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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Nigerian Statement, May 13, 1999

Statement from Dr. Sola Ogunbanwo

New York, 13 May, 1999

Mr. Chairman,

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My delegation admires the skills with which you are guiding our work. With such skills, the 3rd PrepCom is poised to rescue the 2000 NPT Review Process from the non-fatal blow suffered at the 2nd PrepCom in 1998.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Nigeria attaches great importance to nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament which are the inseparable core components of Article VI of the NPT.

On nuclear non-Proliferation, 182 out of the 187 States Parties to the NPT are non-nuclear weapon states which have given up the option of possessing nuclear weapons, thereby demonstrating that security is possible without nuclear weapons.

These same non-nuclear weapon states have gone flirther by establishing Nuclear Weapon Free Zones (NWFZs) in their various regions. The NWFZs created in Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Africa and South East Asia together, form a nuclear weapon free mantle over vast, densely populated areas of the Southern Hemisphere. Proposals to create additional NWFZs in Central Asia and the Middle East would represent a flirther step in the direction of a nuclear weapon free world.

It is clear from these developments that nuclear non-Proliferation is proceeding well and that the non-nuclear weapon states are fulfilling their own share of the obligations under Article VI of the NPT.

Nuclear Disarmament

Let us be clear where the problem lies. In our view, the problem lies in the continued existence of nuclear weapons and how to achieve their total elimination.

The Nigerian delegation recognizes the commitment of the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) to Article VI of the NPT, as evidenced by their statements during this meeting. Notwithstanding those commitments, the fact is that, there still exists nuclear weapons (that is, thousands of nuclear weapons, some of them lack adequate safe and physical protection with the risks of accidents and smuggling).

NWS should reaiize that efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament cannot be left to them alone. The international community has a role to play.

Since the efforts during the outgoing millenium have been characterized at times by confrontation, let us make the new Millenium a period of cooperation on preparing a road map to a world free of nuclear weapons. Because Nigeria does not wish to be distracted from the main goal of general and complete nuclear disarmament, the road map should be based on the pragmatic approach and should contain realistic step by step measures leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

This is why my delegation fully shares the views expressed yesterday by the distinguished representative of Brazil on behalf of a number of countries including my own. The views expressed by Brazil on our behalf contain proposals and ideas on the agenda ahead for nuclear disarmament

The agenda is open for inputs from all concerned countries. Indeed, there are already ideas and initiatives through the United Nations, the proposals submitted by South Africa, Canada, Egypt and other members of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the Canberra Commission, the 8-Nation New Agenda Coalition, the Tokyo Forum, the Middle Powers Initiative and Messages from the NGOs.

Mr. Chairman,

Let us be forward looking, and capitalize on the positive trends of the new initiatives and use them to address the expanding range of security and disarmament challenges of the 21st Century. If we capitalize on these new initiatives, Nigeria believes that the agenda ahead calls for a new thinking, a new creative vision of the future based on common security, and a deep reassessment of many traditional concepts, doctorines and values, particularly with regard to peace and seculity.

Concluding Observations

I will now like to make concluding observations;

1. Security Assurances to non-NWS is a subject which deserves serious attention by this Meeting. We already have existing materials to help us prepare a legally binding instrument on Security Assurances. For example, the Security Assurances provisions of existing NWFZ Treaties; United Nations Security Council resolutions on the subject; proposals by Nigeria; proposals by Egypt; proposals by Nigeria, Myanmar, Kenya and Sudan in the form of a draft protocol; and the proposal submitted yesterday by South Africa on the subject.

2. The START process which has been stalled should be revived and efforts reinvigorated.

3. The other 3 NWS should be encouraged not to continue to sit on the sideline and to join in the negotiations to reduce their own nuclear arsenals.

4. The readiness of the NWS to be transparent in their nuclear disarmament efforts is a welcome development. In this connection, my delegation expresses appreciation of the special informative papers submitted to this Meeting by the U.S.A. and the U.K. We hope this will become a regular feature in our meetings, and accordingly, we encourage other 3 NWS to submit similar special papers if possible.

5, We believe that updating the 1995 Principles and Objectives is a forward looking exercise.

6. We need to address the issue of universality of the NPT.

7. My delegation is concerned about reports of unsafe nuclear facilities and inadequate physical protection of nuclear materials. In this connection, my delegation believes that the U.S.A. Cooperative Threat Reduction Programme, which provides valuable assistance to certain NPT states parties, will advance the cause of nuclear disarmament.

8. We need to address the issue of how we respond to challenges to the NPT both from within and from outside it.

9. We have been concentrating in our work on strategic nuclear weapons. We believe that we should also address issues relating to the so-called Tactical Nuclear Weapons. In this connection, my delegation supports the view expressed yesterday by Finland on this subject.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.