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2000 NPT RevCon - Opening Statements
25 April 2000

STATEMENT BY 
H.E. MR. AHMED ABOUL GHEIT
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF EGYPT
TO  THE UNITED NATIONS 

AT THE 2000 REVIEW CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS (NPT)
14 April - 19 May 2000, New York

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Mr. President; 

It gives me great pleasure to convey to you and to your sisterly country my sincere congratulations upon your assumption of the presidency of the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT. We are certain that your wealth of experience in international affairs and in the field of disarmament will guarantee the wise conduct of the business of this conference. 

I would like to seize this opportunity to express our great appreciation for the great efforts made by the chairmen of the three sessions of the prep com of the conference which laid the basis for our work in the following weeks. 

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the delegation of Indonesia, yesterday, while introducing the working paper of the Non-aligned movement. 

Mr. President; 

This conference takes place at an important juncture in the process of nuclear disarmament. It is the first conference to review the progress made towards the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty since its indefinite extension in 1995 and towards the implementation of the comprehensive package of commitments undertaken by the states parties. It is incumbent upon us to take stock of what has been achieved and what remains unimplemented with a view to the realization of our lofty goal; namely the complete elimination of nuclear weapons; and honoring our common commitment to save succeeding generations from the scourge of those weapons. 

Mr. President; 

With the end of the Cold War the peoples of the world had a renewed hope that a new era would dawn in which peace, security and stability would prevail. An era where the specter of nuclear war and the threat of complete annihilation of mankind would disappear. The peoples of the world had a renewed faith that the international community would finally be able to renounce the military doctrines of nuclear deterrence. Most regrettably, nuclear weapons continue to proliferate, nuclear arsenals continue to be modernized, advanced nuclear programs continue to be outside the safeguards regime and certain states continue to resist the calls of the international community to adhere to the NPT and to place their nuclear activities under international supervision. 

Mr. President; 

The 1995 conference adopted a majority decision on the indefinite extension of the Treaty. Its adoption was within a comprehensive package that contained three decisions and a resolution on the Middle East. This package established goals and objectives that we seek to achieve on the international and regional levels to lead us towards the elimination of nuclear weapons globally. Undoubtedly the international community expects this august gathering to conduct, in the next few weeks, a comprehensive and objective evaluation in good faith of the successes and failures in the achievement of these goals and objectives and in the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty. It will be our duty to review in full objectivity the degree to which we have succeeded or failed in honoring the commitments we made five years ago. 

Today, as we begin a new review conference, we must admit that the non-­proliferation regime is at a sensitive and delicate juncture. We are facing numerous challenges, some of which limit the chances of the success of this conference while some others affect the credibility of the non-proliferation regime as a whole. 

A quick review of the objectives established in 1995 would reflect more failure than success. The Decision on the Principles and Objectives of Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament has set a number of objectives that the international community should have achieved before the year 2000 Among which are the achievement of the Universality of the Treaty as a matter of urgent priority, the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the acceleration of the establishment of new nuclear weapon free zones In addition, there was a number of objectives in the field of nuclear disarmament, foremost among which are the conclusion of a CTBT and a Treaty on Fissile Material as well as the acceleration of nuclear disarmament. These were the objectives to which we committed ourselves five years ago. Which ones have been achieved? 

We have failed to achieve the Universality of the Treaty There are still states, which possess advanced nuclear capabilities and that have not adhered, nor declared their intention to adhere to the Treaty We have failed to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in South Asia. As for the CTBT, it has become an elusive objective after the refusal of the US Senate to ratify it. The Conference on Disarmament has not succeeded yet in initiating negotiations on a Fissile Material Treaty nor even in agreeing on the bases of such Treaty. 

As for the Decision on Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty, it had set an ambitious objective for review conferences and their prep-coms. The later were supposed to contribute effectively in the preparation for the conferences as Mini-­review Conferences themselves. There is no clearer testimony to the failure to achieve this objective than the inability of the prep-coms of the 2000 Conference to adopt any substantive recommendations. 

