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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty,Finnish Statement, May 12, 1999

Statement from Markku Reimaa

12 MAY 1999

I would like to address the issue of reduction and elimination of tactical nuclear weapons on behalf of the delegation of Finland, complementing the remarks made by the European Union on this issue in the general debate and in debate on cluster one.

Mr. Chairman

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Finland has at several occasions called for more information from the nuclear weapon states on how the reductions of tactical nuclear weapons are being implemented. Particular attention on tactical nuclear weapons is needed given the fact that reductions on this area are being taken unilaterally without contractual verification arrangements.

The clear expectation of the post Cold War era is that there should be less reliance on tactical nuclear weapons. This would contribute both to international security and stability as well as to non-proliferation efforts.

It may be that questions of strategic arms reductions have overshadowed issues relating to tactical nuclear weapons. It is time to bring these matters out to the open, to address the present developments and any concerns there may raise.

We welcomed the announced intention of the United States and Russian Federation, made at the Helsinki Summit in March 1997, to explore in the START 3 context possible transparency measures relating to tactical nuclear weapon systems. That would be a step forward.

Of course, the first issue in this context is that the START 2 treaty would come to force without further delay and new negotiations could commence.

We do believe that also the NPT process should pay increased attention to tactical nuclear weapons. Therefore, we have raised this issue at both the two previous sessions of the PrepCom.

In the second PrepCom last year, Finland tabled a working paper NPT/CONF.2000/PC.II/1 5 that contains our proposal. We are seeking to include in the results of the next Review Conference support of the States Parties to some key elements, namely:

1. The Review Conference should underline the importance of unilateral reductions of tactical nuclear weapons.

2. The Review Conference should welcome the joint statement on parameters on future reductions in nuclear forces issued in Helsinki on 21 March 1997, including the intention to increase transparency on tactical nuclear weapons between the two countries.

3. The Review Conference should recognize the value of openness demonstrated by the nuclear weapon states on steps they are taking in nuclear disarmament.

4. The Review Conference should pronounce its support for increased transparency on reductions of tactical nuclear weapons.

We will be working in support of these elements during this PrepCom, recognizing the need to demonstrate constructive spirit and flexibility as this PrepCom has the important task of completing the preparatory work and presenting the results of this work to the Review Conference.