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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Summary of second meeting, August 19, 1997

Summary Record of the second meeting (Closed)

Held at United Nations Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 8 April 1997, at 10 a.m.

Chairman : Mr. PATOKALLIO (Finland)

CONTENTS

GENERAL DEBATE

This record is subject to correction.

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1997 NPT Prep Com 

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Office of Conference and Support Services, room DC2-794, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the record of this meeting will be issued in a corrigendum.

The meeting was called to order at 10.25 a.m .

GENERAL DEBATE

1. Mr. RAMAKER (Netherlands), speaking on behalf of the European Union and of the associate countries of Central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia) and Cyprus, in addition to the European Free Trade Association countries members of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), said that from its inception in 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had been the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime. In May 1995, the States parties to the Treaty had taken a momentous decision, namely, that the Treaty should continue in force indefinitely. That decision had been a watershed, since with the indefinite extension of the Treaty, the existing global non-proliferation regime had received a permanent and stable underpinning and a significant contribution had been made to international security.

2. The 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference had also decided to strengthen the review process for the Treaty by adopting a specific decision to that effect. It had adopted a document on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and a resolution on the Middle East. The European Union attached great importance to each of those documents.

3. For the first time in the history of the Treaty, the Preparatory Committee faced a dual task. It would have to prepare matters of procedure for the Review Conference itself, and it would also have to give substance to the decision to strengthen the review process. To that end, the Committee had been asked to consider principles, objectives and ways to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality, and to make recommendations thereon to the Review Conference. The Preparatory Committee would thus create a precedent, being the first such meeting entrusted with the task of addressing substance as well as procedure. The European Union was committed to helping bring that new task to a successful conclusion, so as to ensure that the strengthened review process became a valuable instrument in the fight against the continuing danger of the spread of nuclear weapons.

4. The European Union felt that there were a number of considerations which should guide the preparatory process. First of all, it was important to keep in mind the unprecedented nature of the strengthened review process. The Committee's first session should therefore be approached with flexibility and prudence, in order to avoid undue haste in shaping recommendations to the Review Conference before possible options had been adequately considered.

5. Second, the Preparatory Committee should draw on experience to guide it in the substantive aspects of the preparatory process. The traditional Main Committee structure of Review Conferences, which divided the substance into disarmament matters, safeguards and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, was a case in point.

6. Third, the enhanced review process should be balanced in its approach, giving due attention to all aspects of the Treaty's implementation.

7. Fourth, in making recommendations to the Review Conference, the preparatory phase would have to take into account the fact that the Conference itself, apart from reviewing the operation of the Treaty, would have to be forward-looking. The preparatory process itself, while not overlooking the recent past, would therefore have to be forward-looking as well.

8. Fifth, the Preparatory Committee would make recommendations to the Review Conference; in that process, it would base itself on the Treaty. It would implement the decision to strengthen the review process and would be guided by the principles and objectives adopted at the 1995 NPT Conference.

9. The most efficient method for the Preparatory Committee to adopt in reporting the results of its deliberations to its successive sessions and to the Review Conference would be for the Chairman to prepare either a brief summary or a brief introduction on a neutral mechanism for carrying 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. However, it remained important to avoid protracted discussions over texts during the Preparatory Committee's early meetings: a Chairman's summary did not need to be a consensus document. Furthermore, in order to ensure a sooth transition of activities in the run-up to the Review Conference, it would be useful if the incoming and outgoing Chairmen of the various sessions of the Preparatory Committee were to consult each other in intersessional periods.

10. In addition to addressing substantive issues, the Preparatory Committee must also fulfil one of its more traditional tasks, namely, the procedural preparations for the 2000 Review Conference. It had been decided at the 1995 Conference that the structure of the three Main Committees should be maintained for the Review Conference. The Preparatory Committee was to examine whether the establishment of subsidiary bodies within the Main Committees, to consider specific issues relevant to the Treaty, could be recommended for the Review Conference. In addressing that issue, the concerns of smaller delegations and the need to avoid undue expense should be borne in mind. The European Union believed that, in order to allow ideas on the issue to develop, a recommendation on that question had best await a later session of the Preparatory Committee.

11. The European Union welcomed the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996, within the time-frame agreed upon in 1995. The fact that the world now had an internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning any nuclear-weapon-test explosion or any other nuclear explosion was a major contribution to both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The European Union called on all States which had not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.

12. With regard to the negotiations on a convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, the European Union regretted that the Conference on Disarmament had not been able to start work on such an important issue. All States members of the Union as well as the States that aligned themselves with its statement were prepared to begin negotiations on that issue immediately. There seemed to be no need for further delay: the basis for those negotiations had been laid by the statement of the Special Coordinator of the Conference on Disarmament and the mandate contained therein, as well as the establishment of an ad hoc committee in 1995. Those delegations that had long sought to have that item included in the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament should show good faith by proceeding with its consideration.

13. The European Union also attached great importance to the systematic and progressive efforts of the nuclear-weapon States to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating them, and to the general and complete disarmament of all States under strict and effective international control. The European Union welcomed both the unilateral and bilateral measures taken since 1995, including the steps taken or announced by the United Kingdom and France, and called for further progress towards the global reduction of nuclear weapons. The European Union urged the Russian Federation to ratify the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II) as soon as possible, and welcomed the commitments made by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin at the Helsinki Summit regarding further reductions in nuclear arms and called for their early implementation.

14. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned, enhanced global and regional peace and security. The European Union believed that such zones were an important complement to NPT and it therefore welcomed the advances made in that area.

15. Before the 1995 Conference, intensive efforts had been undertaken to reinforce the non-proliferation regime. The European Union reaffirmed its full commitment to the "93 + 2" programme of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and hoped that the Protocol, which provided the necessary additional authority for the implementation of Part II of the Agency's proposals for a strengthened safeguards system, would be approved by the IAEA Board of Governors. The European Union welcomed the broad participation of nuclear-weapon States in the programme. Those measures would significantly increase the Agency's capacity to detect undeclared nuclear activities, in full accordance with the principles and objectives adopted at the 1995 Conference. The European Union called on all States and other parties to safeguards agreements to begin early negotiations with IAEA in order to conclude an additional protocol with a view to implementing the "93 + 2" programme as soon as possible.

16. The European Union confirmed the inalienable right of all parties to the Treaty to promote research on, and the production and use of, nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Over the years, the European Union and its member States had implemented substantial international cooperation programmes in that field. In addition, member States of the Union had continued to make important contributions to the IAEA Technical Assistance and Cooperation Fund. The right contained in article IV of NPT was to be exercised in conformity with the non-proliferation obligations set out in articles I and II. In addition to NPT, export control measures were equally valid for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

17. The European Union fully supported the statement in the principles and objectives that transparency in nuclear-related export controls should be promoted within the framework of dialogue and cooperation among all interested States parties to the Treaty. It welcomed the activities of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to enhance transparency in that area through dialogue and cooperation with member countries that were not members of the Group.

