truly been the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime. In May 1995 the States Parties to the Treaty took a momentous decision, namely that " the Treaty shall continue in force indefinitely". The European Union strongly believes that that decision represented a watershed. With the indefinite extension of the Treaty, the existing global non-proliferation regime received a permanent and stable underpinning. Thus the extension decision taken in the spring of 1995 went a long way in contributing to a better, a more promising, international security environment.
3. The 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference decided also to strengthen the review process for the Treaty by adopting a specific decision to this effect. It adopted a document on "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament" and a Resolution on the Middle East. The European Union attaches great importance to each of these documents.
4. We are at the beginning of the preparatory process for the year 2000 NPT Review Conference. This is the first time in the history of the Treaty that the Preparatory Committee faces a dual task. As is customary, it will have to prepare matters of procedure for the Review Conference itself. In the fulfillment of that task, the Committee will have to be guided to a large extent by common sense.
5. In addition, however, the Preparatory Committee will have to give substance to the decision on an enhanced review process which has tasked the Committee "to consider principles, objectives and ways in order to promote the foil implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality, and to make recommendations thereon to the Review Conference". These include those identified in the Decision on Principles and Objectives for nuclear non proliferation and disarmament adopted on 11 May 1995. Thus, this Preparatory Committee will itself create a precedent, being the first such meeting tasked with addressing substance as well as procedure. The European Union is fully committed to help bringing this new task to a successful conclusion so as to make sure that the strengthened review process turns itself into a valuable new instrument in the fight against the continued danger of the spread of nuclear weapons.
6. As we are about to take the first steps on a path largely unexplored, the European Union wishes to place before the Preparatory Committee a number of considerations guiding it during the preparatory process.
7. First, it will be important to keep in mind the unprecedented nature of the strengthened review process. We should therefore approach this first session with both flexibility and prudence, given the need to avoid undue haste in shaping recommendations to the Review Conference before possible options have been adequately considered.
8. Second, to the extent that experience could guide us also in the substantive aspects of the preparatory process, we should make use of it. The traditional Main Committee structure of Review Conference es, dividing the substance into disarmament matters, safeguards and peaceful uses of nuclear energy is a case in point.
9. Third, from this flows naturally that the enhanced review process should be balanced in its approach. giving due attention to all aspects of the Treaty's implementation.
10. Fourth, the preparatory phase of the enhanced review process, in recommending to the Review Conference. will have to take into account that the Conference itself, apart from reviewing the operation of the Treaty, will have to be forward-looking. me preparatory process itself therefore. while not overlooking the - recent - past, will have to be forward-looking as well.
11. Fifth, also under the new arrangements the work of the Preparatory Committee remains preparatory in nature. The Preparatory Committee will recommend to the Review Conference; the Review Conference itself decides. In this process, the Preparatory Committee will base itself on the Treaty. It will implement the decision on Strengthening the Review Process and be guided by the Principles and Objectives adopted at the 1995 NPT Conference.
12. Under the strengthened review process. the Preparatory Committee should not only consider principles, objectives and ways in order to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as universality, but also make recommendations thereon to the Review Conference. So the results of our considerations, the Preparatory Committee's recommendations, should be moulded in such a way as to enable the Review Conference to draw the necessary operational conclusions. The European Union believes that the most efficient banner for the Preparatory Committee's reporting of the results of its deliberations to its successive sessions and to the Review Conference would either be a brief Chairman's summary or a brief Chairman's introduction, covering a neutral mechanism to carry forward proposals from one Preparatory Committee session to the next. Such a document might eventually evolve into the final recommendations of the Preparatory Committee to the Review Conference. It remains important however that during the early Preparatory Committee meetings we avoid protracted discussions over texts: a Chairman's summary would not need to be a consensus document.
13. In order to ensure as smooth as possible a transition of activities in the run-up to the Review Conference, the European Union considers it useful if the out-going and incoming Chairmen of the various sessions of the Preparatory Committee consult each other in the intercessional periods.
14. While addressing substantive issues, one should not forget one of the more traditional tasks of the Preparatory Committee, the procedural preparations for the 2000 Review Conference. The 1995 Conference concluded that for the Review Conference the structure of three Main Committees should continue. The Preparatory Committee is to examine whether the establishment of subsidiary bodies within the Main Committees, so as to provide for a focused consideration of specific issues relevant to the Treaty, can be recommended for the Review Conference. In addressing this issue, we should bear in mind the concerns of smaller delegations and the need to avoid Undue expense. The European Union believes that. in order to allow ideas on this issue to develop during the various sessions of the Preparatory Committee, a recommendation on this question had best await 8 later session of the Preparatory Committee.
15. The European Union hopes that this session of the Preparatory Committee will make a positive start with work under the Strengthened review process of the Non- Proliferation Treaty. To that end the Preparatory Committee should not devote too much time to its own procedural matters. The decision-making at the Preparatory Committee should continue to be based on consensus.
