were carried out in strict adherence to international standards on nuclear safety and security was equally important.  Fostering a climate of confidence via strict compliance of one’s nuclear programmes with non-proliferation, security and safety measures, in turn, fostered an enabling environment that would help generate greater momentum towards international cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

    The discovery of a sophisticated and clandestine nuclear procurement network supplying nuclear material, equipment and technology was deeply worrying, he said.  It was imperative for States to exercise individual and collective efforts to counter such threats, and continue to find ways to enhance international cooperation to curb the rise of proliferation networks.  In that regard, Singapore also supported the full and effective implementation of Security Council resolution 1540, which called on Member States to enhance domestic controls and step up cooperation against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  While legally binding multilateralism should form the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and promote global security prospects, other initiatives, such as the PSI, were important elements that helped bolster ongoing international non-proliferation efforts. 

    LE LUONG MINH (Viet Nam) recalled that the NPT was concluded on the basis of the balance of interests between the States that had nuclear weapons and those that did not.  In order for the Treaty to “remain firm”, that balance of interests among States parties must be maintained and the three pillars on which the Treaty was founded must be strengthened.  Continued absence of an equal treatment of vertical and horizontal aspects of non-proliferation would only push the parties farther away from a world free from nuclear weapons, which was the Treaty’s final objective.  All States parties were obliged to live up to their commitments to implement their Treaty obligations and those flowing from the review process.  Presently, however, the Treaty’s situation was not rosy, and implementation had been uneven.  While the non-proliferation regime had been strictly observed by the overwhelming majority of more than 180 non-nuclear-weapon States, disarmament had not enjoyed the level of emphasis placed in an unbalanced manner by nuclear-weapon States on non-proliferation.

    He said that, despite limited progress in reducing the number of deployed nuclear warheads, the rest of the disarmament picture was bleak.  Thousands of nuclear weapons still existed, many on alert status, in today’s context of the increasing danger of those weapons falling into terrorists’ hands.  Negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty had not yet begun, and the Conference on disarmament remained idle.  While the International Court of Justice rendered an advisory opinion on the legality on the threat or use of nuclear weapons, the emergence of new security doctrines giving those weapons a broader role had been alarming.  That situation was jeopardizing the NPT’s authority and relevance.  It was urgent for the Review Conference to arrive at measures to overcome the present deadlock.  Similarly, the Conference on Disarmament must be allowed to proceed.

    Having voluntarily opted not to acquire nuclear weapons, the non-nuclear-weapon States had the legitimate right to receive security assurances from nuclear-weapon States.  Regrettably, while assurances were essential to promote the confidence of the non-nuclear-weapon States and strengthen the NPT, conditions were being attached to such assurances.  Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, early conclusion of a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States was an earnest demand, to which the Review Conference should pay adequate attention.  Meanwhile, more than 100 States had signed nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties.  Efforts to implement the resolution adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference on making the Middle East a zone free of nuclear weapons must continue.  A most important factor determining the effectiveness of those treaties was the signing by the nuclear-weapon States of the protocols, and he called on them to do so.  As a party to the Treaty on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, he welcomed China’s readiness to sign its protocol and hoped the others would do so too. 

    ERNESTO ARANÍBAR QUIROGA (Bolivia) said that at the time of proliferation of terrorists groups, more and more States had come to possess nuclear weapons, making it harder to avoid their further spread, including to non-State actors.  Vertical and horizontal proliferation was a real threat to all countries and regions around the world, whether or not they possessed nuclear weapons.  Yet the perception of the magnitude of the threat had not yet fully penetrated the global psyche.  The NPT was geared to prevent horizontal proliferation, but proliferation also had a vertical component.  The international community must act now to turn the NPT into a universal instrument, thereby increasing its credibility.  Everyone should “sit down and talk in good faith” about halting proliferation and achieving disarmament under strict and effective international control. 

