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The meeting was called to order at 10.25 a.m.
GENERAL DEBATE (continued)
1. Mr. ZAKI (Maldives) said that he wished to touch briefly upon the various aspects involved in the review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, namely, the objectives of the Treaty; what had been achieved; the obligations of States under the Treaty; the role played by the Treaty in arms control, disarmament and the negotiation of a comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty; and, above all, what remained to be done. His country, like the 177 other States parties, attached the utmost importance to the Treaty, since it was the only instrument which effectively supported non-proliferation and provided a foundation for global peace and security.
2. The Treaty was, however, not an end in itself. It contained provisions for periodic review and should in time lead to a nuclear-weapon-free world. In addition, it enshrined the right of countries to conduct peaceful nuclear programmes within a specific framework. The basic concept on which the Treaty was based was almost as old as the United Nations itself.
3. The characteristic features of the Treaty were that it played a considerable role with respect to the practical and legal implications of national and regional security; that it provided a clearly discernible programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons through negotiations in good faith and the adoption of measures in that area; that it provided for peaceful national nuclear programmes under safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); that it set out the principles governing the transfer of nuclear technology for the benefit of all parties; and that it supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones throughout the world (two such zones were already in existence, and others were being considered).
4. The Treaty did not deal solely with the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, but it also dealt with disarmament and international peace and security. The international community should therefore give the Treaty its full support if it wished, in the words of the Charter of the United Nations, "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war". The Treaty was the foundation of the non-proliferation regime and was closely linked to IAEA safeguards. Since the Treaty was a major factor in preventing nuclear war and in arms control and limitation efforts, it was not surprising that the review and extension of the Treaty should arouse such interest and anxiety. It was, on the other hand, sad and disconcerting to note that suspicion and envy were also playing a role.
5. His delegation welcomed the reassuring statements made recently by the five nuclear Powers and the adoption of Security Council resolution 984 (1995). The extension of the Treaty for a fixed period or series of fixed periods would ensure the continuation of the Treaty, but it would create uncertainty about the future. Criticism of the Treaty as discriminatory had been equally valid at the time of its adoption in 1968 and its entry into force in 1970. It was not so much the cold war but rather the possession by some States of a weapon of mass destruction which had prompted the adoption of the Treaty. It was therefore imperative to extend the Treaty in order to guarantee a safe future for the world and his country supported an indefinite extension without conditions. It commended the peoples and Governments of South Africa, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine for having convincingly demonstrated to the international community their great confidence in the Treaty.
6. Mr. ABDULAI (Ghana) said that 50 years ago, the horrors of nuclear war had been demonstrated in Hiroshima and the international community had decided that the future of mankind would be better guaranteed "without the bomb". The fears of the international community had been reflected shortly thereafter in the establishment of the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, the precursor of the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose mandate was to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons and promote the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under international control. In 1961, the General Assembly had called for measures to prevent an increase in the number of nuclear-weapon States and, in 1968, it had adopted the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
7. Having become a Member of the United Nations after attaining its independence in 1957, Ghana had taken part in the negotiations culminating in the adoption of the Treaty. In the 1960s, it had organized conferences on a "World without the Bomb" to protest against nuclear tests in the Sahara. It was therefore logical that it had been one of the first States to sign the Treaty in 1968 and to ratify it in 1970.
8. His delegation saw the non-proliferation regime not as an end in itself but rather as a means towards nuclear disarmament. The Treaty was intended to prevent the proliferation and wider dissemination of nuclear weapons and the arms race and to achieve general and complete disarmament. The Treaty also sought to encourage international cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and recognized the inalienable right of all States, in particular the developing countries, to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes on a non-discriminatory basis.
