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

Statement from Mr. Ian Soutar

10 MAY 1999, NEW YORK

Mr Chairman

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My delegation listened with incredulity to the statement made today by the distinguished representative of Iraq. The United Kingdom takes exception to being accused of broaching its commitments under Article I of the Treaty. These accusations are totally untrue and without foundation. Let me re-affirm strongly how seriously Her Majesty's Government takes its responsibilities under the NPT. The Preparatory Committee and all States Parties should be in no doubt of this.

We should also remind ourselves that Iraq, over a number of years, deliberately and cynically ignored its legal commitments as a State Party to the NPT not to develop nuclear weapons. Even when the International Atomic Energy Agency, acting under the mandate given to it in UN Security Council Resolution 687, uncovered evidence of Iraq's clandestine and illegal nuclear programme, the Government of Iraq contrived to deny the extent of this programme. Only through the perseverance of the IAEA was the story gradually revealed. But still it is not complete.. To this day, Iraq has not undertaken all the measures demanded of it by the international community in UNSCR 687, for example passing national legislation outlawing any efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The distinguished representative of Iraq also drew attention to the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. The United Kingdom supports the objective. But, it can only be achieved when all states in the region rid themselves of these weapons and negotiate such a regime freely amongst themselves. Iraq bears a special responsibility in this respect. It should comply immediately with its obligations under UNSCR 687 instead of continuing with the web of falsehoods and obfuscation that it has woven.