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  Library :: Non-Proliferation Treaty, American Statement on the Middle East, May 14, 1999

Statement from the American Delegation on the Middle East

Mr. Chairman,

Let me begin with an obvious observation: Discussion of Middle East issues within the NPT review process has at times been contentious. What we hope to be equally obvious is the effort by the United States to approach these issues in a balanced and constructive way, bearing in mind that the problem of nuclear weapon proliferation is not exclusive to any particular region and the NPT is a global treaty, not a regional treaty.

During the last year, we have consulted with many parties about Middle East issues within the

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NPT review process, including at senior levels, in order to agree on how these issues should be addressed in the PrepCom. I believe an understanding was reached with key Middle East parties on a number of issues which divided the Prep Com last year. For example, we share the view that the goals and objectives of the 1995 Middle East resolution remain valid until those goals are achieved, that Middle East issues are relevant to discusssions of universality and nuclear-weapon-free zones, that the review process should look at global and regional issues in a balanced way and without focusing exclusively on one region, and that the NPT review process should look across the board at such issues as universal adherence, compliance, and enhanced IAEA safeguards. We also have an understanding on how issues should be reported from the PrepCom. Based on these agreements, the United States is confident that this PrepCom can work together with parties from the Middle East and other regions of the world to address issues of concern.

Concurrent with these initiatives, the United States continued its long-standing efforts to promote nonproliferation in the Middle East and in other regions where proliferation risks are prevalent. The United States approaches the question of nuclear weapon nonproliferation in the Middle East in the same manner as it approaches this question in other regions. We are guided first and foremost by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty itself. It has been the source of our obligations for three decades and has steered the work of the United States in its global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Among our pnmary goals in the Middle East and elsewhere are the promotion of universal adherence to the NPT and promotion of full compliance with the Treaty.

The United States continues to encourage the few non-NPT parties throughout the world to join the Treaty and complete full-scope safeguards agreements with the IAEA as soon as possible. Since 1995, nine states have joined the Treaty, including three from the Middle East. To promote further adherence, the United States, by law and policy, does not engage in nuclear cooperation with non-parties to the Treaty. In regions where the NPT is not yet fully accepted, the United States continues to urge non-NPT parties to exercise maximum restraint and to adopt regional approaches that can decrease the risk of nuclear weapon proliferation.

A central element in our efforts to obtain universal adherence to the NPT is our unfailing support for achieving full compliance with the requirements of the NPT. A strong and effective NPT requires that all parties to the Treaty be in compliance with their obligations under the Treaty, including conclusion of the requisite full-scope safeguards agreements with the IAEA. We believe that parties found to be in violation of their obligations do great harm to themselves, to their neighbors, to the Treaty, and to global efforts to stem proliferation. Non-compliance by any party in any region of the world discourages and works against efforts to make the NPT a universally accepted treaty. Furthermore, the United States believes that non-parties to the Treaty will be more inclined to join the NPT when all parties to the Treaty, especially in their region, are complying fully with their obligations and the international community has provided effective measures to ensure complete compliance.

The United States has supported efforts by the IAEA Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council to address serious instances of non-compliance with the NPT. Take, for example, the case of Iraq, a state that violated its obligations under Article II of the NPT by operating an active nuclear weapons development program, and under Article III by having unsafeguarded nuclear activities. The United States has strongly supported the efforts by the United Nations Special Commission and the IAEA Action Team to ensure that Iraq is complying with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions calling for the destruction of all weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The United States favors the earliest possible resumption of disarmament and monitoring activities in Iraq. We believe that Iraqi efforts to maintain weapons of mass destruction and missile programs pose a severe challenge to the security of the Middle East, adjacent regions, and the NPT regime globally. We are also concerned about other countries such as North Korea, which violated its NPT obligations, as well as the direction being taken by any nuclear program that is inconsistent with solely peaceful purposes.

The United States believes that the establishment of a strengthened IAEA safeguards system will help to promote universal adherence and full compliance with the Treaty in the Middle East and elsewhere. Such a system when fully implemented will provide an increased capability to detect both diversion of nuclear material and undeclared nuclear activities, thereby encouraging parties to remain in full compliance with their obligations. The United States has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the strengthened safeguards system and encourages each NPT party to complete an additional protocol to its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA.