9. Under the Treaty, the nuclear-weapon States committed themselves not to transfer nuclear weapons or technology to any recipient whatsoever, whether directly or indirectly. For their part, the non-nuclear-weapon States undertook not to receive or seek to develop nuclear weapons or technology for making such weapons and to submit their peaceful nuclear facilities and materials to IAEA safeguards. Safeguards were not to hamper economic or technological development of the parties. The Treaty was not perfect. Although it had succeeded in limiting the number of nuclear-weapon States, it had not had an impact on the number and quality of nuclear weapons and had not achieved its objectives with regard to disarmament. Such progress in disarmament as had been achieved had come about in the context of other treaties (START I and II).
10. Ghana welcomed the assistance it received from IAEA and friendly countries, which enabled it to apply nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in the fields of health, agriculture and industry, but believed that much more could be achieved under the Treaty. His delegation also wished to draw attention to certain points of the non-proliferation Treaty which were a cause of concern for the non-aligned countries, including his own: States parties should reaffirm their commitment to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons according to a specific timetable; they should agree to a target date for the conclusion of a comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty and a treaty banning the production and stockpiling of fissile materials for nuclear weapons; they should commit themselves to respect nuclear-weapon-free zones and reaffirm the inalienable rights of the parties to full access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. In addition, the nuclear-weapon States should commit themselves to pursuing negotiations on legally binding negative and positive security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.
11. His delegation believed that, with a sincere commitment by all the parties to the disarmament objectives of the non-proliferation Treaty, the negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty could be concluded more quickly, and it hoped that such a treaty could be concluded in the next few months, with the cooperation of all parties concerned. His delegation appreciated the efforts made by the nuclear-weapon States which were permanent members of the Security Council to provide the non-nuclear-weapon States with assurances before the Conference, but hoped that the security assurances would be legally binding.
12. Following the abandonment by South Africa of its nuclear-weapons programme, the African continent was engaged in the preparation of a treaty for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone and his delegation hoped that the proposed instrument would receive the support of all. The international community should also vigorously pursue efforts to end tensions in the Middle East and South Asia so that nuclear-weapon-free zones could be established in those regions.
13. His country was prepared to participate in negotiations on the future of the Treaty and hoped that they would lead to a stronger non-proliferation regime and nuclear disarmament and would promote peace. The best solution for all States was truly a "world without the bomb".
14. Mr. BIRKAVS (Latvia) said that, as an occupied State in 1968, his country had been unable to participate in the conference at which the non-proliferation Treaty had been drafted. It paid tribute to the drafters of the Treaty and noted that, by relinquishing a part of their sovereignty, States parties had collectively reduced the risk of Armageddon. The end of the cold war, in halting the nuclear-arms race, had reduced that risk even further. Latvia supported indefinite, unconditional extension of the Treaty.
15. Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Treaty, one of the main purposes of which was to prevent an increase in the number of nuclear-weapon States, horizontal proliferation among non-nuclear-weapon States could, on the whole, be seen to have been kept in check. However, his country was alarmed that some States were seeking or had sought a nuclear-weapons capacity. While there had been relative success in curbing horizontal proliferation, halting vertical proliferation had proved an elusive goal during the cold war. Latvia was gratified that the arms race had at long last been reversed and that the various disarmament agreements between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, as well as unilateral measures by all the nuclear Powers, had profoundly changed the world. That progress could be attributed to the new international climate and to the good faith shown by the nuclear-weapon States pursuant to their commitments under the non-proliferation Treaty. The Treaty regime provided a framework of stability, security and predictability which had permitted concerted implementation of a disarmament agenda.
16. Much remained to be done, however, and Latvia hoped that present and future nuclear disarmament agreements and commitments would be fully and rapidly implemented. A comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty was within reach and until such an agreement was reached, Latvia urged all States to continue the current moratorium on nuclear-weapons testing. It awaited the commencement of negotiations on a convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. Such a convention, which must be non-discriminatory, multilateral and effectively verifiable, would immeasurably increase confidence among all States. Negative and positive security assurances were an additional confidence-building measure. Latvia urged further negotiations on the expansion of such measures, including the conclusion of legally binding security assurances.