18. Since the 1995 Conference, eight more States had acceded to NPT, making the Treaty nearly universal. That in itself strengthened the existing nuclear non-proliferation regime and illustrated that States were conscious that the Treaty served their interests. Nevertheless, the fact that a few States with nuclear capacity remained outside the Treaty continued to pose a major problem. For that reason, universality was the first of the principles and objectives adopted at the 1995 Conference. The European Union continued to support that objective fully and reiterated its appeal to all States that had not yet done so to accede to NPT.

19. Mr. ALBIN (Mexico) said that, over the past two years, there had been positive developments in the nuclear disarmament campaign. Most notable had been the establishment of two new nuclear-weapon-free zones, in South-East Asia by the Treaty of Bangkok and in Africa by the Treaty of Pelindaba. The nuclearization regime in Latin America and the Caribbean had been virtually completed. Moreover, 28 delegations of the Group of 21 had submitted a programme of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons to the Conference on Disarmament. The proposed three-tiered measures to the year 2020 constituted an effective way to step up efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.

20. Another positive development had been the report of the Canberra Commission, which questioned the usefulness of nuclear weapons and stated that, as a first step, the five nuclear-weapon States should make a firm commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and begin immediately the necessary negotiations to achieve that objective. Other noteworthy developments had been the conclusion and opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; the statement of 61 retired generals and admirals from 17 different countries that they believed that a nuclear-weapon-free world was possible, since the dangers of proliferation, terrorism and a new nuclear arms race demanded it; and the resolution adopted by the European Parliament that requested the States members of the European Union to support the negotiations with a view to concluding a convention on the elimination of nuclear weapons, which would begin in 1997.

21. Nevertheless, undoubtedly the most important event had been the historic advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which had stated unanimously that all States had an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.

22. Those events, which were certainly important, had not been enough. The end of the cold war had created a favourable climate for eliminating nuclear weapons. Almost a decade had passed since then, yet the nuclear-weapon States were resisting changes in their military doctrines in relation to their nuclear arsenals and were continuing to work to upgrade them.

23. Since the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, growing concern had been registered with regard to the safety of nuclear arsenals, both in respect of the risk of unauthorized or accidental launches and with regard to the conditions in which weapons were kept. Those concerns had mounted in proportion to the number of cases in which it had proved possible to circumvent the systems for controlling the technology and materials associated with the production of nuclear weapons.

24. Mexico was not immune from the dangers posed by the existence of nuclear arsenals, and its commitment to total disarmament remained unwavering. For that reason, the following questions needed to be asked: whether the Non-Proliferation Treaty had succeeded in halting the vertical and horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons; what progress it had made in overcoming the imbalance between the fulfilment of obligations and responsibilities by nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States; to what extent the outcome of the 1995 Conference had provided an impetus to the full implementation of the Treaty itself and the other commitments entered into with a view to building a non-discriminatory, universal and truly effective nuclear non-proliferation regime; what real progress had been made in the bilateral negotiations between the two major nuclear powers in order to reduce their nuclear arsenals; what ideas had been advanced by the other three nuclear-weapon States with regard to specific measures to be adopted for bringing about general and complete disarmament in the light of the bilateral agreements on nuclear disarmament between the two principal nuclear-weapon States; how the implementation of articles I and IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty would affect military cooperation between the nuclear-weapon States with respect to the upgrading of their nuclear arsenals; and what was being done with the nuclear material from nuclear weapons that were being dismantled. Mexico hoped that those questions would be clarified during the Preparatory Committee's work. In addition, his delegation hoped that the dialogue that would take place during the preparations for the 2000 Review Conference would lead to the adoption of specific nuclear disarmament agreements, since a threat which affected the security, restricted the development and dictated the survival of the planet could not be ignored.

25. The work of the Preparatory Committee should focus on discussion of substantive topics with a view to assessing the fulfilment of the commitments contained in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, achieving the objective of completely eliminating nuclear weapons and identifying means and mechanisms through which further progress could be made in the future. Consideration of the document containing the "principles and objectives", which had been adopted at the 1995 Conference, should not be a substitute for evaluating the implementation of the Treaty itself. For that reason, during its first session the Preparatory Committee should initiate negotiations on an evolutionary text to be considered by the 2000 Review Conference; that text should combine the new commitments which States parties to the Treaty should assume in order to fulfil the obligations for the future outlined in the Treaty. To that end, due account needed to be taken of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.

26. Mr. SHA Zukang (China) said that the establishment of a new international political and economic order, one which was peaceful, stable, just and reasonable, had become a common aspiration of peoples all over the world. However, even after the end of the military confrontation between the Eastern and Western blocs, cold-war thinking persisted and some countries were still bent on strengthening their military alliances and capabilities. The preparations for the Review Conference and the review process of the Treaty would certainly be affected by the overall international situation.

27. Since the indefinite extension of the Treaty, significant progress had been achieved in the field of international arms control and disarmament, including the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty; the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention; the elaboration of a new protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons which banned laser-blinding weapons and the revision of the protocol on landmines which had introduced further restrictions on the functions and use of anti-personnel landmines; the efforts which had been made to enhance the effectiveness of the Biological Weapons Convention; the conclusion of the Treaty of Pelindaba; the agreements reached by South East Asian countries on the Treaty of Bangkok which had expanded the area covered by the nuclear-weapon-free zones in the world; and the Joint Statement by the United States of America and the Russian Federation which had indicated their willingness to further reduce the strategic nuclear weapons which they had already deployed. 28. However, the achievements to date were merely intermediate steps and the nuclear-weapon States should abandon their policy of nuclear deterrence, drastically reduce their nuclear stockpiles and destroy removed nuclear warheads. All nuclear-weapon States should undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstances, commit themselves unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones, and conclude at an early date international legal instruments to that effect. States with nuclear weapons deployed outside their borders should withdraw all such weapons to their own territory. All nuclear-weapon-States should pledge their support for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, respect their status and undertake corresponding obligations. No country should develop or deploy space weapons systems or missile defence systems which would undermine security and stability.

29. China supported complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. The Chinese Vice Premier and Minister for Foreign Affairs Qian Qichen had pointed out that the indefinite extension of the Treaty should in no way be interpreted as perpetuating the nuclear-weapon States' prerogative to possess nuclear weapons. A convention on the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons should be concluded under strict and effective international control.

30. China possessed a limited number of nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of self-defence, thereby hoping to maintain world peace, counter nuclear blackmail and threats, prevent nuclear war and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons. China had never shied away from its responsibility towards nuclear disarmament. It was the only nuclear-weapon State which had unconditionally undertaken not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. It had never joined in the nuclear arms race, deployed nuclear weapons outside its borders, or threatened to use nuclear weapons against any country.

31. Although the Treaty had its limitations and defects, it had played a significant role in containing nuclear weapons proliferation and promoting international peace, security and stability, and in promoting nuclear disarmament. China supported efforts to enhance the universality of the Treaty and hoped that the effectiveness and efficiency of the IAEA safeguards system would be strengthened through appropriate measures.

32. As a State party to the Treaty, China had abided strictly by its obligations and had never applied double standards or assisted other countries in developing nuclear weapons. In cooperating with other countries in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, China adhered to three principles: exports should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, be subject to IAEA safeguards, and not be transferred to a third country without China's prior consent. China did not provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.