The Resolution on the Middle East called upon all the states of the region, which have not yet done so to adhere to the Treaty and to place their nuclear facilities under the Full-Scope safeguards regime of the IAEA It called upon those states to take practical steps for the establishment of a Zone Free from Weapons of Mass Destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East. This was the commitment we made five years ago. Which parts of it have been achieved? 

In welcoming the adherence of Djibouti to the Treaty, we seize this opportunity to salute the accession to it by two states of the region, namely UAE and Oman. They are in the process of finalizing the comprehensive safeguard agreements with the IAEA as provided for in Article III of the Treaty. At the same time we regret that this progress continues to be met by Israel's intransigent refusal to adhere to the Treaty or to place its nuclear activities under the Full-Scope safeguards regime of the IAEA. 

Mr. President; 

The correct way to overcome the challenges faced by the Non‑proliferation regime lies in conducting a frank and objective evaluation of the extent to which the states parties, in particular the Nuclear Weapon States, honor their commitments under the provisions of the NPT and the undertakings they accepted in 1995 This evaluation should detect the weaknesses and the way to deal with them in order to establish a sound approach to address those challenges. 

In the field of Nuclear Disarmament, the 1995 review conference reaffirmed the importance of the strict implementation of the undertakings of nuclear disarmament in the Treaty as well as the establishment of specific objectives to achieve that final goal. On another level, the ICJ in its advisory opinion of 1996 reaffirmed that there exists an obligation to conclude negotiations on Nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under effective and strict international control. These reaffirmations were responding to a genuine wish by the non-nuclear weapon states to achieve tangible progress in the efforts of nuclear disarmament. They were also an expression of the profound belief of the peoples of the world in the need for the speedy global elimination of those weapons. The Sub‑Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities also stressed that nuclear weapons have no place in international relations and reaffirmed the need to negotiate their elimination. 

We can not fail to pay tribute to the steps taken by some nuclear weapons states to reduce their nuclear  arsenals over the last five years We express our appreciation for the important step taken recently by the Russian Duma by ratifying the START II Treaty. Nevertheless, these steps still fall short of meeting the hopes and aspirations of the states of the world that renounced the nuclear option and called for nuclear disarmament as a noble goal whose achievement deserves our serious efforts. 

In an attempt to achieve this noble goal, President Hosny Mubarek called in may 1998 for the convening of an international conference to consider rendering the world free from all weapons of mass destruction within a specified period of time. The Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Ireland, Brazil, Sweden, South Africa, Mexico, New Zealand, and Slovenia issued a joint declaration in June 1998 entitled "Towards a World Free from Nuclear Weapons; the need for a New Agenda" The declaration called upon the international community, in particular the nuclear weapon states, to accelerate the nuclear disarmament process. The states of the New Agenda Coalition tabled a resolution to the General Assembly in its last two sessions, which enjoyed an increasing support. The resolution expresses the vision of the states of the coalition on the need for the nuclear weapon states to reaffirm their unconditional and unequivocal commitment to eliminate all nuclear weapons. It calls upon them to take practical steps towards that objective It stresses the importance of the speedy achievement of the Universality of the APT. Here, I would like to reaffirm Egypt's full support for the statement made by Her Excellency the Foreign Minister of Mexico on behalf of the states of the New Agenda Coalition. 

I would also like to reaffirm Egypt's support for the call of the Secretary General of the UN to convene an international conference to consider the ways and means of the elimination of nuclear risks, as contained in his report on the Millennium Summit. It is our hope that this conference will be convened in the near future. 

Mr. President; 

Egypt has stressed repeatedly that the continued absence of effective legally binding international security assurances to protect the non-nuclear weapon states against the dangers of the weapons they voluntarily renounced is a source of disappointment. It also frustrates the objectives of non-proliferation. It can not lead to a sense of safety or security. 

To‑date, the non-nuclear weapon states continue to seek security assurances within a multilateral contractual instrument. They continue to seek effective guarantees against the threat and consequences of a nuclear attack. Security Council Resolution 984 of 1995 continues to fail to respond to the legitimate demands of these states Egypt believes that it is high time to initiate negotiations on an international legal instrument that would provide the non-nuclear weapon states parties to the Treaty with effective security assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. This instrument should be legally binding and should provide protection in case of nuclear attacks. It should be both credible and effective. 