17. The relative success of the non-proliferation Treaty in curbing horizontal proliferation was due to the large number of States that were parties to it, who had put their trust in the non-proliferation regime knowing that most of their neighbours were also parties. However, in view of the gravity of the threat of proliferation, Latvia urged all States that were not parties, in particular the threshold States, to accede to it so that the Treaty might become universal by the end of the century.
18. Latvia had concluded a safeguards agreement with IAEA and urged all States which had not fulfilled that obligation to do so as soon as possible. International cooperation and an effective system of verification were essential to collective security. States should have the assurance that information yielded by IAEA inspections was accurate and complete.
19. He recalled that during the general debate at the forty-ninth session of the General Assembly, Latvia had called not only for a coalition for democracy but also for a fight against organized crime and the trafficking of nuclear materials and narcotics. Such coalitions were particularly relevant with regard to nuclear non-proliferation, since not only States but also individuals might have access to weapons of mass destruction. Urgent measures, including the development of regional arrangements, must be taken in order to strengthen borders and thus prevent uncontrolled movements of nuclear materials, and the financial resources needed to implement IAEA safeguards must be mobilized.
20. The non-proliferation Treaty was the only near-universal disarmament instrument. Its indefinite extension would make permanent the legal commitments contained therein. Any other decision would weaken the Treaty and the IAEA regime. The Treaty had helped to keep regional conflicts and tensions away from the nuclear arena, but that could change if the future of the Treaty was called into question.
21. It was important to acknowledge the significant disarmament steps taken by the nuclear-weapon States in implementing article VI of the Treaty. Indefinite extension of the Treaty would provide the stability and predictability that were necessary for further disarmament measures and for ensuring a world free of nuclear arms, would discourage the non-nuclear-weapon States from hedging against the possible expiration of the Treaty and, lastly, would help to create a framework in which the threshold States could be prodded into acceding to the Treaty.
22. Mr. SAMASSEKOU (Mali) said that his country had acceded to the non-proliferation Treaty because it believed that no security could be achieved through reliance on the possession of nuclear weapons. Mali had always encouraged all States to abide by their commitments under the Treaty which, despite its imperfections, particularly the imbalance between the rights and obligations of nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon States, was the only instrument designed to halt the spread of the deadliest weapon ever known to man. As soon as it had become independent, Mali had called for an end to all nuclear tests, particularly in the Sahara.
23. The Treaty had achieved some remarkable successes, including the prevention of horizontal proliferation and the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, but there were several defects in its functioning because some of its obligations had been breached; for instance, the nuclear Powers had been slow to honour their commitments under articles IV and VI of the Treaty and some non-nuclear-weapon States were seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. Despite the glimmer of hope kindled by the unilateral and bilateral measures taken by the two major nuclear Powers, it was a source of concern that many "intermediate nuclear Powers" had emerged onto an international scene that had become more difficult to control.
24. With regard to the three alternatives proposed for paragraph 2 of article X of the Treaty, his delegation believed that in the absence of a comprehensive agreement on the destruction of all nuclear weapons, limited extension of the Treaty for a period of between 15 and 20 years might be one of the better proposals, on the understanding that any decision on the Treaty's future would have to be taken by consensus. The proposed period should be used to offer greater security guarantees, particularly for denuclearized regions such as Africa.
25. Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Group of African States and on behalf of the 50 African States parties to the non-proliferation Treaty, he wished to comment on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa. After retracing the history of that issue, which dated back to the first nuclear tests in the Sahara, and recalling General Assembly resolution 1652 (XVI), which considered Africa a denuclearized zone, and a resolution and solemn declaration of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), he said that Africa and OAU had set themselves the goals of keeping the African continent outside all spheres of rivalry and making it a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Since the establishment of a democratic regime in South Africa, that country had not only acceded to the non-proliferation Treaty but also renounced all its nuclear programmes. Africa's determination to become a nuclear-weapon-free zone was also evident in the OAU commitment since the 1990 declaration on the political and socio-economic situation of Africa, which sought to establish a climate of security conducive to economic development.
