I would like also extend my congratulations to all other elected Bureau members as well as to your deputies and express my hope that your knowledge and experience will lead us to successful outcome of this session
Since the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Ukraine has consistently abided with the Conference decisions and provided an unswerving support to the nuclear non-proliferation in general. Ukraine completed the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from its territory, signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Zangger Committee. A system of export control has been developed and is functioning efficiently in Ukraine. Through such system the Government regulates and controls the transfers and transits of nuclear materials and missile products as well as relevant technologies according, in particular, to the requirements of the NSG and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
Our state highly appreciates the decision of the NPT 1995 Review Conference on indefinite extension of the Treaty as well as set of other important decisions which have significantly influenced the international climate
Ukraine took an active part in the preparatory work on such resolutions of the Conference as "The Principles and Objectives of Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament", "Strengthening the process of the NPT Review", "Resolution on the Middle East". These resolutions reflected the positions expressed by the vast majority of states parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty concerning subsequent instruments to prevent nuclear weapon proliferation and to provide incentives for nuclear disarmament.
Ensuring universality of the NPT remains Ukraine's priority, therefore we call all states non-parties to the Treaty and first of all those possessing nuclear facilities to which IAEA safeguards are not applied, to join the NPT in the shortest possible time
Ukraine has especially sensitive attitude to the problem of nuclear safety and non-proliferation. Nuclear Safety Convention has been ratified by our state in the end of last year. Principal decision of Ukraine to forswear its third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, inherited from the former USSR, and in consequence of this, voluntary decision to became non-nuclear weapon state one time in the past caused controversial debates in the Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament) of Ukraine during discussion on the eventual accession of our state to the NPT. As the result of the accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant Ukraine became highly sensitive with regard to the nuclear safety issues. Consequently ensuring the NPT and CTBT compliance, establishment of nuclear-free zones became the matter of concern not only for the politicians, but draw wide public attention.
Leonid D. Kuchma, President of Ukraine, in his speech at plenary session of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe ih Strasbourg on April 23, 1996 noted particularly, that establishment of the nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Central and Eastern Europe, could substantially enhance the development of european process in all its dimensions. Ukraine assessed positively the NATO Declaration on non-deployment of nuclear tactical weapons on the territories of the expanded Alliance new members. In this context, in support of the NATO Declaration, the further important step could be the adoption of appropriate mandatory document on this issue. The consultations with all interested countries on the possible approaches to the realization of this idea, from our point of view, are of urgent necessity
Ukraine supports the efforts of world community to strengthen the non-proliferation regime at regional level Establishment of the new nuclear-weapon-free zones in Africa and South-Eastern Asia became practical implementation of Article VII of the Treaty. We believe there is still a possibility to achieve further progress in this area and establish such zone in the Middle East
On September 21, 1995, Ukraine signed with the IAEA the Agreement on Application of Safeguards in connection with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. On the 17th of January 1998 this Agreement entered into force in our country
From our view, it is necessary to intensify the dialogue between "like-minded" nations willing to establish equal partnership relations both on bilateral and multilateral bases, in the sphere of peaceful use of nuclear energy within the framework of the IAEA, as well as within the international non-proliferation regime of the NSG.
Today's political environment puts on the international agenda one of the main global security issue - the non-nuclear-weapon world concept. In this context, we would like to stress, once again, that the international community has to implement the set of measures, the most actual being:
- immediate practical measures to provide for the universal adherence to the NonrProliferation Treaty
- active steps of all nuclear weapons states directed to the reduction of their nuclear potentials (after START-II would have come into effect, the negotiations on the nuclear weapons future reduction with involvement of all the nuclear weapons states should have started);
- ensuring the reliable verification regime in the field of nuclear weapons non-proliferation (IAEA Safeguard, the regimes of control for transfers of "sensitive" items and technologies);
- ensuring the soonest entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
- elaboration of the international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism
- realization of the decisive measures for the purpose of the comprehensive implementation of the treaties on existing nuclear-weapon-free zones (Tlatelolko, Rarotonga, Pelindaba treaties, etc.) as well as establishment of the new zones;
- early start of negotiations and conclusion of the Fissile Materials Cut-off Convention.
While concentrating its attention at the global aspects of the general disarmament Ukraine is convinced that it is necessary to take the decisive steps to provide reliable procedures for the implementation and verification of the international arrangements in the non-proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction. At present the NPT remains a single international binding document uniting the. international community around the concept of global nuclear security. But once again emphasizing the universal nature on NPT, we consider that its efficiency may be enhanced by more active efforts of such global forum as the UN, its specialized organization IAEA. First of all, this is due to the fact that at the present stage, the NPT universality depends, as never before, on the solution of the sensitive political problems on the regional level. In this connection it is obvious that there is a necessity to establish political and functional interaction on the level of the UN (for instance, Security Council), Conference on Disarmament with the efforts within the framework of international non-proliferation agreements, including the NPT, the CTBT, NSG, MTCR as well as conventions on prohibition of chemical, biological weapons and toxins. These steps should be a serious prerequisite to achieve the high level of universality of the mass destruction weapons non-proliferation regime.
We hope that work of the second session of the Preparatory Committee will be carried out in the spirit of mutual understanding and will be constructive in a sense to give a new momentum to the work of the following session or sessions of the Committee which will lay foundations for the positive development at the Conference in 2000.