12 May 2005

Review Conference for Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Adopts Agenda after Intensive Negotiations

Also Continues General Debate, Hears from 18 Non-Governmental Organizations

NEW YORK, 11 May (UN Headquarters) -- After intensive negotiations, the Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) adopted its agenda this evening, well into the second week of its work, which began 5 May.

The Preparatory Committee for the Conference, in three sessions held between April 2002 and May 2004, had been unable to reach agreement on the agenda, as well as various substantive issues under negotiation.

Following the adoption of the agenda (document NPT/CONF.2005/CRP.1), the Chairman of the conference, Sergio de Queiroz Duarte (Brazil), made a formal statement underlining that that review would be conducted in light of the decisions and the resolutions of previous conferences, and allow for the discussion of any issue raised by States parties.

Prior to the agenda’s adoption today, the Conference heard from 18 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and continued its general debate.  The non-governmental organizations urged the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

“The global abolition of nuclear weapons may seem a long way off”, said the representative of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, who introduced the NGO segment.  “But it is the only way.  And the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get there.”

Thousands of nuclear weapons remained on hair-trigger alert and they could go off by accident, she said, killing millions.  There were now nine nuclear States and that number would grow if the nuclear weapons States continued to improve their weapons and develop new ones, thus inviting others to acquire such weapons and providing opportunities for theft by terrorists.  Non-governmental organizations were here not only as a voice of civil society, saying to get on with the job of nuclear disarmament, but also as a source of technical, scientific and medical knowledge for that purpose.

In that light, NGOs spoke from legal, medical, psychological, political and religious perspectives, focusing on the responsibilities of nuclear-weapon States to rid the world of the nuclear threat.  Legal organizations reviewed compliance by such States with article VI of the NPT, seeing a qualitative continuation of the arms race.  A representative of the Lawyer’s Committee on Nuclear Policy said that, unfortunately, most nuclear-weapon States still relied on nuclear weapons as an integral part of their defence policies, contradicting their NPT commitments to a diminishing policy role for such weapons.

Nihon Hidankyo’s representative spoke in the names of the survivors of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  He said that, if the Conference failed to act now to eliminate all nuclear arsenals, the world’s children and their children’s children were doomed to the pain and suffering that all atomic bomb survivors imagined over and over.  Those who lived, he said, carried a life-long physical and emotional torment, including a “radioactive time bomb” that could explode at any moment.  When survivors heard that the United States was developing combat nuclear weapons, in particular, they felt a visceral horror.

Prior to hearing from the non-governmental organizations, delegates in the general debate continued to underscore the critical juncture at which the NPT found itself in the face of proliferation to non-nuclear States, plans for new weapons in nuclear-weapon States, a stall in disarmament, and the withdrawal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from the Treaty.

In addition to strengthening the global framework on disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear materials, some speakers urged confidence-building measures.  Alberto Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, stressed that specific cases must be addressed at the regional level.  Trust must be built, misunderstanding must be prevented and mechanisms to address potential conflict must be put in place, he said, so that potential proliferators found dialogue more desirable than deadly bombs.

In other business today, Philip Owade (Kenya) was elected Chair of the credentials committee.

Also speaking in the general debate this morning were representatives of Sudan, Dominican Republic and Liechtenstein.

Welcoming the adoption of the agenda were the representatives of Malaysia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned States Parties of the NPT; United Kingdom, on behalf of the Western States and others; and Egypt.

Other non-governmental organizations speaking today included:  Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Western States’ Legal Foundation, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Lolelaplap Trust, Blue Ridge Environmental Defence League, International Peace Pilgrimage, NPT Youth Forum, British-American Security Information Council, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation International Safeguards System, Nuclear Policy Research Institute, Religions for Peace, Civil Network for a Peaceful Korea and the International Law Campaign.

The Review Conference will meet again at a time to be announced in the Journal.


The 2005 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) met today to conclude its general debate, begun last Monday, 2 May.  Following statements by delegations this morning, the Conference was expected to hear from representatives of non-governmental organizations this afternoon, including many in the nuclear- and security-related fields.


