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

Statement from H. E. Ambassador Ian Soutar

Mr Chairman

1. I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union, as well as on behalf of the Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union (Bulgaria, Czech

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Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Republic of Slovenia) and the Associated Country Cyprus. Iceland and Liechtenstein, EFTA countries members of the European Economic Area, also align themselves with this statement.

2. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) remains the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime. The European Union strongly believes that the important decisions taken at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference on the indefinite extension of the Treaty, the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and the strengthening of the process for reviewing the Treaty have contributed to a better, a more promising, international security environment.

3. Since the 1995 Review and Extension Conference a number of additional States have acceded to the NPT, bringing the number of parties up to 186. This makes the Treaty nearly universal in its coverage. The European Union wholeheartedly welcomes this development. The nuclear non-proliferation regime today is strengthened by its near universality It will be further strengthened when Brazil has implemented its declared and very welcome intention of acceding to the Treaty. But a few States will still remain outside the Treaty. As the first of the Principles and Objectives adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference made clear, universal adherence remains a key objective of all parties. The European Union restates once again its full support for this priority objective and appeals to those States that have not yet done so to accede to the NPT at the earliest possible date.

4. The first Preparatory Committee set in motion the new strengthened review process for the Treaty. Thanks to the excellent chairmanship of Ambassador Patokallio, and the constructive contributions of participants, it made a successful start and should provide a useful model for future meetings. Our task now is to carry this work forward. We should continue to pursue the practical implementation of the decisions taken at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference and prepare the conditions for a successful Review Conference in the year 2000. The results of the first Preparatory Committee last year constitute a good basis for our work. We should build further on the recommendations in the Chairman's Working Paper. The first Preparatory Committee session was able to identify key points on which there was general agreement at that time. We should look carefully at the other interesting views and proposals put forward by delegations, which made up the basket of proposals on which consensus did not yet exist. The Union hopes that the discussions at this session will make it possible for some of these ideas to be developed further. We hope it will then be possible for the number of agreed elements currently found in the Chairman ' s working paper to be expanded.

5. The Union notes the Chairman's Statement made at the close of the first session of the Preparatory Committee which set out the committee's recommendation that at this session special time should be allocated to discussion of three subjects - security assurances, the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East and the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty - without prejudice to the importance of all aspects of the Treaty. The EU is prepared to contribute constructively to the discussion of these subjects.

6. The European Union made an active contribution to last years Preparatory Committee proceedings. We are ready to continue to play an active and constructive role, in particular to promote consensus in drafting recommendations and making procedural preparations for the 2000 Review Conference. Our firm commitment is underlined by the Common Position the Union has recently adopted which provides a clear framework for EU participation in the strengthened review process.

7. In this context we wish to submit the following thoughts on the main aspects relating to the NPT's implementation.

8. The successful conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in1996 made a positive contribution to preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, promoting the process of nuclear disarmament and strengthening international peace and security. The CTBT gives a strong impetus to the implementation of the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, which set the conclusion of the negotiations for a CTST as the first of the measures under the action programme which is important to the full realisation and effective implementation of Article VI of the NPT. The EU welcomes the fact that (149) States have signed all members of the EU, the Associated countries and the EFTA countries among them - and 13 States have ratified the Treaty, including three members of the EU and one Associated country. It calls on all the States that have not yet signed it to do so as soon as possible - especially those on the list of the 44 States whose ratification is needed for the Treaty to come into force. The EU also supports the efforts in Vienna to establish the Treaty's verification regime in a timely and effective manner.

9. As the CTBT negotiations have been successfully concluded, the realisation of the second measure under the action programme contained in the decision on Principles and Objectives is now called for. This involves the immediate commencement and rapid conclusion of negotiations on a universal, non-discriminatory convention banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other explosive nuclear devices - the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. The Union is deeply disappointed that, although an Ad Hoc Committee was established in 1995, negotiations have still not begun. The Union recalls its support for the opening of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament in accordance with the 1995 Report of the Special Coordinator and the mandate contained therein, as foreseen in the Principles and Objectives Decision adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. It was in the light of this support that Austria, a Member State of the EU, tabled a draft decision on the FMCT at the beginning of the 1995 session of the Conference on Disarmament. The Union notes that, as the FMCT was an objective agreed by all NPT States Parties at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, it is something for which ah NPT parties should be pressing consistently and without reservation.

10. The Union also continues to emphasise the third measure of the action programme: the determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally with the ultimate goal of eliminating these weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control The Union welcomes the progress achieved in this area. The entry into force of the START I Treaty was an important milestone. Other announcements by the United States and the Russian Federation that they would unilaterally implement reductions in their non-strategic nuclear weapons, and the unilateral reductions made by the United kingdom and France, are also important. The Union urges Russia to ratify the START II Treaty without delay so as to enable its entry into force and implementation and the immediate opening and rapid conclusion of negotiations on a START Ill Treaty. The EU expresses the hope that START Ill will be followed by further reductions with the aim of eliminating these weapons globally.

