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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Russian Statement, May 10, 1999

Statement from H.E. Ambassador G.V. Berdennikov

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, the Russian delegation would like to welcome you at the post of the Chairman of our Committee. We are confident that under your guidance the work of this Committee will be

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successful and fruitful.

You can fully rely on our consistent and constructive interaction in respect of all issues related to this PrepCom session and preparations for the Conference 2000.

Mr. Chairman,

I would also like to present my deepest condolences to the delegation of China and express solidarity in connection with recent NATO's air strike on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade which resulted in victims and numerous destruction.

This and other incidents related to NATO's use of weapons pose a question of maintaining security of numerous nuclear locations as well as other dangerous sites in the area of the conflict and in its immediate vicinity. Any damage or destruction of these sites may lead to ecological catastrophe.

Being a State-Party to the Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and one of its depositaries Russia considers that the NPT is an instrument which stood the test of time and became one of principal pillars of the international security system. Well-known developments of the past year proved to be another durability test for the non-proliferation regime as a whole and its basis - the Treaty. The NPT stood this difficult test and confirmed its role as an essential international instrument ensuring global and regional stability and security.

We all fully realize that under the present circumstances the spread of nuclear weapons is fraught with the emergence of a strategic chaos and a growing risk of regional conflicts involving nuclear weapons. Naturally, such a development cannot meet interests of any country of the world.

It is the Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons that is the principal deterrent in this respect, while ensuring the development of international cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. For this reason Russia attaches great importance to a comprehensive and objective review of the NPT implementation.

We proceed from the assumption that the main goal of the Committee is to prepare a regular review, in 2000, of the Treaty implementation in its entirety. Documents approved in 1995 relating, in particular, to the principles and goals of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and to the enhancement of the Treaty review process will, no doubt, be helpful in this respect. The list of measures on a multilateral, regional and other levels, contained therein, constitutes, in fact, a programme of joint efforts aimed at further enhancing the effectiveness of the NPT.

Provision of universality of the NPT remains important in principle. Further efforts are needed to involve those states which have not so far acceded to the Treaty, into the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

We believe that recommendations on further strengthening the NPT should become the principal results of our joint work to prepare the Conference 2000. We are confident that the Preparatory Committee is able to achieve this goal without creating any additional bodies and without duplicating functions of other international mechanisms.

We would like to stress that already now in the course of the implementation of the Treaty we witness progress in the achievement of its key goals and priority tasks which were agreed upon at the Conference in 1995, providing concrete evidence of the correctness of the decisions then taken, first of all the decision to prolong, indefinitely, the term of this instrument.

The conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is an important step towards nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. As is known, Russia has signed this Treaty. In our approach towards its ratification we take into account the ratification processes in 44 countries whose adherence to the Treaty is necessary for its entry into force. We once again express our hope for the accession to the CTBT of all countries that possess the appropriate potential and whose ratification instruments are of principal significance for the entry into force of the Treaty.

In this connection we positively view the statements made by the leaders of India and Pakistan about the readiness of their countries to accede to the CTBT. On the whole we are satisfied with the work done by the Preparatory Commission of the CTBT Organization to establish the verification mechanism.

Having in mind the obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Russia is taking consistent steps to achieve the ultimate goal of complete nuclear disarmament. We have already stressed that this goal should be achieved step by step on the basis of a comprehensive approach and with the participation of all nuclear powers.

Presently, the nuclear weapons reduction process is being implemented mainly within the framework of bilateral agreements between Russia and the United States of America. A key prerequisite of such reductions are the maintenance of, and strict compliance with, the ABM Treaty of 1972 which secures strategic stability in the world. Here I would like to stress that the security of the international community as a whole depends to a large extent on the viability of the ABM Treaty.

The Treaty between the USSR and the USA on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (IMF) has been a major step towards the reduction of nuclear armaments. Within the framework of that Treaty land-based missiles of two categories with the range from 500 to 5 500 kilometres were completely eliminated and a ban on their production and testing was imposed.

The Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START-1) which entered into force on December 5, 1994, was a major step towards the reduction of nuclear armaments.