    He said that the NPT was an expression of humankind’s hope for survival.  Through it, non-nuclear-weapon States that abided by their obligations were entitled to nuclear energy for electricity, health care, and so forth.  The Review Conferences were aimed at ensuring compliance with the Treaty’s preambular portion and provisions.  Indeed, the NPT remained the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, although it was now facing enormous difficulties, which jeopardized the whole process and its multilateral principles.  The present review should reaffirm the political determination of the parties, building on the strides made in 1995 and on the 13 steps agreed in 2000.  The best guarantee against nuclear threat or holocaust, including in the hands of terrorists, was that weapons’ complete elimination.  He, meanwhile, shared the concerns about the protracted deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission.  He remained convinced that the collective security system of the present century requires measures to universalize the NPT and bring into force the CTBT, as tangible proof of effective multilateralism.

    MARIO H. CASTELLÓN DUARTE (Nicaragua) said that the NPT was still the main instrument to avoid proliferation and achieve the goal of general and complete nuclear disarmament.  The universalization of the Treaty was of utmost importance to the future of the international community.  He urged States that had not yet done so to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear States.  He also urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to resume full membership in the NPT.  Top priority should be given to enhancing confidence in the Treaty.  To that end, nuclear-weapon States must end proliferation, leading to the full prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.  That was the only assurance that such weapons would never be used again. 

    He said the 2002 Moscow Treaty would lead to the dismantling of thousands of weapons and was an important step forward for nuclear disarmament.  In addition, he urged nuclear-weapon States to provide sufficient security assurances, including through a legally binding treaty, not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapon against non-nuclear-weapon States.  He was disturbed by the fact that the CTBT had not yet entered into force, and urged all States, especially those listed in annex I of that Treaty, to sign and ratify the CTBT so that it could enter into force.  Meanwhile, the moratorium on nuclear testing should continue. 

    The Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1540 last year was a major contribution to non-proliferation and to ensuring that non-State actors did not gain access to weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.  He also welcomed the General Assembly’s recent adoption of the International Convention on Nuclear Terrorism.  Nicaragua, like other parties to the NPT, was interested in achieving the goals of the Treaty, as well as the decisions taken at previous review conferences.  In that regard, it was particularly important that the nuclear powers carry out the 13 practical steps approved at the 2000 Review Conference.  In addition, he recognized the important work of the IAEA in verification and implementation of safeguards under the NPT.  The very existence of nuclear weapons was a threat to the survival of humanity, and the only real assurance that such weapons would not be used would be their complete elimination.

    JOHN FREEMAN (United Kingdom) said that nothing had happened since 2000 to cause his country to waver in its support of the NPT.  On the contrary, changing threats and challenges to the Treaty itself had only underlined its importance and, therefore, the United Kingdom’s support for it.  The NPT remained the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the framework for nuclear disarmament.  As such, it retained his wholehearted and unequivocal support.  His country continued to implement the decisions of the past reviews and abided by the undertakings to non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under article VI of the Treaty.  He recognized the need for balanced implementation and he supported progress in all areas, as his country’s record demonstrated.  That progress in non-proliferation, however, was important in its own right.

    He said that non-proliferation and disarmament were interlinked in achieving the Treaty’s goals.  But, the relationship between the two processes was neither simple nor mechanistic.  As the Secretary-General had said recently, “both disarmament and non-proliferation are essential and neither should be held hostage to the other”.  Hopefully, the current review would strengthen the NPT and the whole non-proliferation regime.  He looked forward to negotiation of and agreement on a strong final document at its conclusion.  The NPT was an international success story; he wanted its objectives to be sustained and their implementation strengthened for the security of all. 

