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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Summary of fifteenth meeting, May 8, 1997

Summary Record of the first meeting (Closed)

Held at United Nations Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 18 April 1997, at 3.30 p.m.

Chairman : Mr. PATOKALLIO (Finland)

CONTENTS

ORGANIZATION OF WORK OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE ( continued )

(a) ELECTION OF OFFICERS

ORGANIZATION OF THE 2000 REVIEW CONFERENCE ( continued )

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See Also
1997 NPT Prep Com 

(f) FINANCING OF THE REVIEW CONFERENCE, INCLUDING ITS PREPARATORY COMMITTEE

ADOPTION OF THE FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE TO THE REVIEW CONFERENCE ( continued )

CLOSURE OF THE SESSION

* No summary record was prepared for the 14th meeting.

This record is subject to correction.

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 3.30 p.m .

ORGANIZATION OF WORK OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE ( continued )

(a) ELECTION OF OFFICERS

1. The CHAIRMAN suggested that, as agreed informally earlier that day, Mr. Strulak (Poland), representing the Group of Eastern European States, should chair the second session of the Committee.

2. It was so decided .

3. The CHAIRMAN suggested, on the basis of informal consultations, that when not serving as Chairman, the Chairmen of the first and second sessions of the Preparatory Committee would serve as Vice-Chairmen of the Committee. Furthermore, a representative of the Group of Non-Aligned and other States parties to the Treaty should be proposed to serve as Vice-Chairman of the second session.

4. It was so decided .

5. Mr. TOMASZEWSKI (Poland) expressed appreciation to the Group of Eastern European States, and to all members of the Committee, for their support of Mr. Strulak's candidature. Poland had played an active role in efforts to implement the Treaty since its inception, and Mr. Strulak had been Chairman of the Drafting Committee at the 1995 Review Conference. He looked forward to continued cooperation with all delegations.

ORGANIZATION OF THE 2000 REVIEW CONFERENCE ( continued )

(f) FINANCING OF THE REVIEW CONFERENCE, INCLUDING ITS PREPARATORY COMMITTEE

6. The CHAIRMAN recalled that all costs associated with the provision of services to the Review Conference and its preparatory process had to be borne by the States parties in accordance with the financial arrangements to be made by the Conference. In order for the States parties to be informed of the cost estimates of the Conference, including its Preparatory Committee, a request would have to be made to the Secretariat to provide the Committee at its second session with those cost estimates. He took it that the Committee wished to make such a request.

7. It was so decided .

The meeting was suspended at 3.40 p.m. and resumed at 6.05 p.m .

ADOPTION OF THE FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE TO THE REVIEW CONFERENCE ( continued )

8. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to the draft report of the Preparatory Committee on its first session (NPT/CONF.2000/PC.I/CRP.1) and pointed out that in chapter I, paragraph 3, Benin should be added to the list of participants; and in chapter II, paragraphs 6 and 7, "the Group of European and other Western States" should be changed to "the Western Group". The last sentence of paragraph 7 should read: "At its 15th meeting, on 18 April, the Committee also decided that Mr. Tadeusz Strulak (Poland) would be Chairman of the second session. It was also decided that when not serving as Chairman, the Chairmen of the first and second sessions of the Preparatory Committee would serve as Vice-Chairmen of the Committee. It was further decided that a representative of the Group of Non-Aligned and other States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons should be proposed to serve as Vice-Chairman of the second session."

9. He proposed that the Committee should take a decision, which would then be reflected in paragraphs 9 (a) and 14 (a), of the draft report, to the effect that the second session of the Preparatory Committee would take place in Geneva from 27 April to 8 May 1998; that, on the basis of rotation, the third session would be held in New York; and that the provisional dates of the session would be 12 to 23 April 1999. He further proposed that the Committee should provisionally decide that the 2000 Review Conference would be convened in New York and would provisionally take place during the period from 24 April to 19 May 2000.

10. Mr. GARCÍA (Colombia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Non-Aligned and other States parties to the Treaty, said that the Group would have preferred the second session of the Preparatory Committee to be held in New York, but in a spirit of flexibility it could agree to hold the second session in Geneva, on the understanding that the third session and the Conference itself would be held in New York. The Group maintained that the decision on the venue of the Conference could not be provisional and it would not be able to accept any partial agreement regarding the choice of venues.

11. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee would revert to that question. He invited the Committee to consider paragraphs 15 and 16 of the paper he had circulated to members under the heading "Proposed language for the draft report".

12. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) said that her delegation agreed that at the current session the Preparatory Committee should identify those issues which should be considered for inclusion in the draft recommendations to be submitted to the 2000 Review Conference. It could not, however, join in the consensus on the current wording of draft paragraph 15 of the Chairman's paper and wished to propose the following two amendments. In the second sentence, the words "a paper" should be replaced by the words "an unofficial paper". In addition, the last sentence of the paragraph should be redrafted to read: "The Committee recommended that, at its second session, the official documents and other proposals submitted by delegations as contained in annex (...) during the first session of the Preparatory Committee will be taken into account for further work on draft recommendations to the Review Conference and also the unofficial paper presented by the Chairman that will be interpreted in the light of the official documents and other proposals made by delegations as contained in annex (...)."

13. The CHAIRMAN said that the text he had circulated to members was not an unofficial paper. It should be referred to as the "Chairman's paper".

14. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) said that her delegation could not agree that the Chairman's paper should have the same status as the proposals made by delegations and regional groups. The content of that paper merely reflected the least common denominator on each substantive issue, particularly the issue of nuclear disarmament, and made absolutely no mention of proposals by delegations or of advisory opinions, including the opinion of the International Court of Justice.

15. Sir Michael WESTON (United Kingdom) agreed with the Chairman's view concerning the paper which he had circulated to members. At no point had it been described as an unofficial paper and his delegation could not now accept that description. In order to address Mexico's concerns, he would be willing to insert at the end of the chapeau of paragraph 3 of the Chairman's paper after the words "on the following points" the words "which reflect the highest common factor of agreement that exists between delegations at this stage".

16. The CHAIRMAN asked the Mexican delegation whether it could agree to delete the word "unofficial" in its proposed amendment and insert the language proposed by the representative of the United Kingdom.

17. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) reiterated her view that the contents of the Chairman's proposal should not have equal status with the proposals contained in documents circulated by delegations in the meetings of the Preparatory Committee.

18. Mr. MOHER (Canada) said that his delegation was extremely disappointed with the situation in which the Committee found itself after two weeks of very hard work. Canada attached great importance to the Preparatory Committee's efforts to begin a new working process in which it would attempt to reach an early decision and then build on that decision during the subsequent sessions leading up to the 2000 Review Conference. During the negotiations, Canada had been prepared to recognize that the Committee was not at the current stage beginning to draft recommendations and, frankly speaking, he found it difficult to participate in a process in which the work done by the vast majority of delegations and submitted by the Chairman for consideration should be labelled "unofficial". It might be possible, however, to accept the term "working paper" or "informal paper".

19. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) said that if the remainder of her proposed amendment was accepted in its entirety, then she would be willing to accept the description of the Chairman's paper as an "informal working paper".

20. Mr. SCHEINMAN (United States of America) said that if the Chairman's paper were to be referred to as an informal working paper, then those delegations whose proposals were summarized in paragraph 4 would not have their views reflected in the Preparatory Committee's report. A more reasonable solution might therefore be to term the paper a "working paper".

21. The CHAIRMAN asked whether the term "working paper" would be acceptable to the Mexican delegation.

22. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) said that the concerns raised by the representative of the United States had already been addressed in her proposed amendment.

23. The CHAIRMAN said that the proposed amendment did not cover the proposals contained in paragraph 4 of his paper. Given the lateness of the hour, he appealed to the Mexican delegation to accept the description of his paper as the Chairman's "working paper".

24. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) said that it might be helpful for the Committee to move on to paragraph 16 and to return to paragraph 15 at a later stage.

25. The CHAIRMAN said that he took it that the Committee agreed to revert to paragraph 15 later in the meeting.

26. It was so decided .

27. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) said that the principal objective of the new process to review the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was nuclear disarmament and that priority of the States parties to the Treaty must be duly reflected in any consideration of substantive issues. Nuclear disarmament should therefore be the fourth issue to which additional time should be allocated.

28. Mr. GOOSEN (South Africa) said that, like Mexico, South Africa attached the utmost priority to the issue of nuclear disarmament, which should be the focus of both the current and future sessions of the Preparatory Committee. The fact of the matter was that the Preparatory Committee had identified issues which had not received adequate attention in the clusters into which the Committee had divided its work. Nuclear disarmament had been but one of several issues discussed in the first cluster. Given the limited time available to the Committee for the completion of its work, it was essential to keep the list of issues as focused as possible.

29. Mr. ABDEL AZIZ (Egypt) said that Egypt shared Mexico's concerns on the issue of nuclear disarmament. The Committee's intention had not been to prepare an exclusive list of issues but to put forward ideas on which proposals had already been made and which could then be discussed more fully at its following session. The Committee's twin objectives were to pursue efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament and to ensure the success of the review process by the year 2000. His delegation therefore supported the inclusion of the issue of nuclear disarmament in the list, while limiting it to certain existing proposals. One approach might be to insert the words "nuclear disarmament:" before the words "implementation of the decision" in the last sentence of the paragraph in order to reaffirm the importance of the issue of nuclear disarmament to the agenda.