HASSAN HAMID HASSAN (Sudan) said his Government viewed with great satisfaction the progress of the NPT in the past 35 years, owing to its strong content, all of which should be implemented in an effort to rid the world of the nuclear threat.  He looked forward to the Treaty’s enhancement as a way of serving peace and security around the world and the development and prosperity of all the world’s peoples, especially through the peaceful use of nuclear energy for development.  Also satisfying had been the spread of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  He remained deeply concerned, however, that the Middle East region had so far been unable to rid itself of nuclear weapons.  That volatile part of the world should be able to do so.  Establishment of such a zone, however, would never be achieved as long as Israel refused to place its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and adhere to its additional protocol.

He said that, if the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones was important for other parts of the world, in the Middle East, that was even more urgent.  He also underlined the importance of full implementation of all multilateral treaties.  He called on nuclear-weapon States, in particular, to take the initiative to pursue nuclear disarmament and to devote their nuclear capabilities to peaceful uses.  It was imperative that regional disputes be settled, in order for there to be no justification for the possession of nuclear weapons.  International conventions were powerful tools in that regard, not only by their number of parties, but also based on the commitments assumed by them.  Regrettably, however, impediments still blocked the convening of a United Nations disarmament conference.  He called on all delegations, especially the nuclear-weapon States, to start serious negotiations leading to the convening of such a conference.

ALBERT ROMULO, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, aligning himself with statements and papers of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the NPT now stood at its most critical crossroad.  Today’s challenges, including horizontal and vertical proliferation, along with paralysis of the disarmament machinery, were far more pronounced than ever before.  There were some signs of hope, including States forswearing nuclear weapons, but momentum must be sustained.

States that had not yet concluded safeguards agreements must do so, he said, since they were an important element in building trust.  Nuclear-weapon-free zones were also important for holding the line.  Other positive developments included growing adherence to the NPT and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), along with new resolutions from the Security Council and the General Assembly.

But all those agreements, he said, could not achieve disarmament unless there were fundamental changes in the perception of security through deterrence.  Collective security and the rule of law should decrease reliance on deterrence.  In that context, he strongly supported measures to de-alert nuclear weapons.  Diplomacy was also the key to preventing proliferation, and he called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to the six-party talks.  He supported efforts by Iran to reach agreements on guarantees, and he called on India, Pakistan and Israel to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapons States.

The NPT’s framework must be strengthened with serious consideration given to universal adoption of the safeguards protocol, he said.  A way must also be found to prevent States that are in breach of the NPT from trying to escape its obligations by withdrawing.  The convention on protection of nuclear material must also be strengthened, and uranium enrichment must be controlled.  More importantly, the Conference should address the 13 practical steps in implementing article VI and the other principles to which all NPT parties have agreed.

In conclusion, he stressed that specific cases must be addressed at the regional level, as well as the global level; trust must be built, misunderstanding must be prevented and mechanisms to address potential conflict must be in place so that potential proliferators found it more desirable to try dialogue rather than deadly bombs.

ENRIQUILLO A. DEL ROSARIO CEBALLOS (Dominican Republic) said that the challenges confronting international peace and security were manifold and complex.  He fully supported the compromise enshrined in the NPT, and he especially supported efforts under way towards nuclear disarmament.  He affirmed his country’s full confidence in both the NPT and the CTBT.  Nuclear disarmament was very much entwined with living up to the commitments of those important international instruments.  Total nuclear disarmament remained a shared aspiration of countries around the world.  The sole guarantee for the non-use of nuclear weapons was their abolition.  The use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was a right enshrined in the NPT, conditioned in strict and non-negotiable safeguards.  An important contribution to safeguarding the planet had been the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Such zones should also apply to those tense regions of the world.  Achievements to date had been important, but much work remained to be done.

