Press Releases

    GA/DIS/3301
    12 October 2005

    NPT Disarmament Obligations, Nuclear-Weapon Convention, Reducing Nuclear Danger among Issues Addressed in First Committee Texts

    Other Drafts Concern Missiles, Nuclear-Weapon-Free Southern Hemisphere, World Court Opinion on Legality of Nuclear-Weapon Use

    NEW YORK, 11 October (UN Headquarters) -- As the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) continued its thematic debate on nuclear weapons today, five draft resolutions and one draft decision were introduced, including a new draft text on following up the nuclear disarmament obligations agreed upon at the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

    According to that draft resolution tabled by Iran, the General Assembly, gravely concerned over the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference to reach any substantive agreement on the follow-up of the nuclear disarmament obligations, called for practical steps to be taken by all nuclear-weapon States leading to nuclear disarmament in a way that promoted international stability and were based on the principle of undiminished security for all. 

    Among those steps were further efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally, concrete agreed measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems, and a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies so as to minimize the risk that those weapons would ever be used and to facilitate their total elimination.

    Introducing the draft, Iran's representative said that 10 years after the Treaty was indefinitely extended, and 35 years since it entered into force, the nuclear disarmament obligation had not yet been implemented.  Traditionally, after each NPT review, the General Assembly adopted a resolution reacting to the results, but the 2005 NPT review had failed, owing mostly to attempts to undermine the Treaty's disarmament obligations, mainly the practical steps towards nuclear disarmament adopted in 2000.  The text called for an ad hoc committee to compile a report on possible mechanisms and strategies for complete nuclear disarmament.  He also tabled a draft decision on missiles. 

    Drafts were also introduced today by India's representative on a nuclear weapons convention and on reducing nuclear danger.  The first text underlined that the threat of use of nuclear weapons would remain as long as States claimed an exclusive right to possess those weapons in perpetuity and as long as the use or threat of use of those weapons was justified.  States should reorient their nuclear doctrines through a commitment to no-first-use and non-use of nuclear weapons, and take decisive steps to support a legally binding instrument banning the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons as an interim measure until an agreement was reached on a step-by-step process for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

    India's draft resolution on "Reducing Nuclear Danger" offered modest and pragmatic proposals for the safety and security of mankind, he said.  It called for a review of nuclear doctrines and immediate steps to reduce the risk of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons.  The possibility of systems and components falling into the hands of terrorists had aggravated current dangers.  The draft referred to the seven 2001 recommendations of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters for significantly reducing the risk of nuclear war, including promotion of dialogue on cooperative security, de-alerting of nuclear weapons, review of nuclear doctrines, and further reduction of tactical nuclear weapons.

    The other draft resolutions were on: establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere, introduced by New Zealand; and follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, tabled by Malaysia.

    Also addressing the Committee was the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Tibor Toth.  He said that continuous testing and evaluation of the verification system would prove to the remaining sceptics that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was equipped with a robust verification system capable of detecting nuclear test explosions and all other nuclear explosions everywhere.  The Preparatory Commission of the 1996 Treaty, which had not yet entered force, had been working on ensuring that the Treaty's verification system was credible, functional and cost effective. 

    With 217 of the 321 monitoring stations provided for in the Treaty installed, the nerve centre of the verification system in Vienna collected incoming data, processed it, analysed it and transmitted it to States for final analysis, he said.  More than 3 million data segments and products had been distributed to authorized users since 2000.  The build-up of the verification regime would be unthinkable, however, without the political and financial commitment of States signatories.  The activities of the National Data Centres were important, but they were only accessories to the political will of the international community to bring the Treaty into force.

    Statements in the thematic debate were made by Uruguay (on behalf of the Southern Common Market), Republic of Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Indonesia, and Mexico.

    The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Wednesday, 12 October, to continue its thematic debate.

    Background

    The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its thematic debate on nuclear weapons.

