Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
Address: 136 East 67 Street, New York, N.Y. 10021
Statement by H.E. Mr. Igor S. Ivanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, April 25, 2000
I would like to congratulate you on your election to this high post and to wish you very success in your endeavours at the helm of such an important international forum. You can count on our support and active assistance.
Now let me read out the message of greetings by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V. Putin to the participants of the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
"I send my heartfelt greetings to the participants in the VI Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the first Conference since the adoption of a historic decision on the indefinite extension of the Treaty.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty has withstood the test of the time and in the course of its thirty-year history has confirmed its role as the most important instrument of containing the threat of nuclear proliferation. Its implementation has contributed to strengthened regional and global stability. The Treaty has laid the foundations for an irreversible progress towards nuclear disarmament and has reduced the risk of an outbreak of nuclear war.
Russia is committed to its obligations in the field of nuclear disarmament and intends to continue to abide by them in the conditions of maintaining strategic stability and of the system, established over recent decades, of disarmament Treaties as a basis for further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms.
As a Party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and as one of its Depositories, Russia considers the NPT to be one of the mainstays of the international security system. It is the NPT that constitutes the basic mechanism for preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons, while ensuring further international cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy.
We attach great importance to this Conference, which is called upon to further strengthen the Treaty and the International Non-Proliferation Regime as a whole.
I wish every success and constructive work to the participants in the Conference.
Acting President of the
Russian Federation V. Putin"
The Non-Proliferation Treaty is one of the pillars of the global system of the arms control and disarmament agreements. It is thanks to this system that the international community has succeeded over the last decade to resolve the core issue of the international security - to bring to naught the threat of universal nuclear catastrophe.
It is symbolic that we hold this review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the turn of the century - at the very moment when the foundations for a new system of international relations are being laid-down. The future of the nuclear non-proliferation regime established by the Treaty depends to a great extent on what this system would be. That is why it is necessary to assess the efficiency of this instrument in a wide context of contemporary challenges to security and strategic stability in the world.
In the Concept of National Security of the Russian Federation adopted recently by President Vladimir Putin, strengthening of the non-proliferation regimes is considered a major priority. We have come to this Conference with a strong conviction that the preservation and strengthening of the Treaty would serve the interests of the entire world community.
Today this task has to be addressed in a difficult situation. It has to do primarily with the emergence of new serious threats to international security and stability. Local conflicts, international terrorism and militant separatism offer a nutrient for the proliferation of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means.
A tendency to undermine the existing system of strategic stability and the attempts to build national stability at the expense of the interests of other states, not to mention misappropriation of the right to use force in violation of the fundamental principles of the UN Charter and the international law, is equally dangerous. This is, in fact, a direct invitation to a new arms race on the planet.
In short, the world has come to a major crossroads: either, through joint efforts, we will manage to preserve and multiply the positive results accumulated in the field of non-proliferation and limitation of nuclear weapons, or we shall face a real prosper of chaos and uncontrollable international processes with the military power diktat being the only "regulator". I do not believe such a prospect serves anybody’s interests.
It is extremely important, therefore, that our efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regime fit organically in the construction of a fair and democratic world order based on mutual trust and equal security for all states and regions. It is in the framework of such a system that the objectives and the potential of the Non-Proliferation Treaty can be really effectively realized.
Russia is fully committed to its obligations under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We are resolved to pursue a stage by stage and integral progress of all five Nuclear Powers towards nuclear disarmament without any artificial delays or undue hurry.
A few days ago the Russian Federation ratified the most important block of agreements in this field and, first and foremost, the Russian-American START 2 Treaty and the 1997 package of ABM agreements. The implementation of these instruments would constitute a major step towards nuclear disarmament. Suffice it to note that as a result the overall level of strategic offensive weapons of Russia and the USA would be reduced by approximately two thirds as compared to the 1990 levels.
Last week the State Duma of Russia also ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty designed to reliably block the way to qualitative improvement of nuclear arsenals. We once again express our hope that all the states possessing the relevant capability whose decision to ratify it is of crucial importance for entry into force of this instrument will join the Treaty.
We are often asked: how would the Russian foreign policy develop after the recent presidential elections and what would be the role of the nuclear factor in our military doctrine? The decisions I have just outlined, I believe, send a clear signal to the international community in this regard.
Russia also continues to implement other previously signed agreements on the reduction of strategic nuclear arsenals. Thus, under the START 1 Treaty, we have already eliminated more than 2000 ballistic missiles and over 950 land- and sea-based launchers, some 30 nuclear submarines and more than 80 heavy bombers. Total reductions under the START 1, when completed, will amount to some 40 per cent of the strategic nuclear forces of Russia and the United States.
The statement by the President of Russia of 27 May 1997 on de-targeting of strategic nuclear weapons was another major step towards the reduction of the nuclear threat. Currently, all Russian ballistic missiles are assigned the so-called "zero" flight mission. That provides an additional reliable safeguard against unauthorized launches of Russian missiles.
Russia also continues to consistently implement its unilateral initiatives related to tactical nuclear weapons. Such weapons have been completely removed from surface ships and multipurpose submarines, as well as from the land-based naval aircraft, and are stored at centralized storage facilities. One third of all nuclear munitions for the sea-based tactical missiles and naval aircraft has been eliminated. We are about to complete the destruction of nuclear warheads from tactical missiles, artillery shells and nuclear mines. We have destroyed half of the nuclear warheads for anti-aircraft missiles and for nuclear gravity bombs.
