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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Canadaian Statement, April 27, 1998

Statement from Mark J Moher

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Canada continues to attach tremendous importance to the integrity and authority of the Nuclear

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Non-Proliferation Treaty. Accordingly we are firmly committed to the fullest possible implementation of that Treaty as well as to the pursuit of the "Principles and Objectives" we collectively agreed upon in 1995. We are now taking the third step in the new process leading toward the 2000 NPT Review Conference. The first step was taken in 1995 with the adoption of the decisions on indefinite extension, the Strengthened Review Process and the Principles and Objectives and the resolution on the Middle East. The second step was taken last year when we launched the Strengthened Review Process at the 1997 PrepCom. In 1998, we should build on those achievements.

At the 1997 PrepCom, we set out the principles we consider vital for this new review process. In sum, they are: permanence with accountability; qualitatively different review process that both evaluates and is forward-looking; and, pragmatism and dynamism on an evolving basis.

The heart of this qualitatively different process is permanence with accountability. In our view, permanence with accountability means that, in the context of a Treaty extended indefinitely, all states have a continuous and continuing obligation to demonstrate that they are fulfilling all undertakings as set out in the NPT. All states are obliged to demonstrate that they are delivering on the promises - both procedural and substantive - as set out in the decisions on the Principles and Objectives and the Strengthened Review Process. As a part of that demonstration, we should use this process - these PrepComs - to engage on substance on a continuing basis. We should be pragmatic, recognizing that while only Review Conferences can take decisions related to the Review of the Treaty, the PrepCom should address issues on an ongoing and evolving basis from one PrepCom to the next culminating with the appropriate transmission of those reflections to the Review Conference itself.


What are the challenges before us? We wish to address two. The PrepCom process must provide for ongoing substantive, practical discussions to lay the basis for the document or documents to be adopted by the 2000 Review Conference. Our first challenge in 1998 therefore is to build on the outcome of last year's PrepCom. The question is "how"? Paragraph 7 of the decision on the Strengthened Review Process says we should look forward as well as back Therefore, in our view, we should be looking to provide to the 2000 Review Conference guidance or suggestions evaluating what we will have achieved since 1995. But, equally if not more importantly, we can and must identify areas in which further progress should be sought. This could form the basis of a "Principles and 0bjectives 2000" if the 2000 Review Conference should so decide. This would be a new document, not an update of the 1995 document. We should not try to revise the 1995 Principles and Objectives decision. Thai document stands now as a part of the historical record. It exists and can never be undone. But what we agree to in 2000 would be a reflection on the state of this historic process at that point in history - looking both backward and forward. Thus, this -- our first challenge -- is to do our best to provide a productive basis for that effort at the 2000 Review Conference.

Our second challenge in 1998 is for this PrepCom to determine whether there is any specific topic or topics which should be addressed pragmatically now - in 1998 and not just in 2000. We have already identified three such themes or issues at our First PrepCom and we look forward to their detailed consideration during the sessions set aside for that purpose this year. But in our view there are others which we - Canada - would like to address at this Session.

But first, let us expand further on how we might address our first challenge.

Challenge One: Evolution of the Chair's Working Paper

The PrepCom "rolling document proposed by Canada at the 1997 PrepCom was designed to provide the vehicle for moving the NPT review process from one PrepCom to the next, arriving at the Review Conference with a mature set of reflections for evaluation and action at that time. We continue to see the Chairman's Working Paper as such a vehicle. We readily acknowledge the caveats and conditionality of this document -- it is a work in progress and can be nothing else before we arrive at the Review Conference.

The central process question we face, therefore, is -- based on last year's result -- how do we move forward at this PrepCom? In the Chairman's Working Paper, contained in Annex II of the Report of the Preparatory Committee on its first session (NPT/CONF.2000/PC.I/32), a few agreed points were captured in paragraph 3, There were also a number of ideas put forward by delegations or groups of delegations that were captured in paragraph 4. We would like to see the set of agreed points expanded this year. We would also like to ensure that any gaps are filled in and duplication is resolved to the extent that it can be at this stage. The focus of our work at this PrepCom should be on identifying language which captures accomplishments, expectations and objectives as a basis for future work in 1999 and in 2000.