    The Review Conference was taking place at a critical time, following recent challenges to the non-proliferation regime.  The great majority of States were able to enjoy the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and they should continue to receive full cooperation in that endeavour.  To be frank, however, a few States had taken advantage of that provision to develop clandestine nuclear weapons programmes.  In so doing, they had challenged all who cherished and valued the NPT.  That challenge was to acknowledge and to underscore by actions that everyone had responsibilities, as well as entitlements, under the treaty.  Everyone must work to prevent future abuses of the Treaty, so as to ensure that nuclear energy could continue to be available to all those States who sought it for peaceful uses only.  Concerted action was needed to resolve cases of States parties in violation of their nuclear non-proliferation and safeguards obligations, such as through suspension of nuclear fuel cycle cooperation. 

    The issue of withdrawal from the Treaty must also be addressed, he said.  He was committed to ensuring that any State deciding to withdraw could not subsequently benefit from nuclear technologies obtained while a State party, or seek to use them in furtherance of an illegal nuclear weapons programme.  He noted with concern the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s claimed possession of nuclear weapons in violation of its commitments under the NPT and its IAEA safeguards agreement.  He regretted its recent announcements with respect to the reprocessing of further fuel from the Yongbyon reactor.  He called on that country to cease and declare all past nuclear activity, and completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programmes.  He hoped the country would return to the six-party talks at the earliest opportunity to bring about a negotiated settlement and a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

    He said he remained concerned about the proliferation implications of Iran’s nuclear programmes.  He was working with Iran, in collaboration with France, Germany, and representatives of the European Union, to develop long-term arrangements, which would contribute to rebuilding international confidence in Iran’s intentions.  He urged that country to fulfil its commitments under the 15 November 2004 “Paris Agreement” and, in particular, the suspension of all of its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.  Iran should continue to work actively with the IAEA Secretariat to resolve all outstanding questions surrounding its programme, and to comply with all Board of Governors’ requested, including, particularly, reconsideration of its decision to construct a research reactor moderated by heavy water.

    The possibility that non-State actors -- terrorist groups -- could attempt to obtain and use weapons of mass destruction was a further worrying development, which was brought home to all since the last Conference in 2000.  Discoveries in late 2003 had brought to light a clandestine international supply and procurement network for sensitive technologies and weapons’ designs.  Every effort must be made to continue to dismantle any remaining elements of the Khan network and to shut down other illegal nuclear suppliers and networks.  Those examples should cause everyone to examine the tools at their disposal to counter the challenges.  The IAEA’s work underpinned the NPT and stood in the front lineagainst those who would evade or deny their international obligations.  He, therefore, called on all non-nuclear-weapon States that had not yet done to so agree, bring into force, and comply with, comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols to those agreements.  Combinations of those instruments would hopefully be accepted as a future condition of supply for sensitive nuclear materials.

    He said he shared the concern that the proliferation risks arising from the most sensitive parts of the civil nuclear fuel cycle needed special attention.  The IAEA Expert Group’s report on Multilateral Nuclear Approaches was a valuable contribution in that regard.  He intended to continue discussions bilaterally and multilaterally to find effective ways to control the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies, while ensuring that the benefits from their legitimate civil use were not compromised.  But, the work was not for the IAEA alone.  Everyone must play their part; national Governments should employ a broad range of tools to counter proliferation and complement the NPT provisions and the excellent work of the IAEA.  Strong and comprehensive export controls were necessary to prevent the uncontrolled spread of nuclear supplies and technologies.  In cases where illicit transport of such goods was already in progress, interdiction under the PSI, through which increasing numbers of States were cooperating, had an important role to play. 

    For its part, the United Kingdom continued to make progress on nuclear disarmament, he said.  Since the end of the cold war, his country had reduced the explosive power of its nuclear forces by more than 70 per cent.  Since the last Review Conference in 2000, it had completed the dismantling of its Chevaline warheads.  It had also been undertaking studies on the verification of nuclear disarmament and would be making a presentation on that work next Tuesday.  He reiterated his country’s commitment to abide by the nuclear test ban and would continue to play an active role in establishing the verification system of the CTBT.  He looked forward, as soon as possible and without precondition, to negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.  He also reaffirmed his support for nuclear-weapon-free zones, and had recently signed and ratified the relevant protocol to the Treaty of Pelindaba and hoped to be able to ratify the protocols to the Treaty of Bangkok and the Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone, once consultations among the respective States parties to each Treaty were completed.