Moreover, we are prepared to go further, towards deeper cuts in nuclear arsenals. In March 1997, the Presidents of Russia and the United States agreed on lowering their levels by the end of 2007 to 2 000?2 500 warheads. And we do not think this is as far as we could go. Russia is prepared to consider reducing nuclear arsenals of the Parties to the level of 1 500 warheads.
Thus, it is quite possible not only to fully implement those agreements and initiatives in the field of nuclear disarmament that represent now one of the assets of the world community, but also to make a new breakthrough, both in qualitative and quantitative terms. I declare with all responsibility that Russia intends to work exactly towards this end.
At the same time, it should be admitted that this historic chance could be missed if the foundation of the strategic stability in the world, indeed, its cornerstone – the ABM Treaty of 1972 – were to be destroyed. Unfortunately, such a possibility has become now quite realistic given plans declared by the United States to deploy a National ABM system prohibited by the Treaty.
Full clarity is needed here. Further reductions in strategic offensive weapons can only be considered in the context of preservation of the ABM Treaty. The historic role of that instrument lies in the fact that it opened the way towards deep reductions in strategic offensive arms on a stable and transparent basis.
One has to be fully aware of the fact that the prevailing system of arms control agreements is a complex and quite fragile structure. Once one of its key elements has been weakened, the entire system is destabilized. And in the context of globalization the interdependence of these elements has drastically increased. The collapse of the ABM Treaty would, therefore, undermine the entirety of disarmament agreements concluded over the last 30 years. The threat of the erosion of the non-proliferation regimes related to nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means would, therefore, grow.
That is why the compliance with the ABM Treaty in its present form without any modifications is a prerequisite for further negotiations on nuclear disarmament in accordance with Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. That is why it affects national security interests of every state and of the international community as a whole. Incidentally, understanding of this important fact has convincingly demonstrated by the outcome of the vote on the relevant UN General Assembly resolution.
We are deeply convinced that missile threats and missile proliferation can and should be dealt with without breaking the ABM Treaty. Russia is prepared to engage in the broadest consultations on this both with the United States and multilaterally.
The Russian initiative to establish a Global Missile and Missile Technologies Non-Proliferation Control System serves this very purpose. It was launched at the Moscow International Expert Meeting on the GCS held on March 16, 2000. A phased approach to the development of this system on a broad voluntary basis, I am convinced, will be a step in the right direction.
Thus, a real alternative to the destruction of the ABM Treaty exists and is taking up clear shape. Its foundation is formed by further drastic reduction of nuclear weapons and common action against the threat of proliferation of missiles and missile technologies. The choice in favor of precisely such an option is of crucial importance not only for the fate of the non-proliferation regimes, but also the preservation of positive prospects for the development of international affairs.
Fully aware of its responsibility to further strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Russia proceeds on the assumption that the scope of this task goes beyond the efforts of the nuclear powers alone. It concerns all its participants.
The task of ensuring universality of the Treaty remains very urgent. It is necessary to actively continue promoting involvement into the nuclear non-proliferation regime of the States, which have not signed it yet.
We welcome the process of establishing nuclear-free zones in various regions of the world. We see in it a meaningful contribution to the development and consolidation of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. In the course of more than 30 years after the signature of the Tlatelolco Treaty establishing the first such zone the number of the States-Parties increased many-fold to exceed now one hundred.
By creating a nuclear-free zone the States-Parties contribute, in fact, to strengthening regional and international security and increasing mutual trust and concord.
Russia is a Party to the majority of international agreements on such zones. The fact that our country has no nuclear weapons beyond its national territory also illustrates our meaningful contribution to the consolidation of the nuclear-free zones regime. We urge again other Nuclear Powers who have not done it yet to follow our example.
There is another urgent issue - to ban the production of fissionable materials for nuclear weapons. Russia implements a program aimed at decommissioning of the last remaining facilities producing weapons-grade plutonium and refrains from using for these purposes the plutonium produced. Production of the weapons-grade uranium has been stopped a few years ago. We will work actively towards initiation as soon as possible of the deliberations of the Ad hoc Committee of the Conference on Disarmament established to conduct negotiations on the issue.
At the same time, there is a need to improve the mechanism of the Conference on Disarmament itself. Frankly, we are seriously concerned over the future of the Conference. The atmosphere of compromise that used to prevail at this forum has given way to a desire by a number of states to establish linkages between various issues. There's no coincidence, therefore, that for the second year in a row now the Conference have not in fact been moving anywhere. Here again we have to choose between political egotism and the renunciation of immediate advantages for the common cause. I hope that common sense will prevail and the Conference on Disarmament would resume its smooth and constructive work.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty also plays a vital role in the creation of a favorable climate for a constantly expanding international cooperation for decades to come in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy, including in the energy sector, medicine, scientific research, etc. Russia stands ready for further expansion of such cooperation, including in the interests of developing countries, be it through the IAEA, or on a bilateral basis. In particular, we have got specific proposals concerning the joint development of peaceful nuclear cycle technologies that fully meet the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation.
Russia consistently supports the IAEA safeguards as an effective instrument of control strengthening confidence that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is observed by all its participants and that no unauthorized activity goes undetected or unchecked. The IAEA safeguards supplemented by technological measures are both a control mechanism for nuclear non-proliferation and a very powerful confidence-building measure.
Thirty years ago, by concluding the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the international community, according to an outstanding humanist Martin Luther King, rejected "the cynical notion that one nation after another should climb the ladder of the nuclear arms race leading to the nuclear hell." I am deeply convinced that confirmation of the indefinite duration of the Treaty by this Conference would vividly demonstrate our commitment to making non-proliferation one of the inviolable principles of the international security in the 21st century.
* * *