26. In order to promote the development of Africa, OAU had taken steps to halt internal conflicts on the continent. For example, it had established machinery for the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts. The creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone would help to strengthen those efforts by eliminating the risk of nuclear-weapons proliferation and the use of those weapons against African States. Africa was working for the universal application of the non-proliferation Treaty and urged the nuclear-weapon States to accelerate negotiations on the destruction of those weapons.
27. He mentioned the work of the Group of Experts responsible for drafting a treaty or convention on the denuclearization of Africa, the purpose of which was to prohibit nuclear weapons and promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. He listed the various points covered in the draft, and particularly the problem of nuclear waste, and recalled that the Bamako Convention prohibited all dumping and storing of toxic waste on the continent. The instrument that was being drafted also dealt with the acquisition of nuclear technology for economic and social development purposes, the strengthening of regional and subregional cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the right of the African States to seek and obtain the necessary assistance and cooperation from the developed countries and the IAEA. A full-scope safeguards agreement, including a system of effective verification, should be concluded and administered with the IAEA.
28. Africa would only be viable as a nuclear-weapon-free zone if it received full and unconditional support from the international community. It called for positive and negative security assurances, to be embodied in a binding international legal instrument, in the form of a protocol annexed to the Treaty, to which the African States themselves would be parties. Africa's willingness to renounce the possession of nuclear weapons deserved to be matched by the offer of credible security assurances. In that connection, Africa welcomed the adoption by the Security Council of resolutions 255 (1968) and 984 (1995), but nevertheless considered that the current assurances should be strengthened and that strategic considerations should not prevent the rapid elimination of nuclear weapons.
29. Africa fervently hoped that nuclear energy would in future be used on the planet exclusively for peaceful purposes. A terrible threat was hanging over mankind. If it came from the South it would have been warded off, but it basically came from another direction. He urged the international community, with the approach of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, to show political will and join in building a new and peaceful world, free from fear of the apocalypse.
30. Mr. Wheeler (South Africa), Vice-President, took the Chair.
31. Mr. AL-ZAHAWI (Iraq) said that although previous speakers had mentioned Iraq as the example of a country seeking to acquire a nuclear capability, they had not mentioned it as an example in any other context because they were seeking to promote their policies in the region. What Iraq had had to endure since 1981 other States might have to endure in the future. The lesson from that experience was that a certain entity, while refusing to accede to the Treaty, had managed, by secret and illicit means, to acquire nuclear weapons, not only with the knowledge of certain nuclear-weapon States but also with their assistance. Subsequently that entity had decided to take the law into its own hands and launched an armed attack against installations which, as they belonged to a State party to the Treaty, were covered by safeguards. That had not protected that State from the attack nor from a repetition of such attacks, repeatedly threatened by the aggressor. The Security Council and IAEA had stated that that attack constituted a serious threat for the entire IAEA safeguards system, on which the non-proliferation Treaty was based, and they had adopted resolutions asking the aggressor to place its nuclear installations under IAEA safeguards and to refrain in future from committing acts of that kind or threatening to commit them. Several years had elapsed but the resolutions had remained a dead letter because the Council and the international community had done nothing to ensure their implementation. The reason was that the authorities of one of the nuclear-weapon States considered that the aggressor in question was entitled to acquire a nuclear capability and to act as it pleased because, as they put it, it behaved in a rational and responsible manner. They pretended to forget that that entity had threatened to bring out the nuclear bomb that it kept "hidden in the basement", not to defend its existence but to hold on to the territories it had occupied, settled and annexed by force. In that entity there was a powerful opposition party which was expected to win the forthcoming elections and which was urging that not a single inch of the occupied territories should be surrendered, and was ready, in its fanaticism, to go to any lengths, whatever the cost. It was not hard to see what that party would do with its nuclear bomb. Nevertheless, the nuclear-weapon State in question was not changing its policy towards the entity, on which it was lavishing financial resources, weapons and nuclear cooperation.
