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

Statement from Mark J Moher H.E. Ambassador G.V.Berdennikov

Mr. Chairman,

First of all the Russian delegation would like to welcome you at the post of the Chairman of our Committee. We are confident that under your leadership the work of the Committee will progress

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successfully.

You can fully rely on our consistent and constructive cooperation in all aspects of the conduct of work of the PrepCom and in the preparation for the 2000 Review Conference.

One of the crucial tasks of the international community in the constantly developing multipolar world is the comprehensive strengthening of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We all clearly realize that in modern world the proliferation of the nuclear weapons threatens to cause strategic chaos, elevate the risks of regional conflicts with the use of nuclear weapons. Undoubtfully such a scenario can not be in the interests of a single country in the world.

Non-Proliferation Treaty is one of the corner stones of the global security and development of international cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy. That is why Russia attaches great importance of a comprehensive and an objective review of the operation of the NPT

We believe that the main goal of the Committee is the preparation of the regular review of the Treaty in 2000 in all its integrity. The documents adopted in 1995, i.a. the principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and strengthening of the review of the Treaty, will be of great help.

Measures on multilateral, regional and other levels contained therein constitute a fruitful programme for joint efforts to further increase the effectiveness of the Treaty.

The universality of the NPT remains of principle importance. It is necessary to take further steps to attract to the nuclear non-proliferation frameworks States that has not yet acceded to the Treaty and, first of all, 'threshold' countries.

Recommendations on further strengthening of the NPT should be the main result of our mutual work of the preparation to the 2000 Review Conference. We are confident that the PrepCom can accomplish this task without creating additional organs or duplicating functions of other international mechanisms.

We want to stress that today with the functioning of the Treaty there is a visual progress in the accomplishment of its basic objectives as well as of the priority goals agreed upon at the 1995 Conference. This only proves the wisdom in taking those decisions and, first of all, on the indefinite extension of the NPT.

The conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is an important measure in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. It is signed by 149 States, including 13 which have already ratified the Treaty. We reiterate our believe that CTBT will be signed by all countries possessing respective capabilities and whose signature is of principle importance for its coming into force.

We confirm the adherence of the Russian Federation to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons as one of the final goals of the disarmament process in the framework of efforts of all countries aimed at achieving general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. Besides, we believe that is necessary to move towards this goal in a phased manner, without artificial impediments as well as accelerations or putting forward unrealistic objectives and tasks. It can only be reached through gradual movement on the basis of complex approach with the participation of all five nuclear States and having the preservation of the strategic stability.

The Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) between the former USSR and the United States can be viewed as the first 'real' step in the reduction of nuclear weapons. In compliance with the Treaty two classes of nuclear weapons were removed from the arsenals of two nuclear powers with the elimination of medium and shorter range missiles.

Now the process of deep reductions of nuclear weapons is developing basically in the bilateral format and is based on the agreements between Russia and the United States. The implementation of START I with the participation of Belarus, Kazakstan, Ukraine and START II would provide for radical, up to two thirds of the cold war' times levels, reductions of the nuclear arsenals of the two major nuclear powers. An agreement was reached after the entry into force of the START II to conduct negotiations between Russia and the United States on START III. As the result even deeper cuts will be made.

So far, under START I, Russia:

has eliminated more than 930 ICBMs and SLBMs as well as more than 1900 missiles for these launches; has removed from the Navy 26 nuclear submarines with SLBMs, 19 of them were eliminated; has eliminated more than 80 heavy bombers; has fulfilled measures on detargeting strategic nuclear missiles in compliance with the agreements reached with the United States, Great Britain and China.

Simultaneously, the realization of unilateral disarmament initiatives in the field of tactical nuclear weapons is going on. These initiatives provide the elimination of all nuclear artillery shells, nuclear mines and nuclear warheads for sea-launched tactical missiles, half of the stockpiles of aircraft tactical nuclear ammunition and nuclear warheads for ABMs. We do utmost to translate these measures into life.

We stand for other nuclear powers joining the efforts to reduce nuclear weapons. We would like to draw your attention again to the Russian proposal that all nuclear weapons shall be placed at the territories of nuclear States. In this context we would like to underline that together with our Belarus, Kasakstan and Ukrainian partners Russia provided the withdrawal of all nuclear weapons left after the dissolution of the former USSR

It is evident that the implementation of bilateral (We would like to remind that START II will be fulfilled by December 31 2007.) and then, possibly, other agreements on further nuclear weapons reductions will take certain time. Only after these interim steps it will he possible in practical terms and, as we understand on a multilateral basis, to conduct negotiations on the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Under these circumstances we believe it is untimely and, consequently, counterproductive to start talks at the Conference on Disarmament on a programme for nuclear disarmament within specific time limits. We are convinced that it is not the right time to be seriously engaged in something that could even hardly acquire practical grounds during the first decade of the next century.