To facilitate a more streamlined consideration of the substantive aspects before us, Canada has reviewed the Chairman's Working Paper. We have revised and updated that document, retaining what was agreed in 1997 and building on the earlier submissions of many delegations. And we have inserted new ideas on the basis of work that is currently underway, particularly in the fields of nuclear disarmament and safeguards. We are circulating this document now. We hope it will provide a focus for the cluster debates to follow. We also hope it wilt provide the Chairman with a basis for moving our work forward. There is no question but that we would prefer that the status of the document agreed at the end of this PrepCom be enhanced from the status we achieved last year. But even if that should not be achievable we should continue to pursue the substantive aspect of our deliberations in a comprehensive way so as to facilitate our purpose -- 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 Review Conference". It is the fervent hope of the Canadian delegation that we can agree to move forward in this manner

Challenge Two: Specific Issues

Turning to our second challenge - the addressing in current terms of specific issues as appropriate - Canada recognizes, as noted earlier, that three such issues were identified last year for specific attention this year. We will comment appropriately on these later in this session during the time devoted to them. We do, however, consider that several other issues should receive similar high priority attention. These are nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, fissile material, and safeguards. In our national revision of the Chairman's Working Paper which we are circulating, we have incorporated concepts and suggestions on each of these (as well as other aspects of the Treaty). But there are very particular, critical and timely dimensions of each of these four issues which we consider should receive targeted and direct attention now - at this PrepCom.

A. START at a Standstill

At the most general level, there is international agreement on the necessity to move forward in the field of nuclear disarmament. Article VI of the NPT provides us with our foundation:

 Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

Further, paragraph 4 (c) of the 1995 Principles and Objectives provides an agreed political articulation as to the implementation of that provision:

The determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon states of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

And, of course, there is the unanimous conclusion contained within the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice that:

 There exists 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.

Within this legal and political framework, we recognize that there are a variety of views as to how nuclear disarmament can and should be most effectively pursued. Our point today is not to seek to resolve that larger, more conceptual debate.

Rather, there is one specific dimension of the nuclear disarmament process that, in our view, is critical right now: the current standstill in the START Process There is no question that the START Process is the key ongoing process directed to the reduction of the number of nuclear weapons.

We have come a long way since the dark days of 1986 when there were an estimated 70,000 nuclear warheads in nuclear-weapon States' inventories. By many estimates, in 1998, there are now about one-half that number of warheads in those same inventories. Of that total, by some estimates, about 20,000 warheads are considered operational. And we have the promises and objectives set out already in the START Process by the two states directly concerned to move much lower in the coming years.

But, we are concerned that the START Process may well be losing steam. START remains the only ratified strategic nuclear weapon reduction treaty being implemented. START II was negotiated in 1991 and 1992 and signed in January 1993. We have been waiting since then for ratification and implementation to take place. While the US Senate ratified this Treaty in January 1996, the Russian Duma has not. Even then, there will be other difficulties, given the associated agreements of March and September 1997. We recognize the difficulties involved and have been reasonably patient We have equally welcomed efforts by the two governments to address the various difficulties, viz our cosponsorship of UNGA Resolution 52/38 M endorsing the steps taken in March and September of 1997 in that respect. But the reality is that START ii remains un-ratified and un-implemented.

And - let us frankly recognize that not even the numbers of nuclear warheads specified by START II are supported by the strategic assessments of the states concerned. This was clearly recognized by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in March, 1997, and welcomed by others, when they agreed to the Joint Statement on the Parameters on Further Reduction in Nuclear Forces.

Canada is concerned that, if START II fails to enter-into-force and be implemented in the near future, the START Process will begin to fall backwards. This PrepCom can and should take a specific, pragmatic and responsible initiative to help to reinvigorate that Process. For example, we think it would be useful for this PrepCom to issue a statement, either as the PrepCom itself or as a Chairman's statement at the end of our meeting. That statement would express our support for the START Process, for its contribution to nuclear disarmament, and for the need for it to continue along the lines already articulated by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin. This would be a practical demonstration of how NPT States Parties can creatively and productively use our qualitatively different review process. To assist in the consideration of this idea, we are circulating a working paper suggesting one possible approach to such a statement. We hope, Mr. Chairman, that you will actively explore this idea with delegations.

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Let us now turn briefly to the other three topics noted earlier.

B. Non-Proliferation

Our understandable preoccupation with the challenges of nuclear disarmament should not lead us to ignore or downgrade real and current concerns about the actual or potential proliferation of the number of states possessing nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive capabilities. Frustrations and actual developments in two key regions of the world today dramatically demonstrate that these concerns are increasing even while, on the other hand, more states are becoming States Parties to our common Treaty designed to achieve the opposite. 186, soon 187, are committed to that end. This leaves only four significant states that remain outside the regime. Moreover, concerns continue that even some States Parties to the NPT are not complying fully with their Treaty commitments.

Again, it would be useful, as a spetific1 pragmatic and responsible initiative, for this PrepCom to acknowledge these concerns and to urge two specific steps - one would be the adherence by all states to the NPT so that it would be truly universal, the second would be to reaffirm the commitment of all States Parties to its full implementation.

C. Fissile Material

Fissile material for explosive purposes continues to be a primary source of international concern. The amount of unsafeguarded weapons-grade fissile material in the world is staggering. The issue demands and deserves a comprehensive response. In considering that response, in our view, we should address both dimensions of this question: material already in existence, and new production.

