Speakers Urge India, Pakistan, Cuba, Israel to Accede; Assail Provision of Advanced Nuclear Technology to Israel
As the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continued its general debate this morning, States parties called for the universality of the Treaty, stressing the need to reinforce its implementation. The four States that had remained on the fringes of the NPT -– India, Pakistan, Cuba and Israel -- should accede to the Treaty and renounce the use of nuclear weapons, they said.
The representative of Syria said that now that all the Middle Eastern States were parties to the NPT, it was alarming that Israel still stood alone in its continued non-adherence to the Treaty. Syria had been the first State to call for an area free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Again, Israel had not responded.
He said it was no longer a secret that the Treaty had never been the ideal non-discriminatory document hoped for at its drafting. The articles of the NPT did not even slow the proliferation of nuclear weapons, let alone put an end to it. While it was a legitimate right of both nuclear and non-nuclear States to have access to nuclear power for peaceful uses, double standards were clearly being applied. Exporter States of nuclear power placed many obstacles in the way of non-nuclear States. At the same time, they supplied advanced technology to Israel, enabling that country to develop and possess sophisticated military equipment. Such practices were in violation of the NPT.
The representative of the Maldives said that all States parties had a moral obligation to make sure that each and every article of the Treaty was observed unconditionally and without any exceptions. The Treaty could not achieve its objectives without the firm and unwavering commitment of all the nuclear-weapon States, which should provide unconditional and legally binding security assurances to the non-nuclear-weapon States. It was necessary to refrain from nuclear sharing for military purposes, under any kind of security arrangements.
He added that the relationship between disarmament and development could not be overemphasized. The Maldives could not understand the rationale in spending billions of dollars on developing weapons of mass destruction when millions of human beings were plagued by poverty, hunger and disease. He called on all
concerned to divert funds away from building their military might and towards the eradication of poverty and disease all over the world.
Also speaking this morning were the Minister of Defence of Luxembourg, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland and representatives of the Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Venezuela and Kuwait.
Also this morning, representatives of Switzerland, Greece, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Chile and Morocco were appointed as members of the Credentials Committee.
The general debate will continue at 3 p.m. today.
Conference of Parties to NPT - 3 - Press Release DC/2698 5th Meeting (AM) 26 April 2000
Conference Work Programme
The 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) met this morning to continue its general debate. Regarded as a critical moment for the future of the Treaty, the Conference is expected to evaluate progress achieved in the implementation of the NPT since the 1995 Review Conference, and to identify areas where future efforts should be concentrated. (For background information, see Press Release DC/2691.)
CHARLES GOERENS, Minister of Defence of Luxembourg, supported the position of the European Union regarding the Treaty, noting that 187 States were now parties to that important document. None of the States parties would question its significance in promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. However, the situation was still certainly not perfect, for four States still had not signed the Treaty; he urged them to accede to that instrument and renounce nuclear weapons.
The NPT promoted peaceful uses of nuclear energy, he continued. Although Luxembourg had decided not to have a nuclear power station on its territory, it supported peaceful nuclear uses, particularly for health and research purposes. In view of the growing danger posed by illegal trafficking in nuclear materials, Luxembourg also supported the creation of an infrastructure to combat that crime.
The ratification by Russia of the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II) was an encouraging sign, as well as the readiness of the Russian Federation and the United States to start negotiations on START III, he continued. It was necessary to cut both strategic and non-strategic weapons in the near future. All declared nuclear materials no longer needed for military purposes should be placed under international control. Additional protocols with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were of particular importance, and Luxembourg was planning to sign one in the near future. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) was of utmost importance for the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and he urged all countries to ratify it. It was regrettable that negotiations on the cut-off of fissile materials had not yet started in Geneva. He hoped that one of the positive consequences of this Conference would be the commencement of those negotiations.
SUN JOUN-YUNG (Republic of Korea) said that in order to make the NPT a strong and effective regime, this Conference must address the major issues of nuclear disarmament and the immediate programme of action, universality, non- compliance, safeguards and negative security assurances. He hoped that nuclear- weapon States would demonstrate their renewed determination to reduce their nuclear arsenals and enhance the transparency of that process, by presenting both their track records and their future concrete plans for the reduction of nuclear weapons. It was also important that nuclear-weapon States try to lessen their dependence on nuclear weapons in their military strategies.
He called upon all the States that had not yet signed or ratified the CTBT, especially those States among the 44 whose adherence was required for the Treaty’s entry into force, to do so without further delay. The fissile material cut-off treaty should also begin immediately on the basis of the Shannon mandate. The nuclear tests in South Asia ran counter to global efforts for nuclear non- proliferation and disarmament. In that regard, the international community should redouble its efforts to reverse the nuclear arms race in the region. He also urged the four countries that remained outside the NPT -- India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba -– to accede to the Treaty. No States other than the current five nuclear-weapon States should be recognized as such, nor should any new category of States be created in the NPT.