Mr. President; 

The Treaty has recognized the right of non-nuclear states to benefit Tom the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to the unconditional transfer of its technology and know-how. The Decision on the Principles and Objectives reaffirmed that right and the right of non-nuclear weapon states parties to the Treaty to a preferential treatment in this regard. The decision also called for increased transparency in the nuclear-related­ export-controls. This has not been achieved yet. Rather, the limitations imposed on the states parties to the Treaty are increasing in a flagrant contravention of the letter and the spirit of both the Treaty and the Decision on Principles and Objectives. 

Egypt calls for the elimination of all the constraints which prevent the full utilization by the states parties of the rights recognized under Article IV of the Treaty. Egypt also calls for serious action to achieve full-transparency in nuclear-related-export-controls regimes and for their internationalization to encompass all states parties who wish to join them. We also call for the establishment of an effective legal obligation to apply the safeguards regime of the IAEA to all nuclear activities in states parties and non­parties alike, as a precondition for the transfer of nuclear technology or material to them. Decisive and effective measures must be taken to protect peaceful peoples from the threat of nuclear leakage from reactors not subject to international supervision. An end must be put to the threat they pose to the health, environment and the inhabitants of the areas adjacent to such reactors. 

Mr. President; 

Allow me to return with a measure of detail to the Middle East. The states parties have paid a special attention to that region The 1995 Review Conference adopted a separate resolution on it within the package of the indefinite extension of the Treaty. The resolution was co-sponsored by the three depository states of the Treaty Regrettably, Israel remains the only state in the region that has not responded to the calls of the resolution to accede to the Treaty and to place its nuclear facilities under the safeguards regime of the IAEA. 

Over the last few years Egypt has put forward many proposals on steps to be taken by Israel and the states of the region with a view to achieving practical progress toward riding the Middle East of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction Among those steps are the initiation of regional negotiations on the tenets of the establishment of an NWFZ in the Middle East, the declaration by the states of the region of their commitment to adhere to the international instruments on the non­proliferation or prohibition of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons within a specified timeframe and the adoption by Israel and the States of the region of confidence building measures in the nuclear field. Thus, progress will be made towards the application of the safeguards of the IAEA on all nuclear facilities in the region and towards the establishment of an inventory of the Fissile Material produced by the states of the region and their control. 

We have put forward these and other ideas in the hope of initiating a positive dialogue that would contribute to breaking the current impasse and reaffirming the obligation of the Israeli side to take practical steps for the negotiation on rendering the region free from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. It has been our hope to pave the way for a new understanding among the states of the region on dealing with the questions of regional security in the Middle East and on the future of the region. An understanding that would strengthen the security of the region and its states and would dispel the doubts about the Israeli nuclear activity. Thus, we would avoid a regional arms race with all its attendant dangers Unfortunately, Israel did not respond to any of these endeavors. Neither did it accept to engage in a calm dialogue about the nuclear file and other armament fields in the region, a dialogue that should be based on logic, understanding and the right of all states of the region to live in peace and security. 

Mr. President; 

This imbalance can not be accepted neither can it last. The NPT can not have any credibility with the states of the region as long as one state is exempt from its provisions. The states parties to the Treaty are called upon to evaluate what has transpired in the last five years and to adopt precise recommendations for progress to be made towards the achievement of the objectives of the Resolution on the Middle East in full and without exceptions. This can only be achieved by Israel accepting the commitments which its neighbors in the region have already accepted in the field of Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons Any discrimination that favors one party at the expense of the others is untenable in this regard. It is a question that brooks no double standards. 

Therefore, Egypt urges this conference, in its assessment of the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, to consider the following: 

First: The uniqueness of the situation in the Middle East region as acknowledged by the 1995 review conference This acknowledgment led it to adopt a resolution on that region alone in recognition of the dangers inherent in the continuation of the status quo in it. 