In the course of the realization of its unilateral initiatives and within the framework of the implementation of the START-1 Treaty Russia has taken a number of major steps as a result of which its nuclear arsenals have been considerably reduced. Here it is important to note that this reduction is objectively irreversible. By now, under the STARTA Treaty, over 930 launchers of ICBMs and SLBMs have been eliminated, as well as about 2,000 missiles for such launchers, 24 nuclear submarines and over 80 heavy bombers. All in all, by December 2001, the strategic nuclear forces of Russia will be reduced by approximately 40 per cent under this Treaty.

On January 3, 1993, the START-2 Treaty was signed, providing for further reductions of nuclear arsenals of Russia and the USA - down to 3 000-3 500 pieces. The Treaty provides for the elimination of ICBMs with multiple re-entry vehicles. As a result of the implementation of the agreements reached, the overall reduction of strategic offensive weapons in Russia and the USA will amount to nearly two thirds as compared to 1990.

Active work is being done in the State Duma of the Russian Federation, aimed at ratifying the START-2 Treaty. The process of its review is rather complicated, since the Treaty deals with the basis of the military security of the State and, naturally, every aspect should be considered very carefully. This process has been interrupted twice, and it is well known that this happened through no fault of ours.

The agreements reached in New York in September 1997 regarding the ABM systems and the prolongation of the implementation of the START-2 Treaty, will, no doubt, provide a strong argument in favour of ratification. These agreements have now also been submitted to the State Duma for ratification. The Government of the Russian Federation still remains committed to the ratification of the START-2 Treaty.

The United States are to ratify this Treaty too. We hope this will be done.

In March 1997 the Presidents of Russia and the USA came to an agreement on further radical steps in the field of arms reduction within the framework of the START-3 Treaty. It is planned that the nuclear stockpiles of each Party will be cut down to 2 000-2 500 pieces by the end of 2007. Furthermore we are ready to consider the possibility of reduction of nuclear potentials of Parties within the framework of the mentioned Treaty to 1500 pieces. We proceed from the assumption that the START-3 Treaty is to promote further strengthening of the strategic stability, elaboration of measures aimed at ensuring the irreversibility of profound reductions in strategic arms as well as confidence-building.

As far as tactical nuclear weapons are concerned, in compliance with the statements by the President of the USSR of October 5, 1991, and the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin of January 29, 1992, Russia fully and consistently implements its declared unilateral initiatives. At present, all tactical nuclear weapons have been removed from surface ships and multipurpose submarines, as well as from the NAVY land-based aircrafts, and have been placed in centralized storage facilities. One third of the aggregate number of nuclear munitions for tactical sea-based missiles and the NAVY aircraft have been eliminated. The destruction of nuclear warheads of tactical missiles, artillery shells and nuclear mines is nearing completion. Half of the total number of nuclear warheads for anti-aircraft missiles and nuclear bombs have been destroyed.

All nuclear armaments located outside Russia have been brought back to the Russian territory and their liquidation is under way. In this connection we would like to draw attention to the Russian proposal that all nuclear weapons should be brought back to the territories of the nuclear States to which they belong.

For several years already Russia has not produced fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

President Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia has declared that Russia has decided to phase out from nuclear military programs of up to 500 tons of highly enriched uranium and up to 50 tons of plutonium to be released in the process of nuclear disarmament. The speed and phases of this process will depend both upon progress in dismantling nuclear weapons in accordance with the existing nuclear weapons reduction arrangements and upon establishment of facilities required to store materials to be withdrawn from military use. Such a decision will contribute to building confidence and enhancing global stability.

At the same time, it should be noted that reduction of nuclear weapons requires huge financial resources, and it is this factor that will, in fact, impede the speeding-up of the process.

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that NATO and US policies towards certain sovereign States, which violate the fundamentals of international law, do not contribute to enhancing strategic stability both in the world as a whole and in some of its regions. Such policies could undermine the entire disarmament process including non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Efforts aimed at abrogating the ABM Treaty could have similar implications.

We consider it to be premature and thus counterproductive to start negotiations on a nuclear disarmament programme at the Conference on Disarmament under a specific timetable. We are convinced that it is not now the time to seriously engage in examining issues that can become subject to practical consideration no sooner than in the second decade of the next century. It would be much better if we could focus on such a pressing issue in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as the elaboration of a multilateral agreement on prohibition of the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. Such an agreement could bar further production of highly enriched uranium and reduction of plutonium for nuclear weapons, thereby making an essential contribution to non-proliferation efforts.