He said that due attention should be paid to the transport of nuclear waste through maritime routes.  Preserving the Caribbean Sea would remain a top priority of his country, for that was its sea, its geopolitical space, and it was completely intertwined with the lives of its people.  The transport of nuclear waste through the Caribbean was a grave threat to security, tourism, the environment, and the lives of Dominicans and other peoples throughout the region.  He fully appreciated the IAEA safeguards machinery that was in place, in that regard.  At the same time, he reiterated his concern over the potential dangers looming over the countries of the region.  Implementing the NPT and other relevant treaties would put an end, once and for all, to the threats of nuclear weapons and their waste.  Pending that, he called for the adoption of new norms to complement existing international security machinery, particularly guarantees in the non-pollution of the marine environment, the fixing of liability in the case of damage, and so forth.  Hopefully, the Conference would contribute to attaining the common goal of freeing humankind from the constant threat of nuclear weapons.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said that, in order to overcome the NPT’s crisis of confidence, balance must be restored between its three pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, through progress in all three areas.  In that context, he called on all States that had not yet done so to accede to the additional protocol on safeguards.  He also supported the Canadian proposal to create a standing bureau to react to emergencies in close cooperation with the IAEA.

He said that the opposition from some nuclear States to the CTBT was blocking progress and creating risk, and he called for a strengthening of their commitment to the testing moratorium.  He also expressed deep distress over the deadlock on the fissile material cut-off treaty, which had advantages for nuclear, as well as non-nuclear, States.

Liechtenstein, he said, remained fully committed to the NPT and to complete disarmament of nuclear weapons worldwide.  Only through the full commitment of all States parties of the relevant treaties would it be possible to achieve a more secure environment.

Statements of Non-Governmental Organizations

XANTHE HALL, of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, said that nuclear weapons were of no use at all to anyone for any reason.  Thousands of nuclear weapons remained on hair-trigger alert and they could go off by accident, killing millions.  There were now nine nuclear States and that number would grow if the nuclear weapons States continued to improve their weapons and develop new ones, thus inviting others to acquire such weapons.

Threats facing the world could not be averted through possession of nuclear weapons, she continued, and once the worst had happened through a nuclear blast, there could be no medical aid.  Finally, she said, nuclear weapons could not deter terrorists.  On the contrary, the existence of nuclear weapons and their materials made the world more vulnerable to nuclear terrorism.

“The global abolition of nuclear weapons may seem a long way off”, she said.  “But it is the only way.  And the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get there.”  Non-governmental organizations were here not only as a voice of civil society, reminding you to get on with the job, but also as a source of technical scientific and medical knowledge for that purpose.

On the issue of transparency, ALEXANDRA SUNDBERG, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, said that the Conference’s primary concern was compliance.  Without a doubt, the best way to build confidence was to strengthen and enhance transparency measures within the NPT regime.  In that regard, she called for the following measures:  States parties should submit reports; they should carry forward the commitment made in 2000, and endorse the reporting requirement at the present review; the nuclear-weapon States and “Annex 2” States listed in the CTBT, in particular, should submit formal reports; and nuclear-weapon States, in particular, should report on national holdings of warheads -- both within national borders and without -- delivery vehicles and fissile materials, operational status of nuclear weapons, disarmament initiatives and reduction strategies, strategic doctrines, and security assurances.

She also called for strengthened non-governmental organization access to the review process.  In that regard, all meetings not designated as negotiations should be held in open session.  Non-governmental organizations should be provided with:  appropriate seating in the hall and access to all documentation during open sessions; a session for non-governmental organization presentations to delegates; increased government-non-governmental organization dialogue within the official process, including opportunities for informal interaction; and participation from underrepresented regions, with financial and logistical support by the Conference Secretariat and/or States parties.  Those practices should be codified in the Final Document of the present Review Conference, thereby affirming the value of non-governmental organization participation to the health of the Treaty.  Global support and understanding of disarmament and non-proliferation was the key to ensuring compliance with the NPT.  That critical component could not be achieved without increasing the transparency of the Treaty process.

Speaking in favour of transparency, DANIEL ELLSBERG, of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, made a statement on behalf of Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli technician whom, he said, was right to disclose his knowledge of Israel’s nuclear activities, the extent of which Americans and all others had substantially underestimated.  Israel was probably the third largest nuclear Power.  Israelis and other nations of the world deserved to know that.

