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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Canadian Statement, May 10, 1999

Statement from Mark J Moher

MONDAY, 10 MAY 1999




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As Canada and other States party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (N PT) - 187 in all, the vast majority of the international community begin our work at this third Preparatory Committee session we need to focus increasingly on the object of the Strengthened Review Process in its current context as well as on the specific objectives for the 2000 Review Conference. In this brief general statement, supported by a number of working documents, we will outline Canadian thinking on these topics. We do not review our policy positions; these are well-known. Rather we focus on the specific work environment and tasks with which we are confronted. We expect this Third Preparatory Committee will be able to reach a successful conclusion, thereby supporting and facilitating a productive NPT Review Conference in the year 2000.

As an additional initial comment we take this opportunity to inform the Preparatory Committee that on April 19 the Government of Canada tabled a comprehensive policy statement on the nuclear challenge, as part of its response to a parliamentary committee report tabled late last year. This report, copies of which are available in this conference room, makes clear Canada's continued commitment to the NPT as the basis for international efforts to promote nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation, and peaceful nuclear cooperation.

Object and Context:

As just emphasized, and as affirmed vigorously at the first two Preparatory Committee sessions and elsewhere, Canada attaches fundamental importance to the NPT. That Treaty is the essential foundation for the international nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation regime, for nuclear cooperation and for the associated mechanisms developed with so much pain and effort over the past twenty years. Its devaluation, or even worse its disappearance, would tear irreparable holes in the fabric of that framework and fundamentally undermine international peace and security. The preservation and enhancement of its authority and its integrity therefore should be of vital importance to us all. It certainly is to Canada.

This is the object of this ongoing Strengthened Review Process - the preservation and enhancement of the authority and of the integrity of the NPT. Our collective decision in 1995 to extend the Treaty indefinitely was one demonstration of our will in that respect. Another was the Decision in 1995 '~ strengthen the review process for the operation of the Treaty with a view to assuring that the purposes of the Preamble and provisions of the Treaty are being realized (emphasis added)." Commitment to and effective conduct of that Strengthened Review Process deserves equal priority and equal effort to that given to securing indefinite extension. It is in that regard that Canada set out in 1997 and in 1998 - and is setting out again in 1999 -three principles to guide our work:


- permanence with accountability

- qualitatively different process that both evaluates and is forward-looking; and

- pragmatism and dynamism on an evolving basis.

The heart of this process is 'permanence with accountability' - accountability by us all for our compliance with and fulfilment of undertakings under the Treaty.

The context in which we will be working this year is even more critical than earlier. In 1998, we failed to reach agreement on a substantive report. We hope success will be achievable in 1999 - a success based on positive work on both the substantial and procedural elements of our Strengthened Review as well as on respect for the framework on which that Strengthened Review is based. For Canada, that framework continues to be that of the indefinitely extended Treaty as well as the two Decisions and the Resolution approved at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. The latter documents were not just convenient, temporary procedural steps to facilitate the decision on indefinite extension. They were an integral part of the indefinite extension procedure and decision; that integrity must continue to be acknowledged.

Another contextual element is the current standstill in efforts to achieve continuing progressive reduction in nuclear weapons' inventories leading to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The earlier promise of the START Process is dimming. We can not allow that earlier promise to be frustrated. Article VI of our Treaty must be faithfully implemented. We will expand further on Canada's approach to nuclear disarmament later in this Session.

Nuclear testing in South Asia in 1998 was a further blow to our nuclear regimes. Canada and the vast majority of other states have strongly deplored and/or condemned those tests. There is no doubt where the great weight of international political opinion stands on that point. Our challenge now is: where do we go now after that deploring and/or condemning? Canada will resist any recognition of a 'new reality' or a 'new nuclear realpolitik' which revalidates nuclear weapons and underwrites proposals to legitimize or normalize so-called minimum nuclear deterrence in South Asia. Following that path devalues the NPT, turning it from an international norm vital for nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation into a 'Treaty of convenience'. Canada is resolved to ensure it remains a 'Treaty of commitment'. It is for this reason that UN Security Council Resolution 1172 of 6 June 1998, complemented by UN General Assembly Resolution 53/77G of December 4,1998, remain for us the foundation for further work in this respect. In particular we note preambular paragraphs 5 through 7 and operative paragraphs 10 and 11 of Resolution 1172; these lead to operative paragraph 13:


- "Urges India and Pakistan, and all other States that have not yet done so, to become Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty without delav and without conditions." (emphasis added)

This Preparatory Committee session should confirm its commitment to this objective, rejecting more selective argumentation and actions.

In sum, therefore, our object is to preserve and enhance the authority and integrity of the NPT. The context in which we have to do so now is particularly difficult and complex. But by focussing our attention and our priority Canada is convinced we can succeed.

Products of Review Conferences

Building upon the 1995 Decision on "Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty", Canada's view is that all future Review Conferences should produce two primarv documents on the substantive implementation of NPT obligations:

1) a 'backward-looking' or 'Review' document which "should evaluate the results of the period (under review), including the implementation of undertaking of the States parties under the Treaty"; and,

2) a 'forward-looking' or 'Principles and Objectives' document in which we "identify the areas in which, and the means through which, further progress should be sought in the future".

