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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, NGO Statement 13, 1999

NGO Statement 13

Thank you Mr. Chairman for this opportunity to express our views and analysis to this important Preparatory Committee meeting. We are pleased that there is agreement here with Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Dhanapala who stated in January this year: "overcoming complacency and ignorance is a specific area where NGOs can make significant contributions by

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helping to educate the public and by producing constructive ideas and proposals for national officials to deliberate".

While we do not claim the credit for all the many ideas and proposals that have been elaborated this afternoon we believe that they should be given urgent and due consideration. We wish to have a constructive as well as critical involvement in the Non-Proliferation Treaty process.

The NPT has over the years been a valuable instrument in some areas of its work. However it is not at the moment functioning well, as the 1998 PrepCom demonstrated. Clearly therefore decisions need to made at this PrepCom which will enable the 2000 Review Conference to be sufficiently productive and decisive to save the NPT. The alternative of an ever expanding number of nuclear capable states or even sub-nation groups and of continuing nuclear arms development by the Nuclear Weapon States and others possessing nuclear weapons would have the most serious consequences for global security.

This PrepCom must consider process as well as content for there to be a clear opportunity for the 2000 Review Conference to be successful. That Review Conference must look forward as well as back! It should consider Principles and Objectives for 2000 which would provide a plan for the following five years work and beyond. However compliance, or lack of compliance, with the Treaty should not be ignored and therefore the record of the states parties should be looked at. It is suggested that this PrepCom should set up an Intersessional Working Group to compile a factual record regarding compliance with the NPT and related treaties which would report in advance of the Review Conference. If the formation of such a group is blocked then an ad hoc group of states parties should set up a Compliance Review Coalition.

The record of the Nuclear Weapon States is not good. As well as the continued modernisation of their nuclear arsenals they retain, with the exception of China, a first-use policy and sub-strategic policies can be incompatible with the negative security assurances given to the Non-Nuclear Weapon States. Again with the exception of China, they remain unmoved by the opinion of the International Court of Justice and did all in their power to block the New Agenda Coalition resolution in the UN General Assembly.

While none of the NWS are fulfilling their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty clearly the major responsibility is on the United States of America and the Russian Federation to move the disarmament process forward more rapidly and effectively. The end of the Cold War provided the opportunity for a new view of nuclear weapons and arms control and reductions, yet negotiations between the US and Russia are deadlocked in an outdated process based on Cold War perspectives. The blame may well lie mostly with US and NATO actions and intentions, but whether or not that is the case the solution to the logjam in negotiations is for the US and Russia to pursue immediate, parallel, reciprocal and verifiable initiatives, as suggested. None of the preceding should be taken as letting China, France and the UK, or indeed those states possessing nuclear weapons who are not party to the NPT, off the hook. Waiting for START II has been as much misused by them as by the US and Russia. De-alerting and removal of warheads from delivery systems should be carried out by all the Nuclear Weapon States, immediately!

The record of the Non-Nuclear Weapons States parties has generally been one of far greater compliance, with some working very hard to progress the work of the Treaty, and of course some states have renounced nuclear weapons capabilities and joined the NPT. However Iraq and North Korea have committed violations to the Treaty and all NATO states are in violation of the spirit of the NPT and many questions have been raised, inside and outside the NPT, over their compliance with the letter of the Treaty. There would therefore be greater compliance with the Treaty if NATO reversed its first-use policy and US tactical weapons were removed from Europe. These actions would also have wider benefits in the international disarmament process.

In passing it is worth noting the irony in the fact that at the time of the events in Yugoslavia NATO was, through its New Strategic Doctrine, re-iterating its commitment to nuclear weapons because they "preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war".

A number of multilateral proposals have been outlined today which states could pursue actively. At the Conference on Disarmament the Fissile Material Treaty needs to proceed not languish and the several proposals for an Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament leave those who are stalling its formation with no excuses. The New Agenda Coalition and the Durban Final Document of the 1998 Non-Aligned Movement Conference both call for a conference concerning nuclear disarmament. Within the NPT there have been proposals for Intersessional Working Groups and an Amendment Conference.

The lack of proposals is not the problem. What is necessary for progress and the health of the NPT is fresh commitment to the process unconstrained by Cold War thinking.

It is Cold War attitudes that drive the continued development of nuclear weapons and the use of Stockpile Stewardship activities such as subcritical tests and inertial confinement experiments. These activities are not only in violation of Article VI commitments they clearly undermine the spirit if not the law of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. It is therefore proposed that the NWS give international observers free access to facilities and programmes and that they also announce an immediate moratorium on laboratory nuclear experiments. The CTBT is clearly seen as a success of the NPT process even though the prospects for its entry into force are not good. States should not wait for those who are seen as "main-players" to ratify the CTBT but proceed with ratification themselves so that the non-ratifying states become increasingly isolated as the global norm against nuclear testing is emphasised. It is proposed that support should be expressed by this PrepCom for a Ministerial level Special Conference on CTBT entry into force this autumn.

One year to the day India carried out nuclear tests which began the new nuclear arms race in South Asia. While it is extremely important that India and Pakistan sign and ratify the CTBT the fact that they used the same arguments for having nuclear weapons - "necessary for our security" - as do the NWS indicates so clearly one of the main reasons why the NWS must make significant progress in complying with their obligations under Article VI of the NPT.

No progress has been made towards a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East which shows a complete failure over that commitment from the 1995 NPT Extension Conference. The Middle East resolution should be seriously addressed since it is part of the 1995 extension package.

The work on Article IV though in some senses a success is based on outdated assumptions. Experience tells us that nuclear power is not safe, clean and cheap and that its proliferation risks can not be contained indefinitely. Health and environmental impacts both immediate and long term can be enormous and there is no known solution to the major and growing problem of nuclear waste. the positive developments in nuclear safeguards should be built upon and the mandate of the IAEA needs to be changed to separate

control from promotion. It has also been proposed that an international energy agency should be established to promote and support the development of sustainable and environmentally safe energy sources.

The elimination of nuclear weapons should not wait on or be conditional on general and complete disarmament. Though the two may both proceed more rapidly if there is interaction where appropriate, the NWS must change the impression that they wish to retain nuclear weapons indefinitely and also, therefore, accept the moral, legal and political imperative of elimination. There are many possible paths to the global elimination of nuclear weapons, with a great variety of steps available which are unilateral, bilateral, plurilateral or multilateral. We urge you to follow the initiatives and proposals which will work best. Take the steps which will provide the fastest possible path! The final step must be a multilateral, verifiable and enforceable Nuclear Weapons Convention and this should be pursued in good faith and with urgency.

I will conclude as I began with thanks for your attention and the words of Under-Secretary-General Dhanapala: "Neither the continued possession of nuclear weapons by those within the NPT, nor these acquisitions by states outside the NPT, serves the cause of international peace and security."

Thank you.

CONVENOR: Dave Knight, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
162 Holloway Road, London N7 8DQ, United Kingdom
tel: 44.171.700.2393, fax: 444.171.700.2357
email: cnd@gn.apc.org