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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Preparatory Committee for 2005 NPT Review
Third Session
5th Meeting* (AM)
DC/2922
28 April 2004

NUCLEAR-WEAPON THREAT HAUNTS HUMANITY ‘AS INTENSELY AS EVER’,
PREPARATORY COMMITTEE TOLD, AS GENERAL DEBATE CONCLUDES


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Background

The Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), meeting in its third and final session before the Conference, met to conclude its general debate this morning.

Statements

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BISHER H. AL-KHASAWNEH (Jordan) applauded adherence to the NPT by the Arab countries, as that Treaty was the cornerstone of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.  He called on its parties to reconfirm their commitment during the preparatory session, as well as during the Review Conference itself.  Jordan was fully committed to disarmament in all its aspects, and it had ratified all international conventions banning the use and proliferation of mass destruction weapons.  It had also supported the indefinite extension of the NPT, based on the understanding at the time that the accompanying 1995 resolution on the Middle East was an integral part.

He said that that text had sought to render the region free of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.  And, that had served as an incentive to Arab countries to accept the Treaty’s indefinite extension.  The text should be given the time it needed for in-depth deliberations during the preparatory process, in order to be able pass along recommendations on its implementation to the Review Conference.  Israel should accede to the NPT and place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.  Non-accession and non-compliance by Israel had been the main impediment to implementation of that resolution.  He also called for a discussion of negative security assurances.

ANOUAR BEN YOUSSEF (Tunisia) said the large number of States parties to the NPT showed the great importance the international community attached to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  That was a good thing, considering that such weapons could destroy the world several times over.  Nevertheless, he drew attention to the lack of progress in implementing article VI, on nuclear disarmament, under strict and effective international control.  He also lamented the lack of credible security assurances for the majority of United Nations Members, which had voluntarily renounced their nuclear military options.  Declaring that the nuclear Powers had special obligations, he voiced concern over the fact that the CTBT had not entered into force because it had not been ratified by certain nuclear-weapon States.  He also called for a treaty governing fissile material, and lamented that negotiations had not even started on such an instrument.

Turning to the Middle East, he pointed out that Israel, despite repeated appeals from the General Assembly since 1974, remained the only State in the region not to accede to the NPT.  Thus, the efforts of the States in the region to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone there were blocked by that country.  Calling Israel “obstinate” and accusing it of preventing lasting peace in the region, he said that peace could only arrive through the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  And the international community must take this opportunity to allow future generations to benefit from a nuclear-weapon-free world.

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BAATAR CHOISUREN (Mongolia) said multilateralism was a concept based on shared responsibility and full compliance with international obligations.  In that context, he expressed concern over the nuclear-weapon States’ “creeping retreat” from nuclear disarmament.  He hoped that the retreat would not erode the credibility and effectiveness of the NPT regime, but rather serve as a wake-up call for urgent and resolute action.  Addressing States that were currently “processing nuclear capabilities”, he urged them to accede to the Treaty and place their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.  He also called on all States that had not yet done so to become parties to the CTBT.

Voicing support for nuclear-weapon-free zones, he told delegates that, for its part, his country had declared itself a nuclear-weapon-free State over 10 years ago.  Since then, it had cooperated with the nuclear-weapon States and various United Nations bodies to adopt national legislation to consolidate its status.  Currently, he supported the idea of convening an international conference of the members of nuclear-weapon-free zones throughout the world.  He also encouraged the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.

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NAIF AL-SUDAIRY, Disarmament Officer, Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, called for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and implementation of the General Assembly resolution of 1974 on the subject.  Undoubtedly, Israel’s acquisition of nuclear armaments had been a big obstacle to the achievement of peace and stability in the region.  Israel’s justification of the development of mass destruction weapons was a crystal clear contradiction to its claim that it wanted peace with the peoples of the region.  Real peace should be built on confidence and good intentions between States.  That should not be based on the acquisition of nuclear weapons and the use or threat of use of those weapons, or on a policy of “fait accompli” or hegemony, which threatened both regional and international peace and security.

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OMAR BASHIR MOHAMED MANIS (Sudan) ...

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Turning to the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, he said that had been impossible owing to the presence of a single State, namely Israel, which had impeded those efforts constantly by refusing to adhere to the NPT and place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.  Both the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences had emphasized the importance of States in that turbulent region adhering to the NPT, without distinction.  Meanwhile, the progress achieved in the multilateral nuclear disarmament sphere had been very meager.  International instruments would remain a dead letter if countries, especially the nuclear-weapon States, did not show seriousness and determination.

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LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA (Ecuador) ...

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Viewing with great concern the little progress made towards nuclear disarmament, he called for a more serious commitment by the nuclear-weapon States to comply with their obligations under article VI of the Treaty.  He condemned the development of new types of nuclear weapons, as that undermined international peace and security and weakened the global disarmament regime.  Highlighting the importance of establishing and maintaining nuclear-weapon-free zones, including in the Middle East, he appealed to the only country in that region that had not joined the NPT to do so and to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.  The Tlatelolco Treaty, consolidated by Cuba’s accession, could serve as a model for other regions.  Also essential was for the nuclear-weapon States to provide security guarantees against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

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*     The 4th meeting was closed.
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