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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
1st & 2nd Meetings (AM & PM)
DC/2920
26 April 2004

FINAL PREPARATORY SESSION FOR 2005 REVIEW CONFERENCE ON NUCLEAR
NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY OPENS AT HEADQUARTERS

Speakers Highlight Recent Challenges to Treaty,
With Some Suggesting Effectiveness Called Into Question


Entering the final phase of preparations today for the 2005 review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), States parties were told that permitting nuclear weapons programmes over long periods of time had fostered a “permissive environment for the proliferators”, as both the States parties that possessed nuclear weapons and those that did not were challenged during the general debate to take responsibility for the proliferation.

Speaking at the opening of the session, due to conclude on 7 May, New Zealand’s representative said that, leaving aside concerns arising with respect to States not bound by the NPT, namely India, Israel and Pakistan, proliferation concerns had become “acute” within the last two years, to a greater or lesser extent, in relation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Libya.  Concerns about the fulfilment of nuclear disarmament commitments had been of somewhat greater duration.  Overall, proliferation was a big enough problem to warrant addressing it with all the legitimate “tools in the toolbox”.  That included through the positive power of example, namely through more strenuous efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to disarm and to persuade the non-NPT possessors to do likewise.

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Background

The Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) today opened its third and final preparatory session for the upcoming Review Conference.  Taking into account the deliberations and results of the previous two sessions, the third session has been tasked to make every effort to produce a consensus report containing recommendations to the Review Conference.  (For details of the session, please see Press Release DC/2918 of 22 April).

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Statements

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MARIAN HOBBS, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, New Zealand, ...

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She said that permitting nuclear-weapons programmes to continue over long periods of time fostered a “permissive environment for the proliferators”.  More leadership from the nuclear-weapon States in reducing their nuclear arsenals and demonstrating compliance under the nuclear disarmament pillar of the NPT would strengthen their moral authority to put pressure on India, Israel and Pakistan to do likewise, thereby reducing tensions in troubled areas and perhaps lowering the incentive –- or pretext –- for neighbouring or other States to develop weapons programmes.  The 2005 Review Conference must be pursued as a fundamental opportunity to take concrete steps that allowed everyone to feel assured that the purposes of the preamble and the provisions of the Treaty were actually being realized.

LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico), ...

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Addressing specific country cases, he renewed his call for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and urged Israel to accede to the NPT and place all of its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.  With respect to Iran, he welcomed its signing of the Additional Protocol, but called upon it to “resolve the outstanding questions regarding its nuclear programme”.  He also welcomed Libya’s voluntary decision to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programme.  Turning to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he stressed that diplomacy should be used to reverse that country’s withdrawal from the NPT.  Additionally, regarding South Asia, he called on India and Pakistan to promptly accede to the Treaty.

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RICHARD RYAN (Ireland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, ...

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Turning to South Asia and the Middle East, he called upon India and Pakistan to accede to the NPT.  He did, however, also welcome their declared moratoriums on nuclear testing, as well as their recent efforts to engage in dialogue with each other and implement nuclear-related confidence-building measures between themselves.  In the Middle East, it was necessary for all of the countries of that region to accede to the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions and join together in a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  In that context, he encouraged Israel to accede to the NPT and submit to IAEA safeguards.  Expressing regret over the continued deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament, he articulated his commitment to reaching a consensus on a programme of work.  In that regard, he attached importance to the negotiation of a non-discriminatory and universal treaty banning the production of fissile material.  Until such a treaty came into being, all States should declare a moratorium on producing such material.

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ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) ...

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Stressing that regional nuclear disarmament and the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones were an effective contribution to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he said that the nuclear-weapon States bore particular responsibility, by ratifying the various protocols of the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties and by contributing to the establishment of such zones in various regions around the world.  The 1995 Review Conference had reaffirmed the importance of those zones and their role in non-proliferation and disarmament.  It had also recognized the contribution they played in strengthening peace.  Nevertheless, the attempt to create a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East had still not been realized.  A resolution adopted at the 1995 Review Conference, which called for the creation of a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone and demanded that Israel adhere to the NPT and submit its facilities to the IAEA, had remained a “dead letter”.  A strong signal must be sent to Israel to abide by international law and remove the “ultimate obstacle” to strengthening peace and stability in that particularly troubled region.

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RASTAM MOHD ISA (Malaysia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned States Parties to the NPT, ...

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... Turning to the Middle East, he voiced support for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in that region.  He also welcomed Timor-Leste’s accession to the NPT, and he stated that dialogue should be used to bring the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea back into the regime.  Speaking about nuclear-weapon-free zones in general, he noted that States belonging to them should receive unconditional security assurances from nuclear-weapon States.

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MOHAMED EZZELDINE ABDEL-MONEIM (Egypt), Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs, ...

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Turning to his own region, the Middle East, he reminded delegates that, during the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences, the area had been singled out because of its delicate security situation.  Currently, Israel remained outside the NPT and its nuclear facilities had yet to be inspected by the IAEA.  In light of the dangers such circumstances posed, he affirmed the importance of establishing a subsidiary organ to discuss means to implement the recommendations on the Middle East that came out of the 1995 and 2000 Conferences.  Before concluding, he stressed that access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes was not a favour to be bestowed out of goodwill.  Rather, it was a right enshrined in the NPT.  Any State attempting to restrict that right was violating the Treaty.

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FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) declared that it was necessary for the nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their commitments to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.  He also expressed regret that the NPT had yet to achieve its goal of universality.  Drawing attention to those States that operated nuclear facilities not inspected by the IAEA, he called on such States to submit to IAEA safeguards.  Declaring that restrictions should not be placed on some States and not others, he urged nuclear-weapon States not to deal with countries that were not parties to the NPT, especially if such States exploited the current international situation in order to develop nuclear capabilities.

The fact that the 1995 NPT Review Conference had adopted a resolution on the Middle East showed the concern of States parties over the gravity of the situation.  It also highlighted the duty of the international community not to ignore the circumstances, since Israel’s monopoly of nuclear capabilities in the region would cast serious doubts on the non-proliferation regime there.  To correct the current imbalance, he called for greater transparency.  He also said the following four actions should be taken.

First, time should be set aside during the present session to discuss how to implement the 1995 resolution calling on Israel to accede to the NPT.  Second, the Committee needed to urge the nuclear-weapon States to honour their obligations under article I of the Treaty and not transfer nuclear weapons to Israel, assist Israel’s nuclear programme, or encourage it to produce nuclear weapons.  Third, the Committee should underscore that all States parties, especially the nuclear-weapon States, needed to implement the Middle East resolution in full.  Finally, certain nuclear-weapon States had to stop neglecting their obligations by justifying Israel’s nuclear arsenal.  He added that all nuclear-weapon States should commence negotiations on unconditional, legally binding, and irreversible comprehensive security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.

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MARLY CEDEÑO REYES (Venezuela) ...

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Regarding the Middle East, she said her Government was concerned about an escalation of violence and the current heightening of tensions, which threatened international peace and security.  The long Arab-Israeli conflict should find a solution in the context of Security Council decisions, and in keeping with the Charter and in strict accordance with international law.  She supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in that region, as a complement to a just and lasting peace.  She supported strengthening the principle of multilateralism in the field of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and she rejected the unilateral and preventive use of force as a solution to political and cultural problems.  She also considered very serious the possible use of mass destruction weapons by non-State actors with terrorist aims.

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