The confidence required for inspection and enforcement agreements on nuclear disarmament could, and must, rest on “social verification”:  the courage and conscience of scientists, technicians and officials who could reveal to inspectors activities violating those agreements.  In the interest of that kind of verification, he called for international protest of Vanunu’s new indictment and the restrictions on his speech and travel.  In addition, the world should demand that all the nuclear weapons States –- including Israel, India and Pakistan, but above all the United States and Russia –- negotiate concrete steps on a definite timetable toward the global, inspected abolition of nuclear weapons.

JACQUELINE CABASSO of the California-based Western States Legal Foundation presented an assessment of the nuclear-weapon States’ compliance with the Treaty’s article VI.  With the possible exception of China, the quantitative trend was downwards, but qualitative modernization of nuclear forces continued.  The nuclear-weapon States might protest that modernization was the inevitable by-product of replacement of existing systems that had reached the end of their service lives.  If that was true, then the intention was not to fulfil the unequivocal undertaking of elimination of those weapons for decades to come.  Moreover, in some cases, modernization unmistakably amounted to an arms race.  Meanwhile, neither the CTBT nor a fissile material cut-off treaty had been achieved.  Nor had the NPT nuclear-weapon States undertaken any initiatives to stop modernization of nuclear forces.

She said there had also been no efforts to achieve related objectives, such as increasing transparency and lowering the readiness of forces.  She provided a “quick snapshot” of modernization programmes in each of the NPT nuclear-weapon States.  For example, top Russian officials had touted development of a new manoeuvrable warhead able to avoid missile defences.  The United States spent roughly $40 billion annually on nuclear forces, more than the total military budget for almost every other country.  Regarding its delivery systems, existing Minutemen land-based missiles were being modernized to improve accuracy and reliability and to extend their service life.  Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles were also being modernized.  Nuclear-capable long-range bombers were being upgraded and the current budget proposed more than $1.25 billion in spending through 2011 for the “next generation bomber”. Research was under way on new delivery systems, and the lifetime of warheads was being extended by decades.  Work was also going forward on a variety of technology upgrades intended to increase United States’ capabilities to plan and execute nuclear strikes.

MICHAEL SPIES, of the Lawyer’s Committee on Nuclear Policy, said that, for progress in article VI compliance, States must not go back on their words and follow the practical steps that had been outlined.  In particular, the commitment to concrete, agreed measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems went to the core of the nuclear dilemma.  Nuclear arsenals would not be reduced and eliminated until the nuclear weapons States stopped relying on them in an operational sense.

In that light, he highlighted the commitment toward a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that the weapons would ever be used.  Looking at several nuclear weapons States, he said that most still relied on nuclear weapons as an integral part of their defence policies.  The peoples of the world did not wish to depend on a morally repugnant balance of terror for their security.

JOHN BURROUGHS, also of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, said that, despite existing commitments, certain nuclear-weapon States still insisted on linking progress towards nuclear disarmament with other disarmament and security items.  There was no legal link, for example, between elimination of nuclear arsenals and comprehensive demilitarization.  That point must be stressed, so as not to allow nuclear-weapon States a rote excuse for failure to comply with article VI.  It was also the case, however, that there might be practical links between progress towards nuclear abolition and other disarmament measures.  A verification regime for the ban on biological weapons and a regime preventing the weaponization of outer space both would give the nuclear-armed States greater confidence in proceeding towards elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

He said the United States was “absolutely in no position to lecture other States about meeting obligations of general and complete disarmament”, after it shattered seven years of negotiations on a verification protocol of the Biological Weapons Convention.  It stood virtually alone in opposing the start of negotiations on a PAROS treaty, prohibiting the weaponization of outer space.  It withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, and its pursuit of missile defence made reduction of nuclear forces more difficult, as other major States made calculations about what capabilities they would wish to retain for second-strike option.  Nor could the trends in “high-tech” conventional armaments be ignored.  For example, the United States was converting four ballistic missile submarines to carry conventionally-armed cruise missiles and Special Forces units.  Contractors had been asked to submit concepts for new intermediate-range submarine-launched missiles, capable of carrying conventional or nuclear payloads.

