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

Statement from Norman A Wulf

May 10, 1999

"Objectives and Work of the 2000 NPT Review Conference"

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Mr. Chairman,

I am pleased to have the opportunity to address this third Preparatory Committee meeting for the 2000 NPT Review Conference. My delegation congratulates you on your selection as Chairman -- we are confident that we are in capable hands and, through you, our joint efforts will lead to success. My delegation looks forward to working with you over the coming two weeks and pledges to do whatever it can to facilitate your efforts to achieve a successful conclusion of our work to prepare for next year's Review Conference, Let me also add a word of welcome to Brazil - the newest adherent to the NPT and a country which became a party after our last meeting. My delegation looks forward to working with the delegation of Brazil not only in the weeks ahead, but in the years ahead as well.

On the substantive work before us, the United States is prepared to exchange views and to provide information on its efforts this past year to meet its obligations and to promote the goals of the Treaty. Simply put, the U.S. remains strongly committed to the NPT and to continuing to meet its obligations under all aspects of the Treaty. However, we will await the "cluster debate" sessions to detail our efforts. I would only note here that, recognizing the particular interest of many states in Article VI, the United States has come to this meeting prepared to provide a thorough outline of its actions and intentions. The U.S will also circulate to this body an updated "Fact Sheet" outlining the myriad steps the United States has taken in support of its commitment to the NPT.

Mr. Chairman, this meeting marks an important milestone on the road to the 2000 Review Conference, a journey that began three years ago, but in reality started with the decisions from the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. Then, as now, NPT parties desired a robust process of treaty review that would help achieve a stronger and

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more dynamic NPT. Then, as now, NPT parties recognized that the Treaty was an irreplaceable part of the global nonproliferation regime and that the Treaty was indispensable for global peace and security. But in 1995, few conceived of how this strengthened review process would evolve. It has been our work, our collective responsibility, these past three years to implement the basic concepts outlined in the 1995 decisions thereby giving definition and shape to the "strengthened review concept. We have sought through our work to institute a process that will result in a stronger NPT.

Strengthened Review Process

Many hours have been spent in various meetings of this body, and elsewhere, discussing the strengthened review process, what it means, what it should achieve, and whether it has been a "success." These discussions have not led to consensus conclusions, but have revealed many different interpretations of the strengthened review process. From our consultations this past year, I conclude that the different interpretations are not mutually exclusive and it is neither useful nor necessary to further define the process by trying to identify one common vision. Rather, we should recognize that the "strengthened review process" has been and will continue to be defined not by drafting exercises, but through our concrete actions.

One need do little more than compare the schedule for the final PrepCom meeting leading to the 1995 Conference with our meeting here to see one of the more concrete reflections of the strengthened review: that it has resulted in an unprecedented and in-depth consideration of substantive issues by NPT Preparatory Committee meetings. The final Preparatory Committee meeting before 1995 Review Conference devoted only two sessions to national statements and the remainder of that preparatory meeting was devoted to discussion of procedural issues. By contrast, we will spend nine of the next ten days devoted exclusively to debating and exchanging views on substantive issues, proposals, and recommendations. Like the final PrepCom for the 1995 Conference, we will need to spend time resolving remaining procedural and organizational issues. But we will also look to conclude important work to identify recommendations to the 2000 Review Conference on "principles, objectives, and ways" to achieve the full implementation of the Treaty. This heightened emphasis on substance has characterized the entire strengthened review process beginning in 1997 and is a clear manifestation of how the process has been strengthened. Although some undoubtedly disagree, we believe that the process has been productive and that the prospects for the 2000 NPT Review Conference remain good.

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Objectives for the 2000 NPT Review Conference

My delegation believes the 2000 Review Conference should not only review the implementation of the NPT since 1995, but also look forward. The United States delegation will work energetically to facilitate these results. We will also work energetically to record those efforts in consensus documentation at the Review Conference. Indeed, we support a traditional review document and a forward-looking document. However, we will not measure the success of the 2000 NPT Review Conference by whether it achieves consensus on these documents. Rather, we hope for a Review Conference that conducts a healthy debate on the past operation of the NPT and on future ways to strengthen further the Treaty. History instructs us that efforts to produce documents reflecting our actions, as in the first five Review Conferences, whether in one documents or two, as we now propose, will not be easy. It will take a high degree of political accommodation by all participants to achieve this result.