    NEBOJŠA KALUDJENOVIĆ (Serbia and Montenegro) said that the international community had to do its utmost to achieve the broadest possible cooperation at all levels to ensure full compliance by all States with the existing Treaty’s obligations.  Since the responsibilities and benefits were shared, it must be ensured that everyone fulfilled their obligations in their entirety.  The ultimate benefits offered by the Treaty must be kept in sight -- a more secure and more developed world.  The NPT envisaged a world free from nuclear weapons as the final goal of the international community, and provided an adequate mechanism for preventing proliferation of those deadly weapons.  It also guaranteed the right of every State party to development and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. 

    As a non-nuclear-weapon State, Serbia and Montenegro was committed to the elimination of all types of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons.  Nuclear disarmament, as a gradual process, could be achieved by the fulfilment of disarmament obligations by nuclear-weapon States.  He also attached great importance to the early entry into force of the CTBT, which constituted an important link in the chain of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  It was with that goal in mind that his country ratified the CTBT in May 2004.  In addition, he supported the early commencement within the Conference on Disarmament of negotiations on the fissile material cut-off treaty. 

    At the national level, his country was fully committed to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under a strict verification regime.  As of 31 March, Serbia and Montenegro started to implement a new law on foreign trade in arms, military equipment and dual-use goods, which included the lists of dual-use goods compiled by the European Union Commission.  Furthermore, it was fully committed to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under a strict verification regime.  The misuse of benefits provided by the Treaty must not be permitted, as that could lead to the weakening of the entire regime.

    AHMED A. OWN (Libya) said that international peace and security could not be achieved through acquisition or threat of use of weapons of mass destruction.  His country had proven that when it voluntarily announced on 19 December 2003 it was ridding itself of all equipment and programmes leading to the production of mass destruction weapons.  That development had been welcomed repeatedly by the international community.  Libya had translated its declaration into practical steps.  Among them:  a cessation of all tests and uranium enrichment systems; cessation of the purchase and importation of materials; dismantling of the equipment and systems under IAEA supervision; seeking the assistance of special international organizations and of the United States and the United Kingdom in ridding its territory of those materials; ratification of the CTBT; and signing the IAEA’s Additional Protocol and rendering it effective in December 2003.

    He said his country had been working to implement the accords concluded between it, the United States, the United Kingdom and the IAEA, flowing from its aspiration to live in peace and security.  His country sincerely wished to deal with such matters in a transparent manner.  The international community’s endeavour to rid the world of mass destruction weapons should be strenuous.  The measures it formulates should be applied to all countries without exception, with a view to creating a reassuring world in which development could prosper.   Libya’s initiative had placed before the nuclear-weapon States their responsibility to provide assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  He called on the international community, particularly the concerned parties that had helped implement Libya’s initiative, to provide such assurances. 

    It had been 37 years since the conclusion of the NPT and five years since the last review, yet the risks emanating from nuclear armaments persisted, he said.  Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons were still in existence, and thousands were in full preparedness.  Concrete progress in the field of nuclear disarmament had been lacking.  The non-nuclear-weapon States had not undertaken to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, provided that the nuclear-weapon States showed good intentions as well.  Non-proliferation would not be achieved unless the nuclear-weapon States fully committed to the NPT, including the gradual elimination of their nuclear weapons.  Given the lack of any progress towards implementing article VI, some non-nuclear member, such as Israel, with the support of some nuclear-weapon States, continued to build and improve their nuclear weapons and increase their arsenals.  That had placed the entire Arab region, as well as the north of Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe and the Indian continent under threat.  The fact that the Israeli nuclear programme remained outside the NPT threatened international peace and security. 

    AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) said that the 13 practical steps agreed on in 2000 had not been implemented and there was no evidence of efforts to implement them.  “The 13 steps have become a dead letter.”  He strongly believed the future of the NPT rested on its implementation, and the 13 steps were a useful and feasible way of moving forward.  The integrity of the NPT had been under enormous stress.  Nuclear-weapon States continued to rely on the doctrine of nuclear deterrence as they upgraded the weapons and their delivery systems.  The world was not any safer now from the threat of nuclear weapons.  To make matters worse, the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons had now been lowered.  Nuclear weapons could now be used as tactical weapons in a purely conventional war against a non-nuclear-weapon State.

    His country was fully committed to the objectives of the NPT and its commitment was demonstrated by its ratification of the Pelindaba Treaty, which established the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.  The role played by such zones could not be overemphasized, as they not only served as instruments for strengthening peace and security, but also built confidence among States.  He stressed the importance and urgency for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

    For a long time, he noted, non-nuclear-weapon States had voiced their concern and called for assurances by the five nuclear-weapon States not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States that were parties to the NPT.  That was viewed as a temporary measure pending the complete eradication of nuclear weapons.  Unfortunately, there was reluctance on the part of nuclear-weapon States to offer such assurances to States that had formally renounced nuclear weapons.  He called on nuclear-weapon States to honour their obligations and conclude a legally binding agreement on negative security assurances.  Signatures to the protocols establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones were not adequate and were in no way legally binding. 

    He took note of the nuclear test moratorium maintained by nuclear-weapon States.  Nevertheless, self-imposed or unilateral measures did not provide any guarantee against future testing.  Therefore, the only guarantee was the entry into force of the CTBT, which could play a key role in preventing proliferation.  

    WENCESLAO CARRERA DORAL, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba, said that military doctrines based on the possession of nuclear weapons were unsustainable and unacceptable.  The so-called “strategic pre-emptive doctrine” contradicted the letter and spirit of the NPT.  Cuba, which joined the NPT in November 2002, had never planned to develop or possess nuclear weapons.  Its only interest in nuclear energy was related to its peaceful use, under the verification of the IAEA.  It would continue to defend the inalienable right of all States to research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful use, and to receive the transfer of material, equipment and scientific and technological information to such ends. 

    The Treaty, he said, was based on the three main pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament and cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  He rejected the selective implementation of the NPT.  Discussions at the Review Conference should reflect an adequate balance among the three pillars.  The review of article VI should be given top priority.  As necessary steps were taken to achieve nuclear disarmament, priority should be given to beginning negotiations to conclude a legally binding instrument by which nuclear-weapon States commit themselves not to use or threaten to use such weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States.

    Outside the traditional disarmament machinery, there were attempts to impose new initiatives with dangerous consequences, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, which allegedly aimed to fight the threat of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction.  The PSI was nothing but a non-transparent mechanism, which violated fundamental principles of international law and the United Nations Charter, as well as the regulations of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  Such initiatives were a detriment to multilateralism and international cooperation, and aimed to dismantle and change current international disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation treaties and bodies.

    He shared the concern about the “risky” linkage between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.  That scourge could not be faced by means of a selective and discriminatory approach that only fought horizontal proliferation and paid no attention to vertical proliferation and disarmament.  The total prohibition and elimination of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, would be the only guarantee that they did not fall into the hands of terrorists. 

    CHEM WIDHYA (Cambodia) said that the NPT had been widely acknowledged as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime, and it had been, in several respects, a notable success.  Cambodia’s Constitution prohibited the manufacture, use, and storage of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.  He reiterated his country’s full support for implementation of the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Bangkok Treaty) and the early accession of the nuclear-weapon States to its protocol.  He also supported the IAEA as an instrumental organ in the full application and verification of compliance with the international safeguards obligation under the Treaty’s article III.  The model Additional Protocol would make the IAEA system more efficient and effective. 