He said his country had called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as a State party to the NPT, to implement the IAEA safeguards agreement fully and faithfully. He also said that negative assurances could form an essential part of the preferential treatment for non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT which had forgone the option of nuclear weapons. His delegation upheld the principle that non-nuclear-weapon States that were parties to the NPT and fully complied with their obligations had a legitimate right to receive assurances from nuclear- weapon States that they would not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them.
WIN MRA (Myanmar) associated himself with the position of the Non-Aligned Movement: Myanmar was strongly in favour of nuclear disarmament and fully committed to the realization of the Treaty. Apart from the conclusion of the CTBT, there had been no tangible achievement in implementation of the Treaty since the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995. Two of the threshold States had established their de facto nuclear-weapon status by conducting nuclear tests. Two nuclear-weapon States had yet to ratify the CTBT. At this juncture, it was necessary to build a stronger international consensus to discourage any new development of nuclear weapons and to dismantle existing ones. The nuclear-power States should take the lead in setting an example in that area.
At the third session of the Preparatory Committee, his delegation had submitted some proposals to be incorporated in the document on principles and objectives, and a programme of action on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Myanmar believed that universal adherence to the NPT remained an urgent priority. The States parties should reaffirm their solid commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. In that respect, the early establishment of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament in the Conference on Disarmament was urgently called for. The early entry into force of the CTBT was another important measure. It was also important to commence negotiations on the fissile material cut-off treaty at the earliest possible date.
Total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only genuine guarantee for non- nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, he said. Pending the achievement of such a goal, a legally binding international instrument on a security assurances regime should be urgently concluded. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in their respective regions by the Treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok and Pelindaba had gone a long way in limiting the geographic proliferation of nuclear weapons and enhancing global and regional peace and security. However, cooperation of all nuclear-weapon States and their respect for the respective protocols were needed for the maximum effectiveness of nuclear-weapon-free zones. He called on all States parties to express their desire to see an early entry into force of the protocols, which still remained to be ratified by the nuclear-weapon States, through the swift resolution of the remaining issues in a spirit of amity and cooperation.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said his country was one of the first Middle Eastern States to sign the NPT. It had done so because it felt that such destructive weapons were a source of concern to both the region and the world at large. Syria and other Arab States believed that such a signing would have been an incentive for Israel to adhere to the Treaty as well. Now that all the Middle Eastern States were parties to the NPT, it was alarming that Israel still stood alone in its continued non-adherence to the Treaty. Syria was also the first State to call, from within the United Nations, for an area free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Again, Israel had not responded. In the thirtieth year of the NPT, there were some questions that required answers. Had State parties achieved universality of a treaty that was intended to rid the world of the terror of nuclear weapons? Was the world more stable and secure?
He said the principle objective of the NPT was to end both the horizontal and vertical accumulation of nuclear weapons and the stockpiling of such weapons. It was no longer a secret, however, that the Treaty had never been the ideal non- discriminatory document hoped for at its drafting. The articles of the NPT did not even slow the proliferation of nuclear weapons, let alone put an end to it. Had the nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty indeed fulfilled their commitments to eliminate nuclear weapons, prevented their proliferation or helped non-nuclear States harness nuclear power for peaceful purposes? While it was the legitimate right of both nuclear and non-nuclear States to have access to nuclear power for peaceful uses, double standards were clearly being applied. Exporter States of nuclear power placed many obstacles in the way of non-nuclear States and hampered progress.
Yet, at the same time, those same exporter States overtly and covertly supplied advanced technology to Israel, enabling that country to develop and possess advanced military technology. Such practices were in violation of the NPT. How could some nuclear States continue to defend Israel, the only State in the Middle East that had not adhered to the NPT? Israel used its nuclear power for aggression, expansion and entrenching its occupation. How long would Israel continue to resist and ignore resolutions of the United Nations and other bodies, without any regard for the consequences of its behaviour and the impact on the region? The 1995 resolution on the Middle East had no time-frame. In addition, many States were called on to rely on the goodwill of the nuclear-weapon States, who were tasked with gently prodding Israel in the right direction when they felt the time was right. There was an urgent need for a priori Israeli adherence to the NPT.
HUSSAIN SHIHAB (Maldives) said that the great achievements of the last half- century were undeniable: the CTBT had become a reality; several nuclear-weapon- free zones had been declared; and the number of nuclear weapons had been cut almost in half. The world’s military expenditures had declined by about 30 per cent during the last two decades alone. START II had been ratified, paving the way for negotiations on START III, with a promise of more meaningful reductions in the future. However, even with those positive developments, the situation in the area of nuclear disarmament could not be categorized as totally promising, for new and more sophisticated weapons were being developed, and the threat of nuclear terrorism could not be ignored.
All States parties had a moral obligation to make sure that each and every article of the Treaty was followed unconditionally and without any exceptions, he continued. No party should ignore its obligations or interpret the Treaty in its own way. For the NPT to continue to be effective, the implementation of its provisions had to be reinforced. The achievement of universality was equally vital. The Treaty could not achieve its objectives without the firm and unwavering commitment of all the nuclear-weapon States, which should provide unconditional and legally binding security assurances to the non-nuclear-weapon States. It was necessary to refrain from nuclear sharing for military purposes, under any kind of security arrangements, without exception. All States parties should have equal rights, without any discrimination, to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The Maldives firmly opposed nuclear testing for whatever reason.