32. There was also another State, which was not a party to the Treaty and which had succeeded in acquiring certain nuclear capabilities without having to steal material or equipment or any other components or contravene the laws of the great Power in question or of any other State, unlike the other entity. However, the great Power was imposing a blockade on that State and an arms embargo, although it had already paid for its weapons. It was hard to see the justice in such biased policies and one wondered how independent States, large or small, could ensure their safety, exercise their rights and put their trust in ambiguous and illusory safeguards that failed to protect them against murderous acts of aggression.
33. Iraq, in keeping with Security Council resolution 687 (1991), had for four years submitted to strict nuclear controls and was fully cooperating in that sphere, as had been acknowledged by the IAEA. In paragraph 14 of the above-mentioned resolution, the Council noted that the actions to be taken by Iraq represented steps towards the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery. Not only had nothing been done in that area but the only State in the region which had not signed the Treaty and which possessed nuclear weapons was still refusing to accede to it. As for the great Power which was protecting that State, and which was behind the above-mentioned resolution, it was neither applying the provisions of that paragraph of the resolution nor reacting to the intransigence of its protege, although it was trying to make other States of the region apply the provisions of the Treaty when they would thereby renounce the exercise of their legitimate rights to equality and to ensure their security.
34. Iraq considered that the Conference should take those facts into consideration in order to avoid any discrimination. Otherwise, by exempting one State from applying the provisions of the Treaty while expecting others to respect it forever, there would inevitably be attempts to restore a certain balance. That meant an arms race, whether secret or public. It would therefore be unwise for the Conference to ignore that reality or to close its eyes to the consequences.
35. The objective was to safeguard the interests of all parties without granting privileges to a minority and depriving the majority of its right to equality, and even endangering its security and its future. Efforts must therefore be made either to establish equity and equilibrium or - preferably -to attain the ultimate goal sought by all mankind, namely the complete and permanent elimination of the nuclear threat.
36. If there had been any equilibrium at the beginning, the world would not have experienced the atrocities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Without the balance subsequently achieved in the world, the cold war would not have remained cold. One might thus consider the case of the war waged by the United States against Viet Nam as an example of the role played by nuclear weapons as an instrument of deterrence. Kissinger had stated that the Kennedy team wrongly thought there was nuclear parity between the United States and the Soviet Union, which made a general war unthinkable. McNamara had said that Eisenhower, under the Johnson presidency in 1965, had advised the United States Government to threaten the Chinese and Soviets with the atomic bomb if they themselves threatened to intervene in Viet Nam.
37. If Eisenhower, who was considered to have been one of the great presidents of the United States, had advised the use of nuclear weapons, one shudders at the thought of what might have happened if the United States had not considered that there was parity with the Soviet Union. In spite of that conviction, United States generals, such as General Curtis LeMay, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, had threatened to drop the atomic bomb on North Viet Nam.
38. Apparently, the military and civilian leaders of the United States were very attached to the idea of atomic bombing designed to destroy a city or an entire country, since their experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The wife of President Reagan had stated that General Alexander Haig, Secretary of State, had requested the United States Security Council to have Cuba turned into a parking lot. General Michael Dugan, another Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, had stated in the Washington Post of 16 September 1990 that the United States was planning to conduct a massive bombardment of the centre of Baghdad and to eliminate the President and his family. General Dugan had also requested experts to tell him what Iraqis considered to be the most sacred Muslim site in Iraq so as to bomb it. At the beginning of 1991, the Secretary of State, James Baker, threatened to bomb Iraq back to the pre-industrial era. The United States Air Force had complied by unleashing more than 120,000 tons of bombs on Iraq, a total force representing more than the atomic bombs launched against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a result, the United Nations representative, Mr. Maarti Ahtissari, had stated in his report to the Secretary-General, that Iraq had indeed been bombed back to the pre-industrial era. What annoyed certain people was that Iraq, thanks to the determination of the Iraqis and the resolution of their leaders, had been able to reconstruct the country and defy the plans of the United States. It was clear from all the statements and descriptions that those were not isolated cases but were constantly recurring in the thoughts and behaviour of the United States.