30. Sir Michael WESTON (United Kingdom) said that he wished to propose a variation of the Egyptian suggestion which might more faithfully reflect the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. At the end of the chapeau of paragraph 16, after the words "other issues", the words "including non-proliferation and disarmament, safeguards and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy:" might be inserted. In addition, at the end of the paragraph, the words following the final indented dash should be redrafted to read: "the provision in paragraph 4 (b) of the section headed nuclear disarmament in the decision on Principles and Objectives on a non-discriminatory and universally applicable convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices".

31. Mr. GOOSEN (South Africa) said that the proposals just made by the delegations of Egypt and the United Kingdom were acceptable to his delegation.

32. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) said that no State party to the Treaty had objected to the inclusion of nuclear disarmament in the list of issues. Moreover, the second sentence of paragraph 16 referred to the consideration of "any proposals" on the subject areas listed, and her delegation wanted specific proposals on nuclear disarmament to be considered.

33. The CHAIRMAN announced that interpretation services were no longer available. The Committee could decide, however, to continue its work in English only.

34. Ms. BOURGOIS (France) said that at any other time it would be unacceptable to work in English only; however, since the Committee had almost finished its work, and in the interests of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and of a process to which her Government attached great importance, her delegation would agree to continue the meeting in one language.

The meeting was suspended at 7.10 p.m. and resumed at 9.20 p.m .

35. The CHAIRMAN proposed that paragraph 15 should be revised to read:

  • "15 During the course of the session, the Chairman held a number of informal consultations in the process of which delegations put forward their views and proposals on recommendations to the next session of the Preparatory Committee and on draft recommendations to the 2000 Review Conference. As a result of those consultations, the Chairman put forward a working paper which is annexed to the present report (annex ...). The Committee recommended that at its second session, the official documents and other proposals submitted by delegations as contained in annex ... during the first session of the Preparatory Committee should be taken into account during further work on draft recommendations to the Review Conference, and also the working paper submitted by the Chairman that will be interpreted in the light of the official documents and other proposals made by delegations as contained in annex ...".

36. It was so decided .

37. The CHAIRMAN proposed that paragraph 16 should be revised to read:

  • "The Committee recommended that at its second session the Committee should continue the consideration of all aspects of the Treaty in a structured and balanced manner, in accordance with agenda item 4 entitled "Preparatory work for the review of the Treaty in accordance with article VIII, paragraph 3, of the Treaty, taking into account the decisions and the resolution adopted by the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference."
  • 38. It was so decided .
  • 39. The CHAIRMAN read out a statement which he wished to be included in the summary record of the meeting, as follows:
  • "It is understood that within the existing agenda and in accordance with the methods of work adopted at the first session, the Committee also recommended that time should be allocated at the second session for the discussion on and the consideration of any proposals on the following subject areas, without prejudice to the importance of other issues: security assurances for the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; the resolution on the Middle East; the provision in paragraph 4 (b) of the Principles and Objectives on a non-discriminatory and universally applicable convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

40. It was his understanding that there was no objection to his reading out that statement.

41. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) said that her delegation had a reservation about the content of the statement read out by the Chairman. Nuclear disarmament and, in particular, the elimination of nuclear weapons, had been a constant demand of the international community for as long as the United Nations had existed. The inclusion of the topic in article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons had been one of the main elements which had made it possible for the non-nuclear-weapon States to accept the undertakings embodied in the Treaty and the existence of a balance of obligations. At the past five review conferences, the most important topic had been evaluation of the progress made in the field of nuclear disarmament. The topic was particularly urgent at a time when rivalry between blocs had disappeared, global tension had lessened and the international nuclear non-proliferation regime had been strengthened, but huge nuclear arsenals remained which endangered the future of mankind.

42. The International Court of Justice had recently held in an advisory opinion that the threat or use of nuclear weapons was contrary to international law, and that all States had an obligation to conduct negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all aspects under strict and effective international control. The topic of nuclear disarmament had also been the central element in the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament adopted by all the States parties at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. It was incomprehensible that the mere mention of the topic of nuclear disarmament in a preparatory document was unacceptable. Mexico would continue to stress the need for a clear commitment to the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

43. Mr. SCHEINMAN (United States of America) said that his delegation had agreed to the inclusion of the reference to the resolution on the Middle East but felt that the consideration of that resolution was most appropriately associated with the question of nuclear-weapon-free zones. When the issue arose, his delegation intended to consider the resolution in that context. His delegation felt that security assurances referred essentially to non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty.