In addition, military planners were looking at potential conventional “global strike” missions for deactivated peacekeeper missiles.  The United States’ Air Force was planning the deployment in 2018 of a new inter-continental ballistic missile, which could be conventionally armed.  Along with exploring conventional payloads for existing inter-continental ballistic missiles, the military was pursuing a variety of technologies that could allow accurate weapons delivery at global distances, under the label of non-weapons research.  Further upgrades to computer software and hardware used to plan and execute nuclear strikes and new military communication satellites would improve capabilities for non-nuclear, as well as nuclear, war-fighting.  While the United States contended that development of conventional forces demonstrated decreased reliance on nuclear forces, the effects, nonetheless, could be counterproductive in the nuclear sphere.

HELEN CALDICOT, of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, spoke on the medical and ecological consequences of nuclear power.  She said it was not true that such power was emission-free.  Enrichment of uranium, for example, accounted for large quantities of carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbon gas.  The nuclear fuel cycle in all countries used large quantities of fossil fuel at all stages.

In addition, she said, nuclear reactors consistently released millions of curies of radioactive isotopes into the air and water each year.  Those unregulated releases included the noble gases krypton, xenon and argon, as well as tritium.  In addition, vulnerable, high-level nuclear waste stored in the cooling pools at the 442 global nuclear power plants included hundreds of radioactive elements that had various biological impacts in the human body, the most important being cancer and genetic disease.  She described the effects of Iodine 131, Strontium 90, Caesium 137 and Plutonium 239.

She proposed a supplementary protocol to the NPT allowing parties to the treaty to replace assistance in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, provided for in article IV, with assistance in promoting the use of clean, sustainable, renewable energy.

TONY BRUM, Lolelaplap Trust, said he was speaking on behalf of indigenous people throughout the world whose lives had been dramatically affected by weapons proliferation.  He lived on the Marshall Islands for the entire 12 years of the United States atomic and thermonuclear testing programme.  He witnessed most of the detonations and was just 9 years old when he experienced the most horrific -- the infamous BRAVO shot that terrorized and traumatized his community and society to an extent that few people in the world could imagine.  While BRAVO was by far the most dramatic test, all 67 shots detonated in the Marshall Islands contributed, one way or another, to the nuclear legacy that haunted its inhabitants to this day.  If one took the total yield of nuclear weapons tested in the Marshall Islands and spread them over time, it would be the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima shots, every day for 12 years.

He said that Marshall Islands’ encounter with the bomb did not end with the detonations, themselves.  In recent years, documents released by the United States Government had uncovered even more horrific aspects of the burden borne by his country in the name of international peace and security.  The documents clearly illustrated that United States’ scientists conducted human radiation experiments with Marshallese citizens.  Some were injected with or coerced to drink fluids laced with radiation.  Other experiments involved the purposeful and premature resettlement of people on islands highly contaminated by the weapons tests, in order to study how human beings absorb radiation from their foods and environment.  Much of that human experimentation occurred in populations either exposed to near-lethal amounts of radiation or who were told they were receiving medical care that would help their fellow citizens.

At the studies’ conclusion, the United States still maintained that no positive linkage could be established between the tests and the health status of the Marshallese, he said.  In the past few weeks, a new United States Government study had predicted a 50 per cent higher than expected incidence of cancer in the Marshall Islands resulting from the atomic tests.  Although the testing of atomic and thermonuclear weapons ended 48 years ago, entire populations were still living in social disarray.  Throughout the years, America’s nuclear history in the Marshall Islands had been coloured with official denial, self-serving control of information, and abrogation of commitment to redress the shameful wrongs.  For decades, the United States Government had utilized slick mathematical and statistical representations to dismiss the occurrence of exotic anomalies, including malformed foetuses and abnormal diseases in so-called “unexposed areas” as coincidental and not attributable to radiation exposure.

He called on the international community to “extend its hands” to assist the people of the Marshall Islands to extricate themselves from the legacy of the nuclear age and the burden of having been the testing ground for weapons of mass destruction.  When the importance of the non-proliferation of weapons was discussed, that must also include the essential non-proliferation of illness, forced relocation, and social and cultural ills in the indigenous communities, which paid disproportionately for the adverse consequences of weapons processing, deployment and storage.  A relatively small number of world leaders and decision makers did not have the right to destroy the well-being and livelihood of any society in the name of global security.  Security for indigenous people meant health, land, resources and body, and not the presence of weapons and the dangers they engendered.  “Global leaders do not have, nor should they be allowed, to assume the right, to take my security away so that they may feel more secure themselves”, he said.

