Title: "Reaction to Nuclear Powers' Assurances to NPT Parties." Remarks by representatives from a number of countries regarding the five nuclear powers' assurances to nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) members who may be threatened with nuclear weapons. (950414)
04/14/95 REACTION TO NUCLEAR POWERS' ASSURANCES TO NPT PARTIES (Excerpts: Speeches in U.N. Security Council) (2170) UNITED NATIONS -- On April 11 the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution sponsored by its five permanent members, the world's five declared nuclear powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- setting out measures they would consider if states that are parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are threatened or attacked by nuclear weapons.
The vote came less than a week before the widely anticipated, pivotal conference of the NPT parties to decide on the life of the 25-year-old pact.
The assurances by the five through the Security Council are considered by many parties to the treaty to be crucial for indefinite extension of the NPT. The United States and its allies have been lobbying strongly for such an outcome and say that they have the votes for such an extension. However, other NPT parties have expressed equal determination to have the treaty extended for a series of fixed periods as a means of working toward total nuclear disarmament and a universally accepted treaty.
The April 11 council meeting provided a preview of the variety and shades of opinion that will be heard when the parties to the treaty begin their general debate on April 18 and negotiations soon thereafter. The conference is scheduled to end on May 12.
During the council debate all countries supported the assurances, but some complained that they fell far short of what was needed to strengthen the NPT regime in order to convince the major states that have not signed -- Chile, Brazil, Israel, Pakistan and India -- to join.
Following is a sampling of the speeches: -- Laszlo Molnar, counselor of the Hungarian Mission to the United Nations: "...The draft before the council today has been placed before it not by three, but by all five permanent members, and the difference goes far beyond mere numeric quantifications. Hungary, therefore, welcomes this draft resolution as a most significant step forward in providing security assurances to all non-nuclear weapons states parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty by all the five nuclear weapons states....
"This step is not only a step forward, it is also a step of great historic significance. For the first time, the permanent five, acting in a most welcome manifestation of unity, are offering positive assurances in a Security Council draft resolution, and, also for the first time, they have elaborated measures, including the restoration of international peace and security, which the council would take in the catastrophic event of nuclear aggression."
"...Hungary, a small non-nuclear weapons country, appreciative of meaningful action, attaches great importance to the security assurances thus given. We feel that the draft resolution will provide us, as it does all other non-nuclear weapons states parties to the NPT, with genuine guarantees. In addition, the draft resolution, by virtue of expressing a unity of intent by the five nuclear weapons states, introduces a powerful element of deterrence against nuclear aggression or blackmail."
-- Ambassador Francesco Fulci of Italy, a member of the council: "Italy very much hopes that the process that bore these first positive fruits, on the eve of the Review and Extension Conference of the NPT, can continue and expand in the future....
"My government believes that this initiative will help create the premises needed to make a decision on extending, indefinitely and unconditionally, the NPT at the upcoming New York Conference. Moreover, this new step moves in the same direction as the achievement of recent years in the field of nuclear disarmament...."
-- Ambassador Emilio Cardenas of Argentina, a member of the council: "This new draft resolution...will contribute to the consolidation and strengthening of hope in the international community and will even generate newer and greater hope, as we go through an effective process of nuclear disarmament.
"It should be stressed that this draft resolution will be in keeping with what was initially established in this regard in Protocol II of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. However, in our opinion, that Protocol is more in line with the needs of non-nuclear weapons states.
"The adoption of the draft resolution before us will also encourage hopes for a forthcoming indefinite and unconditional extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is one of the main pillars of peaceful coexistence in our times. With such an extension, nuclear disarmament can become a reality of the 21st century...."
-- Ambassador Ion Gorita of Romania: "The resolution on security assurances...is an important political initiative of particular relevance to the Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Indeed, progress in the direction of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear weapons states against the use of threat of use of nuclear weapons will facilitate the further strengthening of the non-proliferation regime, paving the way for an indefinite extension of the NPT....
"The draft resolution...addresses concerns in the security assurances area in terms of both negative and positive assurances for the NPT's non-nuclear weapons member states. It is an effort towards a comprehensive and effective approach to a very complex issue that deserves appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation.
"We consider that the Security Council draft resolution, together with the declarations by the five nuclear weapons states...bear significant political weight. Such collective security assurances, offered for the first time by all five nuclear weapons states permanent members of the Security Council are an important step in the right direction that cannot be underestimated."
-- Ambassador Anatoli Zlenko of Ukraine: Ukraine considers the resolution "a first step towards eliminating the contradictions that exist between the nuclear weapons and non-nuclear weapons member states of the NPT on the problem of assurances....
"We appreciate the fact that the draft resolution takes into account the concern felt by the majority of non-nuclear weapons states over the possible catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons again them...."
"We believe that the significance of the negative assurances given now by the nuclear states could be substantially strengthened if they were supported by the tool to monitor their implementations....
"We hope that the Security Council's adoption of this draft resolution...will play a positive role in achieving a decision on the indefinite extension of the Treaty at its 1995 Review and Extension Conference."