    Statements

    TIBOR TOTH (Hungary), Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), said that when the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was adopted by the General Assembly on 10 December 1996, its drafters were aware that its success would depend on two crucial factors:  its universality and its verifiability.  On both accounts, substantial progress had been made.  As of today, 176 States had signed the CTBT and 125 had ratified it.  Those impressive numbers demonstrated the international community's ever-growing commitment to the Treaty.  Of the 44 States whose ratification was needed for the Treaty's entry into force, 33 had already ratified.  The vote of confidence expressed by the large number of signatures and ratifications was a major source of motivation for everyone working on the verification system.

    He said that the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT, which was held in New York in September, reconfirmed the global commitment for the Treaty and adopted an action plan to promote its entry into force.  Since 1997, the Commission had been working on ensuring that the Treaty's verification system was credible, functional and cost effective.  The Commission was now entering a crucial transition phase, with two thirds of the system built.  In the coming years, the task of provisionally operating and maintaining the system would become more dominant.  Continuous testing and evaluation of the verification system would prove to the "remaining sceptics" that the CTBT was equipped with a robust verification system capable of detecting nuclear-test explosions and all other nuclear explosions everywhere.

    So far, 217 of the 321 monitoring stations provided for in the Treaty had been installed, he said.  Those substantially met the Commission's specifications.  Over the last two years alone, 115 new stations were installed.  The building programme was continuing at a sustained pace.  Data from the established stations was flowing via the Global Communication Infrastructure to the International Data Centre in Vienna.  In that nerve centre of the verification system, incoming data was collected, processed, analysed and transmitted to States for final analysis.  More than 3 million data segments and products had been distributed to authorized users since 2000.  Over the last two years alone, the data traffic between the monitoring stations, the Data Centre and the 89 national data centres currently in operation had almost tripled from 5 to 14 gigabytes per day.

    He said it was the unique feature of the CTBT verification system that it empowered each signatory State to make their own judgement about events, based on the data and products provided by the organization.  In that respect, the CTBT enabled States, regardless of their size and wealth, to fully participate in the verification work and to benefit from the wealth of data provided by the system.  That included civil and scientific applications whose potential was only beginning to be explored.  In the wake of the tsunami catastrophe of 26 December 2004, the Preparatory Commission decided to test the usefulness of the International Monitoring System (IMS) data in the context of tsunami warning.  The Provisional Technical Secretariat was working closely with international and national tsunami warning centres through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in order to ascertain the potential contribution of data for that humanitarian purpose.

    The build-up of the verification regime would be unthinkable without the political and financial commitment of States signatories, but also without the expertise, talent and dedication of the experts working as delegates or staff members in the Provisional Technical Secretariat and in National Data Centres.  Those activities were important, but they were only accessories to the political will of the international community to bring the CTBT into force.  The comprehensive ban of nuclear-test explosions had been a dream for many decades.  The political and strategic choices of States and the scientific and technological advances had brought the world very close to a universal and verifiable regime.  Hopefully, the Committee's work would further strengthen that political will and create a new dynamism in pursuing the common objective.

    Following the statement by the Executive Secretary, the meeting was suspended to allow for an informal question-and-answer session, before resuming the thematic debate on nuclear weapons.

    ENRIQUE LOEDEL (Uruguay), on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said those States who had given up the nuclear option and were parties to the first nuclear-weapon-free zone on the planet continued to advocate for the maintenance of the delicate balance between rights and obligations upon which lay the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  Those rights and obligations were well defined in the Treaty, but there were currently clear attempts to reinterpret them, and he could not accept ideas or proposals that would contradict the spirit and letter of the NPT.  Without a multilateral process towards a transparent, verifiable, irreversible and complete nuclear disarmament, it would not be possible to avoid the dangers posed by nuclear proliferation.  The total prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons was the only guarantee to keep such weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists. The strict observance of all obligations established by the Treaty was of paramount importance, as well as the commitments agreed upon in the Review Conferences of 1995 and 2000.

    It was the inalienable right of all States to research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and to be recipients of the transfer of materials, equipment and scientific and technological information for such purposes, he said.  Such cooperation must be done within the Treaty.  He deeply regretted the absence of results from the NPT Review Conference.  Only a systemic concept that included elements of disarmament, verification, assistance and cooperation would guarantee the elimination of the nuclear threat.