Another way in which the United States promotes universal adherence and full compliance with the Treaty in the Middle East and elsewhere is through the development of comprehensive nuclear export controls, as well as support for multilateral efforts to stem the acquisition of material and technologies that can assist states in obtaining weapons of mass destruction. In this regard, the United States continues to support work of the Zangger Commiffee and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. We urge acceptance of a requirement for full-scope IAEA safeguards as a condition of nuclear supply. These arrangements help to ensure that no nuclear technologies or other commodities that can be useful to a nuclear weapons program are exported to countries where there is a proliferation risk.

The United States also strongly and actively supports efforts within the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate a treaty that will ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices globally, including in the Middle East.

The United States supports regional approaches to addressing nuclear proliferation problems, as well as efforts that make a positive contribution to securing a comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East and elsewhere. Towards this goal, the U.S. supports the establishment of nuclear weapon-free zones that are freely arrived at among the states of the regions concerned. In the Middle East, in particular, we support the objective, first raised by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in April 1990, of making the Middle East a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, again based on arrangements freely arrived at among the states of the region concerned. Complementing such a goal, the United States continues to encourage universal adherence to the NPT, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The United States believes that we should strive to obtain the best conditions in which all parties in regions of concern feel comfortable and secure enough to sit down and begin addressing issues involved in establishing both nuclear weapons- and weapons of mass destruction-free zones in their respective regions. The United States supports and participates in various regional negotiations around the world that deal with regional security issues. We also sponsor activities that bring regional parties together to discuss regional security and arms control in informal, so-called "Track Two" settings. In the Middle East specifically, the United States has consistently and actively at the most senior levels of the U.S. Government promoted the Middle East Peace Process.

We see that the challenges facing the NPT require the review process to look beyond a single region and focus on issues across the board. From our perspective a global and balanced view must take into account, inter alia, that in the Middle East one state has violated two articles of the NPT and been found to be in non-compliance with the Treaty and one state is a non-party to the Treaty and operates unsafeguarded nuclear facilities; in North East Asia one state has violated its NPT obligations; in South Asia two states have exploded nuclear devices, remain outside the NPT and operate unsafeguarded nuclear facilities; and in Latin American one state is a non-party to the Treaty.

This balanced approach by the U.S. also takes into account the will of the international community by reflecting, in addition to the decisions and resolution from the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, consensus resolutions and statements adopted by the UN General Assembly and Security Council dealing with nuclear proliferation both globally and regionally, without demonstrating priority or bias to any particular region. These include:

-- The UN General Assembly consensus resolutions on consolidation of the regime established by the Treaty of Tlatelolco;

-- The UN General Assembly consensus resolutions on the establishnient of a nuclear-weapon~ free-zone in the Middle East;

-- The UN General Assembly consensus resolutions on the establishment of an African nuclear-weapon-free zone;

-- The UN General Assembly consensus resolutions on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia;

The UN General Assembly consensus resolution on Mongolia's international security and nuclear-weapon-free status;

-- Security Council Presidential statements on the implementation of the Agreed Framework between the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the IAEA for the application of safeguards in connection with the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and requesting renewed discussions on the implementation of the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula;

-- The UN Security Council consensus resolution condemning the nuclear tests conducted by two South Asian states and demanding these states refrain from further nuclear tests;

-- The UN Security Council consensus resolutions which, inter alia, decided that Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless all nuclear weapons or nuclear-weapons-usable material or any subsystems or components or any research, development, support or manufacturing facilities related to the above; and

-- The 1999 UN Disarmament Commission on Guidelines on the Establishment of Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones unanimous adoption of a recommendation that "nuclear weapon-free zones in regions for which consensus resolutions of the General Assembly exist, such as in the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as the development of zones free from all weapons of mass destruction, should be encouraged."

As I said, our approach towards stemming nuclear weapon proliferation is to take steps which, together and cumulatively, will strengthen the global reach of the NPT to all regions of the world. We do not necessarily view such steps as mutually exclusive of each other or applicable to only one region. As with other parts of the world, the United States has made a strong and concerted effort to consult with parties from within the Middle East to advance these goals in a balanced and constructive manner. We will continue this work.

Thank you.