My delegation hopes this PrepCom meeting can reach an understanding not only that the Review Conference should seek to conduct a review and a forward look but also on how the Review Conference might organize itself to accomplish these tasks. There is already agreement on reestablishing the three Main Committees and, we believe general support to use the same allocation of items for each Committee to consider. Clearly, the Committees will review and assess the past implementation of the Treaty. They should also provide ideas that could be incorporated into the forward-looking document. What remains to be determined is how the 2000 NPT Review Conference would pursue its "forward-looking" task.

The United States has drafted a working paper addressing this question and has asked that this working paper be circulated as a PrepCom document. We see the President of the Review Conference as having the key role in managing and coordinating our forward-looking effort at the Review Conference. The United States believes that, to facilitate a successful effort, the President of the Review Conference:

(1) should undertake wide-ranging consultations to gain a sense of priorities and perspectives of parties on the forward look;

(2) should draw from the work of the Main Committees during the course of their deliberations; and

(3) should keep all participants informed of his findings and efforts in informal plenary meetings or General Committee sessions.

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Mr. Chairman, we believe that adequate time should be made available during this meeting for further consideration of these issues. Resolution of this issue, my delegation believes, will make a critical contribution by this PrepCom to the ultimate success of the 2000 NPT Review Conference.

Work of the Third PrepCom Meeting

If we reach agreement here on the objectives for the 2000 NPT Review Conference and on how that Conference might organize itself to achieve those results, we will have done a great deal to ensure success in 2000. But it will not be enough if we do not also finish remaining procedural questions such as:

rules of procedure for the 2000 NPT RevCon;

the agenda for the 2000 NPT RevCon; background documentation for the 2000 NPT RevCon;

allocation of items to the RevCon Main Committees for their work; and

leadership of the 2000 NPT Review Conference.

At the same time, however, we should try to produce substantive recommendations for consideration by the Review Conference. The United States believes that efforts over the past two years to craft the "Chairman's Paper" have been useful. My delegation supports use of the Chairman's Paper as the basis for our work here and hopes that progress can be made to broaden the areas of agreement on substantive issues. We also believe that even the unagreed parts of the paper will provide a useful compendium of substantive ideas for the work of the RevCon.


Mr. Chairman, I would like to share some thoughts about the broader context in which we will conduct our work. I have been personally involved in nonproliferation policy issues for nearly twenty years and cannot recall a year more active or challenging for nonproliferation than this past one. Today marks nearly a year to the day that the global nonproliferation regime experienced one of the most overt acts of proliferation. India conducted test explosions of nuclear weapons, followed soon thereafter by Pakistan. This third meeting of the Preparatory Committee is the first opportunity that NPT parties have had to register their views on these events at a meeting open to all States Parties.

The nuclear testing in South Asia was a grave disservice to our collective efforts because it occurred in the context of an historic achievement of a CTBT and a continuing deep reduction in the number of nuclear weapons worldwide. In the weeks following the nuclear tests, nearly every country around the world registered its strong condemnation of

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India's and Pakistan's actions and its strong support for and commitment to the global nonproliferation regime.

Mr. Chairman, the United States views the NPT as a global Treaty, and the treaty review process needs to focus on all issues in a balanced manner. Only by doing so can we ensure that the review process will indeed strengthen the Treaty and promote global security. At the same time, we must approach our work with a healthy dose of realism and avoid the assumption that the NPT process can achieve what has not been achievable elsewhere.

Mr. Chairman, the United States is mindful of the challenge we face to achieve our objectives both here and in 2000. Let me restate that we will do our part to ensure that this challenge is successfully met.

Thank you.