    The countries of his subregion, he said, had become formal parties to the CTBT, signalling the historic commitment of those countries towards perfecting the mechanisms and instruments of non-proliferation.  The entry into force of the CTBT would free the world from nuclear tests, thus contributing to the systematic and progressive reduction in nuclear weapons and their elimination, as well as to the prevention and the fight against nuclear proliferation.  He was satisfied by the current measures promoting the entry into force of the CTBT.  He called upon all States to urgently take the necessary political decisions to join the international community in its efforts to eliminate, once and for all, nuclear testing.

    The MERCOSUR had great respect for that Treaty and believed it as a paradox that the IMS was being implemented, with no clear perspectives on the entry into force of the Treaty, he said.  The IMS could not function if the legal obligations, which were supposed to be monitored, were not in force.  The functioning of the IMS must not be accelerated on the basis of simple technical considerations and, thus, without taking into account the universal and non-discriminatory character of the Treaty which created it.

    PARK IN-KOOK (Republic of Korea) said this year would be recorded as one of the poorest harvests in the field of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation.  In addition to an already ailing Conference on Disarmament and Disarmament Commission, successive failures in the NPT Review and at the World Summit had attested to the gaping differences in positions and perceptions among key players.  The First Committee this year was convened at that juncture, but that should not lead to pessimism.  The international community would work its way out of the quagmire, sooner rather than later.

    He welcomed the significant progress made so far in reducing nuclear arsenals and the commitments to further reductions under the Moscow Treaty, he said.  Still, there should be further progress towards deeper cuts.  The number of nuclear warheads in existing arsenals was roughly the same as when the NPT entered into force in 1970.  At the heart of the turmoil on nuclear disarmament lay the gap between the record of nuclear-weapon States and the expectations of non-nuclear-weapon States.  He called upon all States that had not yet ratified the CTBT to do so without further delay.  Pending the entry into force of the CTBT, it was imperative to maintain the moratorium on nuclear-test explosions.

    He said the fissile material cut-off treaty was the next logical step in the wake of the adoption of the CTBT, both as a guarantor of nuclear non-proliferation and as a precursor to nuclear disarmament.  The Republic of Korea was willing to start negotiations based on any reasonable formula that could garner the widespread support of Committee on Disarmament member States.  In the meantime, he encouraged all States with nuclear weapons capabilities to voluntarily declare moratoriums on the production of fissile materials for weapons purposes.  The First Committee should support the constructive initiatives of the Disarmament Commission presidencies, in order not to leave the only negotiating body for multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation in perpetual disarray.

    He said the commitment by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea during the fourth round of the six party talks to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes and to return at an early date to the NPT and to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, was welcomed. He appreciated the endeavours by all other parties, particularly China.  His Government would continue to engage in diplomatic efforts for the eventual settlement of the North Korean nuclear issue and for achieving permanent peace on the peninsula.  The pursuit of non-proliferation worked best when the causes of proliferation were adequately addressed. Insecurity, whether real or perceived, was, in many cases, a key motive for the development of nuclear weapons capabilities.  The international community must redouble its efforts to alleviate those security concerns.

    RI JANG GON (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said there was no denying that the existence and possible use of nuclear weapons was the most serious threat to humankind's survival.  Sixty years had elapsed since the nuclear holocaust, yet there was still no legally binding arrangement to eliminate those weapons.  Instead, nuclear arsenals continued to increase, both quantitatively and qualitatively.  One should look at the nuclear-weapon programmes pursued by certain States, and consider who had the largest quantities of nuclear weapons and even stationed them abroad.  The question should be asked, how many nuclear-weapon States retained nuclear doctrines based on a pre-emptive use of those weapons, and how many of those countries had granted security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of those weapons?  Yet, some countries were raising their voices for non-proliferation only, glossing over the facts.

    In this house, he said, the main purpose of non-proliferation, which was pursued by certain States, should be examined.  Everyone had to see the real objective of certain States, led by the super-Power, to selectively point fingers at countries engaged in peaceful, nuclear-related activities.  How could the world community realize non-proliferation, while some selected countries kept large stocks of nuclear weapons, ready to attack at any time?  It was time to take practical measures to rid the world of nuclear weapons.  The argument for non-proliferation should not be used as a camouflage to permanently retain nuclear weapons.  Before talking about non-proliferation, its root cause should be considered, namely, the existence of nuclear weapons.