39. It was unlikely that Mr. McNamara felt guilty about the murderous attack on Viet Nam and its neighbours for he had planned to list the Vietnamese killed so as to prove the success of United States policy. In fact, the cause of his guilt was the deaths of 58,000 United States soldiers brought about as a result of that policy.
40. It might be wondered whether Viet Nam could have saved its 3 million victims if it had been able to make the United States hesitate before it launched its attack.
41. McNamara had stated that he had written his book in order to avoid wars against nationalists whose emotional power could not be reduced to silence by United States bombs.
42. At present that stage was over and the moment had come to achieve the fundamental aim of the Treaty and to work seriously in favour of the elimination of all nuclear weapons from the earth and to ensure the future of coming generations.
43. Meanwhile, the most urgent task was to define a precise timetable for the reduction in the number of nuclear weapons and their elimination, the universal implementation of the Treaty, the establishment of a non-discriminatory regime regarding the transfer of nuclear technology to countries that were not parties to the treaty.
44. Finally, he reaffirmed the Arab position set forth in the resolution adopted in March 1995 by the Council of the Arab League, namely, that the endorsement of the status quo, which compelled all the States of the Middle East except Israel to respect the Treaty, was a serious mistake which threatened peace and stability in the region and was therefore unacceptable.
45. Mr. HOROI (Solomon Islands) said it was against a backdrop of profound change in political and security relations that the Conference was now considering the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It was therefore an historic occasion on which to decide the future of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. The Conference should therefore concentrate on the substantive issues of the Treaty's implementation, particularly on nuclear disarmament under article VI. The Conference must focus not only on the record but also on concrete ways to improve it. It must be improved drastically and quickly. Nuclear danger was a global problem and it required a global solution. The decisions to be made during the next few weeks would affect the very future of the earth. Even a small developing nation like Solomon Islands had a view about the world and relied on a healthy environment for its survival. It was therefore acutely aware of the need to protect its natural resources from nuclear contamination.
46. Solomon Islands was concerned about French testing in the Pacific and the possibility of nuclear wars or explosions anywhere in the world. Nothing short of the total and final elimination of all nuclear weapons for all time would convince his country that such a nightmare would not one day happen. The experience of the last 25 years did not yet give it confidence of the commitment of the world's nations and especially the nuclear-weapons States to that end.
47. If the world kept going in the present direction without a committed, global effort to delegitimize and to ban under international inspection the possession of nuclear weapons by anyone - as chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction were now banned - it was likely to experience within coming decades not only threats but actual explosions of Hiroshima-size bombs in regional wars or terrorist acts. And that prospect threatened the Solomon Islands along with every other nation in the world.
48. Solomon Islands had experienced first-hand the devastation and suffering of war. In addition, it had been affected throughout the cold war by nuclear weapons testing and other related activities. Those experiences had had a profound influence on its efforts to promote peace and nuclear disarmament internationally and on its deep commitment to the goal of world peace and security. Solomon Islands played an active role in the South Pacific Forum, other regional organizations and the United Nations and its major agencies. Its commitment to regional and international cooperation and peace was reflected in the adoption of the following measures.
