Press Releases

    18 May 2005

    Review Conference on Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Hears Introduction of Working Papers

    NEW YORK, 17 May (UN Headquarters) -- The Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), today halfway through its calendar and with substantive negotiations yet to start in its three Main Committees, heard the introduction of 14 working papers.

    States parties presented working papers on the following topics, among others:  further measures to strengthen the NPT; the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); procedural arrangements for a successful Conference outcome; substantive issues for consideration by Main Committees I, II, and III;  achieving permanent accountability; nuclear disarmament and reduction of the danger of nuclear war; non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones; and withdrawal from the NPT.

    Canada’s representative, introducing a working paper on the test-ban Treaty, said failure to bring the CTBT into force had given countries like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea a “blank cheque” for indigenous nuclear weapon development. The test-ban Treaty, with its robust verification capacity, was an effective bar to both horizontal and vertical nuclear proliferation. If nuclear-weapon States still harboured desires to keep the nuclear testing door open, let them beware that others might exploit that opening.

    On achieving permanent accountability, he said that the Conference should adopt outcomes designed to meet the full implementation of the NPT by modifying the way it did business and fostering improved transparency and accountability. States parties should meet annually to consider and decide on any Treaty-based issues. They should also report, on an annual basis, on implementation of article VI, on nuclear disarmament, and on paragraph 4 (c) of the 1999 Decision on Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.

    [Paragraph 4 c from 1995 concerns the determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective global control.]

    Presenting another working paper, Egypt’s representative said that the outcome of the 1995 and 2000 NPT reviews on the question of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East represented a cumulative result, which should be part of the “culture of review” of the 2005 Conference. In order to motivate achievement of such a zone and bring Israel into the Treaty, the Conference should require that States take specific actions in that regard, including undertaking not to transfer nuclear-related material, technology and information to Israel, and deny Israeli scientists access to nuclear-related facilities and laboratories.

    China’s speaker explained that its first working paper on nuclear disarmament and the reduction of the danger of nuclear war, one of three he introduced today, had set out an approach based on multilateralism and regional cooperation. The paper also held that those States with the largest nuclear arsenals should bear the greatest responsibilities for disarmament and should disarm in a structured and verifiable way.  The paper also urged that missile defence programmes not affect the global strategic balance and stability or impair regional and global peace.

    The country’s second paper, on nuclear non-proliferation, states that double standards on nuclear non-proliferation must be discarded, he noted. It was essential to ensure the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory nature of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. The nuclear-weapon-free zones paper urges the nuclear-weapon States to take effective measures to carry out their security assurances stipulated in all nuclear-weapon-free zones treaties and relevant protocols. 

    On a point of order, Iran’s representative said that the emerging general debate was a manifestation of delegations’ frustration over the impossibility of resolving the Conference’s procedural issues, so that it could enter into substantive discussions in the Main Committees. Continuing the current discussions would only reinforce the message to the outside that there was no prospect for agreement.  If it was deemed necessary to read out working papers in full to the plenary, he could present his. 

    Introductions of working papers were also made by the representatives of Australia, Malaysia (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Japan, and Luxembourg (on behalf of the European Union).  The First Secretary in Iraq’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs made a general statement at the start of the meeting.

    The 2005 Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 18 May, to continue its work.


    The 2005 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) met this morning to hear a general statement by Iraq, as well as introductions on a series of working papers by several other delegations.

    General Statement

    GHALEA FAHAD EL-ANBAKI (Iraq), First Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said that the people of the new Iraq insisted that their country was multilateral and lived in peace and friendship with the rest of the world, on the basis of mutual respect, common interest, and non-interference in internal affairs, without any form of terrorism. Iraq and its elected leadership would spare no effort to lay the most solid foundations, to live with others in peace and security, and to liberate the region of all weapons of mass destruction. Written into the legislation was respect for all international commitments banning those weapons and prohibiting their use. 