    He called for the conclusion, as soon as possible, of a nuclear weapons convention, and he urged all nuclear-weapon States to make the political decisions for the total elimination of those weapons.  Those countries should also commit themselves unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons, through internationally binding instruments.  Over and over again, States had made mention of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  It was a small country under the constant threat of the super-Power, the United States.  His country's nuclear weapons were not intended to threaten or strike others, and it had no intention of keeping those weapons permanently.  There was no need to retain nuclear weapons, if the relationship on the Korean peninsula was normalized and if his country was no longer exposed to the United States' nuclear threat.

    ANTON VASILIEV (Russian Federation) said his country was strongly attached to its obligations under article VI of the NPT, at the same time, it assumed the elimination of nuclear weapons was possible only by a gradual stage-by-stage reduction, not by rushing ahead.  The participation of all nuclear States would maintain strategic stability.  Russia was faithful to all of the obligations it adopted with the reduction of nuclear weapons and the process was proceeding without any hold-ups.  In comparison with 1991, the overall number of stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union had been reduced by five times, non-strategic nuclear weapons were reduced four times, and there was the reduction of over 1,328 launch pads for intercontinental ballistic missiles, 2,678 ballistic missiles, 45 strategic atomic submarines and 66 heavy bombers.  In accordance with provisions of the Moscow Treaty, by end of 2012, Russia and the United States should have reduced strategic weaponry by approximately three times.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin had said Russia was ready to continue with the reduction of its strategic nuclear arsenal to a lower level than provided for in the Moscow Treaty, he said.  It attached particular importance to the CTBTO and welcomed the work that had been done recently.  The CTBTO could be a reliable barrier for qualitative improvement in nuclear weapons.  He noted with satisfaction 176 States had signed and 125 had ratified.  Russia welcomed the responsible decision, but, at the same time, it hoped the 11 remaining States would take the necessary steps to enable a rapid entry into force.  Russia was trying to convert uranium graphite reactors.  It was not using weapons grade materials.  Production of uranium for nuclear weapons ceased a long time ago.  The Russian Federation supported the beginning of talks in the Disarmament Commission on the fissile material cut-off treaty.  Russia was ensuring the technological security and reliable storage of nuclear weapons.  Nuclear weapons were contained within the national territory of the Russian Federation.  Russia introduced a number of measures to prevent terrorist acts.  It demonstrated its desire to move decisively ahead, in a practical sense, and it called upon nuclear States to join the process.

    Those were only some of the fundamental aspects of his country's position with regard to nuclear disarmament, he said.  Despite the absence of any substantive recommendations for the future to strengthen the NPT, to talk about failure of the Conference was unfounded.  The work done was very useful, and undoubtedly a wide range of opinions was revealed, but that was natural because serious changes had occurred in recent years.  Confirmation was given to some fundamental elements that united all parties to the Treaty.  Nobody said the NPT was out of date, or said anything about preparing a document to replace the NPT.  It was possible to carry out an objective and balanced analysis of the Treaty in all of its various aspects.  States confirmed their devotion to strict implementation and support for peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  New challenges to nuclear non-proliferation had risen and would be eliminated as a result of the NPT.

    JOHAN L. LØVALD (Norway) said that, while the NPT Review Conference had failed to produce a substantive outcome and the World Summit Outcome had not reflected the challenges posed by the proliferation of mass destruction weapons, he had been encouraged by the broad support for his cross-regional initiative on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament during the high-level Summit.  Seven countries from different regions of the world had tabled a Ministerial Declaration and specific text proposals for the Summit Outcome.  The initiative had been well received, and a large number of countries had expressed support.  Regrettably, however, the proposal did not command the required consensus.