Of these two, we attach much greater priority to achieving consensus on the latter; the future is more vital than the past since it is our future objective - the complete elimination of nuclear weapons - to which we are committed and which we must keep clearly in view.

Separate from these two continuing products for successive Review Conferences, there is one further focus of effort which should be addressed at least in principle at each Review Conference. Canada believes that each Review Conference should consider the functioning of the Review Process itself. If, at a particular Review Conference, it is deemed necessary, Canada believes that States Parties should consider a third document on the further enhancement of the Strengthened Review Process.

Specific Products of the 2000 Review Conference

Within this generic approach to Review Conferences, it is Canada's view that the 2000 Review Conference specifically should have three key products:


1) a backward-looking Review document;

2) a forward-looking 'Principles and Objectives 2000' document; and,

3) a forward-looking document on the further enhancement of the Strengthened Review Process itself.

Regarding the backward-looking review document, Canada has at the First and Second Sessions of the Preparatory Committee registered papers reflecting its views. Those papers remain on the table for consideration.

Regarding the forward-looking document, Canada has previously tabled documents relevant to this discussion. This year, we have tabled a further articulation of our views as to a "Principles and Objectives 2000" document.

Regarding the proposed document on the further enhancement of the Strengthened Review Process, in 1995 we agreed on a Strengthened Review Process. We have been striving to implement such a Strengthened Review Process since that time. As is evident in this and earlier statements, the vitality and substance of the Strengthened Review Process itself are of great importance to Canada. Our earlier proposals for a 'rolling document' (1997) and 'substantive statements' (1998) were rooted in this conviction on our part; this Process must be able to deal on an ongoing basis with substance, not just process. Since 1995, lessons have been learned. We should act on those lessons learned if we truly wish this Process to be a vital, relevant and 'living' one. Thus, at the 2000 Review Conference, Canada advocates that we reconfirm our commitment to the Strengthened Review Process and take decisions as to how its strengthened nature can be further enhanced. Canada has tabled a working paper setting out some proposals in that respect.

We hope that delegations will evaluate the proposals and suggestions contained in these papers so that they might be considered during the course of this Preparatory Committee session.

Objectives for the Third Session of the Preparatorv Committee

This brings us to the question of how best to use the time available over the next two weeks. In our view, there are three main activities in which we could profitably be engaged.

First, we should agree upon a recommendation as to the number and nature of documents that the Review Conference should produce. In this regard, Mr. Chairman, we welcome your initiative to hold a debate specifically on this dimension of our work. We have already specified our answer to this question and will return to it at the appropriate moment.


Second, we should continue our discussion of the ideas which have been presented as contributions to the possible content of those documents to be produced by the Review Conference. We maintain the view that it would be premature and inappropriate for this Preparatory Committee to attempt to pre-negotiate or pre-agree the substance of whatever documents we will agree at the Review Conference. However, it would be useful to have greater clarity as to the ideas on the table and the views of delegations as to whether key ideas would fit more suitably into a backward-looking Review document or a forward-looking P&0 2000 document.

In this regard, there are a number of working papers currently on the table. Among them is the 1998 paper numbered (NPT/CONF.2OOOIPCII/35) submitted by the Chairman on his own behalf at the end of last year's meeting. In our view, that paper has the same status as any other contribution submitted to the two Sessions of the Preparatory Committee held to date, no more no less. Moreover, we recognize that delegations are free to draw on any of the contributions submitted. However, we are compelled to note that we are deeply concerned by the implications of sub-paragraphs 7 and 11 of paragraph I of that document, which deal with Article VI of the NPT. We will return to this matter during the session later this week focused on nuclear disarmament.

Third, we should reflect on the Strengthened Review Process itself. We should do so in order to evaluate whether this Process has fulfilled its promise and to consider ideas for further enhancing the Strengthened Review Process and its implementation. As already noted, we have tabled a working paper putting forward some proposals in that regard. In that context, we should consider again whether the Preparatory Committee Sessions should speak in a consensus manner to relevant substantive issues in an immediate way, and if so, how. In this regard, we have also circulated a working paper further to our 1998 proposal regarding "Paragraphs on Substantive Issues", with language that we believe would be appropriate for certain issues this year, to be agreed by consensus for incorporation in the Final Report of this Session of the Preparatory Committee. As we did in 1998, we look forward to working with other delegations on such language on 'substantive issues'.


In this statement, we have sought to outline how Canada believes Review Conferences should be approached generally and how that approach should be applied to the 2000 Review Conference. We have sought to outline how this Third Session of the Preparatory Committee could usefully contribute to the success of the 2000 Review Conference. This general statement has been complemented by three working papers:

- a working paper on "NPT Review Conference 2000: Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament";


- a working paper on "Further Enhancing the Strengthened Review Process for the Treaty"; and,

- a working paper on "Proposed Paragraphs on Substantive Issues for

Incorporation in the Final Report of the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee."

Our overriding priority in all of this work remains that of preserving and enhancing the authority and integrity of our Treaty. We look forward to cooperating to this end with all other delegations during this Preparatory Committee session.