33. The prevention of nuclear-weapons proliferation should facilitate international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and guarantee the legitimate right of a large number of developing countries to utilize nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Through the implementation of its policy of reform and openness and its economic development, China would expand and enhance its international cooperation in that field.

34. The 2000 Review Conference would be the first meeting since the indefinite extension of the Treaty. In addition to full consideration of the three decisions and one resolution adopted by the 1995 Conference, consideration should also be given to a number of relationships in order to enhance the review process and ensure the success of the 2000 Review Conference. First, as stated in paragraph 4 of the decision on strengthening the review process for the Treaty, the Preparatory Committee should consider principles, objectives and ways in order to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality, and make recommendations thereon to the Review Conference. However, decisions should be taken at the Conference.

35. Secondly, the consideration of substantive issues at the Review Conference and in its Preparatory Committee should be based on the Treaty, and full use should be made of the principles and objectives. The review process should focus on the implementation of the provisions and on the preamble of the Treaty and should take the relevant principles and objectives fully into account.

36. Thirdly, the nature of the substantive work of the Review Conference and its Preparatory Committee was different from that of the Conference on Disarmament. Their task was to promote the full implementation of the Treaty by reviewing past operation, affirming achievements, identifying areas where further progress was needed and seeking ways to improve its implementation. Review was not negotiation. However, the Conference on Disarmament was the sole multilateral negotiating body for disarmament and arms control with extensive representation. Its task was to formulate, through negotiations, legally binding international instruments. The outcome of the Review Conference would have an impact on the negotiations of the Conference on Disarmament. Nonetheless, the Review Conference should not replace the current or future work of the Conference on Disarmament.

37. Fourthly, the relationship between established practices and the new situation must be examined. While established practices certainly had their own rationale, they must be adjusted to the new situation and should continue to be followed if no State Party had difficulty with them. Some procedural adjustments would therefore have to be made in the Preparatory Committee. Between the first session of the Preparatory Committee and the holding of the 2000 Review Conference a long span of time would intervene, during which the international situation and developments relating to the Treaty might undergo changes. The three or four sessions of the Preparatory Committee constituted a continuous process. Therefore, the outcome of the Preparatory Committee's earlier sessions could only be preliminary, and that should be taken into account when the relevant reports were drafted.

38. Fifthly, the three major objectives of the Treaty, namely, nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, were equally important and mutually complementary, and none of them should be neglected. The review process should be comprehensive and balanced, giving equal attention to the three objectives and taking into consideration the principles and objectives set forth in the operative paragraphs of the relevant decision.

39. The recently initiated preparation and review process entailed heavy responsibility. However, China believed that there were more areas of agreement than differences and that it would be possible to redress and correct the limitations and defects of the Treaty through continued progress in the sphere of disarmament and enhanced cooperation among countries in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The three objectives of the Treaty would be fully realized. China was ready to join other States Parties in their common efforts to fulfil that historic mission.

40. Mr. MOHER (Canada) said that the review process must be qualitatively different from earlier review processes. In strengthening the review process, it was essential to determine whether or not there was a common mindset conducive to progress; the conduct and outcome of the first session of the Preparatory Committee would therefore be of key importance.

41. The indefinite extension of the Treaty had represented the consensus of the States Parties that a world with the Treaty would be more secure than one without it. The authority and integrity of any treaty were dependent on the fidelity and vigour with which its States Parties met their obligations and commitments. That led directly to the concept of "permanence with accountability", an expression used by Canada at the 1995 Conference. That accountability concerned all States Parties, not just some.

42. With regard to accountability, Canada's starting point was paragraph 1 of the decision on strengthening the review process, which stated unequivocally that the operation and implementation of the Treaty were be to reviewed. Concentration of attention on the Treaty itself would be central to any accountability exercise.

43. The function of the principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament was evident: they had been designed to promote the full implementation of the Treaty. They were a means to an end, not an end in themselves, and constituted the first step in an ongoing review process that should enable each review conference to produce further principles and objectives for successive phases in the life of an indefinitely extended Treaty. That process was qualitatively different from any earlier NPT review process and should address specifically what might be done to strengthen the implementation of the Treaty and achieve its universality.

44. That led to the most complex dimension of future work, namely, the way in which accountability would be exercised. Four key elements should establish the framework for that qualitatively different exercise: first, conviction that the Treaty remained essential to international peace and security and that its authority must therefore be preserved and enhanced; secondly, commitment to ensuring that, while the review process should focus on the Treaty itself, work should be guided by the conclusions of the 1995 Conference of the Parties, specifically the recommendations contained in the principles and objectives and in the decision on strengthening the review process; thirdly, recognition that the sessions of the Preparatory Committee should consider principles, objectives and ways in order to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality, and make recommendations thereon to the Review Conference; and fourthly, the assertion, contained in the 1995 principles and objectives, that review conferences should identify the areas in which, and the means through which, further progress should be sought in the future.

45. The proposed agenda for the 1997-1999 Preparatory Committee should fully reflect the new focus which had emerged from the 1995 Conference. It would also be necessary to ensure that the strengthened review process was designed to generate dynamic, progressive and at the same time pragmatic recommendations to the 2000 Review Conference and to facilitate the attainment of that objective. Each session of the Preparatory Committee would be severely limited by time constraints and there was therefore need to adopt a highly disciplined approach and to establish a rigorous schedule in order to ensure that each session addressed the substantial implementation of the Treaty in all its dimensions.

46. Each session of the Preparatory Committee should produce proposals as a means of advancing accountability, promoting continuity between sessions and facilitating the preparation over the next three years of recommendations to the 2000 Review Conference.

47. If the international community did not make a start in the best way possible and in the right direction, it was unlikely to find its way to its common destination. The review process should therefore address the areas and means for future progress over the following three years. Canada had already begun its deliberations on the subject and attached to its statement an initial outline of those views, which would establish the basis for the finalization of its recommendations to the 2000 Review Conference.

48. Mr. JELE (South Africa) said that the current Preparatory Committee was the first test of the strengthened review process and it should therefore show that the decisions, understanding and delicate balance achieved in 1995 could continue to have the confidence of all States parties. The Treaty review process was no longer a five-yearly event but a process which was now beginning and which would culminate in the year 2000. The sessions of the Preparatory Committee were an integral part of that process. The Preparatory Committee should consider not only the current Principles and Objectives but also new principles, objectives and ways aimed at promoting the implementation and universality of the Treaty. To that end, States parties should report on the steps taken since 1995 to achieve the goals which they had set for themselves. They would also need to make concrete suggestions as to what the next steps should be in order to ensure that the Treaty's objectives became a reality.

49. The issue of nuclear disarmament must be a focus of the current and future sessions of the Preparatory Committee, given the high priority placed on it by the international community, including the Government of South Africa. It was essential, however, to consider all aspects of the Treaty and the Chairman's proposal to group into clusters the issues that needed to be addressed would be helpful in that regard. Another essential element of the Committee's work was to deliver concrete results in the form of a product. That would ensure that the results of the work of the Preparatory Committee's current session would be passed on to future sessions so that, at the end of the process, recommendations could be made to the Review Conference and the Committee could better focus its work and not fall into the trap of futile debate. At the current stage, his delegation was flexible about the form of the final product, whether it should be a "rolling text" or a Chairman's report containing a list of proposals which could later be developed into a "rolling text". What was imperative was that any text or report should gain the support of the Preparatory Committee. His delegation recommended the adoption of the mechanism which had been established at the 1995 Conference, namely, the creation of a President's Group, an approach which had proven its ability to draw the necessary support.