    He said he would take up the challenge laid out by the Secretary-General and continue to seek consensus and concrete results.  Norway would do that together with Australia, Chile, Indonesia, Romania, South Africa and the United Kingdom, and all the other countries that had supported those efforts.  It was now more important than ever to consolidate and strengthen the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.  The disappointing setbacks in multilateral negotiations so far this year must be overcome, and the parties must continue to seek and foster a new global consensus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  There were several concrete steps that should be taken on an urgent basis.  The early entry into force of the CTBT would be crucial in that regard.  It was alarming that its operation now seemed further away than it had been in a very long time.

    Countries that had not ratified that vital treaty should do so without delay, he said.  In particular, he urged the nuclear-weapon States to commit themselves to the CTBT in a legally binding way.  Pending the entry into force, everything must be done to further consolidate the existing testing moratoriums, which had set a norm against all nuclear testing.  In order to ensure credible verification, current efforts to complete the IMS must be accelerated.  It was also high time for the Conference on Disarmament to move out of its long-lasting impasse and start doing what it was designed to do.  Agreement on a work programme was urgently needed, and work must begin on a fissile material cut-off treaty as a first priority, as that was vital to non-proliferation and disarmament efforts.

    He said that a fissile material cut-off treaty must also address the question of existing stocks, taking into account the Shannon compromise.  Meanwhile, he urged all nuclear-weapon States to place their fissile material, no longer required for military needs, under the verification regime of the IAEA.  All States should increase the transparency and security of their fissile material holdings.  At the same time, more substantial reductions in existing nuclear arsenals were needed.  He encouraged the Russian Federation and the United States to undertake such reductions beyond those provided for by the Moscow Treaty.  In that respect, he underlined the principles of transparency, irreversibility and verifiability.

    There was a growing fear that nuclear weapons might be given a more prominent and additional role in security policies, he said.  To strengthen mechanisms of multilateral arms control diplomacy was, therefore, more important than ever before.  The IAEA had a clear mandate to deal with cases of non-compliance and to verify that NPT States honoured their NPT obligations.  The IAEA, therefore, played a vital role in the global security regime.  Its verification programme was essential for maintaining the confidence needed for the NPT to be credible.  The Additional Protocol would give the IAEA a broader basis on which to draw conclusions as regards safeguards.  He appreciated that an increasing number of countries was implementing the Additional Protocol.  That instrument, together with the comprehensive safeguards, should be the verification standard.  All States, therefore, should sign, ratify and implement the Additional Protocol without delay and support steps to enhance the IAEA's effectiveness.

    Further, he said, Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) must be implemented in full, in order to prevent nuclear material and technology from falling into the wrong hands.  He called on States to adopt and enforce effective laws, which prohibited non-State actors from pursuing weapons of mass destruction-related activities.  Norway was ready to assist States in fulfilling their obligations under Security Council resolution 1540.  It had signed the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which should enter force as soon as possible.  In the interest of all States was a "proliferation-resistant" nuclear fuel cycle.  That would facilitate the right to benefit from nuclear energy and technology, as stipulated in the NPT.  He welcomed the recommendations by the IAEA Expert Group on Multilateral Approaches to Nuclear Fuel Cycles.

    He said that those recommendations should inspire efforts to reach a mechanism under clear IAEA control, whereby States were assured supplies of nuclear fuel, provided that they refrained from developing the capacity to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium.  The IAEA must be given the legal, technical and political capacity to exercise such a role.  It was, further, vital that such arrangements be of a voluntary nature and not exclude technical assistance and transfers.  It might take time to achieve that, so, meanwhile, a moratorium on the construction of facilities for sensitive technologies was needed.  Curbing the use of highly enriched uranium was another measure to lower nuclear proliferation risk.  A long-term target should be reaching agreement on a prohibition of civilian uses.  Meanwhile, Member States should commit themselves to convert civilian nuclear installations from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium, as soon as was technically feasible.

    HAMAD OBAID I. AL ZAABI (United Arab Emirates) said that clinging to strategies of nuclear weapons retention by the nuclear-weapon States encouraged the non-nuclear-weapon States to want to acquire or develop, formally or informally, nuclear weapons programmes of their own.  Other threats and challenges involving those and other dangerous weapons had emerged, heightening the risk that those weapons would fall into irresponsible hands.  He was deeply concerned at the lack of adequate confidence-building measures.  That situation had blocked consensus in the Disarmament Conference, as well as the entry into force of the CTBT.  That had also blocked progress towards implementing the outcomes of past NPT review conferences.  Maintaining international peace, security and stability were complementary undertakings, which should be everyone's pursuit. 