Second: The message of the 2000 Review Conference must be unequivocal in its demand that Israel accede to the Treaty without further delay and that it place all its nuclear facilities under the safeguards regime of the IAEA. The message must be crystal clear in expressing the danger to the security of the Middle East inherent in the continuation of the status quo. 

Third: The need to achieve the universality of the NPT at the regional and international levels alike is of essence. Egypt and other states in the Middle East believe that the requirements of security and stability in the region make it necessary for the assessment of the progress achieved towards the universality of the Treaty, including at the regional level by Israel's adherence thereto, to run parallel to, if not precede, the verification of states parties compliance with the provisions of the Treaty. 

Fourth: The responsibility of the Nuclear States and in particular the Sates depositories of the Treaty that have co-sponsored the Resolution on the Middle East in 1995 for its implementation and the realization of all of its objectives in full. 

Fifth: The need for a mechanism to monitor and follow-up the progress made in the implementation of the 1995 Middle-East Resolution. 

Mr. President; 

In this context it is important for me to stress that using the pretext of not burdening the Conference or any other pretext so as not to deal with the issue of the Middle East with the necessary seriousness would undoubtedly detract from the credibility of the Treaty and the Conference and that of the whole Non-Proliferation Regime. It would also render the questions before the Review Conference even more complex. The question of the Middle East was an integral part of the comprehensive package adopted by the last review conference in 1995. Without this resolution, that comprehensive package which enabled the indefinite extension of the Treaty could not have been adopted without a vote Egypt reaffirms that this comprehensive package is indivisible It also reaffirms that the credibility of the review processes based on the review of all of the provisions of the Treaty and all of the decisions of 1995 as well as the resolution on the Middle-East, not one part of it could be exempted. 

Mr. President; 

Egypt believes that the outcome of the review process of the NPT after its indefinite extension must take into account the following: 

First: The outcome of the 1995 Conference must be preserved and must not be re­opened to negotiation. Undermining one part of the 1995 package would lead to a similar treatment to other parts of it. 

Second: The review process needs to be built upon on what was achieved in 1995. We must continue our endeavors to achieve all the objectives we agreed upon then and to ensure the full implementation of the provisions of the Treaty. 

Third: The review of the Treaty must take place in accordance with the provisions of the Decision on the Strengthening of the Review Process. Thus, the Review Conference must consider what has been and what has not been achieved over the last five years. Thereafter, it would decide upon the necessary measures for the period until the 2005 Review Conference and should adopt the recommendations necessary to achieve them. 

Fourth: Placing the questions which lend themselves to easy agreement in a separate document from those on which consensus is harder to attain would undoubtedly lead to detracting from the credibility of the final outcome and of that of the Treaty itself This will be unacceptable. 

Fifth: The enactment of the Decision on the Strengthening of the Review Process requires an objective outlook to improve the method of work of the preparatory process of the Review Conferences, as well as to make use of the subsidiary bodies whose establishment validity we all agreed upon in 1995. 

Sixth: All parties to the Treaty, and in particular the nuclear weapon states, are called upon to seek to achieve the universality of the Treaty and to ensure the strict implementation of its provisions. 

Mr. President; 

The current international climate affords genuine opportunities to arrive at long-term measures to achieve nuclear disarmament The current changes must not be viewed as an end of a process but rather as a profound transformation in the world order. It is incumbent upon us to make use of the prevailing international climate to build upon the achievements made thus far, to make further efforts to settle the questions before us through the reformulation of new ideas and the application of innovative approaches in order to build an international order that would be more stable and more secure for this and the succeeding generations. 

The dangers of nuclear armaments and other weapons of mass destruction threaten the whole of mankind Therefore, it is only logical for all members of the international community to participate on an equal footing in the creation of mechanisms and frameworks to fully eliminate that danger within an agreed global framework that would ensure a balance of rights and duties among all states without any double standards. 

Mr. President; 

The challenges before this Review Conference are not small ones neither are they confined to the Middle East. Nevertheless, Egypt fully intends to contribute actively in the works of this Conference I would like to assure that the delegation of Egypt would not spare an effort in cooperating with you in order to arrive at a consensus outcome that takes into account the concerns and pitfalls expressed by many delegations