50. Africa had made a significant contribution to the achievement of the universality of the Treaty. Those African States which had not been parties to the Treaty in 1995 had since acceded to it. As the international community drew closer to its objective, States parties should redouble their efforts because the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament were cornerstones of international peace and security. Those countries which had still not adhered to the Treaty, those which still aspired to nuclear weapons and those which still wished to maintain the nuclear weapons option must therefore be made to realize that, since nuclear weapons did not guarantee but rather threatened security.

51. South Africa continued to see non-proliferation obligations as one of its most important international commitments and would continue to take active measures to prevent the proliferation of dual-use technologies, material and equipment for all weapons of mass destruction. It was because of that type of vigilance by States and by the international community as a whole that there had been no major new threats of nuclear proliferation since the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. In that connection, his Government wished to commend the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and other international bodies for their work in that area. It wished, however, to place on record its concern over the non-proliferation implications of the plans for the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the proposals which had been made for a dialogue in Europe on the future role of nuclear deterrence in the context of European defence policy. The planned expansion of NATO would entail an increase in the number of non-nuclear-weapon States which participated in nuclear training, planning and decision-making and which had an element of nuclear deterrence in their defence policies. The important work being done by IAEA to strengthen its safeguards should also be considered.

52. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was an accomplishment of which the States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons could be proud. The preamble to the latter Treaty contained a call for a complete ban on nuclear tests. All of the nuclear-weapon States had signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and every effort should be made to ensure its early entry into force and its signature and ratification by all States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It was disappointing, however, that the nuclear-weapon States had refused to see the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as an opportunity to go further in their commitment to nuclear disarmament. It was also regrettable that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty negotiators had only been able to include nuclear test explosions in the Treaty's scope and that there were provisions to conduct so-called peaceful nuclear explosions, a concept which, in the context of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons had long been considered a dead letter.

53. The advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice on 8 July 1996 on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, and particularly the unanimous conclusion of the Court that there existed an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control, was of direct relevance to the States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, since it not only reinforced article VI of the Treaty but also recognized the legal obligation for nuclear-weapon States to pursue negotiations in good faith and to bring them to a conclusion.

54. On 4 December 1996, General Lee Butler, the former Commander-in-Chief of the United States Strategic Command, and General Andrew J. Goodpaster, the former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, had made a statement calling for a step-by-step reduction of nuclear weapons and of the nuclear threat with the ultimate objective of achieving the complete elimination of nuclear weapons from all nations. The following day, 60 retired senior military officers from 17 countries, including all of the nuclear-weapon States, had joined in the appeal.

55. The Helsinki summit between President Clinton and President Yeltsin was also a positive development in the field of nuclear disarmament. The commitment of the two Presidents to the implementation of the START II Treaty and the very detailed agreement on the negotiations for a START III Treaty were significant steps forward and an example which the other nuclear-weapon States should follow.

56. In contrast to those developments, the Conference on Disarmament had not been able to begin immediately negotiations on a non-discriminatory and universally applicable convention banning the production of fissionable material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. The Preparatory Committee should strongly renew the call contained in the "Principles and Objectives" for those negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament, and all States parties which were members of the Conference should work actively to achieve that goal.

57. It was also regrettable that the Conference on Disarmament had been unable to reach a consensus on the establishment of a mechanism to allow for substantive work on the nuclear disarmament issue, a clear priority of South Africa and of the international community as a whole. There had also been resistance to establishing an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament in the Conference. Some had expressed concern that such an initiative was risky and could deny the bilateral and multilateral dimensions of nuclear disarmament. Those concerns were unfounded, however, because firstly, the nuclear disarmament negotiations between the Russian Federation and the United States of America would continue to be of paramount importance to the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear arms, as would be the future negotiations involving the other nuclear-weapon States. Secondly, nuclear disarmament was based on the commitments of the nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT and on the "Principles and Objectives" for non-proliferation and disarmament, not on an ad hoc committee which intended to use the disarmament expertise found in the Conference on Disarmament to identify future steps towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. The Preparatory Committee must consider that issue seriously.

58. Since the 1995 Conference, considerable progress had been made in the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. Two additional zones had been established, in Africa and in Southeast Asia, and the Treaty of Tlatelolco had celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. South Africa was proud that the Treaty establishing the nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa, the Treaty of Pelindaba, named after a site in South Africa, had been signed by 45 African States, and the relevant Protocols had been signed by all the nuclear-weapon States. His delegation called on the only State with territory in the zone which had not yet done so to sign the Protocol to the Treaty.

59. A setback for the cause of nuclear-weapon-free zones had been the disappointing vote at the fifty-first session of the General Assembly on the resolution on the nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas. South Africa would continue to work to achieve a consensus on that resolution.

60. South Africa hoped to see progress at the current session of the Preparatory Committee in the area of security assurances, taking into account paragraph 8 of the "Principles and Objectives". It should be noted that, at the 1990 Review Conference, an agreement had been reached on the need for such an instrument, but agreement had not been achieved on a final declaration. The dispute which had prevented the agreement from being finalized had not revolved around the consensus which had been reached on security assurances.

61. In that regard, South Africa proposed that the Preparatory Committee should decide to take up the work on security assurances envisaged in the "Principles and Objectives", with a view to completing the work before the year 2000 and making a recommendation to the Review Conference. The issue at stake was the granting of legally binding security assurances to the non-nuclear-weapon States, which, in becoming parties to the NPT, had voluntarily given up the nuclear-weapon option. The argument that declarations made by the nuclear-weapon States were sufficient or that those assurances should only be granted in the context of nuclear-weapon-free zones was not valid; such assurances should be given in the context of the NPT. Given the expanded role of the Preparatory Committee, it was incorrect to argue that such an initiative would not fall within its mandate. The negotiation of legally binding security assurances within the Treaty, as opposed to other forums, would provide a significant benefit to the Parties to the Treaty and would be seen as an incentive to those remaining outside it. Security assurances, which would strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and confirm the role of the NPT and its indefinite extension, rightfully belonged to those who had given up the nuclear weapon option and not to those who were keeping their options open.

62. South Africa, along with other Parties to the Treaty, drew assurance from the nuclear safeguards system. However, the "Principles and Objectives" recognized that regular review was necessary, and thus, the system of safeguards was currently being strengthened. His delegation fully supported that process and welcomed the additional assurance that safeguards would give concerning the absence of undeclared nuclear activities. It was particularly satisfied with the assurance of IAEA that the process would not incur additional costs in the medium to long term, since its primary aim was to improve the efficiency of safeguards. However, its support for the process was not unconditional; it looked to the nuclear-weapon States to undertake to introduce confidence-building measures of their own. His delegation looked forward to their statements when the model strengthened safeguards would be considered by the IAEA Board of Governors in May 1997. In that regard, the trilateral discussions between the Russian Federation, the United States of America and IAEA held in Moscow in 1996 concerning safeguards for excess nuclear material from weapons programmes had been encouraging, and his delegation hoped that those discussions would lead to concrete results.

