Roundtable Discussion “The NPT Review Conference as Viewed from Vienna”
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukraine
Distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
The year 2010 is a very important benchmark for the NPT review process. I would even qualify it as a definite watershed for the whole nuclear issue, bearing also in mind next month’s Global Nuclear Security Summit in Washington and the negotiation of the Russian-US new START treaty. The outcome of three sessions of the NPT Preparatory Committee held through 2007-2009 reaffirmed that NPT remains the cornerstone of the global nonproliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Preserving and strengthening the Treaty is crucial to international peace and security more than ever before.
Among the issues which most likely will determine the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference are:
- practical measures for carrying out forward commitments on nuclear disarmament;
- implementation of 1995 Middle East resolution and
- measures to strengthen the NPT regime to deal more effectively with questions of compliance and implementation.
Among fundamental differences that still remain within NPT I would first and most note diverse views from nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states regarding implementation of Article VI on nuclear disarmament.
There is still the absence of a common approach regarding the efforts and policies to achieve total elimination of nuclear weapons and slow progress in the implementation of 13 practical steps on nuclear disarmament, including the undertakings contained in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference. It is still unclear whether states will be willing to identify more concrete steps and negotiate a more urgent action plan to implement those commitments. I am convinced that more transparent and practical disarmament process is less polemic we can expect over the implementation of Article VI and more emphasis can be placed on the non-proliferation, need for full compliance and strengthening the IAEA safeguards. Without a strong statement on disarmament and identification of most realistic practical measures to be taken in the near future the 2010 NPT Review Conference may loose its momentum.
Outcomes of substantive discussions at three PrepComs allow me to draw some conclusions and to identify main areas where common ground could be seen:
- Continued support for the achievement of universality of the NPT.
- Strict compliance with all provisions of the Treaty as a necessary condition to ensure nuclear nonproliferation, real progress in nuclear disarmament and unhampered peaceful use of nuclear energy.
- Strong reaffirmation of commitment to nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the Treaty. In this connection the almost completed US-Russian negotiation on a new START treaty is an important step in this direction.
- Strong reiteration of the commitment to the effective implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East nuclear weapon free zone, with a long-needed follow-up to be negotiated and fixed.
- Strengthening of the IAEA safeguards as a fundamental pillar of the nuclear nonproliferation regime and the IAEA’s activities to verify compliance with the nonproliferation obligations of the Treaty.
- Necessity to dissuade states from withdrawing from the NPT (Article X).
- Importance of measures to prevent black-market supply networks, trafficking and acquisition of nuclear materials by non-state actors as well as to strengthen the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities in light of the heightened risk of nuclear terrorism.
- Long overdue improvements of the NPT review process.
Regarding the Main Committee II issues I would like to present you some of my thoughts and evaluations. As of now I can identify some areas where convergence among delegations may exist:
- Reaffirmation of the fundamental role of the IAEA as the sole competent authority responsible for verifying compliance with its safeguards;
- Acknowledgment of importance of strengthening safeguards and need for universality of CSAs among NPT states;
- The fundamental importance of compliance with the IAEA safeguards and the need to effectively address proliferation issues within the Treaty;
o The reaffirmation that the measures contained in the Model Additional Protocol will provide the IAEA with enhanced information about a state’s nuclear activities;
- In this connection I believe that the Review Conference can identify a need for the IAEA Board of Governors to make it clear what the IAEA safeguards system consists of today;
- Strong support of the IAEA which should continue to have all the necessary resources and authority to verify declared use of nuclear materials and facilities and the absence of undeclared activities in accordance with international law;
- Strong support for the CTBT and the negotiation on the FMCT.
o The need to verifiably denuclearize the Korean peninsula and the support for diplomatic efforts and the IAEA’s role in this regard.
- Nuclear Security
- Acknowledgement that the acquisition let alone the use, of nuclear weapons and materials by non-state actors constitutes the grave challenge for the NPT;
- Importance of combating nuclear terrorism and support for the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Plan;
- Enhancement of cooperation among states and with international organizations, in particular the IAEA, to prevent, detect and respond to suspected proliferation activities and illicit trafficking of nuclear materials, equipment and technology;
- Universal adherence to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and its 2005 Amendment, the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the wider implementation of the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources;
- Importance of implementation of UNSC resolutions on non-proliferation (1540 and 1887) and the need for assistance to states towards this end;
- Regarding the last issue I believe that we should bear in mind the Articles 24 and 25 of the UN Charter which makes it clear that the UNSC acts on behalf of all states and that the members of the UN agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the UNSC.
- Nuclear Weapon Free Zones
- Reaffirmation of states’ commitments reflected in the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties to further promote and strengthen the zones and to cooperate in promoting ratifications, where appropriate, by all states that belong to a nuclear-weapon-free zone as a contribution to strengthening non-proliferation regime and achieving nuclear disarmament;
- The need for consultations between zonal states and protocol states to assure respect for the NWFZs by nuclear-weapon and neighboring states;
- Identification of the IAEA role in establishing NWFZ in the Middle East and strong reaffirmation of the purposes and objective of the 1995 ME Resolution;
- Compendium of the best practices of existing zones and what might be applied to Middle East, particularly CBMs;
- To my mind there is no strong argument against the establishment of a special subsidiary body at the 2010 Review Conference to focus more on the issue of implementation of the 1995 ME Resolution;
- As of now states continue to discuss the idea of an early conference of all states (NPT and non NPT members) of the region to exchange views and to address creative and fresh ways to implement the 1995 Resolution. I believe that such conference under leadership of the UN Secretary General and maybe the NPT depository states will be a strong legitimating signal, a proof of commitment to the 1995 ME Resolution and a good confidence building measure.
- Improvement of the Review Process
- Efforts to strengthen the review process have not yielded the outcomes that were envisioned in 1995 and 2000. Since the 2000, the first two meetings of the NPT’s preparatory cycle have become basically “disengaged” from the review process with no clear vision of the whole review agenda. The inability of states to respond effectively and in a timely fashion to the withdrawal of the DPRK in 2003 is a telling example.
- I think that the existing Canadian proposals to invigorate and streamline the NPT review process are worth of the most careful consideration by the delegations at the Conference.
Despite these points of convergence, there are still a number of strong divergent views and approaches concerning the Main Committee II issues. Just to mention a few difficult aspects: the AP as a new verification standard and a condition of nuclear export; safeguards and cooperation of NPT states with non-NPT states and how it influences the rights and motivation of NNWS; the mandate of the UNSC in determining non-compliance and in dealing with the non-proliferation issues, the impact of the outcome of the Nuclear Summit in Washington on the work of the 2010 NPT Review Conference; the ways to enhance the Agency’s capability to verify diversion from peaceful uses to weaponization.
Definitely, in May 2010 we will have to exert a lot of efforts and imply maximum political will in order to tackle these problems. Is it possible? I think so. We simply can not afford to fail this time. The issue at stake is too important. I think we also need more consolidated effort by all players concerned – the NAM and other regional groups, P-5, EU, other regional organizations.
The real challenge, however, is not about what kind of document can be adopted by the Conference, but what kind of agreements and commitments are undertaken and whether the NPT State Parties have the political will and institutional capacity to ensure their implementation. The 2010 Review Conference will be successful only if it results in decisions that are duly implemented. For this, the key players need to project beyond 2010 and work hard to develop convincing action plans and apply the requisite resources for meeting proliferation challenges and moving toward a world free of nuclear weapons.