    He said that the nuclear-weapon States had the overriding responsibility in that regard, and should enter into flexible, serious and bilateral arrangements, guided by a determination to achieve the systematic, gradual and eventual elimination of their nuclear arsenals, under the NPT and in line with the resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and existing international arrangements on weapons of mass destruction.  The Committee's work should also be strengthened, and a fourth special session on disarmament should be convened.  At the Conference on Disarmament, all nuclear-weapon States must show flexibility and determination, in order to agree on an agenda.

    The international community must rise to the challenges and set up an international, universal and unconditional instrument of security assurances to the non-nuclear-weapon States, he urged.  Those must also reaffirm the global and irreversible nature of nuclear weapon-related treaties, particularly the NPT.  He called on the State concerned to abide by its obligations and to respect the IAEA's mandate, and on all States to live up to the principles of transparency and non-discrimination.  Double standards must be eliminated in all policies, which should also be mindful of international law and existing treaties in the field.  Additional nuclear-weapon-free zones should be created, especially in the Arab Gulf and Middle East regions, as steps towards attaining the non-proliferation goals.  At the same time, the right to nuclear material for peaceful purposes should be preserved, he said.

    SIHAM MOURABIT (Morocco) said the importance of the role played by the United Nations in the realm of peace and security was indispensable, especially against an international backdrop marked by difficulties.  The international community must respond to the new threats and challenges.  Strengthening the rule of law, particularly the NPT, was a powerful imperative.  Difficulties continued to stand in the way of multilateral disarmament.  The threats imposed by weapons of mass destruction, and of those weapons falling into the hands of terrorists, loomed large.

    United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 marked the beginning of a response, she said.  The impasse with which the Disarmament Commission found itself and the progress with regard to multilateral tools was disappointing.  However, that must not mean the international community would stop looking for ways to move forward.  It was regrettable that no progress had been made, notably the failure of the CTBT to enter into force, the non-adoption of a verification protocol and the failure of the NPT review.  Morocco remained alarmed at the situation in the Middle East and the fact there was no establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Morocco's commitment to general and complete disarmament stemmed from a firm conviction that international security depended on Member States giving a special place to the economic and social development the world over.  The CTBT needed to be rapidly entered into force and work needed to be done for a fissile material cut-off treaty.

    RATU SILVY GAYATRI (Indonesia) said that the NPT States parties had agreed in 2000 to systematic steps to achieve nuclear disarmament, but after five years, the nuclear-weapon States were "back peddling" on that agreement.  What was worse was that one of those States had said that nuclear disarmament did not exist and was part of history.  Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually reinforcing, and obligations in that regard should be implemented in a balanced manner.  The commitments of the 1995 and 2005 NPT reviews should be implemented.  Some positive developments had occurred with regard to implementation of the non-proliferation provisions.  On the positive side, the IAEA had carried out its responsibility to verify and ensure compliance with the safeguards agreements undertaken by States parties in fulfilment of the NPT's article III.  The effectiveness of those safeguards had led to the elaboration of a Model Additional Protocol.  Only 37 States parties remained outside the comprehensive safeguards, but more than 100 had already signed the Model Additional Protocol.

    She said that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was not brought into compliance with its NPT obligations.  Libya, however, announced that it had given up its nuclear aspirations and had since "gone into compliance" with the NPT.  In recent years, the IAEA had been engaged with Iran, owing to the Agency's discovery of an enrichment facility.  To assuage concerns about non-proliferation, several initiatives had been tabled, such as the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and adoption of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).  Meanwhile, some negative developments related to nuclear disarmament had been recorded.  There remained approximately 30,000 nuclear weapons, many on alert status.  That carried with it the risk of their accidental or unauthorized use.  There had also been unilateral declarations of national security interest based on legitimizing nuclear weapons.  That would create another nuclear arms race and nuclear deterrence. 