63. Turning to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, his delegation noted that the issue was often linked to safeguards, particularly in terms of the relative budgets for the two activities. It was easy to see why the connection was made, since it appeared that in some cases there was greater willingness to fund safeguards than to finance the participation of developing countries in the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear power. South Africa regarded both activities as equally important, and support for one should not in any way be conditional on support for the other.

64. The "Principles and Objectives" had called for IAEA to be financially equipped to carry out its work in that area. His delegation therefore noted with concern that contributions to the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund, which were not obligatory, did not reflect the undertakings of all States which had agreed to the "Principles and Objectives". The Fund, in fact, depended almost entirely on the contributions of some six or seven donors. His delegation was concerned to note that developing countries were equally guilty, as well. A solution should be found to the question of financing technical assistance through predictable and assured means; probably the only way would be to incorporate the IAEA Technical Assistance Fund into the regular budget.

65. The "Principles and Objectives" also called for greater transparency in nuclear-related export controls, which South Africa supported. As a member of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group and the Zangger Committee, South Africa was closely involved in preparations for the information seminar on nuclear export controls to be held in Vienna after the 1997 IAEA General Conference. It supported the system of export controls as an essential component of global non-proliferation efforts, but it recognized that greater transparency would lend increased confidence and credibility to the system.

66. Mrs. KUROKOCHI (Japan) stressed the need for the new Treaty review process to be qualitatively different from the previous one. There was a need to promote the full implementation of the Treaty and its universality, thereby promoting nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. In that context, the decision on the principles and objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament taken at the Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons should be borne in mind.

67. In order to ensure the continuity of the process that had been initiated and to facilitate the participation of a large number of States, Japan believed that New York should be the venue of all the meetings of the Preparatory Committee and of the Conference of the Parties. The cost of conference services was much lower in New York than in other cities, such as Geneva and Vienna. The formula for apportioning the costs of the review process should follow the established precedent with the nuclear-weapon States being responsible for 55 per cent and the non-nuclear-weapon States for the rest. The previous procedure for calculating the assessments should likewise be followed.

68. There had been an overlap in the discussion of some issues by the three Committees established during the past Review Conferences, as noted in paragraph 5 of the decision on the strengthening of the review process for the Treaty, adopted by the 1995 Conference. The Preparatory Committee should pay appropriate attention to that matter in order to lay the foundation for a satisfactory solution at the next Conference.

69. The Preparatory Committee should not prepare a consensus document at each one of its sessions, since doing so would be extremely difficult and much too time-consuming. Rather, the most appropriate and productive procedure would be for the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the session to issue his own summary report, with the relevant annexes. The report would be drafted under the Chairman's sole responsibility and would not be binding on any delegation. The final report to be submitted to the Conference should be prepared at the last meeting of the Preparatory Committee. It should be in two parts: the review of the Treaty and measures recommended for the future.

70. No attempts should be made to revise the principles and objectives agreed upon at the 1995 Conference, since they were the product of arduous negotiations. Instead, the Committee should strive to agree on a new set of objectives, taking into account views expressed in discussions that had been held prior to and during the Conference itself.

71. As far as the substantive work of the Committee was concerned, since the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was a major step towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, especially as a means of constraining the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons, it was necessary to establish the Treaty's implementation regime, including relevant verification systems. Japan strongly appealed to those States which had not yet done so to accede to and ratify the Treaty at the earliest possible date.

72. A fissile material cut-off treaty was the next step in the field of nuclear disarmament. Her delegation deeply regretted that the Conference on Disarmament had not yet commenced negotiations in that regard because of the opposition of certain States that insisted on a linkage between such a treaty and the issue of disarmament in general.

73. The ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament was to usher in a world free from nuclear weapons. In that regard, each nuclear-weapon State must comply with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 51/45 G. That would certainly contribute to transparency and to confidence-building among States in the area of disarmament.

74. Japan welcomed the outcome of the recent summit meeting in Helsinki between the Presidents of the Russian Federation and of the United States of America, including the commitment to further reduce their strategic nuclear arsenals by the year 2007.

75. Concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, her Government welcomed the adoption of a model protocol on measures contained in the second part of the "93+2" Programme for strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the IAEA safeguards system. Japan sincerely hoped that the IAEA Board of Governors would adopt that model protocol in May 1997.

76. Japan also supported efforts to increase the effectiveness and transparency of export control systems through the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Zangger Committee. Japan encouraged each State to adhere to the Group's guidelines by implementing legally based export control measures.

77. Her delegation welcomed the entry into force of the Convention on Nuclear Safety in October 1996 and appreciated the tireless efforts made by the Group of Experts to finalize the draft text of a joint convention on the safety of spent fuel management and on the safety of radioactive waste management. It also welcomed the Group's recommendation that a diplomatic conference should be convened with a view to adopting the convention.

78. Mr. PETRELLA (Argentina) said that his country, which was committed to the maintenance of international peace and security, believed in the need to promote and implement the decisions adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Since the agreement on the indefinite extension of the Treaty, there had been important developments at the international level, including the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the holding of summit meetings in Moscow and Helsinki, the accession of eight new States to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, including Chile, and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the use or threat of nuclear weapons.

79. He welcomed the fact that, in accordance with the provisions of article III of the Treaty, the IAEA Board of Governors had approved the exchange of notes between the Agency and Argentina, thus confirming that the quadripartite comprehensive safeguards agreement with Argentina, Brazil and the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials met the relevant requirements.

80. In that context, Argentina supported the proposals aimed at strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the IAEA safeguards system, including the "93+2" Programme. In the light of the violations of the nuclear non-proliferation regime reported in past years, IAEA should modernize and strengthen its system of verification, especially with a view to detecting undeclared activities carried out by States. Argentina had actively participated in the work of the committee responsible for drafting the additional protocol to the safeguards agreements, and hoped that it would be adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors during the current year.

81. Regarding the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, his delegation believed that the Treaty established an irreplaceable framework for expanding cooperation with countries that were steadfastly committed to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Transparency in the control of exports for peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be promoted among countries that were parties to the Treaty. In that connection, in the plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, held in Buenos Aires in April 1996, a decision had been taken to launch a dialogue on export controls on nuclear materials, in accordance with the principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation, adopted by the 1995 Conference.

82. One of the main guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which would hold an international seminar in October 1997, was the requirement of comprehensive safeguards as a condition for delivery. The international community was thus provided an additional guarantee that protected it against the irresponsible use of the material supplied. Export controls were necessary for the implementation of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and their legitimacy derived from the provisions of article III, paragraph 2, of the Treaty.

83. Concerning illicit trafficking in nuclear materials, his delegation advocated the adoption of internal measures by individual States, such as the amendment of their accounting systems, and supported the work of IAEA and the measures adopted at the Moscow Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security, held in April 1996.