LOUIS ZELLER, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, said that the United States and the Russian Federation today held a toxic legacy of plutonium waste from nuclear warheads.  While citizens of many nations applauded the dismantling of strategic nuclear weapons, he was deeply troubled by the provisions of the United States/Russian bilateral plutonium disposition agreement, which allowed each nation to use 34,000 kilograms of that military waste in civilian nuclear electric power plants.  He opposed the reprocessing of plutonium for fuel, because it presented unsupportable risks to public safety and the environment, and undermined the goal of nuclear non-proliferation.  Manufacturing plutonium would create vast amounts of waste, and plutonium-fuelled reactors would create an unsolvable international nuclear security dilemma.  He expanded on those concerns and proposed alternatives to the Review Conference for its consideration.

Stressing that there was an alternative to plutonium fuel, he said that mixing the plutonium with liquid glass and radioactive waste would avoid the risks to human health caused by plutonium reactors.  That would save hundreds of millions of dollars and return the world to a more sensible non-proliferation policy.  United States and Russian environmental groups strongly opposed the plutonium fuel programme.  Their united view is that plutonium must not be used as fuel in civil reactors.  It must be kept at well-protected sites, and it must be immobilized in the future to prevent smuggling and reuse in nuclear weapons.  The 13 steps agreed at the 2000 review provided a foundation for opposing plutonium reprocessing.  Step 10 called on the nuclear-weapon States to place fissile material no longer required for military purposes under international verification.  A fissile material cut-off treaty should expand its scope to include a ban on civilian plutonium production.

NATALIE WASLEY, International Peace Pilgrimage and TINA KEIM, NPT Youth Action, said they represented the generations that would inherit the consequences of the decisions made this month by the States parties to the NPT.  If the situation on the Security Council -- namely that the five permanent members that were also the five declared nuclear-weapon States retained the right of veto -- it appeared that the NPT bargain would never be fulfilled.  The Council, therefore, should be reformed to reflect the equality of all people, and it should maintain a democratic process and commitment to justice.  Long-standing nuclear-weapon States, such as the United States, were adopting new doctrines that supported proliferation.  They were planning new nuclear weapons, and more countries were pursuing the nuclear option.  Nuclear arsenals around the world were being developed in defiance of the disarmament obligations enshrined in the NPT.

They said it was time to break through the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament and start negotiating a nuclear weapons convention.  That step would open a huge door to a much deeper and more peaceful understanding among nations.  As a first step, the Conference could demand implementation of the 13 steps agreed to five years ago and set up a body mandated to control the implementation of nuclear disarmament.  Even better would be adoption of the only plan that included a concrete timetable and a concrete date by which all nuclear weapons should be abolished -- the “2020 Vision Campaign of the Mayors for Peace”.  They were taught in school that the foundation of a functioning community was the acceptance of the rule of law by every member.  Yet, the mighty arbitrarily broke international law in pursuit of their national interests.  What would happen to a citizen who refused to obey the laws or interpreted them only to suit their own interest?  They demanded, in the name of all of the children of the world, the immediate, unqualified, total abolition of all nuclear weapons for the well-being of humankind and its common future.

CAROL NAUGHTON, of the British-American Security Information Council spoke on the nuclear policy of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  She said that NATO had always argued that the collective security provided by its nuclear posture was shared among all members of the Alliance, providing reassurance to any member that might otherwise feel vulnerable.  That policy has led to “nuclear sharing” in which non-nuclear-weapon States hosted nuclear weapons.

She said that, recently, other European States had begun to question such nuclear sharing.  She welcomed, in particular, moves by parliamentarians in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, calling for removal of NATO nuclear weapons from Europe.  Article II of the NPT imposed a complementary obligation on non-nuclear States not to receive the transfer of nuclear weapons, and nuclear sharing appeared to break those obligations.  She urged the withdrawal of remaining United States weapons from Europe and the review of the NATO strategic concept toward the goal of elimination of such weapons from European soil.