It would be more useful if we could concentrate on such immanent issue in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as elaboration of multilateral agreement on banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. Such an agreement could cap further production of highly enriched uranium and stop separation of plutonium for nuclear weapons and thus highly contribute to the efforts on prevention of spread of such weapons.

President of the Russian Federation B. Yeltsin stated on Russia's readiness to gradually withdraw from its nuclear military programmes up to 500 tons of HEU and up to 50 tons of plutonium which are released in the process of nuclear disarmament. The pace and timing of this process shall depend on both: motion of further dismantling of nuclear weapons under existing agreements on reduction of nuclear weapons and building up necessary storage facilities for materials removed from the military programmes. Such a decision will contribute to the strengthening of mutual confidence and global stability.

We proceed that fissile nuclear materials stockpiled during the implementation of military programmes should be used for the benefit of the mankind. In 1995-1997 36 tons of weapon grade HEU had been already converted into a peaceful material - fuel for nuclear power plants. By the year 2000 we also intend to convert 120 tons of HEU into a peace activities.

We are in favor of international cooperation for a search of economically reasonable and ecologically safe use of weapon materials in civil nuclear fuel cycle.

It would be possible to move forward along the way of effective nuclear weapon reductions only if appropriate guaranties are created against reproducing the nuclear arms race of the past, that is now being reversed, in other areas of the world.

An important step demonstrating our adherence to the realization of the NPT provisions is the initiative of the Russian Federation, the United States and IAEA to put under the Agency verification weapon origin fissile materials releasing from the nuclear weapon programmes. Intensive study of complicated technical, legal and financial aspects of the realization of this initiative is under way.

We witness that new steps are taking place towards narrowing the geographic area of nuclear proliferation. The establishment of nuclear weapons free zones in different regions clearly testifies it. We believe that after negotiations proper conditions would be created for the nuclear weapon States to join the protocol of the treaty on nuclear weapons free zone in South East Asia. At the same time we are concerned about unsuccessful efforts to establish such zone in the Middle East as well as the absence of positive changes in advancing the nuclear weapon free zone in South Asia.

It is also important to search for practical ways to foster other proposals on the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones in other regions of the world. We welcome the initiatives aimed at the creation of the nuclear weapon free area in Central and East Europe and nuclear weapon free zone in Central Asia.

We believe that the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones is the best way to get international legally binding security guaranties for non-nuclear weapon States.

We consider positive the renewal of work on "negative assurances" at the Conference on disarmament and the reestablishment of appropriate Special committee. Russia stand ready to cooperate in the framework of this Committee with all interested countries. We believe that there can be no talks on "negative assurances" in the framework of the PrepCom since the Committee is not a negotiating body.

We would also like to draw your attention to the necessity of widening the number of States-participants in the Programme for Preventing and Combating Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear Material adopted at Moscow Nuclear and Security Summit. This programme is being successfully implementing by "Eight". [G-8]

An active preparation for the international convention on prevention the acts of nuclear terrorism is under way. The work of the relevant UN Special Committee shows that the Russian draft is a good basis for the future agreement.

Russia strongly supports the IAEA activities. The priorities in this field are: strengthening the safeguards, preventing illicit trafficking in nuclear materials, establishing the effective verification mechanism for the State-parties of nuclear weapon free zones, etc. We constructively contribute to the Agency' efforts aimed at putting into practice of the effective detection system of a possible undeclared nuclear activities in non-nuclear States (Programme 93+2).

Russia is ready to apply certain control measures on its territory provided by Additional protocol and which contribute to the effectiveness of safeguards in non-nuclear States and reducing costs of its implementation.

Mr. Chairman,

Bearing in mind the great responsibility for the process of the NPT review the Russian delegation will contribute in a constructive dialogue of the participants at the Second PrepCom session in order to increase the effectiveness of this very important international Treaty.

Which considering procedural issues of the PrepCom agenda we fill it reasonable to utilize as much as possible the experience of the previous five Conferences with due note to the specifics of the forthcoming 2000 Conference.

To reduce cost we can, in particular, discuss the possibility of limiting the number and volume of background documentation which is usually prepared for the Conference.

Speaking about cost distribution formula for the PrepCom sessions and for the Conference itself we consider worthwhile to abide by the previous practice.

Thank you for your attention.