The relationship between disarmament and development could not be over- emphasized, he said. The Maldives could not understand the rationale in spending billions of dollars on developing weapons of mass destruction when millions of human beings were plagued by poverty, hunger and disease. He called on all concerned to divert funds away from building military might and towards the eradication of poverty and disease all over the world.
PRZEMYSLAW GRUDZINSKI, Under-Secretary of State, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Poland, said only four of the Member States of the United Nations remained outside of the NPT. Of that number, three were believed to possess nuclear-weapon capability. To the dismay of the international community, India and Pakistan had proceeded to test such weaponry two years ago, thereby jeopardizing the NPT as well as international peace and security. The fact that all the nuclear- weapon States had not yet ratified the CTBT was disappointing, and a source of concern. He trusted the United States Senate would soon reconsider its position with regard to ratification of that instrument. He also hoped that China would not fail to pursue the CTBT ratification process.
His delegation, he said, was both disappointed and concerned that the Conference on Disarmament had not been able to proceed to a productive negotiating process regarding the fissile material cut-off treaty. Creation of such an instrument should follow the CTBT as yet another pillar of the global non- proliferation regime. A new nuclear arms race would not serve the interests of international security, or the security of any country. It would, on the contrary, upset and contribute to deterioration of the now existing international security balance. Also, the considerable threats and challenges to the non- proliferation regime did not allow for complacency.
Those challenges, he continued, arose from the pattern of non-compliance on the part of some State parties to the NPT. The behaviour of certain States in the Middle East and Asia spoke for itself. He urged the Governments concerned to fully comply with their safeguard obligations. Poland was convinced that this Conference needed to focus on a realistic programme of action that would genuinely reinforce the NPT, and in the process consolidate international peace and security.
IGNACIO ARCAYA (Venezuela) endorsed the statements by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and by Peru on behalf of the Andean Community, and said that both positive and negative events had had an impact on the development of the non-proliferation regime since the 1995 Review Conference. An atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion seemed to prevail in the area of nuclear disarmament. Despite the setbacks, he hoped that the Conference would restore confidence in the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament process.
The indefinite extension of the Treaty in 1995 had been achieved in the hope that the nuclear-weapon States would abide by their obligations under the Treaty, he continued. Now more than ever, systematic efforts on the part of the nuclear- weapon States were needed to bring about tangible progress in nuclear disarmament. Gradual progress towards total elimination of nuclear weapons should be sought, and the problem of non-strategic tactical weapons should be addressed along with that of strategic arms. A legally binding instrument was needed to provide safety assurances to the non-nuclear-weapon States. It was necessary to start negotiations on the fissile material cut-off treaty, and a moratorium by the producers would be helpful in that respect.
It was important to achieve universality of the Treaty, and the CTBT needed to enter into force as soon as possible, he said. Transfer of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes was of particular importance. The IAEA should provide assistance in that field. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in different areas of the world would help generate trust and confidence among countries. The geographical space already covered by such zones demonstrated the readiness of countries to proclaim the whole Southern Hemisphere as a nuclear- weapon-free zone. States parties should show greater flexibility in their efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, and unite to ensure full implementation of all provisions of the Treaty. The extension of the Treaty did not mean the freezing of the status quo –- the weapons of mass destruction should be eliminated.
MOHAMMAD A. ABULHASAN (Kuwait) said the statements made over the past few days displayed a political will that looked towards a new nuclear-weapon-free world. The past years had not been used properly, however, and the spectre of nuclear war still loomed large over the world. The chance was still there, however, for serious nuclear-weapon States to gradually give up their arms and stockpiles. The Russian Federation’s ratification of START II and the CTBT had to be commended in that light. There were still 35,000 nuclear warheads in the world. Less than 1 per cent of those could reduce the world to ashes. There was thus no justification for the maintenance of stockpiles. Prosperity and international security depended on prioritizing local economies and not on accumulating weapons and embarking on arms races.
He said the world was still haunted by Israeli nuclear arms efforts. Iraq had also failed to comply with the requirements of international legitimacy with regard to its own nuclear capabilities. Kuwait attached great importance to efforts aimed at eliminating weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Despite the fact that all of the Arab States had called on Israel to come under the IAEA safeguards regime and adhere to the NPT, it had not been enough to ward off the Israeli nuclear threat. That country had instead ignored and rejected the appeals of the international community. The IAEA had also not been allowed to provide the necessary guarantees for Israel’s nuclear facilities. Such actions destabilized the region.
He called on the international community to bring pressure to bear on Israel, and urged all States to cease providing scientific and technical assistance to that country in the nuclear field. The conference must find a way to eliminate nuclear weapons and halt related tests that threatened the environment and international security. Humanity had been plagued by two world wars and was still suffering from then. The world could not take a third war. If that happened, it would be the end of humanity. Efforts should therefore be sincere, and differences should be set aside in the search for a common solution. * *** *