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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, French Statement, April 8, 1997

Statement from H.E. Joelle Bourgois Ambassador

New York, 8 April 1997

Mr. Chairman,

Our debate since yesterday has been rich and has showed the interest paid by the international community to the theme of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament My delegation has listened very carefully to the arguments and proposals made by the various delegations I will attempt to give a few elements of answers to the questions which were raised As you know, the positron of the five nuclear weapons States, as well as that of the European Union were

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expressed during the general debate My country's position is of course to be understood within this frame work.

First, nuclear disarmament

On the occasion of the NPT Review and Extension Conference in 1995, France had indicated the various measures it has adopted in the field of disarmament France had specified in particular that since 1991, it had reduced by around 1 5% the amount of its deployed nuclear weapons

Since the adoption in May 1995 of the decision on the "principles and objectives for nuclear non- proliferation and disarmament", France has pursued its efforts in contributing to the implementation of Articles Vi and VII of the NPT

Concerning the global reduction of nuclear arsenals, since this issue was raised several times, it is a responsibility for the five nuclear-weapon States in terms of numbers, this should be assessed taking into account the efforts of all five NWS sad not regarding the level of each one of the five taken individually The respect of obligations resulting from article VI is fulfilled, according to us by:

* on the one hand, the Russian-American bilateral process, which is the main contributor, given the importance of the accumulated stockpiles, I welcome the agreement reached at Helsinki by the Presidents of the United States and of the Russian Federation on further reductions In nuclear weapons;

* on the other hand, by unilateral measures that have been taken, in particular by the United Kingdom and France.

I would like Mr Chairman to list a brief assessment of these initiatives We have acted on both a multilateral and a unilateral level

On a multilateral level, France is among the first three States to have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Our determination during the negotiations was particularly strong. We were in particular first of the five nuclear powers to put forward, as early as August 10, 1995, the proposal to prohibit say nuclear blast at whatever level commonly known as the "Zero Option".

The signature of the CTBT by over 140 States was a historical event. with respect to its entry into force, we intend to promote steadfastly the objective of the CTBT 's universality until the September 1999 Conference of Signatory States . In any event, we believe that the signature of the CTBT by the five nuclear-weapon States amounted to an immediate political commitment to put an end to nuclear testing.

France is also involved in the implementation of the CTBT by participating actively in the work of the Preparatory Commission of the Organization in charge of the CTBT and by contributing to its budget.

On a unilateral level. the President of the Republic took several "l decisions in February 1996 that have already begun to be applied and for which implementation should extend over several years because of the scope of the actions undertaken.

* France is the sole nuclear -weapon State that has closed its testing site. We decided to close our testing sites in the Pacific even before signing the Comprehensive Nuclear lest Ban Treaty. These actions have now been completed.

* We put an end, unilaterally, to the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons by stopping, as early as 1992, production of plutonium at . Marcoule and closing in the Summer of 1996 the Pierrelatte enrichment plant whose dismantlement has been decided.

* We carried out unilateral reductions of our nuclear oar arsenal: dismantling the Plateau d'Albion ground component which contained 18 megaton head strategic missiles and final removal of 30 short-range HADES missiles.

These reductions are all the more important as, both from the point of view of quality and quantity, as they have led to the complete suppression of the ground-to-ground component of out nuclear deterrent.

Many speakers have underlined the recent developments regarding nuclear-weapon- free zones. France has taken its full share in this regard.

France, which is a Party to the two Protocols to the Treaty of Tlatelolco on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America since the 1970s, signed on March 25. 1995 and ratified on September 20, 1996 the three Protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga on the South Pacific Nuclear- Weapon-Free Zone (thus confirming through an international commitment the closure of its Pacific Nuclear Tests Center). France signed on April 11, I 996 and ratified on September 20, 1996 the Treaty of Pelindaba establishing a nuclear-weapon free zone in Africa.

Regarding South-East Asia, France has taken note of the signature of a Treaty establishing a South-East Asian Nuclear- Weapon-Free Zone. France expresses it satisfaction at the intention of the States of the region to contribute by this initiative to the nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime by freely establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

France strongly back' a South-East Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone as the President of the Republic stated after the Treaty was signed.

