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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, South Africa Statement, April 27, 1998

Statement from the Republic of South Africa

Mr Chairperson,

As this is the first time that my delegation is taking the floor, may I extend our congratulations to you on your assumption of the Chair of the second Preparatory Committee Meeting for the year

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2000 NPT Review Conference. We also extend our congratulations to the election of the other members of the Bureau.

Mr Chairperson,

South Africa associates a great deal of importance to the success of this Preparatory Committee meeting as it is an essential element of the decision on the "Strengthened Review Process" adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. In terms of the "Strengthened Review Process" decision it is the Preparatory Committee's function 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. These include those identified in the Decision on Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non proliferation and Disarmament adopted on 11 May 1995. These meetings should also make the procedural preparations for the next Review Conference."

In this context, the Preparatory Committee should continue with the substantive consideration of principles, objectives and ways in order to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality, which was initiated at our first meeting in New York last year.

While progress was made in laying the foundation of our work in New York, there remains a considerable amount of work to be done. Much of the work which was done at the first Preparatory Committee Meeting in New York is at a very preliminary stage, and it is my delegation's concern that while there is still another two years before the Review Conference itself, there are in fact only 19 working days for the Preparatory Committee Meeting to conclude its work. To ensure the successful outcome of the Preparatory Committee's deliberations it will be necessary for us to advance our work to the point where it will only be necessary for delegations to negotiate the difficult elements which remain outstanding at the 1999 meeting and also to finalise the procedural preparations for the next Review Conference. If this second meeting of the Committee's work is not focused on achievin 9 this result then it is likely that we will run into difficulties in 1999, and consideration will need to be given to utilising the option provided for in paragraphs of the strengthened review process decision to hold, if necessary, a fourth preparatory meeting in the year of the Review Conference.

Mr Chairman,

Against this backdrop, my delegation encourages you to continue with the procedure which was adopted in 1997, where:

The Preparatory Committee devoted the overwhelming majority of its time to the consideration of substantive issues. This is namely 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.

The Chairman of the 1997 PrepCom established a Chairman's Group, much along the same lines as the President's Group established by Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference which drafted the decisions on the "Principles and Objectives" as well as on "Strengthening the Review Process", so as to prepare a draft text on recommendations for the Review Conference. South Africa is of the view, that while we utilised the 1997 meeting to prepare and formulate proposals for recommendations to the Review Conference, the time has now come to move to a "rolling text" format. This is especially important given the limited time we have available to conclude our work, and because it is imperative that any text needs to gain the general support of all the members of this Preparatory Committee.

Consideration should also given to the procedural arrangements required for the year 2000 Review Conference. South Africa does not see this element of our work as presenting any significant difficulties given the fact that the procedural arrangements for previous Review Conferences have created well established precedents which we could follow.

Mr Chairperson

For our work to achieve a successful outcome it is also essential that we establish a broad agreement on what the final product of the Preparatory Committee's work will be, and how this will be encapsulated in a document to be presented to the 2000 review Conference. It is South Africa's approach that for the Strengthened Review Process to be successful, and to meet the expectations which surrounded the outcome of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension, the Preparatory Committee would at least have to prepare the following documents for submission to the year 2000 Review Conference:

Document 1 - Recommendations on principles, objectives and ways aimed at the full Implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality. This document would follow the same formal arid structure or the 1995 Principles and Objectives, developing those elements upon which we are able to find agreement. These recommendations would form the basis for further negotiations and refinements at the Review Conference, and for the adoption of a set of 2000 Principles and Objectives. The intention is not that these should replace or be a renegotiation of the 1995 Principles and Objectives, an approach which would have the potential of weakening the achievements reached in 1995, but would rather be in addition to the 1995 agreement.

It should be pointed out here that the contents of the "Principles and Objectives" cover the full range of the provisions and obligations of the NPT. The document is accordingly divided into S sections: A Preamble, Universality, Non-proliferation, Nuclear disarmament, Nuclear-weapon-free zones, Security assurances, Safeguards, and Peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Under these headings there are two different types of provisions. Statements of general or continuing principle which it was envisaged would be relevant at the time of adoption as well as into the future, and statements of objectives which identified certain specific goals which should be striven for in the period until the next Review Conference. While differing in nature both types of provisions are intended to set realisable targets which can be reported upon, measured and evaluated. The primary area of attention of the Preparatory Committee should therefore, in South Africa's view, be to consider and develop updated statements of objectives and ways which identify certain specific goals which should be striven for in the period until the Review conference in 2005. Whilst we may be able to strengthen and tighten the general or continuing principle language, we should not be averse to duplicating those statements which remain of continuing validity.

Document 2 - Recommendations on specific proposals or initiatives to be considered by the Review Conference. Possible recommendations which may be developed here are steps envisaged in the Principles and Objectives or in the Resolution on the Middle East, but may also be new initiatives launched during the preparatory process. An example of such an initiative could be a proposal for the adoption of a security assurance protocol to the NPT.

Document 3 - The procedural arrangements for the Review Conference.

Mr Chairperson,

The basis, the context, the contents and the role of the "Principles and Objectives" are all to be found in the events and decisions taken at the NPTREC. At issue three years after the event is the approach which will be followed in the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings for the NPT's year 2000 Review Conference and at the Review Conference itself. Restrictive interpretations will undoubtedly form the basis for reopening the divisive debates of earlier Review Conferences and cast suspicion over what was accomplished in 1995. A progressive approach utilizing the NPTREC decisions as the lodestar and yardstick for measuring the implementation of the Treaty in the period under review and also into the future will build confidence in the regime - a regime which comprises the full package adopted in 1995 : the Strengthened Review Process; the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, and the indefinitely extended Treaty itself.

South Africa has focused its remarks in this general debate on the very important issue of how we should structure the work of this Preparatory Committee meeting and on what we should be striving to achieve. This has been deliberately done, because it is our view that unless this Preparatory Committee meetings has a common view on what it has to achieve and establishes the procedural mechanisms which would accomplish this then the PrepCom's will not fulfil the role which was envisaged for them at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.

Mr Chairperson,

South Africa will be taking up the substantive issues of the NPT in its participation in the nuclear disarmament, safeguards and peaceful uses of nuclear energy clusters, as well as in the specific time which has been made available for the consideration of security assurances, the fissile material cut-off treaty, and the 1995 Middle East resolution.

In amongst the issues which South Africa will be raising during the substantive debates are:

A consideration of the Article VI obligations of each of the NPT States parties and the interrelationship which exists between the States parties under this Article. We will be making a proposal on how we believe that this interrelationship can best be realised.

The importance which we associate with the achievement of the fissile material-cut off treaty.

An outline of the general principles and elements which we believe could be included in an internationally legally binding agreement on security assurances.

The situation regarding the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy particularly through the IAEA's Technical Cooperation Fund has deteriorated, and my delegation is convinced that concrete steps need to be taken to rectify this situation.

The IAEA's strengthened safeguards system, based on the Model Additional Protocol agreed to last year, is in the process of being implemented, and my delegation calls on all parties, including the nuclear-weapon States, to conclude the appropriate agreements with the Agency.

Mr Chairperson, I thank you.