    The CTBT had not yet entered force, she said, adding that the longer that was delayed, the more likely that testing would resume.  That would lead to a major setback in efforts to contain the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and the construction of new types of weapons.  Talks for a fissile material cut-off treaty had not yet begun, and the Moscow Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States contained no commitment to destroy nuclear weapons or render them inoperable.  The question of non-strategic nuclear weapons was another concern, due to the ability to station those weapons in close proximity to conflict areas, making them susceptible to use in combat.  The 13 practical steps, although not legally binding, should be reaffirmed and used as the best tool by which progress by the nuclear-weapon States towards fulfilment of their NPT article VI obligations could be measured.

    LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico) said he was frustrated with the lack of progress achieved in the NPT review.  States missed an invaluable opportunity to make progress on priority issues.  States also missed an opportunity in negotiations held in context with the Disarmament Commission, and the biggest chance was lost when Governments failed to come up with substantive text at the World Summit.  Those failures were compounded by a poor interpretation of what it meant to have Member States show political will and what consensus was all about.  Consensus was not designed to come up with a least-common-denominator agreement.  It was being abused.  But, that wasn't always the case.  When the signatories to nuclear-weapon-free-zone agreements met in Mexico City, States showed they were capable of going beyond the lowest common denominator.  The document was solid, moved the agenda forward, and promoted cooperation.

    Those States had rejected the nuclear option, he said.  The determination of the majority was to get rid of nuclear weapons.  States should not be allowed to dismiss such an objective as realistic or practical.  Some countries had already begun to discuss various options within the First Committee, because the status quo was unacceptable.  It was important for delegations to be mindful of that.  The effort to come up with alternative ways and means must be inclusive, transparent and democratic.

    Introduction of Drafts

    HAMIDON ALI (Malaysia) introduced a draft resolution entitled "Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons" (not yet issued). The advisory opinion of 8 July 1996 remained a historic and resolute decision in the field of nuclear disarmament, he said.  The Court's decision was an authoritative legal call to rid the world of nuclear weapons.  Its unanimous conclusion that there existed an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament under strict and effective control continued to be replicated in operative paragraph 1 of the draft resolution.  The unanimous decision, while consistent with the solemn obligation of States parties under article VI of the NPT did not confine itself only to NPT States parties, but rather significantly as a universal declaration.

    He said that the draft's sponsors considered that the decision of the Court must be followed up by concrete action by all Member States.  Aside from retaining those important pronouncements, the text had the necessary modifications for technical updating and a new preambular paragraph regretting the failure of the 2005 NPT review to reach agreement on any substantive issues.  The year had been disappointing in the field of nuclear disarmament, and thee global disarmament and non-proliferation framework was in flux.  Nuclear-weapon States continued to modernize existing nuclear weapons, and large stockpiles of those weapons remained in their arsenals.  Sadly, several nuclear-weapon States had chosen disengagement, retrogression and unilateral measures, rather than multilateralism and multilaterally agreed solutions.  Those were some of the fundamental challenges, which, if left unchecked, could destabilize international peace and security and increase the risk of new instances of unilateral or pre-emptive use of force.

    There had been significant developments and steady progress in the past year relating to the Biological Weapons Convention, the CTBT and nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Yet, the final goal of eliminating nuclear weapons remained elusive.  The world must remain committed to achieving that goal.  It could not allow the indefinite perpetuation of the possession of nuclear weapons, nor could it allow the "possessive obsession" of such weapons to further undermine the goals.  In short, the remnants of the cold war must not be allowed to "haunt us".  The test was to find the consensus and political will to move forward, despite the divergent views and positions.