    He said that Iraq’s leaders had announced their awareness of the need to adhere to international treaties on mass destruction weapons without any distinction.  Iraq would always shun such weapons and their use and was committed to respecting all non-proliferation agreements. It also planned to adopt appropriate laws, in keeping with non-proliferation. It had welcomed adoption of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), and it had offered its cooperation to the Council’s committee in that regard.  Iraq had established a nuclear non-proliferation institution.

    Calling on all delegations to achieve the non-proliferation objective, he said that terrorist networks were trying by every means to get their hands on such weapons, which constituted a most serious threat to collective security and safety.  Everyone must cooperate with each other to prevent that tragedy, which could not be reversed if it happened.  The NPT was the key basis from which to pursue non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. Arab States had rejected the nuclear option and had acceded to the NPT, convinced that the Treaty guaranteed their safety and security. The time had come to implement the 1995 resolution on ridding the Middle East of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

    Introduction of Working Papers

    Mr. SMITH (Australia) introduced the first of six working papers submitted by the “Vienna G-10”, which Australia informally chaired. The G-10 was made up of Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.  The group had first met in 1980 and had prepared for every NPT review since.  Its papers covered those aspects of the Treaty on which there had been agreement. The first was entitled “Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty” (document NPT/CONF.2005/WP.9).  The remaining five were on compliance and verification, cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the nuclear fuel cycle, physical protection and illicit trafficking, and export controls. 

    He said that the NPT conferred a set of interrelated and mutual reinforcing obligations on States parties with respect to disarmament, non-proliferation and cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  The G-10 paper reaffirmed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as an effective nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation measures, vital to the NPT. It stressed the CTBT’s early entry into force as of the utmost urgency, and it reaffirmed that the provisions of NPT article V were to be interpreted in light of the CTBT. 

    Nine years later, however, the CTBT still had not entered into force, he said.  The paper renewed the call on all States, particularly the remaining 11 Annex II States whose ratification was a precondition for the Treaty’s entry into force, to sign and/or ratify the Treaty. The paper also expressed concern that any development of new types of nuclear weapons might result in new tests and lower the nuclear threshold.  It underlined existing moratoriums on nuclear weapon-test explosions, which must be maintained pending the Treaty’s entry into force. But, those could not serve as a substitute for ratification of the CTBT, which offered the international community a permanent way of ending nuclear testing.

    Ms. HUSAIN (Malaysia), speaking on behalf of the non-aligned States parties of the NPT, presented working papers contained in documents NPT/CONF.2005/WP.8 and 17 through 20. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) would elaborate on those papers in Committee meetings. The papers, she said, represented a comprehensive outline of the NAM’s view on how to ensure the effectiveness of the NPT.  The recommendations contributed toward the full implementation of the Treaty, taking into account the positions elaborated in the 1999 Conference and other meetings.  Such institutional memory was essential.

    Mr. MINE (Japan) introduced his country’s working paper NPT/CONF.2005/WP.21 on further measures to be taken for strengthening the NPT, entitled “21 Measures for the 21st Century”, which proposes policy considerations to be included in the final documents of the 2005 NPT Review Conference. He said that, in order to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, his country believed that progress should be made in all three pillars of the NPT -- disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. 

    In disarmament, practical measures should be implemented incrementally, toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons, he said. That was consistent with Japan’s long-term positions and included early CTBT entry into force and deep reduction in all types of nuclear weapons.

    The paper also, he said, proposed urging the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with its obligations under the NPT and dismantle its nuclear programmes, subject to international inspection.  For that purpose, it should immediately return to six-party talks. Withdrawal from the NPT should not be tolerated, and his county proposed substantive measures to prevent such withdrawal. 

    In other areas, he highlighted the paper’s proposals to strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regime and ensure universal adherence to international conventions that would strengthen the IAEA’s technical mechanisms. He also introduced a working paper (document NPT/CONF.2005/WP.34) on disarmament and non-proliferation education, which, he said, played a valuable role in ensuring that all actors involved at various levels played their roles. He welcomed the contribution of non-governmental organizations to awareness of disarmament and non-proliferation issues. The paper advocated strengthening cooperation with non-governmental organizations in that area.