-- Ambassador Prakash Shah of India (India is not a party to the NPT): "For those of us who are committed to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, a debate on the question of security assurances against nuclear weapons attack is a welcome development, even though my delegation is skeptical about the motivation which has prompted this debate today.
"Today's debate takes us back to June 1968 when the Security Council adopted resolution 255. The nuclear weapons powers were then canvassing for signatures to the proposed Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Today, in a repeat of history, they are canvassing for votes for indefinite extension of the NPT....
"In my delegation's view, it is the clear responsibility of the nuclear-weapons states that are also permanent members of the council to go to the assistance of any state that is threatened with or is the victim of nuclear attack, and not merely those that might be signatories to the NPT.
"...What we should be debating today is not an interim measure to preserve the balance of terror as a sop to the security concerns of a category of non-nuclear weapons countries, but a universal treaty commitment for time-bound destruction and elimination of nuclear weapons; this is, if the nuclear weapons powers are serious about indefinite security for all."
-- Ambassador Kamal Kharrazi of Iran said that the resolution lacked a trigger mechanism to ensure a Security Council response to threats or attacks by nuclear weapons. But he ended by saying:
"Undoubtedly, the present endeavor will help create an atmosphere conducive to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. As an original signatory of the NPT and as a party that has fully complied with all its obligations under NPT and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards, the Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to acting in tandem with other peace-loving countries in this regard."
-- Ambassador Nabil Elaraby of Egypt said at a press conference afterwards that if Egypt were a member of the council, it would not have voted for the resolution. During his remarks to the council he said:
The resolution "contains three positive elements: It is endorsed by all the permanent members of the council. It addresses the element of technical assistance in a more comprehensive manner than resolution 255 (1968) albeit in voluntary language. Operative paragraphs 5 and 6 invite member states of the United Nations to provide assistance to any state that is victim of an act of aggression by nuclear weapons and recognize the right of any such victim to compensation from the aggressor. These are definitely positive elements and represent a welcome improvement on resolution 255....
"We are not, however, persuaded that the formula in the joint draft resolution before us offers the non-nuclear weapons states all that can now be devised, or even all that is due, to deter the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. In all candor, the draft falls short of the general expectations...."
-- Ambassador Razali Ismail of Malaysia: "Let me state it bluntly: we believe, over the long run, in the time-bound period, in the total and complete elimination of nuclear weapons as the only definitive assurance we can live with. Until this can be achieved, any assurance, whether positive or negative, whether given jointly or severally, will merely constitute an interim measure.
"...My delegation would like to state here that we are equally concerned about proliferation and unregulated access to nuclear materials. We are still hopeful that, despite the clear discrimination in the NPT, improvements can somehow be made which could influence the small group of countries that are not party to it.
"Finally, the draft resolution is at best a first step towards the institution of a legally binding instrument. The adoption of this draft by the council cannot absolve the nuclear weapons states from their obligation to negotiate complete nuclear disarmament...."
-- Indonesian Ambassador Nugroho Wisnumurti, a member of the council, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Caucus:
"...There are signs of a positive change in the approaches adopted by the nuclear weapons states on this crucial issue at this crucial juncture. In this context, we welcome the individual declarations made by them last week as well as the draft resolution submitted by them now before us. These endeavors, in our view, reflect concerted and serious efforts by the nuclear weapon states to assuage the concerns of the non-nuclear weapons states to ensure their security. However, they do not meet the long-standing demand of the non-aligned countries for legally binding commitments to enhance their security...."
The resolution "rightly reiterates the importance of the NPT to the global community and calls upon the states parties to comply fully with their obligations, in particular with Article VI. It recognizes the legitimacy of the demand of the non-nuclear weapons states for security assurances, and calls for appropriate measures to safeguard their security. And it contemplates the initiation of measures to counter aggression involving the use of nuclear weapons and seeks to render necessary assistance to victims of such aggression.
"We regret, however, that the draft has failed to acknowledge the right of the non-nuclear weapons states to unconditional security assurances in an international convention...."
-- Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria, a member of the council, said he voted for the resolution "without enthusiasm" because it fails to clearly define any specific actions to be taken in case of nuclear attack.
The resolution "fails to commit all members of the council to the necessity of adopting in the immediate future negative security assurances in a legally binding instrument.
"The assurances in the present resolution, as drafted, need to be further clarified if they are to inspire the necessary confidence which non-nuclear weapons states can live with, and if they are not to be a mere set of measures whose efficacy could be undermined by varying interpretations of member states...."
-- Ambassador Gerardo Martinez Blanco of Honduras, a member of the council: The resolution and the individual negative assurances statements by the nuclear powers "could contribute to strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and to dispelling the fears engendered by the ambiguous and undeclared nuclear policies of certain states against their neighbors. In this respect, my delegation hopes that the adopting of this draft resolution will help resolve the differences in the Conference on Disarmament that have so far prevented the conclusion of effective international instruments on negative security assurances for non-nuclear weapons states, something that has been advocated since 1968 by the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries."