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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, New Zealand Statement, May 10-12, 1999

Statement from the New Zealand Delegation

Mr Chairman,

I take the floor on behalf of the New Zealand delegation to address two issues: negative security assurances and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Negative Security Assurances

With regard to the former, our Principles and Objectives specifically call for further work on negative security assurances for non-nuclear weapon States. New Zealand has always regarded

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security assurances as part of the NPT "bargain" whereby non-nuclear weapon States, having forsworn the nuclear weapons option, should have the security of not being subject to nuclear threat.

Work was undertaken last year in the Conference on Disarmament. And, it remains a natural subject for deliberation and development in the NPT setting.

Mr Chairman, security assurances are one mechanism under which countries may uphold the customary law principles of proportionality and necessity cited in the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion. A nuclear response to a non-nuclear attack can never, in New Zealand's view, constitute a proportional or necessary response.

We hope that further progress will be made on developing the conceptual underpinnings of security assurances this year. It is important that we are all willing to contribute ideas to fulfil the promise articulated in the NPT Principles and Objectives.

A real test of the commitment to security assurances must be ratification by the nuclear weapon States of the Protocols to the nuclear weapon free zone treaties. This remains unfinished business, Mr Chairman. We firmly believe also that the development and conclusion of new zones, especially in areas of tension, should be supported when these are on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the countries concerned.

Extending security assurances further through a single international and legally binding instrument appears problematic, however. We are not sure we can see a way forward that would allow this to be achieved.

One obvious problem is the differences between the five weapon States over negative and positive security assurances as articulated in Security Council Resolution 984.

Variance and nuances in current nuclear doctrines, which continue to evolve, would point to further difficulties in seeking a single instrument.

Aligning the assurances that apply with respect to existing nuclear weapon free zones has been suggested. But this would be problematic also, not least because of the differing provisions and scope of these treaties. Moreover, the various reservations that States parties have imposed on the Protocols to existing zones suggests that this option may not be achievable.

We remain interested in exploring the possibilities for more robust assurances that would be internationally and legally binding, but some new creative thinking is clearly required. New Zealand could not, however, support proposals that might undermine or weaken in any way the assurances which exist with respect to the Protocols and provisions of the Rarotonga Treaty.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Moving to the issue of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Mr Chairman, the fundamental importance of a universal and internationally and effectively verifiable CTBT was recognised in the 1995 Principles and Objectives.

It is thus gratifying that with 152 signatories the CTBT commands such wide support, and that the pace of ratification is picking up appreciably. New Zealand ratified the CTBT in March. Seventeen States whose ratification is necessary for the Treaty's entry-into-force are among those to have ratified. Two of them are nuclear weapon States. We call on the other nuclear weapon States to do likewise.

Political commitment to the Treaty is strong. Its Preparatory Commission has one of the highest collection rates of annual assessments in the community of international organisations. The foundations of the Treaty's global verification system are being laid in sites as remote as the Chatham Islands in the South Pacific - the first landmass to see the new millennium dawn.

Mr Chairman, the first Article XIV Entry-Into-Force Conference will be held in October: an important event which will guide future efforts to bring the CTBT into force. New Zealand hopes it will be able to welcome India, Pakistan and the DPRK as new members. With these States on board, alongside the five nuclear weapon States, the international community will be within a near reach of its long-sought test ban goal.

We have updated New Zealand language on the CTBT, which we submitted at PrepCom 1, and would be grateful if this amended language could be circulated as an official document and the Chairman's Working Paper amended accordingly.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

CHAIRMAN'S WORKING PAPER

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

100. The States parties welcome the adoption and signature by more than 150 countries of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and underline their commitment to strictly observe its provisions pending entry into force. The States parties not yet party to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty undertake to join this Treaty. The States parties further agree to pursue all possible measures consistent with international law to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the early entry into force of this Treaty. Pending the Treaty's entry into force, the States parties call on those States that have not yet done so to observe a moratorium on nuclear tests.