At the outset, let me congratulate you on your well deserved assumption of the chairmanship over this important forum and express the confidence that your expert guidance will lead us to successful results in our work. I would also like to assure you of the continual cooperation and support of my delegation.
There is no surprise, Mr. Chairman, - and you are definitely aware of this - that the current session of the NPT 2000 PrepCom is going to be very much different from that of 1998 and, presumably, even more difficult. The year that passed since that time was marked by a number of unprecedented changes and important events both in the area of nuclear and conventional disarmament and in the international situation, in general. For better or worse, we started looking differently at things that for a long time seemed set, well grounded and unshakeable to us. And this fact would probably have the most serious bearing on our work here,
It is already a fait accompli that the delicate shell of the nuclear club has irremediably gone to pieces, while 38 States in almost or virtually all parts of the world possess ballistic missile technologies. The recent nuclear and ballistic missiles tests in South Asia is only a visible part of an iceberg which has every potential to grow bigger.
Needless to say that we were all deeply concerned by the real threat of another round of nuclear proliferation unleashed last year. This news was especially painful to learn about for my country which had voluntarily renounced its nuclear arsenal, the world s third largest, sincerely hoping that our example would encourage other States to follow this path. Unfortunately, that was not the case and the hardly commenced process was relentlessly reversed.
There has been a lot of frustration voiced in connection with the events of the last year, based on the concern of the risk of further proliferation of nuclear weapons. To this end Ukraine stands by the principles that no reasons of national security can justify the attempts to instigate a new round of the nuclear arms race, And we believe that the international community could and should consolidate its efforts to tame the spread of nuclear weapons.
UN Security Council Resolution 1172 (1998) remains the foundation for further work in this respect. Ukraine is actively involved in the activities of the relevant Task Force of Senior Officials on the issues arising from nuclear tests in South Asia, and, in fact, starting from 1 June this year, will be chairing the Task Force, the next meeting of which is to be held this summer in Kyiv.
The idea which my delegation would like to convey in this forum is that real and effective disarmament and progress in non-proliferation will not be possible if it is taken and pursued, whether by chance or not, as an independent and unrelated to other aspects of global détente process. It should go in parallel with the overall improvement of international situation in other areas, creation and practical safeguarding of global security guarantees, strict compliance of States and international organizations with norms and fundamental principles of international law, as well as with establishing the atmosphere of mutual trust in international relations.
It is our view that disarmament and non-proliferation should be a part of a wider system of instruments in the maintenance of international peace and security. It is only then that we will be able to achieve real progress, and it is in light of this that Ukraine regards the importance of our work on a comprehensive and objective review of ways and means of improving the implementation of the NPT Treaty which constitutes an indispensable part of the global system of security guarantees. We look forward and we call upon all the members of international community and first of all the States of P-5 to take concrete steps to push ahead the process of real disarmament for the sake of a more secure international environment.
As we all know, the Second session of the Preparatory Committee held in Geneva was characterized by significant divergence in views on many important issues. As a result, the Preparatory Committee could not agree on recommendations concerning the schedule of activities for the 1999 session of the Committee. Nor any consent was reached on a number of outstanding procedural matters related to the 2000 Review Conference.
As far as our substantive work is concerned, we can and should achieve further progress based on the documents approved in 1995 and in the course of the two previous sessions of PrepCom, wherein the basic principles and purposes of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament were carefully negotiated and defined. The suggested measures on multilateral, regional and other levels constitute a comprehensive program of joint efforts of States Parties aimed at further increasing the NPT efficiency.
At the same time, the main task of the current session of the Committee, as we see it, is not only the preparation of universal recommendations for further strengthening of the Review process, but also the work on further measures to ensure a full implementation of the Treaty. We, therefore, believe that the Preparatory Committee should not devote too much time to deliberations on procedural matters, and should start as soon as possible its substantive work, including the practical examination of ways of achieving the universality of the NPT.
Attaching priority significance to the comprehensive nuclear disarmament, Ukraine is convinced of the necessity to take decisive steps towards the creation of reliable mechanisms of verification and monitoring of effective implementation of international agreements in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
In its international activities, Ukraine consistently supports all efforts aimed at strengthening the non-proliferation regime. The evidence to that is our signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is submitted for ratification to the Ukrainian Parliament. We are constantly upgrading the state system of control over the nuclear weapon related exports.
Touching upon the regional issues, we welcome the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia and the decision of Mongolia to declare its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone. At the same time, we strongly believe that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones should be based on the principle of voluntary choice and consent of the states of the region concerned, coupled with the support by the nuclear States which would include respective guarantees on their part, and provided the effective forms of monitoring,
Bearing in mind the well known reasons related to the far-reaching effects for my country of the Chornobyl catastrophe, Ukraine is particularly sensitive to problems of nuclear safety. As you know, back in September 1995 Ukraine signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency the Agreement on the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The implementation of this Agreement and assistance of the IAEA and donor-states contributed effectively to the establishment of the national safeguards system. We are strongly committed to this cooperation.
Ukraine considers that the series of measures provided for by the so-called IAEA Programme "93 + 2" will improve the safeguards system of the Agency. However, it is obvious that the success of this Programme can only be achieved if the principle of non-discrimination and a full and comprehensive participation in these activities of all States is implemented.
Ukraine proceeds from the sovereign right of the NPT States Parties to conduct research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, provided they strictly abide by the relevant international standards in the field of verification of nuclear technologies and full transparency of national programs.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, with respect to the organization of work of the Preparatory Committee, my delegation would like to underline the importance of reaching consensus on the general framework We also hope that the work of the Third session will be carried out in the spirit of effective cooperation and thus ensure the success of our mutual efforts.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.