84. His delegation believed that nuclear-weapon-free zones, while they were not an end unto themselves, made a significant contribution to international peace and security. It was, therefore, imperative to consolidate each of the nuclear-weapon-free zones on the planet. In the South Atlantic, for example, there were no conflicts that necessitated extraregional military involvement. His delegation supported the dialogue and cooperation among countries in the various nuclear-weapon-free zones and the nuclear-weapon countries, which bore greater responsibility for the implementation of the relevant treaties and protocols.

85. His delegation reiterated its concern at the environmental risks involved in the transit of vessels carrying radioactive waste on the South Atlantic. In that connection, the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay had expressed their intention of adopting, in waters subject to their jurisdiction, such measures as were recognized by international law in order to safeguard the health of the region's inhabitants and marine ecosystems.

86. The regulation of the transport of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel must be strengthened in the context of international organizations, through guarantees that the marine environment would not be polluted, the exchange of information on the routes selected, the obligation to communicate emergency plans to coastal States in case of disaster, the commitment to recover radioactive waste should accidents occur on the vessels carrying it and the payment of compensation for injury and damage.

87. Lastly, he said that virtually the entire international community was genuinely concerned about the strengthening of the review process of the Treaty, the principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, the extension of the Treaty and the resolution on the Middle East. The Commission should be flexible, imaginative and decisive in order to achieve the full implementation of the decisions of the 1995 Conference and ensure that they were not merely rhetorical statements.

88. Mr. ZLENKO (Ukraine) said that, since the 1995 Conference, Ukraine had signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, had become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and had withdrawn nuclear weapons from its territory. A system of export controls that regulated and controlled the transfer and transit of nuclear materials, missile components and allied technologies, in accordance with the Group's Guidelines and the provisions of the Missile Technology Control Regime had been established.

89. His delegation stressed the need to ensure the universality of the Treaty and urged States which had not yet done so to accede to it at the earliest possible date, in particular those States possessing nuclear facilities to which IAEA safeguards were not applied.

90. His delegation, which was particularly sensitive to the issue of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, was in favour of nuclear-weapon-free zones. In that context, the President of Ukraine had presented an initiative to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central and Eastern Europe. His delegation supported the decision of the North Atlantic Council on non-deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the territories of the future NATO members. It also supported all initiatives aimed at strengthening non-proliferation regimes at the regional level.

91. On 21 September 1995, Ukraine had signed the IAEA Agreement on the Application of IAEA Safeguards in connection with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Agreement had been submitted for consideration by the Parliament and, in the meantime, an earlier agreement on safeguards, based on the provisions of IAEA document INFCIRC/153, was in force.

92. In his delegation's view, the package of measures established under the IAEA Programme "93+2" would help to improve the Agency's safeguards system. Nonetheless, the success of the Programme depended on the implementation of the principle of non-discrimination and the full participation of all States in its activities.

93. One of the main aspects of global security was the development of the concept of a nuclear-weapon-free world, a concept which, in turn, entailed a number of considerations, including: the immediate adoption of practical measures with a view to ensuring the universal participation of all States in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; the launching by nuclear-weapon States of initiatives aimed at reducing their nuclear arsenals, including the entry into force of the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II) and the launching of negotiations on further reductions of nuclear weapons, with the participation of all nuclear-weapon States; the establishment of a reliable verification regime in the field of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, which would include the IAEA safeguards and the regimes for control of transfers of "sensitive" materials and technologies; the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the earliest possible date; the early conclusion of a treaty prohibiting the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons; and the adoption of decisive measures aimed at the comprehensive implementation of existing treaties on nuclear-weapon-free zones and the creation of new zones.

94. Lastly, he expressed the hope that, in view of the firm commitment of the Group of Eastern European States to disarmament and non-proliferation issues, the Group's interests would be taken into account during the next preparatory phases, in particular, regarding the presidency of the 2005 Review Conference.

95. Mr. SYCHOU (Belarus) said that one of the objectives of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which had extended the Treaty indefinitely, was to give the review process greater responsibility for ensuring the full implementation of the Treaty's provisions. Although the legal conditions for indefinite extension had not been established, the Conference had adopted a series of measures which were set out in its decision on the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. The decision on Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty provided States parties with a basis for initiating that process in 1997.

96. Decision 1 adopted in 1995 on Strengthening the Review Process provided that, beginning in 1997, the Preparatory Committee would hold a meeting each year and that it would consider not only procedural preparations but also questions relating to the substance of the Treaty with a view to making recommendations thereon to the Conference. That decision also determined that the purpose of the Preparatory Committee meetings would be to consider principles, objectives and ways in order to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality, and to make recommendations thereon to the 2000 Review Conference. One of the objectives of the decision on Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty was to expand the Preparatory Committee's programme of work. Provisions were now in place for the periodic review of important political issues related to the Treaty, its universality, security assurances, non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and other issues within the purview of each review conference.

97. The objective of the Preparatory Committee's current session was to embark on the strengthening of the review process, which was a key component of the decision adopted by the 1995 Review Conference. The session should pay particular attention to the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Belarus welcomed the fulfilment of one of the basic requirements for nuclear disarmament, namely, the completion by the Conference on Disarmament of the negotiations on a universal and internationally and effectively verifiable Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty no later than 1996. That international legal instrument was currently open for signature in New York and Belarus had been one of the first signatory States.

98. The situation was more complex, however, with regard to another of the requirements, namely, the immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory and universally applicable convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. That was likely to be one of the main issues to be dealt with by the Preparatory Committee in 1997.

99. The question of the transportation of nuclear material, which had been considered at the conference held in Moscow in April 1996, was one to which Belarus attached great importance, notwithstanding the removal of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons from its territory, since the country still retained large quantities of fissionable material which were used for research purposes and maintained under the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) safeguards system. In March 1997, Belarus had joined the programme adopted in Moscow to prevent illicit trafficking in fissionable material. That was why it was particularly interested in the conclusion of the convention on fissionable material and was ready to contribute to its early elaboration.

100. Another pending issue concerned security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States, which was also mentioned in the decision on Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Like other States, Belarus had received solid security assurances following its accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and had presented its letters of ratification of the START Treaty. However, it shared the concerns of other non-nuclear-weapon States and believed that more universal assurances must be provided to such States.

101. The Preparatory Committee would also have to consider the evolution of the situation with regard to IAEA safeguards, which should be made more effective and universal. Regrettably, not all States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons had signed a safeguards agreement with the Agency. Belarus had had discussions with the Agency and all of its activities were currently under IAEA supervision. Belarus wished to draw particular attention to the part of the decision that concerned nuclear-weapon-free zones which stated that the establishment of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones by the time of the Review Conference in the year 2000 would be welcome. The President of Belarus had introduced an initiative to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central and Eastern Europe. The Preparatory Committee might be an adequate forum for considering the proposals of Belarus and Ukraine to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Europe.

102. A conference was currently being held in Minsk on the prospects for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central and Eastern Europe. The results of that conference could be important for the debates that were to take place in the various disarmament forums, including the sessions of the Preparatory Committee.