Further steps along the way of nuclear disarmament will be possible only with the provision of adequate guarantees that the nuclear arms race of the past, that we are currently reversing, will not be replicated in other regions of the world.

The initiative of Russia, the United States and IAEA on international monitoring of the fissile weapon-grade materials withdrawn from military programs is an important step that demonstrates our commitment to the implementation of the NPT nuclear disarmament provisions.

We consider as a positive process the establishment of nuclear-free zones that has gained momentum in various regions of the world. In thirty years and more following the adoption of the Tlateloico Treaty, that established the first such zone, the number of countries covered by the NFZ regime has increased several times and now exceeds 100.

The establishment of nuclear free zones is an important disarmament effort. By establishing a zone, States strive to reinforce their regional and international security, as well as to enhance mutual trust and concord. At the same time, they are fulfilling a no less important task - by acting along the lines of Article VII of the NPT they make a considerable contribution to the development and consolidation of the non-proliferation regime. It is this organic combination of complementarities that determines the significance of all NFZs taken together and of each zone in particular.

The international community has acquired considerable experience in the establishment of nuclear-free zones. It shows that with the institutionalization of the zone conforming with generally operational principles and parameters, and not contradicting the rules of international law, the NFZ gains recognition and appropriate assurances. Otherwise, the failure to comply with these conditions complicates the process of gaining recognition by the zone as it happened with the NFZ in South East Asia. We hope that the dialogue between the countries of South East Asia and nuclear powers will eventually help to resolve the encountered difficulties.

The work on the draft treaty on a NFZ in Central Asia is underway. At the same time, efforts to establish such a zone in the Middle East still bring no result, which causes grave concern, especially in view of a complex military and strategic situation in the region.

As is well known, the issue of negative security assurances has long been debated at the Conference on Disarmament. By now, the work on the it negative assurances" has been resumed at the CD within the framework of the appropriate committee with the same mandate. We welcome this and reaffirm our position. We believe that, being a unique multilateral forum in the field of disarmament, the Conference on Disarmament appears to be the most appropriate place for such a work.

We think it necessary to elaborate and take effective measures with a view to further strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime without prejudice to the peaceful use of atomic energy by all States. To our mind, we should achieve this through improvement of national export control legislation and development of multilateral nuclear export control mechanisms of the Zangger Committee and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

In our opinion, the NSG activities during the previous period generally corresponded to the nature of existing problems. We fully supp6rt its policies aimed at increasing transparency and developing dialogue with non-member countries. Two international workshops on export control held under the aegis of the Group played a major role in the implementation of these policies.

In accordance with the NSG requirements, the Russian side strictly complies with the principle of applying full scope safeguards to nuclear exports to non-nuclear countries. At the same time, our legislation does not interfere with normal cooperation with other States in the area of atomic energy.

We would also like to draw you attention to the need to increase the number of countries participating in the Programme for Preventing and Combating Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear Materials, adopted at the Moscow Nuclear Safety and Security Summit in April 1996.

Russia actively supports IAEA activities. Their priorities include strengthening of safeguards, prevention of the illicit trafficking in nuclear materials, establishment of effective verification mechanisms for the member States participating in nuclear-free zones, etc.

We welcome IAEA efforts to establish an integrated safeguards system.

The Russian Federation and the IAEA have finally agreed upon a number of verification measures on Russia's territory, provided for by the Additional Protocol. Presently the entire package of documents has been submitted to the Government of the Russian Federation for approval.

Mr. Chairman,

Considering the process of the NPT review a very serious matter, the Russian delegation will make its contribution to the constructive dialogue between the participants of the third session of the Preparatory Committee with a view to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of this most important international instrument. While discussing the procedural issues of the Committee's agenda, we deem it expedient to utilize, as far as possible, the experience gained during five previous conferences with due regard for the specific character of the forthcoming 2000 Conference. As for the formula of the allocation of expenditures for financing sessions of the Preparatory Committee and the Conference itself, we find it reasonable to continue the practice followed previously in this area.

Thank you.