Joint Declaration by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of:

    Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa
                                 and Sweden

   1. We, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland,
   Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden have considered
   the continued threat to humanity represented by the perspective of the
   indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by the nuclear-weapon states,
   as well as by those three nuclear-weapons-capable states that have not
   acceded to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the attendant possibility
   of use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. The seriousness of this
   predicament has been further underscored by the recent nuclear tests
   conducted by India and Pakistan.

   2. We fully share the conclusion expressed by the commissioners of the
   Canberra Commission in their Statement that "the proposition that
   nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used -
   accidentally or by decision - defies credibility. The only complete
   defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and assurance that they
   will never be produced again."

   3. We recall that the General Assembly of the United Nations already
   in January 1946 - in its very first resolution - unanimously called
   for a commission to make proposals for "the elimination from national
   armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to
   mass destruction." While we can rejoice at the achievement of the
   international community in concluding total and global prohibitions on
   chemical and biological weapons by the Conventions of 1972 and 1993,
   we equally deplore the fact that the countless resolutions and
   initiatives which have been guided by similar objectives in respect of
   nuclear weapons in the past half century remain unfulfilled.

   4. We can no longer remain complacent at the reluctance of the
   nuclear-weapon states and the three nuclear-weapons-capable states to
   take that fundamental and requisite step, namely a clear commitment to
   the speedy, final and total elimination of their nuclear weapons and
   nuclear weapons capability and we urge them to take that step now.

   5. The vast majority of the membership of the United Nations has
   entered into legally-binding commitments not to receive, manufacture
   or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive
   devices. These undertakings have been made in the context of the
   corresponding legally binding commitments by the nuclear-weapon states
   to the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. We are deeply concerned at the
   persistant reluctance of the nuclear-weapon states to approach their
   Treaty obligations as an urgent commitment to the total elimination of
   their nuclear weapons.

   6. In this connection we recall the unanimous conclusion of the
   International Court of Justice in its 1996 Advisory Opinion that there
   exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion
   negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under
   strict and effective international control.

   7. The international community must not enter the third millennium
   with the prospect that the maintenance of these weapons will be
   considered legitimate for the indefinite future, when the present
   juncture provides a unique opportunity to eradicate and prohibit them
   for all time. We therefore call on the governments of each of the
   nuclear-weapon states and the three nuclear-weapons-capable states to
   commit themselves unequivocally to the elimination of their respective
   nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons capability and to agree to start
   work immediately on the practical steps and negotiations required for
   its achievement.

   8. We agree that the measures resulting from such undertakings leading
   to the total elimination of nuclear weapons will begin with those
   states that have the largest arsenals. But we also stress the
   importance that they be joined in a seamless process by those with
   lesser arsenals at the appropriate juncture. The nuclear-weapon states
   should immediately begin to consider steps to be taken to this effect.

   9. In this connection we welcome both the achievements to date and the
   future promise of the START process as an appropriate bilateral, and
   subsequently plurilateral mechanism including all the nuclear-weapon
   states, for the practical dismantlement and destruction of nuclear
   armaments undertaken in pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons.

   10. The actual elimination of nuclear arsenals, and the development of
   requisite verification regimes, will of necessity require time. But
   there are a number of practical steps that the nuclear-weapon states
   can, and should, take immediately. We call on them to abandon present
   hair-trigger postures by proceeding to de-alerting and de-activating
   their weapons. They should also remove non-strategic nuclear weapons
   from deployed sites. Such measures will create beneficial conditions
   for continued disarmament efforts and help prevent inadvertent,
   accidental or unauthorized launches.

   11. In order for the nuclear disarmament process to proceed, the three
   nuclear-weapons-capable states must clearly and urgently reverse the
   pursuit of their respective nuclear weapons development or deployment
   and refrain from any actions which could undermine the efforts of the
   international community towards nuclear disarmament. We call upon
   them, and all other states that have not yet done so, to adhere to the
   Non-Proliferation Treaty and take the necessary measures which flow
   from adherence to this instrument. We likewise call upon them to sign
   and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty without delay and
   without conditions.

   12. An international ban on the production of fissile material for
   nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (Cut-off) would
   further underpin the process towards the total elimination of nuclear
   weapons. As agreed in 1995 by the States Parties to the NPT,
   negotiations on such a convention should commence immediately.

   13. Disarmament measures alone will not bring about a world free from
   nuclear weapons. Effective international cooperation to prevent the
   proliferation of these weapons is vital and must be enhanced through,
   inter alia, the extension of controls over all fissile material and
   other relevant components of nuclear weapons. The emergence of any new
   nuclear-weapon state, as well as any non-state entity in a position to
   produce or otherwise acquire such weapons, seriously jeopardises the
   process of eliminating nuclear weapons.

   14. Other measures must also be taken pending the total elimination of
   nuclear arsenals. Legally binding instruments should be developed with
   respect to a joint no-first-use undertaking between the nuclear-weapon
   states and as regards non-use or threat of use of nuclear weapons
   against non-nuclear-weapon states, so called negative security

   15. The conclusion of the Treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok
   and Pelindaba, establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones as well as the
   Antarctic Treaty have steadily excluded nuclear weapons from entire
   regions of the world. The further pursuit, extension and establishment
   of such zones, especially in regions of tension, such as the Middle
   East and South Asia, represents a significant contribution to the goal
   of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

   16. These measures all constitute essential elements which can and
   should be pursued in parallel: by the nuclear-weapon states among
   themselves; and by the nuclear-weapon states together with the
   non-nuclear-weapon states, thus providing a road map towards a
   nuclear-weapon-free world.

   17. The maintenance of a world free of nuclear weapons will require
   the underpinnings of a universal and multilaterally negotiated legally
   binding instrument or a framework encompassing a mutually reinforcing
   set of instruments.

   18. We, on our part, will spare no efforts to pursue the objectives
   outlined above. We are jointly resolved to achieve the goal of a world
   free from nuclear weapons. We firmly hold that the determined and
   rapid preparation for the post-nuclear era must start now.