Ghana Calls for ‘New, Rather Than Renewed’ Disarmament Agenda
Nuclear weapons continued to be developed quantitatively and perfected qualitatively, the representative of Namibia told the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as it continued its general debate this afternoon.
“One wonders whether what has taken place was real reduction or just the replacement of obsolete weapons with newer, more accurate weapons”, he said. The international community was now confronted with claims that nuclear weapons were needed indefinitely for national security or deterrence. No doubt such claims encouraged other States to acquire nuclear weapons for the same reason, as every country had security interests to protect.
Reiterating that point, the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania said those who possessed nuclear weapons could not deter other countries from joining the “club”, using the same arguments of deterrence. Also of concern was the resistance by other nuclear-weapon States to renounce the no-first-use option. Only China had unequivocally done so. There was an urgent need for the rest to commit themselves to a no-first-use posture as well. That should be coupled with de-alerting nuclear arsenals in all their forms.
The representative of Zambia said undue restrictions still persisted on exports of nuclear materials, equipment and technology to developing countries for peaceful purposes. That was a violation of the commitments made at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. Concerns over perceived proliferation should not be used to justify any form of restriction on exports to non-nuclear-weapon States. Such concerns should be addressed through appropriate multilateral forums. All non-proliferation control arrangements should be transparent, and open to participation by all States.
He also drew attention to the recent attempts by some members of the NPT regime to use the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Technical Cooperation Programme as a tool for political purposes, in clear violation of the Agency’s statutes.
Conference of Parties to NPT - 1a - Press Release DC/2701 8th Meeting (PM) 27 April 2000
The representative of Ghana asked how long the nuclear-weapon States could expect non-nuclear-weapon States to show commitment to the NPT and other disarmament treaties when they themselves evinced attitudes to the contrary. His delegation believed that the pursuit of a new, rather than renewed disarmament agenda would provide hope. Ghana therefore supported the New Agenda coalition sponsored by a number of middle-level countries.
Also speaking this afternoon were the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, Deputy Foreign Minister of Bulgaria and representatives of Swaziland, Lebanon and Bolivia. The Deputy-Secretary of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) also made a statement.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Conference also approved the nominations of Vadim Reznikov (Belarus) as Vice-Chairman for Main Committee I and Pedro Villagra-Delgado (Argentina) as Vice-Chairman of the Drafting Committee.
The general debate will resume at 10 a.m. Monday, 1 May.
Conference of Parties to NPT - 3 - Press Release DC/2701 8th Meeting (PM) 27 April 2000
Conference Work Programme
The 2000 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference met this afternoon to continue its general debate. The purpose of the four-week Conference is to provide appraisal of the progress achieved in the field of nuclear non-proliferation since the 1995 Review Conference, and to identify the areas where future efforts should be made. (For background information, see Press Release DC/2691.)
JOEL M. NHLEKO (Swaziland) said universal adherence to the NPT was essential. He urged those States that still remained outside of the Treaty to consider joining the overwhelming majority of the international community and acceding to the instrument without delay. The early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was also a high priority for the international community. Its strength lay in its ability to create a moral and political norm against the testing of nuclear arsenals. It further promoted compliance with the verification regime, as well. The resumption of negotiations on a legally binding instrument banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons was another positive development that was yet to be realized.
He said that the enhanced role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) lay at the core of a strengthened NPT regime. The adoption in May 1997 of Model Protocol Additional to Safeguards Agreements was a positive development, and ushered in a new era in the history of NPT verification. The Protocol gave the Agency the means to provide credible assurances of compliance with non-proliferation commitments, including assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and related activities. Further, the Protocol would have a positive impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Agency’s safeguards regime, resulting in a strengthened NPT.
SELIM TADMOURY (Lebanon) said that the NPT was the basis of the international non-proliferation and disarmament system, and its achievements should not be underestimated. However, four States had failed to accede to it in conflict-prone regions of the world. Ratification by Russia of the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II), the conclusion of the CTBT, and the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on nuclear threats, were among positive developments since the 1995 Review Conference.
Under the Treaty, peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be promoted, especially in the developing countries. States parties to the Treaty should increasingly turn to the IAEA, or establish supplementary organs, which should contribute to the use of nuclear energy for the purposes of development, human health and energy.
Turning to the resolution on the Middle East which was part of the package of 1995 decisions, he said that Israel should comply with its provisions. It was disquieting that Israel still failed to adhere to the NPT and to place its facilities under the IAEA safeguards regime. Its compliance would also contribute to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Excluding one State in the Middle East from the provisions of the resolution would result in a tension-fraught climate. No efforts should be spared to achieve compliance with the resolution.
An objective evaluation of progress in the context of the Conference, he said, demanded new policies that would put an end to the feeling of frustration and break the stalemate in nuclear disarmament. He also supported convening an international conference to evaluate means of achieving total disarmament.