44. Sir Michael WESTON (United Kingdom) said that he had taken note of the reservation formulated by the representative of Mexico. The latter's comments on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice were, regrettably, partial and controversial; the implication that the Court had reached a unanimous conclusion regarding the use of nuclear weapons as being contrary to international law was a misrepresentation. That conclusion had been reached only through the casting of the President's vote.

45. Mr. BERDENNIKOV (Russian Federation), speaking on a point of order, asked whether the Committee had indeed reached a consensus, as announced by the Chairman.

46. The CHAIRMAN reiterated his earlier understanding that there were no objections to his making a stand-alone statement. The reservation formulated by the representative of Mexico referred to the content of his statement, but not to the statement itself.

47. Mr. ABDEL AZIZ (Egypt) said that his country and the other Arab States viewed the resolution on the Middle East as an independent document dealing with a range of issues, including nuclear safeguards and disarmament. The Committee's work, while under the umbrella of the Principles and Objectives, should be carried out within the parameters of that resolution.

48. As to the statement read out by the Chairman, it would be implemented at the beginning of the next session. The fact that his delegation had not insisted on retaining the text of the statement in the report should not be construed as diminishing its importance or reflecting disagreement with its content.

49. Mr. GOOSEN (South Africa) said that, like the representative of Egypt, he was disappointed that the text of the Chairman's statement had not been included in the report; he took it that the statement, to which no objections had been raised, would be implemented at the next session of the Committee.

50. Ms. ARCE de JEANNET (Mexico) said it was her understanding that the Chairman's statement and the comments by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, Egypt and South Africa would all be reflected in the summary record of the meeting.

51. Mr. SUKAYRI (Jordan) said that he associated himself with the comments made by the representative of Egypt concerning the resolution on the Middle East, and believed that steps should be taken to ensure its implementation. 52. The CHAIRMAN proposed, in the light of the consultations which had been held, that the Committee should provisionally agree, subject to further consultations to be conducted by the Chairman, that the second session would be held in Geneva from 27 April to 8 May 1998, the third session would be held in New York from 12 to 23 April 1999, and the 2000 NPT Review Conference would be held in New York from 24 April to 19 May 2000.

53. Mr. GARCÍA (Colombia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Non-Aligned and other States parties to the Treaty, said that, with regard to the venues, he could go along with the Chairman's proposal, subject to further consultations. As to the dates, in the absence of a specific mandate, he could accept the Chairman's proposal, provided that there were no objections to it on the part of any delegation.

54. The CHAIRMAN said that he took it that the Committee agreed to his proposal.

55. It was so decided .

56. Mr. DEHGHANI (Islamic Republic of Iran) said he took it that the mention of Main Committee I issues, Main Committee II issues, and so on, in the Chairman's working paper was purely for ease of reference.

57. The CHAIRMAN said it was his understanding that the material arranged according to the structure of the Chairman's paper and each heading and subheading did not necessarily reflect the degree to which substantive issues had been addressed at the current session, and that the discussion on substance under each heading would continue at further sessions, at which time, delegations would be free to submit new proposals or modify or withdraw existing proposals. He took it that the Committee wished to adopt the report.

58. It was so decided .

59. Mr. GARCÍA (Colombia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Non-Aligned and other States parties to the Treaty, said that he wished to place on record the following:

  • "The Non-Aligned Movement wishes to underline that the points identified at this stage, subject to review and updating at subsequent sessions of the Preparatory Committee, and pending agreement on all draft recommendations at the last session, are not draft recommendations for the 2000 NPT Review Conference. The draft recommendations will begin to be prepared at the second session of the Preparatory Committee on the basis of proposals put forward by delegations, and they will, in the view of the Non-Aligned Movement, be more substantive and extensive. The points reflected in this report may be utilized as a reference."

CLOSURE OF THE SESSION

60. The CHAIRMAN said that the Preparatory Committee had made a good start towards strengthening the review process and had established a solid framework for the continuation of substantive work at its next session with a view to producing a robust and comprehensive set of recommendations for the 2000 Review Conference. Of particular importance was the inclusion in the Chairman's working paper of a number of points on which there was general agreement, subject to review and updating at subsequent sessions of the Committee, and pending full agreement on all draft recommendations at the last session.

61. During the first session, a number of important contributions had been made by States parties. In addition to holding a very substantive general debate, the Committee had devoted three meetings to each of the most important issues. It had also enabled non-governmental organizations to have greater input into the decisions taken. He expressed appreciation to the Secretariat, and particularly to the Secretary of the Committee, for their assistance and cooperation.

62. He declared the first session of the Preparatory Committee closed.

The meeting rose at 9.55 p.m .