FELIX FELLMER, International Law Campaign, proposed a series of recommendations to the States parties, as follows:  make commitments in good faith; transition from nuclear energy to renewables; lead and educate by example; and start negotiating the abolition of those weapons.  A nuclear weapons convention would regulate the phasing out of all aspects of the “nuclear weapons complex”, from development and testing to deployment and use or threat of use.  That would also provide the legal basis for the universal criminalization of nuclear weapons activities, thereby helping to prevent a “breakout”.  Such a convention was possible.

He said that a nuclear weapons convention did not replace a step-by-step approach; it was a step-by-step approach.  It did not compete with the NPT; it complemented it.  Such a convention had been envisaged under the Treaty’s article VI.  Without commencement of such negotiations, the NPT goals would remain elusive.  Whether or not to conclude such an instrument should no longer be an issue.  There had to be a negotiated agreement on how to abolish nuclear weapons safely and forever, on how to deal with breakout or non-compliance, and on how to verify a nuclear-weapon-free world.  The goal of abolishing nuclear weapons might seem unrealistic now, given the difficulties in present negotiations, but it was equally unrealistic to believe that it was possible to go on indefinitely without the NPT collapsing.  It was vital that the States parties saved the Treaty by making mature decisions about the future of the world and by courageously stepping forward to meet that challenge.

DIANE PERLMAN, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, recalled the words of psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who said that nuclear weapons were beyond psychology.  The unprecedented power of nuclear weapons altered the human relationship to life and death, and created staggering new problems, while distorting thinking and blunting feeling about those problems.  Nuclear weapons allowed people to coexist with the constant threat of annihilation, while at the same time continuing to believe that they somehow made us safer.  The magnitude of the danger induced psychic numbing, denial and fear.  Those, in combination with overconfidence and illusions of control, interfered with optimal thought and action.  Nuclear weapons were not a necessary evil; they were an unnecessary evil.  If everyone acted consciously, aware of their own assumptions and those of their enemies, then it would be possible to reduce conflict and increase creative problem-solving.

She said, however, that the magnitude of the danger understandably limited the response in several ways:  we might act impulsively, focusing on the immediacy of real or imagined threats, thereby ignoring long-term consequences; absorbed by our own security needs, we might overlook the provocative nature of our actions; we might limit our responses to using threats or even violence and coercion; and we might not address the underlying psychological meaning of desiring nuclear weapons, thereby thwarting efforts to physically stop proliferation.  Military superiority, national security, and nuclear deterrence were old concepts that had become new oxymorons.  After 35 years, the NPT was in crisis.  Failure to disarm created an atmosphere of bad faith and resentment.  But, the Treaty was not an end in itself.  The end was elimination of the threat of Armageddon and a replacement of war with more effective methods of tension reduction, violence prevention and conflict transformation.  The NPT should evolve in order to prevent a spiral that ended in nuclear anarchy.

SATORU KONISHI, of Nihon Hidankyo, spoke in the names of the survivors of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  He said that, if the Conference failed to act now to eliminate all nuclear arsenals, all children and their children’s children were doomed to the pain and suffering that all atomic bomb survivors imagined over and over.

Those who lived, he said, carried a life-long physical and emotional torment, including a “radioactive time bomb” that could explode at any moment.  When survivors heard that the United States was developing combat nuclear weapons, in particular, they felt a visceral horror.  He read a poem of Toge Sankichi that expressed the horror of the survivors’ experience.

ELAHE MOHTASHAM, of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation International Safeguards System, said it was vital to take into account psychological, as well as political and technological factors in determining the degree of Iran’s commitment to the NPT.  Domestic debate and improved transparency could significantly impact on Iran’s relations with the West, which would build confidence about Iran’s nuclear activities permitted by the NPT.