ALISHER VOHIDOV (Uzbekistan) said the process of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament was one way to ensure human survival, and was also the major argument in support of cooperation. He drew attention to the potential role of nuclear terrorism and provocation in local conflicts. His country’s foreign policy was based on the principle of non-nuclear development. “We are convinced that Central Asia can become the fifth region in the world to be free from nuclear weapons”, he said. Uzbekistan was asking the Conference for support in achieving that aim. The draft of the Central Asian treaty should receive its approval in the final document of the ongoing Review Conference, he said.
The world situation forced the international community to recognize the need to undertake serious measures to strengthen the global system of strategic stability and the whole nuclear disarmament process. New tendencies had an adverse effect on the durability of the non-proliferation regime. It was obvious that nuclear weapons would long remain one of the major elements of global policy. Establishing and strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime was therefore the only way to establish a world order that prohibited nuclear testing. Uzbekistan hoped that this 2000 NPT Review Conference would become a significant milestone in the continuation of international efforts to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons.
VASSILY TAKEV, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, supported the position of the European Union and said that there was no doubt that the implementation of the NPT had created the necessary conditions for putting an end to the dangerous nuclear arms race. It was satisfying that the number of States parties to the Treaty had increased, thus indicating the growing recognition of the Treaty’s key importance and universality. The development of the situation since the 1995 Review Conference indicated the need to establish an effective control system over the whole spectrum of activities related to nuclear weapons, their delivery systems and components and materials for their production.
An early entry into force of the CTBT should be pursued through its ratification by the 44 States required for the Treaty to come into being. Bulgaria had ratified the Treaty on 11 September 1999. His country recognized the decisive role of the CTBT in the improvement of the present nuclear non- proliferation regime and in promoting nuclear disarmament.
Fostering international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy constituted one of the prime objectives of the Treaty, he continued. As a country operating nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, Bulgaria closely cooperated with the Agency and the European Union on nuclear safety and non- proliferation issues. The Additional Protocol with the IAEA would be considered by the Bulgarian Government in May. On the issue of export control measures, he said that as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Zangger Committee, Bulgaria strictly implemented the relevant guidelines in its export control policy with regard to dual-use goods and technologies.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said implementation of article VI of the NPT had not yielded the desired results since the Treaty’s entry into force. Although nuclear arsenals had declined substantially from cold war peaks, they still remained at levels far in excess of any reasonable military requirement. Nuclear weapons continued to be developed quantitatively and perfected qualitatively. “One wonders whether what has taken place was real reduction or just the replacement of obsolete weapons with newer, more accurate weapons”, he said.
The recent failure of the United States to ratify the CTBT was yet another setback for nuclear disarmament. His delegation also felt that the nuclear- weapon States had failed to pursue with any determination the systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons they agreed on at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. There had also been no serious efforts to encourage the four States still outside of the NPT to become part of the Treaty.
“We are now confronted with claims that nuclear weapons are needed indefinitely for national security or deterrence”, he said. No doubt such claims encouraged other States to acquire nuclear weapons for the same reason, as any country had security interests to protect. Concrete steps had to be taken to ensure the realization of the goals of the NPT, including: accelerating negotiations to achieve nuclear disarmament; ensuring universal adherence to the Treaty; ratifying the CTBT; prioritizing the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East; banning the production of fissile materials; adherence by States parties to all obligations under the terms of the ABM Treaty; and establishing a nuclear weapons register to promote transparency.
MATHIAS DAKA (Zambia) expressed grave concern that the package of 1995 decisions had not been fulfilled by the nuclear-weapon States. That was very regrettable and represented a betrayal of confidence, to say the least. He would like the Conference to address the reluctance by the nuclear-weapon States to undertake their commitment to fully implementing the package endorsed at the 1995 Review Conference.
Continuing, he said that his delegation appreciated the difficulties encountered in the entire preparatory process of the Conference. He therefore hoped that the Conference would set an agenda for non-proliferation in the new millennium. In that regard, Zambia noted with satisfaction that at the Third Preparatory Session there had been a discussion of the proposals regarding the provisions of article VI of the Treaty and paragraphs 3 and 4 of the 1995 principles and objectives regarding nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. He appealed to the Conference to establish a subsidiary body to deliberate on practical steps for systematic and progressive efforts to eliminate all nuclear weapons. Another subsidiary body should make recommendations for proposals on the implementation of the resolution on the Middle East.
Zambia was concerned that undue restrictions still persisted on exports of materials, equipment and technology to developing countries for peaceful purposes. That was a violation of the commitments made at the 1995 Conference. It was necessary to ensure that concerns expressed over perceived proliferation should not be used to justify any form of restriction on exports to non-nuclear- weapon States. Such concerns should be addressed through appropriate multilateral forums. To be more effective, all non-proliferation control arrangements should be transparent, and open to participation by all States. In recent years, his Government had observed with deep concern the attempts by some members of the NPT regime to use the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme as a tool for political purposes, in clear violation of the Agency’s statutes.
DAUDI N. MWAKAWAGO (United Republic of Tanzania) said he wanted to add his delegation’s voice to those who had spoken against the possible deployment by the United States of a national missile defence system. Such a deployment would be a gross violation of the 1972 ABM Treaty, which was still the cornerstone of strategic arms reduction between the United States and the Russian Federation. Any violation of that Treaty could have a negative impact on the principle of strategic stability, and could roll back nuclear disarmament achievements. It could also trigger a new round in the nuclear arms race. The persistent determination of the nuclear-weapon States to safeguard their security through nuclear deterrence had also given them a ready excuse for continuing the development of new weapons and the modernization of their nuclear arsenals.