    He said that past experiences about the danger of nuclear weapons had shown the imperative for the international community to make every possible effort to ensure that humankind lived without the nuclear weapons threat.  He, therefore, reiterated Cambodia’s full support for the achievement of the noble goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons for the benefit of future generations. 

    ALFRED CAPELLE (Marshall Islands) said that his country was still suffering from the adverse consequences of nuclear weapons testing in the name of global security.  Non-proliferation was a critical goal of his nation, because it also meant the non-proliferation of the illness, forced relocation, environmental degradation, and profound disturbances of social, cultural, economic and political systems.  The Marshall Islands knew that, due to its first-hand experiences with the effects of nuclear weapons.  The nuclear era had affected his country so profoundly that it had even affected its language.  His people had to develop new words because their language did not have words to describe the gross abnormalities in the environment, the animals and in human bodies that began to appear after their exposure to radiation. 

    He called on the United Nations to address the damage in its Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from when the United Nations administrator detonated nuclear weapons.  The termination of the trust territory relationship that his country once had with the United Nations was based on the former administrator’s reports that the damages and injuries from the testing programme were minor, and limited in scope.  It was now known from declassified documents that that was not the case.  He urged the Review Conference to recommend to the former administrator that it fully address all damages and injuries resulting from the 67 atmospheric atomic and thermonuclear weapons detonated on the Marshall Islands.  His delegation would push strongly for the inclusion of such language in the final report of the Conference. 

    He welcomed the call by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders in 2004 for the United States to live up to its full obligations to provide fair and adequate compensation, including the full and final restoration of affected areas to economic productivity, and to ensure the safe resettlement of displaced populations.  In addition, he urged the nations that tested nuclear weapons in French Polynesia and Kiribati to take full responsibility for the impacts of their activities on the local people and their region’s environment. 

    The Marshall Islands, he added, applauded the efforts of the Forum to work with nuclear shipping States on the key issues of prevention, response, liability and compensation.  He remained concerned that the present international arrangements for liability and compensation did not adequately address the risks posed by the shipment of radioactive materials, and continued to seek assurances from the shipping States that, in the event of an incident involving those shipments, the region would not be left to carry the resulting loss unsupported. 

    FRANÇOIS RIVASSEAU, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament, said that the NPT was still fully relevant in today’s world.  Today, as yesterday, the Treaty was a suitable and essential response to the danger of nuclear proliferation.  Above all, the desire to prevent the danger of nuclear war led France and so many others to proclaim their commitment to the Treaty and to stress its effective implementation.  Thirty-five years later, violation of the Treaty’s obligations and the unprecedented announcement by North Korea of its intention to withdraw from it, were contradicting that instrument’s very foundation and undermining confidence in it.  States parties must strive to stop, here and now, that dangerous trend that was calling into question the joint work in the service of peace, and draw consequences from it for the future.  “We will be judged by history on our ability to respond effectively to these events”, he warned.

    During the Conference, he said, the issue of the NPT’s universality and that of withdrawal must be examined, as well as the right to nuclear power for peaceful purposes and the implementation of commitments to nuclear and general and complete disarmament.  It was indeed unacceptable, and particularly dangerous, for a small number of States parties to breach their commitments with the support of illegal networks, thereby undermining the very foundations of the architecture of collective security and technology exchanges supported by the vast majority of States.  It was no longer a matter of individual States not contributing to proliferation; States parties must switch over to an active way of combating that development and preventing the terrorist risk.  All those who shared the same international security objectives must cooperate to counter proliferation efforts and ensure that terrorists failed.

    France, together with Germany and the United Kingdom, and with the support of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, had embarked on a settlement for the proliferation crisis started by Iran’s clandestine programme, he said.  France also supported the diplomatic efforts conducted by other States in connection with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  France has submitted ideas and proposals in a number of forums.  The debate today had reached maturity.  It was time now to draw conclusions from it and unite to implement concrete measures, in keeping with the challenges to be addressed.  Many States parties, however, feared that strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime would call into question the right to the peaceful uses of nuclear power.  Quite the reverse:  it was the unrestricted development of proliferation by some States that posed such a risk.  France would ensure that the right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was preserved and fully exercised for countries that “unambiguously comply” with their international obligations.

    He added, however, that failure of a State party to comply with its obligations to ensure non-proliferation and implement IAEA safeguards, and whose peaceful use of nuclear activities could not be verified, would not be entitled to enjoy the stipulations of the Treaty’s article IV.  At the same time, issues of non-compliance with the NPT, or the absence of peaceful purposes, did not arise for the vast majority of developing States.  The measures supported by France to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime, while encouraging the development of civilian nuclear power with a view to sustainable development, could be grouped into several major categories, as follows:  an effective verification system; strengthening the multilateral system to address cases of non-proliferation; greater State accountability for transfers of nuclear items; facilitation of access to non-sensitive nuclear items for States that respected their commitments; and holding a debate on the issue of withdrawal from the NPT.

    He said that the right conferred by article X concerning withdrawal was not being questioned.  But, that should not be a reason not to study the consequences of a withdrawal for the State concerned and for the rest of the international community.  The Conference must recall the principle whereby a State remained internationally liable for violations of the NPT committed before a possible withdrawal.  It should encourage the Security Council to consider all cases referred to it concerning withdrawal from the Treaty.  It would also be useful for intergovernmental agreements that provided a framework for major transfers of nuclear items to contain a clause prohibiting the use of previously transferred nuclear materials, facilities, equipment and technologies in the event of a withdrawal.  Finally, the Conference should affirm that a State withdrawing from the Treaty must freeze -- under IAEA control -- and then dismantle and return the nuclear items purchased from a third country for peaceful uses and prior to withdrawal. 

    JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) registered his concerns about the lack of progress towards nuclear disarmament.  Planned development of new types of nuclear weapon systems and declared qualitative improvement in nuclear weapon technology was an indication of the resumption of a nuclear arms race among the nuclear-weapon States.  As per latest figures, the existing warheads were estimated to be upwards of 30,000 and the current stock of fissile material would be sufficient enough to produce thousands more nuclear warheads.  Such a situation was dangerous and against the spirit and letter of the NPT. 

    He underscored the need for nuclear-weapon States to provide non-nuclear-weapon States with effective guarantees that they would not use or threaten to use force against them.  Codification of those assurances in legally binding instruments would contribute significantly as a vital confidence-building measure and contribute towards diminishing the propensity of non-nuclear-weapon States to acquire nuclear weapons.  He believed a fissile material cut-off treaty would serve both as a disarmament and non-proliferation tool, and called for negotiations to start as early as possible on that instrument.  Such an initiative would provide the necessary catalyst to kick-start the process of nuclear disarmament among nuclear-weapon States, as well as provide security guarantees to non-nuclear-weapon States. 

    He noted that, in order for States to engage in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and enable the transfer of relevant nuclear technology, they needed to create the necessary confidence and provide guarantees that they would comply with all commitments under the NPT and that their nuclear programmes would be exclusively for peaceful use.  In addition, the establishment of uclear-weapon-free zones contributed significantly to regional and international peace and security.  In that context, he hoped the nine ratifications further required for the Pelindaba Treaty, establishing an African nuclear-weapon-free zone, would be achieved soon. 

    A grave concern to small island developing States like his was the potential environmental, economic and security risks posed by the transport of radioactive materials and waste by sea, he added.  Any accident could cause irreparable damage to the ecological system and affect the very economic survival of many of small island States, which were dependent on fisheries and marine-related activities.  The need for the elaboration of regulatory regimes in respect of transportation of hazardous waste was highlighted in the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island States, adopted in January at the Mauritius International Meeting.

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