There were, however, indications of Iran’s commitment to the NPT, she said.  Iran had, after all, actively cooperated with the IAEA to rectify its past failures.  In addition to such technical cooperation, the psychological and emotional concerns of the international community must be addressed through greater openness and transparency.  At the same time, negative security assurance and tangible steps toward disarmament must be provided by nuclear-weapon States to build confidence in Iran.

ROBERT F. SMYLIE, Religions for Peace, said that for more than 30 years, the interfaith community had come together in various configurations to advocate for both an end to war and an end to the production of the weapons and systems with which wars were fought.  Ever more powerful weapons escalated the risks and dangers, and increased the temptations to settle conflict by violent methods, whether by States or non-State parties.  The majority of religious leaders had always promoted disarmament, peace and policies that promoted human security.

The religions of the world embodied in their core texts and traditions a set of affirmations, which had provided the staying power and the basis of common commitments for religious people of all traditions and in all countries.

He said that religious traditions seeking to achieve meaningful and effective arms control and disarmament based on a renunciation of war had been consistent and cumulative.  General and complete disarmament was the end goal towards which immediate and continuous steps must be taken.  The ultimate goal of eliminating all weapons -- conventional, nuclear, chemical and biological -- clearly reflected an understanding that peace and security could not be found in the weapons themselves.  Religions that worked for peace, therefore, had affirmed calls for, among other things:  an end to nuclear proliferation, both horizontal and vertical; the abolition of all nuclear weapons; the cessation of all nuclear testing; an end to the production of fissionable materials for weapons; commitment by nuclear Powers to provide non-use assurances, pending the final elimination of nuclear weapons as a means of curbing proliferation; and negotiation of workable treaty agreements between the United States and the Russian Federation.

WOOKSIK CHEONG, Civil Network for Peaceful Korea, Republic of Korea, said that the peace and security environment in North-East Asia had steadily deteriorated since the last NPT Review Conference in 2000.  The reason was obvious:  the revival of a hostile relationship between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  He was very dismayed at certain negative steps taken in recent years by the United States and the “DPRK”, which were causing a “big blow” to the NPT regime.  Both parties bore full responsibility for the current proliferation crisis in the region.  The Bush Administration, in particular, bore a heavy responsibility, because of its hard-line, hostile policy towards that country in the past four years.  The North Koreans might have a genuine fear of a possible attack on their countries, in view of the recent, illegal United States’ invasion of Iraq in the name of dismantling weapons of mass destruction there.

He thanked the Chinese and other officials for defusing the current tensions on the Korean peninsula and urged all Member States and United Nations officials to do their utmost to “prevent the revival of another horrific Korean War”, which might end up in a new nuclear holocaust in North-East Asia.  He deplored any and all nuclear threats.  It was disingenuous for the United States to accuse the Democratic People’s Republic of “nuclear blackmail” when that latter country had been subjected to American nuclear blackmail for more than half a century.  As recently as 2002, that country had been designated not only as one of the seven countries against whom the United States might use nuclear weapons in any future conflicts, but it was also singled out in the “US Nuclear Posture Review” as one of the two “chronic military concerns”.  It was incumbent on the United States to take some confidence-building measures to remove the deep distrust and fear that the Democratic People’s Republic might be experiencing at present.  The six-party talks on the nuclear issue were indispensable, and he urged North Korea to return to them as soon as possible.

Adoption of Agenda

Following a short recess, the Conference adopted its agenda (document NPT/CONF.2005/CRP.1).

SERGIO DE QUEIROZ DUARTE (Brazil), Chairman of the Conference, then read a statement in connection with item 16 of the agenda:

“It is understood that the review will be conducted in the light of the decisions and the resolution of previous Conferences, and allow for discussion of any issue raised by State Parties.”

Ms. HUSAN (Malaysia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned States parties of the NPT welcomed the adoption of the agenda, saying it provided an opportunity to include results of previous review conferences and their agreements.  She urged all States parties to fulfil their commitments under all those agreements.

Mr. FREEMAN (United Kingdom) on behalf of the Western European and other group also welcomed the adoption of the agenda.

Mr. FATHALLAH (Egypt) thanked the Chairman for his work in getting the agenda adopted and reiterated that the Chairman’s statement should be issued as a formal document.

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