    SURESH KURUP (India) introduced two draft resolutions.  The first, on Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons (not yet issued), underlined that the use of nuclear weapons posed the most serious threat to the survival of mankind.  That threat would remain as long as certain States claimed an exclusive right to possess nuclear weapons in perpetuity and until the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was considered unjustified.  States should reorient their nuclear doctrines through a commitment to no-first-use and non-use of nuclear weapons, backed by a legally binding agreement to that effect.  In 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) made international humanitarian law applicable to the use of nuclear weapons.  The ICJ expressed the conviction that a multilateral agreement prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons would strengthen international security and create a climate for negotiations leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

    He said States needed to take decisive steps collectively to support a legally binding instrument prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons as an interim measure until an agreement was reached on a step-by-step process for the elimination of nuclear weapons.  The operative part of the resolution reiterated the call to the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiations to reach agreement on an international convention on prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

    He also introduced a second resolution on Reducing Nuclear Danger (not yet issued), which he said offered modest and pragmatic proposals for the safety and security of mankind.  It called for a review of nuclear doctrines and immediate steps to reduce the risk of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons.  The possibility of systems and components falling into the hands of terrorists had aggravated current dangers.  In 1978, the United Nations agreed that nuclear weapons posed the greatest danger to mankind and to the survival of civilization.  More than a decade and a half since the end of the cold war, the concept of mutually assured destruction was universally considered untenable.  The dictum that a nuclear war could never be won was accepted as conventional wisdom.

    The resolution he said, referred to the seven recommendations of the Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters of 2001 that would significantly reduce the risk of nuclear war, including promotion of dialogue on cooperative security, de-alerting of nuclear weapons, review of nuclear doctrines, further reduction of tactical nuclear weapons, increasing transparency, creating a conductive climate for disarmament through educational and training programmes, and preparing for a major international conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear danger.

    CHARLOTTE DARLOW (New Zealand) introduced a draft resolution co-sponsored by Brazil on a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere (not yet issued).  She said that a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere would facilitate cooperation and coordination with respect to existing nuclear-weapon-free zones, in such areas such as verification, compliance and disarmament.  The resolution had been adopted by an overwhelming majority in past years, and she hoped that would again be the case.  For States that were concerned that such a zone would undermine their freedom on the high seas, the resolution specifically recognized the relevant rights and obligations under the relevant United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    REZA NAJAFI (Iran) introduced a draft decision and a new draft resolution.  The decision on missiles (not yet issued) follows on the request of the last such resolution, adopted by the General Assembly, which suggested that the Secretary-General undertake a study of the subject, with the support of qualified consultants, in 2006, given the issue's complexity.  The study would focus on identifying areas where consensus could be reached, and that could be helpful for Member States and particularly useful input for the third panel of governmental experts.  The Secretariat had begun preparations and allocated the necessary budget for the activities mandated in the past text, but since there had been no specific development since its adoption last year, the sponsors decided this year only to table a draft decision and to request the inclusion of the item "missiles" in the provisional agenda of the General Assembly's sixty-first session. 

    Introducing for the first time a draft entitled "Follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed in the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons" (not yet issued), he said that the NPT was originally intended to be in force for 25 years, but in 1995, it was extended indefinitely, along with a package of agreements and commitments.  That had included, in particular, the obligation of nuclear-weapon States for the systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal of eliminating them.  A resolution on the Middle East was also adopted.  The 2000 NPT Review Conference resulted in the consensus agreement of  13 practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to implement the Treaty's article VI and paragraphs 3 and 4c of the 1995 decision.  But 10 years after the Treaty was indefinitely extended, and 35 years since it entered into force, the nuclear disarmament obligation had not yet been implemented.

    He said that the international community had often expressed concern about the lack of progress with respect to the elimination of the arsenals of the nuclear-weapon States.  Nor had the CTBT, which would prevent the improvement of nuclear weapons and development of new types of those weapons, entered into force.  The 2005 NPT review had failed mostly because of attempts to undermine the Treaty's disarmament obligations, mainly the practical steps adopted in 2000.  Traditionally, after each NPT review, the General Assembly adopted a resolution reacting to the results.  Given the grave concerns of many delegations about the failure of the 2005 NPT review, as well as that of the World Summit and the Assembly's general debate, Iran was convinced of the need for the United Nations to pursue implementation of the nuclear disarmament obligations.

    One possible way, as suggested by Iran's President during the general debate, was to mandate an ad hoc committee to compile and submit a comprehensive report on possible mechanisms and strategies for complete nuclear disarmament, he said.  Thus, his delegation had tabled a new resolution to follow up the nuclear disarmament obligations agreed in 1995 and 2000 by the parties to the NPT.

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