Fissile Material Production Cutoff Treaty [FMCT] Excerpts

28 August 1997
Original: ENGLISH

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Thursday, 28 August 1997, at 10 a.m.
President: Mr. Goonetilleke (Sri Lanka)


Mr. NARAY (Hungary):


I have asked for the floor in my capacity as Special Coordinator on the review of the agenda. Following my appointment at the 770th plenary meeting on 26 June this year, I conducted bilateral consultations with almost 30 delegations representing all constituencies. I should like to emphasize that they have been far from exhaustive due to the lack of time. I apologize to those delegations, among them observer delegations, whom I could not reach this way. I had the honour to undertake collective consultations with the members of the G­21, as well as with delegations belonging to the Western Group. An exchange of views on the agenda also took place in the Eastern European Group. I also consulted with the delegation of China. I convened an open­ended consultation on 19 August this year, when members and observers had the opportunity to reflect on my preliminary report. I am grateful to Ambassadors and delegates who have made themselves available for these talks and the openness they have demonstrated. National positions have also found their reflection in the statements to the plenary meetings, which I have duly taken into account.


The observations of my report are grouped around two main schools of thought related to the agenda, though they do not cover completely all shades of opinion. This structure is not an artificial invention ­ rather, a natural outcome of what I have heard from you.

Delegations associating themselves with the first school of thought, my consultations revealed, advocate a strong relationship between the Final Document of the first special session of the United Nations General Assembly on Disarmament, held in 1978, the Decalogue, and the actual agenda of the CD. These delegations pointed out that they did not see the roots of the problems in the content of the present agenda, or in the accepted priorities of the international community in the field of disarmament, which they still consider relevant, but rather in their implementation. As they stressed, the CD has failed to address the agenda items which are related to nuclear disarmament. These delegations pointed out that nuclear disarmament should remain the absolute priority on any future agenda of the CD. Delegations representing this position expressed to me their wish to maintain the present agenda in its entirety. In their view any major changes in the present agenda can be introduced only by a new special session of the United Nations General Assembly on disarmament. Under this concept the proper place for the selection of topics for actual negotiations is the programme of work.

The other current of opinion on this question enjoys equally wide support. In the view of these delegations, the agenda should be brought in line with the profound changes which have occurred in the world in the last couple of years. They believe that the present agenda is anachronistic and should be replaced by a new, updated, streamlined, forward­looking and realistic one. Delegations sharing this approach are of the opinion that the CD, as an autonomous independent body, is free to set new priorities and draw up a new agenda. The second basic element for this school of thinking, as formulated during the talks, is the need for a more practical agenda, focusing on items with a real potential for substantive or preparatory negotiations. The programme of work for these delegations should consist of a calendar of meetings and eventual institutional arrangements. The third and last element envisaged by the proponents of this approach is the notion of balance between nuclear and conventional items. Accordingly, they prefer the establishment of three broad items entitled "Nuclear disarmament", "Conventional disarmament" and "Other items", this last one mainly to deal with issues related to outer space. In this context, many delegations expressed support for document CD/1434. Delegations belonging to this school of thought indicated that their priority was to start negotiations in the CD on FMCT and APLs.


I would like to conclude this section of my report by listing specific proposals which have been supported to be added to the existing agenda. Some of them, like "FMCT", "conventional disarmament" and "anti­personnel landmines", have been recurrent issues in the CD's deliberations this year. My consultations did not reveal new developments in the well­known trends. Another group of proposed additions, mentioned by at least one delegation, comprises the following items: regional aspects of disarmament, and miliary restructuring and conversion. This last was proposed by one delegation with specific reference to the requirements of the post­cold­war era.


Mr. SEIBERT (Germany):


The Comprehensive Nuclear Test­Ban Treaty and the constraints it imposes on the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons is an example of the substantial contribution the CD can make to the wider process of nuclear disarmament. The next logical step overdue is the negotiation and successful conclusion by the CD of a fissile material cut­off treaty (FMCT). Both resolution 48/75 L, adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly, and the decision by the 1995 NPT Review Conference on "Principles and objectives for nuclear non­proliferation and disarmament" called for early cut­off negotiations. Germany remains committed to the prompt commencement of negotiations on an FMCT which should end for ever the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and make a significant contribution to the process of nuclear disarmament as well as to the strengthening of nuclear non­proliferation. Such a treaty should be effectively verifiable, non­discriminatory and universally applicable. Full­scope safeguards under international supervision should apply to nuclear­weapon States and non­nuclear­weapon States alike.

After intensive consultations by Ambassador Shannon, the CD reached consensus in 1995 on a mandate for cut­off negotiations. It is flexible enough to permit addressing the security concerns expressed by the members of this Conference and thus provides a solid basis for negotiations.


We also believe that an update of our traditional CD agenda has to reflect the international changes and resulting challenges. We therefore think that the time is ripe for negotiations on an FMCT and a ban on APLs. Consultations so far have, however shown that we will probably not be able to reach consensus by the end of this session on any of the subjects under review. Special Coordinators should therefore be permitted to pursue their work during the inter­sessional period with a view to presenting their reports at the beginning of next year's session.

The meeting rose at 1.10 p.m.