NPT Roundtable: Philippines Statement

Roundtable on the NPT, “The View from Vienna”

H.E. Mrs. Linglingay F. Lacanlale Resident Representative of the Philippines to the IAEA

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, allow me to thank Ambassador Glyn Davies and the US Mission for organizing this roundtable and inviting me to speak on behalf of the Presidency-elect.  The Philippines welcomes this opportunity to listen to the views of the States Party to the NPT that are based in Vienna on issues discussed here relevant to the 2010 Review Conference.

The main goal of the Presidency-elect for the 2010 NPT Review Conference is to enhance the international community’s support for the NPT by achieving a balanced consideration of and progress in all three pillars of the Treaty.  To this end, the President-elect has been conducting extensive consultations and would like to thank States Party for their support and cooperation.

Before I proceed to discuss the substantive issues, let me first give you an update on the procedural matters.

On the composition of the Bureau, there remains three vacancies that need to be filled; the position of Chair of the Credentials Committee that will come from NAM, a Vice Chair of the same committee that will come from the Western Group, and Chair of the Drafting Committee coming from the Eastern European Group.

On the subsidiary bodies, you will recall that in the Third Prepcom, three specific blocs of issues were identified in its Final Report. One, on Nuclear Disarmament and Security assurances; two, Regional issues, including with respect to the Middle East and the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East; and three, other provisions of the Treaty, including Article X on Withdrawal.  The President-elect continues to consult States Party on the subsidiary bodies that will tackle these specific blocs of issues.

I would like to emphasize the importance of resolving all the procedural issues at the earliest possible time, preferably before the start of the Conference so that the States Party can immediately begin discussions on the substantive issues when the Conference begins.

Let me now move on to the focus of the roundtable – the Third Pillar of the NPT which refers to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Article IV of the Treaty states, and I quote : “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.”  These last two articles refer to non-proliferation. Article III refers to safeguards under the IAEA by which to verify the compliance of Parties with their obligations assumed under the Treaty.

Many issues relating to these articles are quite familiar to all of us as they have been discussed in the General Conference, board meetings and informal consultations in the IAEA.  I would like to share with you some of the impressions and perspectives that pertain to a number of them which the President-elect has gathered in the course of his consultations so far.

The increased interest of many countries to expand the use of nuclear power or include it in their energy mix has focused attention on various attendant issues of safety, security, non-proliferation and guaranteed access to nuclear materials, equipment and technology.

In this regard, the central role of the IAEA in the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including the issue of adequate resources to meet increasing demands on the Agency, is receiving increased attention.   There is an expectation for the Conference to affirm the increased support of States Party for the IAEA.

On safeguards and verification, there is wide recognition on the need for a strengthened safeguards system through the universality of comprehensive safeguards agreements.

However, there are differing views on how to consider the Additional Protocol.  One view is that it should be made the verification standard together with the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements.  A further view is that it be made a condition for the exercise of the right under Article IV of the Treaty, and that countries found to be in violation of their safeguards agreements should not be allowed to exercise this right.  On the other hand, there is the view that the Additional Protocol is voluntary in nature, and that it is the sovereign prerogative of a State whether or not to adhere to it.   In this regard, it bears noting that both former Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and incumbent Director General Yukiya Amano have both stated in safeguards implementation reports that without the Additional Protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance regarding the non-diversion of nuclear materials for non-peaceful uses.

On nuclear security, the view has also been made that since 9/11, the outlook on the security of nuclear materials and equipment has dramatically changed.  Consequently, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials was amended and the IAEA launched and has been implementing a Nuclear Security Plan to assist Member States in strengthening their nuclear security capabilities.  As in nuclear safety, there is a general view that nuclear security is a primary responsibility of individual states. At the same time, greater international cooperation, with the IAEA playing a key role, is needed to enhance national capabilities in safety and security.
For many developing countries that are contemplating or are already using nuclear power, there are concerns that conditions for nuclear supply may be increasing, raising the political and economic barriers to nuclear materials, equipment and technology.  On the other hand, there are Parties to the Treaty that emphasize that while access to nuclear materials, equipment and technology is part of the exercise of the inalienable right of all States Party referred to in Article IV, the exercise of this right has to be taken in the context of other articles of the NPT. In particular, Article III of the Treaty defines the objective of full scope safeguards to be “preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear devices.”

It is therefore important for nuclear suppliers and buyers, and for developed and developing countries, to engage in a constructive dialogue to arrive at common and transparent understandings on access to civilian nuclear energy.

On the CTBT, there is widespread support for the early entry into force of the Treaty. There is an ongoing initiative by some States Party to have a strong expression of political commitment to this effect in the outcome document.

Taking into account these views and the discussions within the framework of the IAEA, following are the emerging issues that are expected to be brought to the Review Conference, though by no means exhaustive. There are still differences in views among States Parties on some of these issues that require further consultations:

1. The exercise of the inalienable right of States Party to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
2. The central role of the IAEA in facilitating, through international cooperation, the development and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes
3. Strengthening the IAEA through the provision of adequate resources in order to enable it to perform its mandate to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy
4. Safety as a key element of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy
5. The importance of nuclear security, including the physical protection of nuclear materials, in the implementation of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy
6. Strengthened safeguards and compliance mechanisms, and the role of the Additional Protocol
7. Addressing export controls in a manner consistent with Articles I, II, III and IV of the Treaty
8. Multilateral approach to the fuel cycle, including the issue of fuel assurances and related proposals presented to the IAEA
9. Early entry into force of the CTBT.

The need for a balanced approach to all the three pillars of the NPT has been repeatedly emphasized by States Parties in the President’s consultations. This balance does not only refer to the pillars of disarmament and non-proliferation but also to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Missions in Vienna have a special responsibility to see this balance achieved.

With the 2010 Review Conference less than two months away, States Party in Vienna should seriously consider what they can contribute to making progress on the various issues relating to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, particularly those issues where there are widely divergent views. In this regard, the Presidency-elect welcomes the ongoing consultations within NAM and other regional groups to prepare for the Review Conference. We appreciate the work of the Group of 10 in Vienna in coming up with proposals at this early stage and the initial consultations it has held with States Parties. The Presidency-elect encourages continuing consultations and dialogue in an open and frank manner within and across groups to gain a better understanding of each other’s concerns which hopefully will lead to compromise and accommodation, if not consensus. We can contribute toward this end by focusing on constructive solutions. The President-elect requests that proposals be submitted by early April to facilitate discussions thereon. Together with the Chairs of the Main Committees, the Presidency-elect will be at the disposal of Parties to help move the process forward.

The States Party, the Presidency-elect and the Bureau of the Conference – all of us – have a major responsibility to ensure a successful Review Conference.  What we decide to do or not to do in the Conference will have far-reaching consequences for our future. While we all have our national interests to protect, we also bear the responsibility to ensure that the outcome of the NPT Review Conference redounds to the greater good and the benefit of all mankind.