11. In line with the Principles and Objectives, the EU recommends that further steps be considered to assure non-nuclear-weapon States Panties to the NPT against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. These steps could take the form of an internationally legally binding instrument. In this respect, the EU welcomes the recent decision by the Conference on Disarmament to establish an Ad Hoc Committee on negative security assurances.

12. In the Union's view, the creation of nuclear weapon free zones, on the basis of arrangements freely concluded between the States in the region concerned, strengthens global and regional peace and security. The Union considers such zones, as well as the establishment of zones free of all weapons of mass destruction, to be important complementary instruments to the NPT and welcomes advances made which extend the areas of the world covered by nuclear weapon free zones.

13. The Union also welcomes the adoption on 15 May 1997 by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of a Model Protocol containing measures which, when implemented, will strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of the Agency's safeguards system as a contribution to global nuclear non-proliferation objectives by increasing its ability to detect undeclared nuclear activities in non-nuclear weapon states. For its part, the EU is determined to conclude Additional Protocols to the three relevant safeguards agreements as soon as possible. Negotiations with the IAIEA were concluded successfully on 27 March this year and we will bring all three Additional Protocols to the June meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA for approval. The EU calls on all States to start early negotiations with the IAEA with a view to concluding Additional Protocols 1 so that the strengthened safeguards system may be put in place as soon as possible. The European Union fully supports the Principles and Objectives statement that fissile material transferred from military uses to peaceful nuclear activities should, as soon as practicable, be placed under IAEA safeguards in the framework of the voluntary safeguards agreements in place with the nuclear weapon states; and welcomes in this context the progress made by the discussions in Vienna among plutonium-using and -producing countries in adopting a set of guidelines for plutonium management.

14. The EU supports the inalienable right of all the parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination and in complete conformity with Articles 1 and 2 of the Treaty.

15. The various international conventions which are the expression of the wish of the international community to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction must be backed up in practice by export control measures. It is essential that exporting States assume their responsibilities and take measures to ensure that exports of sensitive materials, equipment and technologies are subject to an appropriate system of surveillance and control. An appropriate system of export controls make it easier for the technological development of the countries concerned to be pursued on a cooperative basis by ensuring that partners can have confidence that goods 1 technology and materials will only be used for peaceful purposes. Thus, far from being an obstacle to the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as some have claimed, nuclear-related export controls are the necessary corollary of peaceful nuclear cooperation and should be further strengthened.

16. The European Union fully supports the Principles and Objectives statement that transparency in export control regimes should be promoted within a framework of dialogue and cooperation among all interested States parties to the Treaty. In the nuclear field, the Union both welcomes and is playing a major role in the transparency activities of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. One practical expression of this commitment to the principle of transparency was the substantial support that the Union gave to the seminar on nuclear export controls organised by the NSG which took place in Vienna in October last year. This seminar, which attracted a wide participation from a large number of states and NGOs was notable for the constructive and positive dialogue leading to a greater general understanding both of the basis for export controls and also of the needs and views of developing countries seeking advanced technology.

17. The EU welcomes the steps taken by the G8, with the support of the IAEA to increase cooperation on, and implementation of, the Programme for Preventing and Combating Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear Material: namely the adoption of the advisory "Framework for Enhanced Cooperation and Information-Sharing" aimed at encouraging enhanced cooperation among law enforcement, intelligence and customs services; the establishment of a "Points of Contact" system for the exchange of information on illicit trafficking incidents; and continuing efforts by the G8 to encourage expanded participation in the Programme.

18. Turning briefly to some procedural considerations for our work in the Preparatory Committee, the Union welcomes the recommendation that was agreed in our first session that we should continue the consideration of all aspects of the Treaty in a structured and balanced manner. Moreover, we must also take account of the need for our work in preparing for the 2000 Review Conference to be forward-looking. The preparatory process needs both to evaluate progress in the implementation of undertakings of the States parties under the Treaty; and identify those areas in which, and the means through which, further progress should be sought.

19. The Union considers that, as with the first session, most of the time in the second session of the Preparatory Committee should be devoted to substantive preparations. However, some time wilt also have to be devoted to work on procedural issues - including background documentation for the Review Conference, financing, and rules of procedure - if the Preparatory Committee is satisfactorily to complete its work by the time of the 2000 Review Conference.

20. The Union considers that consultations between the out-going and incoming Chairmen of the various sessions of the Preparatory Committee during the intersessional periods as a most useful way of ensuring that the transition is as smooth as possible.

21. The European Union emphasises the great significance of the decisions taken at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference on the indefinite extension of the Treaty, the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and the strengthening of the process for reviewing the Treaty. The European Union is fully committed to contributing to ensuring that the strengthened review process becomes a valuable new instrument in the fight against the continuing danger of the spread of nuclear weapons, in strengthening efforts towards nuclear disarmament and in promoting international cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

22. The European Union welcomed the generally very constructive atmosphere at the first session of the Preparatory Committee and we are pleased with the results produced by that session. In light of these results, we are determined to continue the work on both substance and procedure at this second session of the Preparatory Committee. Stressing the vital importance of as large a participation as possible in the sessions of the Preparatory Committee and in the 2000 Review Conference itself we call on all States to join us in this effort.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.