Allow me to join the previous speakers in congratulating you on your assumption of the chairmanship of the third session of the Preparatory Committee. Under your leadership, this committee will help to determine the future of the nuclear nonprojiferation regime, which faces a number of new challenges as we approach the 21st century. In the course of our meetings, we must organize an effective forum for debate on those substantive and procedural issues that the States Parties regard as important to the Sixth Review Conference in 2000. These discussions must provide us with a clear picture of what the global nonproliferation regime has accomplished to date in order to determine what concrete steps will best promote the full implementation of the Treaty.
At the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, the Kyrgyz Republic applauded the adoption without a vote of the three interconnected decisions and the resolution on the Middle East. Today, at the third session of the Preparatory Committee, we should keep the spirit of this forward-looking set of decisions in mind. Mr Chairman, my delegation regrets the confusion caused by delaying this year's session of the PrepCom, and we would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our support for the location and dates of the Sixth Review Conference agreed to during the first session
of the Preparatory Committee. Building on the discussions held at the past two sessions of the PrepCom, we must remind ourselves that we are now engaged in a qualitatively different review process, no longer confined to a retrospective examination of NPT implementation. Guided by the Principles and Objectives and the mandate of the decision on Strengthening the Review Process, we need to look forward and identify practical means to achieve the full implementation of the NPT.
The Kyrgyz delegation looks forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, to ensure that this session of the PrepCom succeeds in reaching agreement on a set of substantive recommendations to the Sixth Review Conference, as called for in the decision on Principles and Objectives and in the "strengthened review~' process. Our sincere hope is that these recommendations will enable discussion of the full range of critical disarmament and nonproliferation issues including both vertical and horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons.
As we take stock of what the NPT regime has accomplished, we must admit regretfully that the initially high expectations that followed the 1995 Review and Extension Conference have not been adequately realized. The Kyrgyz Republic hailed the completion of negotiations on a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1996, and was pleased to become one of its first signatories. The May 1998 nuclear tests in South Asia demonstrate how important it is to make this treaty universal, thus bringing a permanent end to all nuclear testing. Its full implementation would provide us with a unique opportunity to realize one of the long-standing objectives of the NPT. We hope that this third session of the PrepCom will urge those states that have not yet signed the treaty to do so in order to facilitate its earliest possible entry into force.
My delegation also takes positive note of the progress that has been made since 1995 in the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. We have welcomed the signing of the treaties of Pelindaba and Bangkok, covering the regions of Africa and Southeast Asia. When fully implemented, these treaties will extend the range of nuclear-weapon-free zones to the whole of the Southern Hemisphere, in addition to Antarctica, the seabed, and outer space. As nuclear-weapon-free zones have expanded geographically, they have become stronger and more widely recognized instruments of nonproliferation and disarmament and also a means of providing negative security assurances to the member-states of the zones.
The Kyrgyz Republic calls attention to the significant and continuing progress that has been achieved toward establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia
in the past year. We attach particular importance to the unanimous adoption at the 53rd session of the United Nations General Assembly on 4 December 1998 of resolution 53/77 A, which calls upon all states to support the initiative aimed at the establishment of a Central Asian nuclear-weapon free zone. The five Central Asian states are united in their belief that the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in our region, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at between our states, and taking into account its special characteristics, will strengthen peace and security at both the regional and global levels. This belief has been reinforced by the events in South Asia of last May which have underlined the importance of regional approaches to disarmament and nonproliferation, particularly at a time when the nonproliferation regime faces serious challenges.
The Kyrgyz Republic would like to call particular attention to the continued efforts, under United Nations auspices, of a working group on the establishment of a Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone. This group has met several times during the past year, most recently last month. In July 1998, it held a meeting in Bishkek involving the five Central Asian States, the five nuclear weapons states, the United Nations, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. As a result of these meetings, our states have made significant progress toward drafting a nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty. We would welcome the continued assistance of interested interna~ional organizations and states as we continue to move forward with this process. It is our sincere hope that the treaty will be completed and ready for signature before the Sixth Review Conference scheduled for 2000.
These encouraging nonproliferation steps, however, are not sufficient to guarantee the continued integrity of the NPT. Stringent accountability of all parties to the NPT-especially the nuclear weapon states is required. Regrettably, the delays in the ratification and implementation of key nuclear arms treaties and the reluctance of states to engage in even deeper cuts or to create an ad hoc committee in the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate nuclear disarmament, give rise to doubts whether the nuclear weapon states are pursuing their disarmament obligations in good faith. In order to eliminate these doubts, it is important for the nuclear weapon states to reaffirm their unequivocal commitment to negotiate nuclear disarmament as specified under Article VI of the NPT. It is also incumbent upon these statesto fulfill this commitment. In light of the protracted stalemate today over
strategic arms reduction treaties, the nuclear weapon states should take steps to further reduce and then eliminate their stockpiles of tactical nuclear weapons as a signal that they take seriously their obligations under Article VI. Other productive steps would include the adoption of greater transparency regarding tactical nuclear weapons, the prompt negotiation of further strategic arms reductions, the de-alerting of all ballistic missile, negotiation of a Convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive purposes, and deeper reductions in and improved safeguarding of, stockpiles of weapons-usable fissile material.
The Kyrgyz Republic strongly endorses the International Atomic Energy Agency's strengthened safeguards system, based on the Model Additional Protocol. Our Government signed a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency on 18 March 1998 and has expressed its desire to negotiate an additional protocol to that agreement in the future
As we move forward toward global nuclear disarmament, stricter procedures for the safe handling, transport, storage, and disposal of sensitive nuclear material must be observed. Attention also must be given to strengthening export controls and to mitigating the environmental consequences of past and present nuclear weapons programs. As noted in the report of the Main Committee III of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, which was adopted by consensus, there have been exceptional instances in which serious environmental consequences have resulted from uranium mining and associated nuclear fuel-cycle activities in the production of nuclear weapons.
This often overlooked environmental problem caused by nuclear weapons production and borne by the Kyrgyz Republic, among other states, is another reason why we attach such great importance to the work of this Preparatory Committee. We would like to reiterate the call made by Kyrgyzstan at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference for all Governments and international organizations that have expertise in the field of cleanup and disposal of radioactive contaminants to consider giving appropriate assistance as may be requested for remedial purposes in these affected areas.
There is a natural inclination for institutions, especially international ones, to follow routine, and to view change with suspicion, if not fear. Mr. Chairman, my delegation would like to reiterate its conviction that if the NPT regime is to meet the challenges of the coming century, the States Parties to the treaty must resist this temptation. The linked decisions of the 1995 Review and Extension conference have presented us with a unique opportunity to take concrete and substantive steps to assure that the purposes and provisions the treaty are fulfilled. The events of the past year demonstrate that we must either seize this opportunity or place the effectiveness and integrity of the NPT regime at risk.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.