There are enormous quantities of weapons-grade fissile material in the stockpiles of the nuclear-weapon States. By some estimates, at least 2000 tons of material were in stockpiles at the end of 1995. We welcome the move by the USA to place some of its weapons-grade fissile material under appropriate safeguards, having declared that amount to be in excess of military requirements. We welcome the announced intention of the Russian Federation to do the same. The process of placing weapons-grade fissile material under international safeguards and removing it irreversibly from the nuclear-weapons cycle should be expanded to include more of this material. This PrepCom can and should call for early, dramatic movement in that regard. Effective action to reduce these horrendous stockpiles, with the objective of reaching zero, should be aggressively promoted.

With respect to new production, we note that the five NWS seem to have ceased such activity. We remain convinced, however, that the 1995 consensus decision of the Conference on Disarmament to establish an Ad Hoc Committee on the basis of the Report of the Special Coordinator and the mandate contained therein is the best possible option for negotiating an effective Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). We have circulated in the Conference on Disarmament a working paper (CD/1485) designed to facilitate resolution of the current deadlock blocking implementation of that decision. We hope we will soon be able to launch those negotiations. The Principles and Objectives called for such a negotiation as the second element of its programme of action on nuclear disarmament. This PrepCom can and should consider a statement reaffirming our commitment to work together to that end.

D. Safeguards

The IAEA safeguards system is, in our view, a critical component of the non-proliferation regime. That system enhances our confidence that States are complying with their obligations. Specific developments led the international community to the conclusion that further action was necessary to reinforce this component. The conclusion in May, 1997, by the IAEA of the model protocol represented a key step forward. A fundamental and critical next step is to ensure that States actually conclude agreements with the IAEA on the basis of the model protocol. Canada is nearing completion of our negotiations with the IAEA on such an enhanced safeguards protocol. We understand several other negotiations are making similar progress.

This PrepCom can and should issue a call for the acceleration and conclusion of such negotiations. We can and should set a goal of more than 35 States operating nuclear facilities having enhanced safeguards protocols in place by the time of the 2000 Review Conference.

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Before concluding, we wish to flag one additional matter. We would be remiss if we did not note that the recent conclusion of the CTBT stands as a major achievement in nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. It was the first item listed in the Principles and Objectives' programme of action All States Parties share an interest in ensuring that it enters into force as soon as possible. To this end, Canada strongly believes that the political conference provided for by Article XIV, paragraph 2, of the CTBT must be convened for the first time in 1999 - in advance of the 2000 NFT Review Conference. We hope this view will receive endorsement in this PrepCom.

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As stated at the beginning of this statement, the decisions to extend indefinitely the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to create a Strengthened Review Process and to adopt a set of Principles and Objectives represented a truly significant achievement for international peace and security -- all the more remarkable because they came a short 10 years after some of the darkest days of the nuclear arms race.

These decisions have set us on a new road. These decisions were borne of premises and promises. The premises were contained in the decision on indefinite extension. The promises were contained in the other two decisions. By our actions from now until the 2000 NPT Review Conference, we can and should build on these premises and promises.

Canada has identified two challenges to pursue an evolution of the Chairman's Working Paper working toward the 2000 Review Conference; and, through statements this year, to highlight the urgent need to press for further work on four key issues. Our Delegation's contributions here today and over the coming days will be directed towards those two objectives.

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The States Parties present at the 1998 NPT PrepCom consider that the START process, a key element in systematic and progressive efforts toward the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, needs to be reinvigorated. While actual reductions in deployed nuclear weapons are taking place through the implementation of START 1, START II is in limbo pending its ratification by the Russian Federation and the ratification by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of several associated agreements.

These States Parties recall the importance of States Parties undertakings in the NPT and the 1995 decision on Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. These States Parties also recall recent resolutions by the UN General Assembly on this issue, including resolution 52/38 M, "Bilateral nuclear arms negotiations and nuclear disarmament" which in particular, expressed satisfaction with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States of America to START II, expressed hope that it will soon be possible for the Russian Federation to take corresponding steps to ratify the Treaty, and urged "the Russian Federation and the United States of America to commence negotiations on a START III agreement immediately after START II enters into force. These States Parties wish to emphatically confirm the importance of the START process to the continuing reduction of nuclear weapons and thereby to the strengthening of international security and stability.

These States Parties call on the Russian Federation to ratify START II as quickly as possible and call on both the Russian Federation and the United States of America to approve formally all agreements and undertakings associated with the ratification and implementation of START II.

These States Parties reiterate the importance of the Joint Statement on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces, signed by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin on March 21, 1997, setting out parameters for a START III negotiation. That Statement demonstrates the continuing commitment by those two states to the process of nuclear weapons reductions through START II, START III and beyond. These States Parties urge the early implementation of that Statement at the lowest possible levels.

These States Parties also express the view that the process of negotiated nuclear weapons reductions and transparency measures should be expanded at an appropriate point in the near future to include all five nuclear-weapon States.