    Introducing the first of two working papers (document NPT/CONF.2005/WP.38), ALLAN ROCK (Canada), said that a top priority for the nuclear non-proliferation regime was achieving the CTBT’s entry into force. The CTBT, with its robust verification capacity, was an effective bar to both horizontal and vertical nuclear proliferation. Failure to bring that accord into force gave countries like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea a “blank cheque” for indigenous nuclear weapons development. The eight Annex II signatories that had not yet ratified it should do so without delay, if united pressure was to be brought to bear on the three holdouts who had failed to sign that vital Treaty.

    If nuclear-weapon States still harboured desires to keep the nuclear testing door open, let them be aware that others might exploit that opening if it was not firmly and decisively closed. Existing moratoriums on nuclear tests were welcome signs of restraint, but they could be terminated unilaterally and were no substitutes for a legally binding compact.  “Let’s not delude ourselves -- continued stalling on the CTBT imperils the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament enterprise”, he said. 

    Other steps towards nuclear disarmament included “turning off the tap” of fissile material production for nuclear weapons and ensuring the irreversibility and verifiability of nuclear weapons elimination, he said.  As holders of the general store of nuclear weapons, the United States and the Russian Federation had special responsibilities to lead the way in nuclear disarmament.  He welcomed the May 2004 decision to cut the current American nuclear stockpile by almost 50 per cent and he encouraged that country to provide a timetable for accomplishing that reduction. He urged the Russian Federation to undertake a similar commitment.

    As another measure, he suggested that all NPT States parties had a responsibility to account for how they were implementing the Treaty, if progress on nuclear disarmament was to be credible and credited.  The Conference should adopt a decision that would make annual reporting to annual NPT sessions a requirement for all members. That would be a modest, but significant, act of “participatory democracy” by Treaty members and accountability before the NPT community. The Russian Federation and China had reported in that manner to the Conference.  He urged the other nuclear-weapon States to follow suit. 

    Introducing working paper 39, entitled “Achieving Permanent with Accountability”, he said that that concept underlay the NPT’s indefinite extension. He, therefore, proposed that the Conference adopt outcomes designed to meet the objectives of full implementation by modifying the way it did business and fostering improved transparency and accountability. 

    He proposed the following Conference outcomes:  the States parties would agree to meet annually in a one-week Conference of States parties to consider and decide on any issues covered by the Treaty; they would recall the decision of the 2000 review on “regular reports”; and they would agree to report on an annual basis on implementation of article VI and paragraph 4 (c) of the 1995 decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The Conference would also agree to continue to support the effective participation of representations of non-governmental organizations and encourage the further development of rules of procedure and practice to optimize such participation.

    Mr. KAYSER (Luxembourg), on behalf of the European Union, urged participants to reach early consensus on all procedural issues to allow for a substantive outcome for the Conference. He introduced a working paper (NPT/CONF.2005/WP.32) on withdrawal from the NPT. 

    According to the paper, parties would be entitled to withdraw from the Treaty only if extraordinary events had precipitated such a withdrawal. A written notification should be presented to the United Nations three months prior to such a withdrawal, including to the President of the Security Council. It should contain a detailed account of the rationale for withdrawal. If a State party was preparing to withdraw, the depository States should immediately undertake consultations to resolve problems described in the note of intent to withdraw.

    Consequences for such a withdrawal should be spelled out clearly, he said. According to the working paper, the Security Council would affirm that, in view of the importance of the NPT for peace and security, any withdrawal should be taken up as a matter of urgency. The State remained responsible for any violation of the NPT before the date of its withdrawal. The paper also proposed measures to ensure that all nuclear equipment and materials meant for peaceful purposes under the Treaty continued to be used only for those purpose after a country’s withdrawal.

    On a point of order Mr. BAEDI NEJAD (Iran), said he had understood from yesterday’s decision that Iraq would speak, followed by Australia’s delegation. There had been no decision to expand that speakers’ list.  While he was delighted to hear the views of Member States and their working papers, that manifested the frustration of delegations over the impossibility of resolving the Conference’s procedural issues, in order to enter into substantive discussions in the Main Committees. Now, a sort of general debate was emerging.