49. Solomon Islands, together with other members of the South Pacific Forum, had agreed to adopt the South Pacific Nuclear-Free-Zone Treaty in 1985 (Treaty of Rarotonga). It considered that Treaty to be the region's central contribution to the strengthening of global security and the international non-proliferation regime. It was with deep regret that Solomon Islands noted that, among the nuclear-weapon States, Russia and China had ratified the protocols of that Treaty but France, the United Kingdom and the United States had not. The Solomon Islands considered that the establishment of nuclear weapon-free zones in all regions of the world was an important objective in the world quest for total nuclear disarmament. The Treaty of Tlatelolco had shown the way, followed by the Treaty of Rarotonga; the members of ASEAN were ready to finalize a draft treaty creating a nuclear-free zone in South East Asia; the countries of Africa were also ready to create such a zone. The Solomon Islands hoped that those moves would encourage similar initiatives in other parts of Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
50. In 1993, its concern over the health and environmental effects of the use of nuclear weapons had led Solomon Islands, together with other members of the World Health Organization (WHO) to vote in favour of a request for an Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict. In 1994, it had joined 77 other nations in supporting General Assembly resolution 49/75 K, urgently requesting the Court for a second and more comprehensive Advisory Opinion, on the legality of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Solomon Islands would continue to participate actively in those proceedings and hoped that they would spur on the efforts of the nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their obligations under the Treaty and to eliminate nuclear weapons completely.
51. While his country welcomed the efforts of the United States and Russia to reduce the numbers of nuclear weapons, it must be noted that the joint level of 7,000 strategic warheads to be achieved by the year 2003 if the START II Agreement was implemented, that would involve almost exactly the same number that the United States and Russia had deployed in 1970 when the Treaty entered into force 25 years ago. Unless his delegation heard commitments that START III negotiations would aim at further deep reductions below the 1970 level and that the other nuclear States were ready to join in disarmament negotiations at last, it would have little choice but to conclude that the nuclear-weapon States did not take seriously their article VI commitment to pursue the elimination of nuclear weapons. That would have profound consequences for the future of international relations and of the Treaty itself. Likewise, the failure of the nuclear-weapon States to agree even on a draft of a comprehensive test-ban treaty by the opening of the present Conference was deeply disturbing. It had given rise to concern that after the Conference adjourned they might turn their backs on their obligation to ban all nuclear explosions for all time. Instead, they might agree to a low-yield threshold treaty, allowing sizeable explosions which would permit further development of nuclear weapons and would spur rather than inhibit proliferation.
52. The success of the Conference would be judged not only by a decision to extend the Treaty but also on the demonstrated political will of the parties to implement the Treaty, including article VI, and to reform and strengthen the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.
53. While the Treaty had proved an invaluable tool in stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons, it was not sufficient to extend it indefinitely without wholehearted support by a broad consensus. Both the Treaty itself and the commitments towards disarmament required to achieve its goals merited the affirmation of the Conference by overwhelming votes, freely given. The security of the international community demanded no less.
54. The Solomon Islands wished to stress the vital need for the parties to the Conference to commit themselves to taking additional concrete steps to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime. Without such steps, the Treaty could not attain its dual objectives of ending nuclear-weapons proliferation and bringing about the progressive elimination of nuclear weapons. The current regime gave nuclear-weapon States too much latitude, allowing them to retain large nuclear arsenals. Global political consensus was needed in order to implement the measures that would strengthen and reform the non-proliferation regime, but unless the nuclear Powers committed themselves once more to their nuclear disarmament obligations under article VI of the Treaty and took immediate and concrete steps to carry them out, that consensus would not be sustained. The current pace of progress towards the abolition of nuclear weapons was insufficient and deeply troubling, particularly in light of the historic opportunities that had emerged with the end of the cold war. Non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament were inextricably linked. It would soon be all or nothing, abolition or proliferation. Either all nations would forgo the right to possess and threaten the use of nuclear weapons, or every nation would claim that right, and many nations and groups would act on it. In order to strengthen the non-proliferation regime and give effect to article VI, the nuclear-weapon States should immediately set a date for the start of negotiations on a convention to eliminate nuclear weapons - in which negotiations the undeclared nuclear-weapon States and threshold States should participate. There should also be a target date for the completion of those negotiations by the year 2000.