Yet, he continued, those nuclear-weapon States argued emphatically that the chances of nuclear war breaking out were slim. No one could vouch for that. Ultimately, the use or non-use of nuclear weapons was a political decision made by a national government. Good intentions alone could not be the basic precept of international security. There was little comfort to be derived from such assurances. Even if the threat of a deliberate nuclear holocaust seemed unlikely, there was a persistent danger of war breaking out, either by accident or by wrong assessment, as long as nuclear weapons continued to exist. However minimal the level of nuclear deterrence might be, the threat it posed to life and the environment made it totally unacceptable.
On a higher plane, he said, those who possessed such weapons could not deter other countries from joining the “club”, using the same arguments of deterrence. That was frightening. Also of great concern was the resistance by other nuclear-weapon States to renouncing the no-first-use option. Only China had unequivocally done so. The rest had persistently resisted calls to abandon that dangerous posture. There was an urgent need for them to commit themselves to a no-first-use posture as well. That should be coupled with de-alerting nuclear arsenals in all their forms, he stressed.
ALBERTO SALAMANCA (Bolivia) endorsed the statements by Peru on behalf of the Andean Community and by Mexico on behalf of the New Agenda Group. He said that the tensions created by the nuclear tests in India and Pakistan, the slowness of the arms limitation negotiations, the threat posed to the stability of the ABM Treaty, and the lack of clear political leadership on the part of the nuclear-weapon States represented present-day realities, which demanded deep reflection.
He said that his country had learned with encouragement of the ratification by the Russian Duma of the CTBT and the approval of START II. On the other hand, he had been surprised by the Russian declaration stressing the importance of maintaining the country’s military potential. He hoped that the positive movement towards peace might receive an added impulse from the active participation of the four countries that now stood in the way of achieving universality of the Treaty.
The success of the Sixth Review Conference would not rest exclusively on any consensus that might emerge regarding the texts to be agreed upon, but mainly on the way those agreements contributed to bolstering the weak structures of nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and nuclear control measures. Much would depend on their ability to obtain a greater political will for development -- the proper instrument for peace.
YAW OSEI (Ghana) asked how long the nuclear-weapon States could expect non-nuclear-weapon States to show commitment to the NPT and other disarmament treaties when they, themselves, evinced attitudes to the contrary. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, had stated that the established multilateral disarmament machinery had started to rust because of the lack of political will to utilize it. Such a perception hardly lifted the gloom and pessimism that overshadowed the Conference, and should be a cause for concern. His delegation believed that the pursuit of a new rather than a renewed disarmament agenda provided hope. Ghana, therefore, supported the New Agenda coalition sponsored by a number of middle-level countries.
He said developing countries had honoured their commitments to the NPT, and now had the right to have access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes without discrimination, as stated in article IV of the Treaty. In addition, the IAEA’s technical cooperation work needed to be fully complemented by the provision of adequate budgetary resources. Flexibility on the part of the key nuclear actors would have a salutary impact on the outcome of the Conference, and also boost other aspects of the disarmament process.
He said, “we have choices to make; either we have as our focus the wider goal of promoting mankind’s survival, or we remain fixed in our narrow, parochial and short-sighted vision of national goals, and are doomed.”
CARLOS FEU ALVIM, Deputy-Secretary of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC), said that in 1991 in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Governments of Brazil and Argentina had signed an agreement on the exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy in order to dispel certain regional tensions. The Guadalajara Agreement was meant to ensure conditions for the application of full-scope international safeguards in the two countries. At the same time Brazil, Argentina and Chile had proposed modifications to the Tlatelolco Treaty in order to put that instrument into force in those three countries.
At the time, the Guadalajara Agreement was viewed as a substitute to the NPT, he continued, as the countries assumed commitments under that Treaty without subscribing to certain items in the document, which they considered discriminatory. In fact, the set of signed Guadalajara agreements could even be considered more stringent then the NPT. Consequently, both countries adhered to the NPT. There were no alterations in the application of safeguards after the Treaty came into effect for Brazil and Argentina.
Regional nuclear safeguards organizations had the advantages of physical proximity to the system, with better knowledge of the situation in the countries in question, he said. They also represented the political will of those countries, committed to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Regional safeguards also made sense from the technical and economic standpoints, when integrated with international safeguards applied by the IAEA. That meant that the integration of safeguards was of utmost importance. It was achieved through Euratom/IAEA and ABACC/IAEA cooperative actions.
Technical cooperation between Brazil and Argentina was a definitive way of establishing trust between the two countries, he said. During the almost eight years of safeguards application in Brazil and Argentina, the ABACC had carried out 944 inspections that involved 4,560 inspector days in the field. The ABACC had also forwarded 3,200 accounting reports and 30 inspection reports to the IAEA. Seven hundred and seventy inspection reports had been sent to both countries.
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