103. Belarus welcomed the statement by the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that they had no intention of deploying nuclear weapons in the territories of future NATO members. That statement was of great interest to all countries in the continent and should be reflected in the appropriate documents.

104. The non-proliferation and reduction of nuclear weapons and the fight against illicit trafficking in nuclear material were other issues on which the security of the international community as a whole depended. It was therefore necessary to continue efforts to achieve the strategic objective of the definitive elimination of nuclear weapons and general and complete disarmament.

105. Mr. ABDULAI (Ghana) said that the outcome of the Preparatory Committee meetings should be substantive and go beyond procedural preparations. The Committee's work should be guided by the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament which had been adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.

106. Non-nuclear-weapon States continued to take concrete steps aimed at achieving the universality of the Treaty. Since the 1995 Conference, the Pelindaba Treaty on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa had become a reality, as had the Bangkok Treaty establishing the Southeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone. Those Treaties, together with the Treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga and the Antarctic Treaty, prepared the ground for a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere which should be supported and respected by all, including the nuclear-weapon States, if the credibility and integrity of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was to be safeguarded.

107. Ghana hoped that the States of the Middle East would in the near future take practical steps to establish their own nuclear-weapon-free zone in pursuit of the Treaty's objectives, which were shared by almost all States in the region. Djibouti, Oman and the United Arab Emirates had acceded to the Treaty and he wished to commend them for the understanding and spirit of compromise which they had shown in pursuit of regional and global peace and security. He also welcomed the accession of Andorra, Angola, Chile and the Comoros to the Treaty.

108. In supporting the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, the non-nuclear-weapon States of the southern hemisphere were acting in conformity with articles II and VII of the Treaty. Ghana and the vast majority of non-nuclear-weapon States also adhered to article III of the Treaty by respecting the safeguard agreements entered into with IAEA.

109. It should therefore come as no surprise that, on occasions such as the current one, the non-nuclear-weapon States should insist on the nuclear-weapon States fulfilling their part of the bargain if the indefinite extension of the Treaty was to have any meaning and if its objectives were to be achieved.

110. As the International Court of Justice had stated in its advisory opinion, there existed an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control. Article VI of the Treaty provided that those negotiations were the common responsibility of all States. The application of that article had been thwarted by the nuclear-weapon States and the foundations of the Treaty were thus being undermined by their intransigence. It was therefore time for them to live up to their commitments, give up antiquated ideas of nuclear deterrence and permit progress to be made towards the elaboration of a multilateral treaty on general and complete disarmament.

111. The Treaty recognized the inalienable right of all the parties to the Treaty to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and to participate in the exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Those provisions were important to Ghana and to other developing States, and all States must adhere to them to enhance the integrity of the Treaty.

112. In relation to the inclusion of the question of negative security assurances on the 1997 agenda of the Conference on Disarmament, it would be useful, at that preparatory stage, for the States parties to the Treaty to give the Conference on Disarmament strong signals to encourage the latter to establish an ad hoc committee for the early conclusion of a legally binding multilateral instrument on the subject. That had been one of the actions proposed by the 28 members of the Group of 21 to the Conference on Disarmament in 1996, as part of the proposal for a programme of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Ghana supported that programme, whose implementation would lead to the achievement of an important objective of the Treaty: a world without atomic bombs.

113. Ms. ESHMAMBETOVA (Kyrgyzstan) said that, in May 1995, the Kyrgyz Republic had been one of the States parties to the Treaty which had welcomed the outcome of the Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty. At the first session of the Preparatory Committee, it was necessary to proceed in conformity with the forward-looking vision which had resulted from the historic 1995 Conference. Most importantly, it must be recognized that the Committee was engaged in a qualitatively different review process that was not confined to a retrospective examination of the Treaty's implementation. Based on the principles and objectives adopted and the mandate of the decision on strengthening the review process, practical means must be identified to strengthen the Treaty's implementation and to achieve its universality.

114. Regrettably, the initial high expectations created by the 1995 Conference had been only partially fulfilled. The completion of the negotiation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which the Kyrgyz Republic was proud to have signed, represented the most striking progress thus far. Although that Treaty was not perfect, it provided a unique opportunity to achieve one of the long-standing objectives of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and she hoped that the Preparatory Committee would recommend its early entry into force.

115. Kyrgyzstan also noted the disarmament opportunities created by the end of the cold war, and welcomed the creative and practical recommendations for disarmament and confidence-building made by the Canberra Commission. Those steps should be facilitated by the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which emphasized the obligations of nuclear-weapon States to negotiate and conclude nuclear disarmament measures. Among the proposed actions which the Preparatory Committee might take was the discussion of the possible text of a legally binding instrument.

116. Since 1995, significant progress had been made in the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa and South-East Asia and in the growth of support for such zones in other regions. In that connection, she recalled the proposal, made in the First Committee at the last session of the General Assembly, to recognize the progressive emergence of the southern hemisphere as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

117. The Kyrgyz Republic was especially pleased to note that, on 28 February 1997, together with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, it had formally endorsed the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia. That joint action, following earlier initiatives by several countries of the region, was indicative of the importance which the States of Central Asia attached to article VII of the Treaty and to paragraphs 5 to 7 of the principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, adopted in 1995. She hoped that the Preparatory Committee would take note of that development.

118. However, those encouraging non-proliferation measures were insufficient to guarantee the continued integrity of the Treaty. The slow pace of nuclear arms reductions since 1995 implied that the nuclear-weapon States were not complying with their obligations in that regard in good faith. It was important that nuclear-weapon States should reaffirm their commitment to nuclear disarmament, as stipulated in article VI of the Treaty. The steps to be taken included the full implementation of the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I Treaty), ratification and implementation of the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II Treaty), prompt negotiation of a START-III treaty, negotiations on treaty limits on and eventual elimination of sub-strategic nuclear weapons, negotiation of a convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive purposes and reduction in and safeguarding of stockpiles of weapons-grade fissile material. It was also necessary to intensify efforts to strengthen IAEA safeguards and to secure the adoption of full-scope safeguards as a condition for supply.

119. The disarmament process required strict procedures for the handling, transport, storage and disposal of sensitive nuclear material. Attention must also be paid to mitigating the environmental consequences of past and current nuclear weapons programmes. The often overlooked environmental problems caused by nuclear weapons production and borne by the Kyrgyz Republic, among other States, were another reason for attaching importance to the work of the Preparatory Committee. She reiterated the last Conference's appeal to all Governments and international organizations that had expertise in the field of clean-up and disposal of radioactive contaminants to consider giving appropriate assistance to those affected areas.

120. Institutions, especially international ones, were naturally tempted to follow a routine and to view change with suspicion, if not fear. The States parties to the Treaty must resist that temptation and seize the unusual opportunity provided by the strengthened Treaty review process to take practical steps to ensure the realization of the purposes of the preamble and provisions of the Treaty.

121. Ms. FORSYTH (New Zealand) said that the work of the Preparatory Committee must focus on the achievement of concrete outcomes rather than on general statements of position and that the agenda adopted would contribute to that end by covering all Treaty-related issues instead of focusing on just one or two themes. That practical way of proceeding would allow the Preparatory Committee to begin an ongoing and focused review of developments and to start to consider appropriate future action, in accordance with the twofold task assigned to it at the 1995 Conference: to be both evaluative and forward-looking. It was necessary to devise procedures and reporting systems that would facilitate that task.