France, as the other nuclear-weapon States, had the opportunity to make two remarks on the issue of the conformity of the Treaty with international law. Two proposed amendments to the text of the Protocol were made by France to resolve these difficulties ant we are awaiting an answer to our proposals.

In addition to t this, Mr. Chairman, a lot of toll' has been devoted to security assurances. Some delegations have put forward proposals in this regard. France has not waited for the present debate to act on this issue.

Following UN Security Council Resolution 984 of April 11 1995 new measures. were taken in conformity with Decision 2. These concerns security assurances granted by each of the five nuclear-weapon States pursuant to their accession to the relevant Protocols of the treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones.

France has not only signed but also ratified the Protocols on the South Pacific and African NWFZ As a result, coming in addition to prior commitments under the Treaty of Tlatelolco our security assurances are mate contractual vis-a-vis roughly a hundred States Parties to these Treaties and the NPT.

Those have come into force vis-a-vis 44 States It is now up to the 60 or so others to ratify the relevant instruments so that our NSA enter into force towards them as well.

We therefore consider the, in conformity with the terms of Decision 2, new gains in the field of security assurances have been reached.

This is the assessment--substantial in our opinion that France has carried out since the May 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. Please allow me now, Mr. President, to outline several of the prospects that the future for disarmament holds in store for us.

As my American colleague rightly put its, the nuclear disarmament process cannot be separated completely from efforts to control other types of weapons which continue to threaten the security of many States in al! parts of the world. Article VI of the NPT links the pursuit of negotiations related to the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament to a treaty on complete and general disarmament under strict and effective international control

In accordance with its commitments under article VI of the NPT, France is prepared to assume, together with all States, its responsibilities in this field also:

* France was the first permanent Member State of the Security Council to ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. France welcomes the entry into force in April 1997, of the first universal disarmament treaty that will outlaw an entire category of weapons of mass destruction and be effectively verifiable through A multilateral monitoring system.

* With respect to the introduction of a Verification Protocol to the 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of biological Weapons? France, together with its European Union partners, suggested ongoing Geneva negotiations should be concluded successfully at the earliest date, if possible by mid-1998

* On November 25, 1996, Prance waived the reservations it had formulated on the occasion of the ratification of the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating Poisonous or Other Gases? and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. France is the first and only permanent Member State of the Security Council to have done so.

* Moreover, France is contributing in a determining manner to negotiations and the adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. These negotiation' will enable maintaining the integrity of the Treaty and preserving its stabilizing influence on European security.

* Finally, France backs with determination the objective of achieving a comprehensive ban on anti- personnel mines pursuant to the resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority at the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1996.

Mr Chairman, three years are still ahead of us before the 2000 review Conference By this time, we can move forward towards the full implementation of our treaty. The prospects arc immediately at hand.

France welcome' the result of the Helsinki Summit Nothing is more important for the cause of weapons control than the pursuit by the two major nuclear powers of the process of excess weapons' reduction..

Simultaneously with this process, the international community could play a major role if it started to negotiate right now a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. France, for its part, recalls its unilateral initiatives aimed at contributing to global weapons reduction. Contrarily, France considers that its participation in international negotiations on nuclear arsenals is' not relevant now. A, the French President stated in 1996: '`Our deterrent capacity has been determined, In the new plan, at a strictly measured level to guarantee our security. The Size of strategic and tactical arsenals that will skill exist for a long time in Russia and the United States remain incomparably greater then the French or British capacities. Moreover, too many uncertainties weight on the future of crucial parameter of our defense, such as the ABM Treaty, a guarantor of strategic stability, or compliance with non-proliferation regimes."

Finally, progress in general disarmament is an essential condition for nuclear disarmament. Therefore, France will continue to work with determination for the universality of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for the introduction of a verification regime prohibit biological weapons, and for the establishment of a conventional balance at the lowest possible level as well as for a global and comprehensive ban on ant-personnel mines.