55. The Review and Extension Conference itself should be a forum in which the parties affirmed their political commitment to strengthening the non-proliferation regime. Those commitments should be included in the Conference's final document or in a statement of comparable importance. Progress or lack of progress in implementing those mutual obligations should be measured and assessed in a far more rigorous way than was currently the case with the five-year NPT Review Conferences. The Solomon Islands urged all parties to the Treaty to affirm, in a strongly worded final Conference document, their commitment to implementing the following measures: (1) elimination of nuclear weapons stockpiles, particularly by the five nuclear Powers, and commitment by those Powers to negotiate a nuclear-weapons convention by the year 2000; (2) adoption of a multilateral and truly comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty that would ban all nuclear explosions for all time, leaving no loopholes; (3) establishment of safeguards on fissile materials from dismantled weapons and verification of the destruction of all warheads, and extension of bilateral or international safeguards; (4) banning of the production of fissile materials; (5) negative security assurances and binding commitment not to be the first to use nuclear weapons; and (6) improvement of non-proliferation safeguards by rigorous assessment of how States parties carried out their obligations.
56. If those commitments were made during the Conference there would be overwhelming and wholehearted support for indefinite extension of the Treaty, and the Solomon Islands would enthusiastically join that consensus.
57. Mr. GUVEN (Turkey) pointed out that, with the end of the cold war, the arms control process had entered a new phase. The new environment had made it possible to conclude agreements on disarmament dealing, inter alia, with conventional armed forces in Europe and chemical weapons. In the nuclear field, 1994 had marked two important steps forward, with the negotiation of the comprehensive test-ban treaty and the consultations on a treaty that would ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. However, despite all those encouraging new developments, the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was far from over.
58. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was the main building block of the international non-proliferation regime and the most widely supported multilateral arms control agreement. It had proved its value in safeguarding international peace, strengthening the security of States and promoting international cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Turkey believed that strict adherence to its provisions was of crucial importance. Nuclear power plants were but one of several ways to produce energy, and nuclear installations should be operated at all times in strict conformity with IAEA safeguards and the principles of the Treaty.
59. The success of the non-proliferation regime depended not only on the adoption of treaties but also on compliance with their provisions. In the case of the non-proliferation Treaty, the safeguards contained in article III were designed for the exclusive purpose of verifying the fulfilment of obligations assumed under the Treaty with a view to preventing the diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Strengthening such safeguards was an important element of nuclear arms control and of non-proliferation. His delegation strongly supported the approach taken and the recommendations contained in the recent report of the IAEA Director General on strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the safeguards system, which was the outcome of the "Programme 93 + 2".
60. The Treaty also set out an agenda for nuclear disarmament and the parties had undertaken to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament. It was worth recalling the obligations relating to non-proliferation stemming from the relevant preambular paragraphs and article VI. He noted with satisfaction that the nuclear Powers had recently reaffirmed their commitment to nuclear disarmament, and that significant and concrete progress had been made in that area since the end of the cold war. However much still remained to be done and in that connection he drew attention to the negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty, consultations on a treaty which would ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons, and positive and negative security assurances.
61. Some progress had been accomplished in the past on the subject of limiting the environments within which nuclear tests could be undertaken or limiting their yield; however that was not enough to attain the non-proliferation goals. The conclusion of a comprehensive test-ban treaty which would be truly comprehensive and verifiable would therefore be a vital step in that direction. Another important step would be the early conclusion of a treaty providing for a cut-off in the production of fissile materials. Turkey expressed its satisfaction at the fact that the Conference on Disarmament had finally decided to establish and an hoc committee to start negotiations on that issue. It hoped that the remaining differences of opinion would soon be ironed out.
62. In the meantime, Turkey shared the security concerns expressed by non-nuclear-weapon States and it welcomed the adoption by the Security Council of resolution 984 (1995) noting that, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the five permanent members of the Security Council had given the non-nuclear-weapon States which were parties to the Treaty security assurances against the use of such weapons.
63. Turkey supported the indefinite and unconditional extension of the Treaty, since it believed that the main objectives of the Treaty - strengthening of the non-proliferation regime and nuclear disarmament - could only be achieved through a treaty that was universally adhered to and indefinitely extended. Such an instrument could only strengthen international peace and security.
The meeting rose at 12.25 p.m.