122. Her delegation supported the proposals presented by the Canadian delegation on the Preparatory Committee's work. Specifically, it agreed that the role of preparatory committees was a substantive one, since they must prepare the ground procedurally for the next review conference, but must also evaluate the operation of the Treaty stringently, against the benchmarks of the principles and objectives; and that the latter constituted a programme of action designed to promote the full implementation of the Treaty. The programme was a dynamic one which, in due course, would need to be expanded through the identification of areas and means for further progress in the Treaty's implementation. Part of that process involved accounting for what the parties had undertaken in pursuit of the Treaty's objectives and what further steps they planned to take. A mechanism was needed for recording the main strands of the discussions and forwarding them to the next preparatory committee. That mechanism could take the form of a compilation of proposals on which consensus had not necessarily been reached. The preparatory committees might find it useful to appoint subgroups or inter-sessional groups to study some issues in more depth, particularly as the date of the next review conference approached. The decisions taken on procedure should allow for that possibility.

123. The indefinite extension decided in 1995 was an important statement of confidence in the Treaty and its role as a cornerstone of international cooperation in the field of security. The decisions adopted at the same time had placed the Treaty and its subsequent reviews within the framework of an enhanced multilateral nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament process. It was now appropriate to evaluate the progress achieved in that multilateral process and to look at bilateral and multilateral developments, bearing in mind the action that would have to be taken in the future.

124. The key multilateral achievement in recent years had been, without a doubt, the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and its signature by a large number of countries, including the five nuclear-weapon States. The commitment to halt nuclear testing forever was an outcome that New Zealand had sought to achieve for decades, and the conclusion of the Treaty was a great stride forward, despite the problems associated with its entry into force.

125. Another multilateral achievement had been the completion of negotiations in IAEA on a protocol for the strengthening of safeguards. The implementation of those new measures would be a genuine contribution to building confidence in the non-proliferation provisions of the Treaty.

126. New Zealand, a strong advocate of the value of nuclear-weapon-free zones, welcomed the progress achieved since 1995. In the South Pacific region, the Protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga had been signed by the five nuclear-weapon States and ratified by three of them. Nuclear-weapon-free zones had also been established in Africa and South-East Asia. The establishment of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones was a goal that the States parties to the Treaty should strive to achieve.

127. In the past year, additional clarification of the obligations of the nuclear-weapon States under article VI of the Treaty had been provided in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which confirmed the legal obligation to pursue and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to complete nuclear disarmament. The report of the Canberra Commission set out some practical steps that would contribute to the achievement of that goal. The parties to the Treaty could draw on those suggestions and on others in order to define further measures which it might be necessary to include in the programme of action, as set forth in the principles and objectives.

128. In updating the principles and objectives in order to include further steps towards nuclear disarmament, consideration should also be given to ways and means of overcoming the obstacles that had impeded progress in carrying out the measures already adopted. Her delegation was concerned at the current impasse in the Conference on Disarmament, which was preventing the initiation of negotiations on a cut-off treaty, an essential component of the programme of action. She urged all countries to study practical proposals that would enable negotiations to move ahead.

129. Multilateral steps on nuclear disarmament should be coupled with action by the nuclear-weapon States themselves. In that connection, her delegation was encouraged by reports from the United States of America and the Russian Federation on the discussions held at the Helsinki Summit on establishing parameters for further reductions in the nuclear forces of both countries. It hoped that such parameters would be embodied in a START III agreement. It would also be timely for the other three nuclear-weapon States to indicate their intentions. Her delegation endorsed, as a first step, the proposal put forward by the delegation of Canada that those three States should make a political commitment not to increase their nuclear-weapon inventories.

130. Mr. FRIEDRICH (Switzerland) said that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation continued to be fundamental aspects of international security. Some major developments had occurred in that field, such as the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, an objective fixed by the 1995 Conference of the Parties; the establishment of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones and the growing support to protocols on existing zones; and the agreement reached on the IAEA Programme "93+2", which would enhance the credibility of the Agency's safeguards system. Another objective of the 1995 Conference had been the negotiation of a convention prohibiting the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, which, unfortunately, the Conference on Disarmament had not yet begun.

131. He also noted with satisfaction that some existing nuclear arsenals continued to be reduced on the basis of bilateral agreements or unilateral decisions, and expressed the hope that the Russian Federation would ratify the START II Treaty at the earliest possible date in order to facilitate substantial further reductions.

132. Also worth noting were the many specific proposals on the total elimination of nuclear weapons which had been formulated since the Review and Extension Conference. Recently, a number of developments had highlighted the timeliness and viability of nuclear disarmament, and the anachronism of doctrines in support of nuclear weapons. They included the programme of action for the elimination of nuclear weapons, proposed by the 28 delegations of the Group of 21 within the Conference on Disarmament; the phases identified by the Canberra Commission, which could be initiated immediately with a view to making the world a safer place; the statement by 61 retired admirals and generals in favour of a nuclear-weapon-free world; and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice that the threat or use of nuclear weapons should be compatible with the requirements of international law applicable to armed conflict, and in particular, with humanitarian law.

133. He expressed the hope that the Preparatory Committee would rapidly reach a consensus on procedural questions, so that most of those questions could be dealt with expeditiously. He believed that negotiations should be based on precedent; the venue of the next sessions and of the next Review Conference should be chosen in that context. The negotiation of the Treaty, like the vast majority of the Conferences and the sessions related to the Treaty, had taken place in Geneva, the venue of the Conference on Disarmament and the place where most of the bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements had been negotiated, and where the greatest number of experts in that field and in the field of non-proliferation were on staff at diplomatic missions. Therefore, in keeping with a well-established tradition, the second session should be held in Geneva.

134. As for the work of the Preparatory Committee, agreement must be reached on the organization of its deliberations on the substantive elements of the Treaty, a new situation for which there were no precedents. The 1995 decision on the strengthening of the review process of the Treaty offered some guidance; paragraph 4 of that decision clearly established that the task of the Preparatory Committee was to formulate recommendations on the full implementation and universality of the Treaty before the next Review Conference. That meant that the work of the Committee should be aimed, from the outset, at formulating specific proposals on the basis of outcomes. While the substantive debates must cover all relevant aspects of the Treaty, the same amount of time did not necessarily have to be allotted to all of them, as they were not all of equal importance. Thus, for most of the States parties, article VI would be crucial within the framework of the strengthening of the review process. Progress in the elimination of nuclear weapons must be an objective shared by all parties to the Treaty with a view to the considerable enhancement of the long-term credibility of the Treaty. Each session of the Preparatory Committee should be a dynamic and cumulative process, based on the outcome of the previous session, instead of starting from scratch. In that connection, arrangements must be made for the appropriate transmittal of outcomes from one session to the next and, ultimately, to the Review Conference itself. It would be best if that were done by consensus, in the form of a rolling text.

The meeting rose at 1.25 p.m.