16. The above reflects some of the European Union's ideas on how the Preparatory Committee to the 2000 NPT Review Conference should, under the new arrangement of a strengthened review process, conduct its business, in particular on the substantive issues relating to the treaty's implementation. It is important that this first session of the Preparatory Committee starts discussing substance sooner rather than later. In this respect the European Union considers it relevant to present already now some thoughts on the main aspects relating to the NPT's implementation.
17. Since the 1995 Review and Extension Conference significant progress has been achieved in relation to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Securing the indefinite extension of the Treaty with its core non-proliferation commitments has created the climate for continued nuclear disarmament.
18. The European Union welcomes the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1996, within the timeframe we agreed upon in 1995. The fact that the world now has an internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion for ever, is a major contribution to both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation The EU calls on all States which have not yet done so to Sign and ratify the CTBT at the earliest possible date.
19. As far as the second item in the programme of action on nuclear disarmament contained in the Principles and Objectives is concerned, the negotiation on a convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, the European Union regrets that the Conference on Disarmament has not been able to start work on this issue, to which the EU attaches importance. All Member States of the Union as well as the states aligning themselves to this statement are fully prepared to start negotiations on this issue right away. indeed there seems to be no need for further delay: the basis for those negotiations has been laid by the statement on the subject of the then CD's Special Coordinator and the mandate contained therein, as well as the establishment in 1995 of an Ad Hoc Committee. Those delegations which have long sought to have this item inscribed on the CD agenda should now show good faith in proceeding with the item.
20. The EU also attaches importance to the third and final measure in the programme of action in the Principles and Objectives. the determined pursuit by the nuclear weapon states of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goals of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. We are pleased to see progress in this respect. The European Union welcomes both the unilateral and bilateral measures taken since 1995, including the steps taken or announced by the United Kingdom and France, and calls for further progress towards global reductions. It is important that all these measures be fully implemented. In this respect the European Union urges the early ratification of START 11 by the Russian Federation. The EU welcomes the commitments made by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin at the Helsinki Summit regarding further reductions in nuclear arms and urges their early implementation.
21. Nuclear-weapon-free zones, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned, enhance global and regional peace and security. The Union considers such zones as important complementary instruments to the NPT and welcomes advances made, which extend the areas of the world covered by nuclear weapon free zones.
22. Already before the 1995 Conference, intensive efforts had been undertaken to reinforce the non-proliferation regime. The IAEA's =93 + 2" programme, aiming at strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the Agency's safeguards system, has reached a decisive phase. The European Union reaffirms its support for these objectives and its full commitment to the "93 + 2" programme. More particularly the Union expresses the hope that the Protocol, providing the necessary additional authority for the implementation of Part II of the Agency's proposals for a strengthened and effective safeguards system. will be approved by the IAEA Board of Governors at its special session on 15-16 May. The EU welcomes the fact that the nuclear weapon States will participate substantially in the programme. This set of measures will significantly increase the Agency's capacity to detect undeclared nuclear activities. This would fully accord with the Principles and Objectives adopted at the 1995 NPT Conference. The EU calls on all States and other parties to safeguards agreements to start early negotiations with the IAEA, in order to conclude a relevant additional protocol, with a view to implementing the 93 + 2 programme as soon as possible.
23 The European Union confirms 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 complete conformity with Articles I and 11 of the Treaty. Indeed, over the years the European Union and its Member States have implemented substantial international cooperation programmes in this field. Also, Member States of the Union continued their important contributions to the IAEA Technical Assistance Fund. It must be clearly understood that the right enshrined in Article IV of the NPT is To be exercised in conformity with the non-proliferation obligations sat out in Articles I and 11. In addition to the NPT, export control measures are equally valid instruments for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Thus, far from being an obstacle to the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, nuclear related export controls are the necessary corollary of peaceful nuclear cooperation.
24. The European Union fully supports the Principles and Objectives statement to the effect that transparency in nuclear related export controls should be promoted within the framework of dialogue and cooperation among all interested States party to the Treaty. The Union welcomes the Nuclear Suppliers Group's activities to enhance transparency in this area through dialogue and cooperation with non-member countries of the NSG.
25. Since the 1995 Conference. eight more states have acceded to the NPT, making the Treaty near-universal. The European Union welcomes this development. Nearing universality by itself strengthens the existing nuclear non-proliferation regime. It illustrates the fact that slates are conscious that the Treaty serves their interests. Nevertheless, it remains a major problem that a few nuclear capable states remain outside the Treaty's orbit. It is for that reason that universality is the first of the Principles and Objectives adopted at the 1995 Conference. The European Union continues to fully support this priority objective embodied therein and reiterates its call on all states that have not Yet done so to accede to the NPT.
26. The 1995 decision to extend the NPT indefinitely confirmed this Treaty as the most important international framework for nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. The strengthened review process should be used as a tool to ensure that over the years to come the Treaty will continue to fulfill that role, by making a success of this Preparatory Committee and the start of the new, invigorated review process it signals. Let us all contribute to this success.
Thank you. Mr. Chairman.