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

Statement from H.E. Dr. T.J.B. Jokonya

10th MAY, 1999


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Mr. Chairman, Allow me to associate myself with the congratulations already addressed to you for taking the mantle of the 1999 PrepCom. In view of your wealth of experience, we hope to work fruitfully and successfully under your guidance in the search for mutually acceptable decisions on the complex issues of disarmament and international security. Needless to say, you can count on the Zimbabwe delegation for support in discharging your duties.

Mr. Chairman, it is my delegation's considered view that the NPT regime will atrophy if progress is not made during this Prepcom. It is also equally true that unless the Nuclear Weapon States make significant progress towards Article VI on disarmament obligations by the time of the 2000 Review Conference, the NPT regime which has been put in jeopardy by recent events in South Asia will be further threatened.

Mr. Chairman, since the 1995 Review and Extension, it is clear that there has been no political will to ensure the success of the conference. This explains why successive PrepComs have been, to all intense and purposes, fruitless. This is especially true of the 1998 Prepcom. The behaviour of some Nuclear Weapons states in negating proposals for new initiations for Prepcoms, confirmed our worst fears in the outcome of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. Throughout the negotiations of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, NAM, strongly argued that agreeing to an indefinite extension was all some of the nuclear states wanted. A "Carte Blanche, which would enable them to sit back and preserve their special privileges. The relative success of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference which saw agreement on

· "Strengthening the Review process for the Treaty."

· "Principles and objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament."

· "Unconditional Extension of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons."

· "Resolution on the Middle East"

was only made possible as a quid pro quo because some of the nuclear weapon states were only interested in securing permanence of the Treaty.

Mr. Chairman, as we begin the 1999 session of the Prepcom at the dawn of the new millenium, all states parties must demonstrate their political will if we are to lay the foundation for a successful 2000 NPT Review Conference. Assuming that there is such a will, especially on the part of the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS), the 1999 Preparatory Committee must look forward as well as backwards like a good driver who knows he cannot go very far on his journey were he to look only in the direction of his destination without looking in the rear view mirror. In looking forward, this Prepcom must ,Iike in the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, produce a document on Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. This must be a carefully crafted document or statement which clearly articulates what must be done to prevent nuclear ~-proliferation. It must not be a general document to assuage the consciences of those who want to preserve their status as an elite club. We need a detailed programme of action for nuclear disarmament.

Mr. Chairman, our experience in Geneva at the Conference on disarmament, clearly demonstrates the futility of engaging into negotiations without political will. The 61-member sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body ended the first part of its 1999 session on 25 March without a Programme of Work after failing to reach consensus on the issue. The Conference could not take advantage of the momentum created last year when it established two Ad Hoc Committees on the Fissile Material Treaty and Negative Assurances as well as the adoption of an agenda in February. The reconstitution of the two Ad Hoc Committees is proving to be a herculean task with the issue of nuclear disarmament being the major stumbling block.

There are sharp differences on how to deal with nuclear disarmament between the G21 and the Western Group. The former is insisting that nuclear disarmament remains priority number one and therefore any meaningful Programme of Work should address itself to the creation of an Ad Hoc committee on Nuclear Disarmament. This is a demand which has been and will for the foreseeable future be made on the Nuclear Weapon states.

The Western Group has always maintained that nuclear disarmament should be left to those countries that possess the weapons. This is manifest in the existing bilateral agreements between the USA and Russia (SATRT I AND START II). However, history has shown that bilateral agreements can easily be held hostage to national interests as is currently happening with START II which the Russian Duma is refusing to ratify.

Mr. Chairman, the second objective of this conference in our view is as we said earlier a close look at what we called the rear view mirror. It is important, as has already been stated by other delegates that we produce a document which reviews the past five years of implementation of the NPT and of the 1995 Principles and Disarmament.

Mr~ Chairman, our delegation strongly feels that this is the way forward for this 1999 Prepcom. In 1995 states parties amongst other things agreed on "Strengthening the Review Process." They agreed on "Principles and Objectives." They agreed on "Extension of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons" which made the Treaty, permanent. But Mr. Chair, states parties agreed on an equally important fourth decision; "The Resolution on the Middle East." All these constituted the agreement of 1995. There was no hierarchy to these. There would not have been any agreement on part of these four without the other. If in 1999 we are subjected to the negative approach of some states parties over the significance and place of any of the agreements as we carry out our review, the ~000 NPT Review Conference is guaranteed a still birth.

But states parties do not have the luxury of rendering 2000 NPT Review Conference a still birth. The advent of a new millennium compels all to deliver a nuclear free new century. It is not only possible but imperative. In our view it can be done if we establish clear goals in the current Prepcom. Let us take 1995 Principles and Objectives as a benchmark to craft ~000 Review Conference. We believe that some of the 1995 Principles and objectives such as sections on nuclear weapon4ree zones or those on peaceful uses of nuclear energy can be retrieved without problem. Areas that need closer look and reformulation in our views are those on safeguards.

The all important and understandably sensitive section on security assurances need much close scrutiny, especially in the light of the bad faith demonstrated by some Nuclear Weapon States in last year's Prepcom. The lack of progress at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva is also a case in point with respect to the bad faith of some of the nuclear weapons states. Developments in South Asia in the past months have also shown that we need another look at the question of universality. The impasse last year over the 1995 Middle East Resolution needs to be revisited with hopefully much more enlightened statesmanship on the part of those who have difficulty in its centrality to the entire package of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.

Mr. Chairman, at the end of the day, this whole exercise rests on states parties commitment to disarmament. The Programme of Action on the disarmament issue which the 1995 agreement called for has largely been ignored both at the CD and bilaterally by Nuclear Weapons States. There are other agreements such as the convention banning production of fissile materials (a Fissile Material Cut-off treaty or FMCT) and global reduction of Nuclear-Weapon with the ultimate goal of the elimination all Nuclear Weapons under international supervision. These also need reaffirmation. We have already made reference to the total lack of progress made at the CD in Geneva where there is no desire to make progress at all. This Prepcom Mr. Chairman must, at least clearly outline specific steps needed in order to reduce to nuclear arsenals. This should not be difficult. The work of the New Agenda Coalition which led to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 53177y charts the way forward. All non-nuclear states save one have endorsed this and only three nuclear states parties have opposed it. There must be a time bound frame to negotiations on Nuclear Disarmament Mr. Chairman, as was concluded by the 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.

Mr. Chairman my delegation would like to conclude by reiterating that the advent of a new millenium should spur us on to new heights. States parties, especially Nuclear Weapons States should resolve once for all to rid succeeding generations of the scourge of Nuclear Proliferation. The 1995 bargain or compromise can truly secure the objectives of the NPT if the lessons of 1998 Prepcom can be avoided. Let us build on the 1995 Review and Extension Conference to ensure that the 2000 Review Conference succeeds.

I thank you.