    He said he was concerned that continuing the current discussions would only reinforce the message to the outside that there was no prospect for agreement to proceed with negotiations in the Main Committees. If the Conference President thought it was necessary to read the working papers and present them in full to the plenary, he could also present his working papers. If that was the intention, perhaps the President could make that more organized, but the Conference should be careful not to mislead the outside that that was a kind of negotiation, when it was really only an extension of the general debate. 

    Conference President SERGIO DE QUEIROZ DUARTE (Brazil) said he had not thought that the Conference had objected to delegates’ presentation of their working papers.  That decision, taken yesterday, had not affected only the Australian delegation.  He had explained yesterday that he had received similar requests from other delegations.  He was sure that the Conference would not curtail the right of those delegations to speak and present their papers, if they wished.

    Mr. FATHALLAH (Egypt) presented working paper 36 on implementation of the 1995 Conference resolution and 2000 outcome on the Middle East. The presence of an advanced nuclear program in the Middle East and the threat that caused to the region’s security had prompted Egypt and the States of the region to address that issue in several forums, from 1974.  Since then, the General Assembly had annually adopted resolutions calling for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. And, since 1979, it had annually adopted a resolution addressing the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. 

    He recalled that the outcome of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference had consisted of a package of three decisions and one resolution. The latter text was on the Middle East question.  Among other things, it called on all States in the region to accede to the NPT without delay and without conditions as soon as possible and to place their nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards. The 2000 review had reaffirmed the importance of that resolution and had recognized, among other things, that the text remained valid until the goals and objectives were achieved. 

    The outcome of 1995 and 2000 reviews represented a cumulative result, which should be part of the culture of the 2005 review, he said. At the same time, the outcome of the 1995 review represented an integrated whole that would be compromised if any of its components were compromised. Still, Israel remained the only state in the Middle East that had not acceded to the NPT. 

    In order to achieve that goal, he said that the present Conference should adopt an undertaking requiring specific actions by States parties to be taken in the forthcoming preparatory process for the 2010 review to spur action by Israel. Such actions should include:  undertaking not to transfer nuclear-related material, technology and information to Israel, notwithstanding prior commitments; denying access to nuclear-related facilities and laboratories to scientists from Israel; reporting by States parties in 2010, as well as in the preparatory committee meetings on the status of trade in, or transfer of, nuclear-related material or technology between them and Israel, as well as on the status of scientific cooperation in that regard. Also, the United Nations Secretariat would be asked to prepare a compilation of States parties’ report.

    In addition, the Conference should consider appropriate measures to encourage and monitor progress towards realizing the goals of the Conference’s 1995 Middle East decision, through an appropriate institutional structure. Such measures should include a standing committee to initiate contacts with Israel and report on any progress made in that regard.  A specific representative or envoy should be appointed to undertake good offices with Israel, in order to “push” it to accede to the NPT. 

    HU XIAODI (China) introduced three working papers.  He said the paper contained in NPT/CONF.2005/WP.2 proposed an approach to disarmament based on multilateralism and regional cooperation to be included in the final outcome documents of the Conference. It held that those States with the largest nuclear arsenals should bear the greatest responsibilities of disarmament and should do so in a structured and verifiable way. He said the paper also discusses missile defence programmes, instability, early entry into force of the CTBT, control of fissile materials, and reduction of strategic dependence on nuclear weapons, along with other matters.

    In the working paper contained in document NPT/CONF.2005/WP.3, China proposed elements of non-proliferation to be included in the final outcome documents, as well. According to the paper, the Conference would promote an international security environment based on trust and dialogue, as well as on strengthened nuclear control regimes. It would also discourage double-standards in applying such regimes, and address such matters as prevention of nuclear terrorism.

    China’s paper contained in NPT/CONF.2005/WP.4 covered, he said, issues in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. He said that non-proliferation was completely compatible with such uses.  Among other elements, the paper contained measures to strengthen the technical cooperation mechanisms of the IAEA.

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