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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 30, September 1998

Ceremony Marking Brazilian Accession to the NPT

'Brazil's accession to the NPT: Remarks by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Brazilian Foreign Minister Luis Felipe Lampreia,' US State Department transcript, 18 September 1998.

Editor's note: Brazil ratified the CTBT and NPT on 13 July - see Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue No. 28, pp. 35-6.

Remarks by Brazilian Foreign Minister Luis Felipe Lampreia

"[T]his ceremony marks a point of reflection in Brazil's disarmament and non-proliferation policy by acceding to the NPT and having recently ratified the CTBT, Brazil now has become party to all international nuclear non-proliferation agreements.

This process is the result of our unwavering commitment to the use of nuclear energy for exclusively peaceful purposes as enshrined in our very constitution. It is not only an important foreign policy directive of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's government, but the reflection of the will of the Brazilian people.

We believe Brazil has a positive role to play in the world - a role that must be commensurate with our global interests. We want Brazil to be a force in favor of change, but we want our influence to stem from economic competitiveness, from social cohesion, democratic institutions and an international presence geared to cooperation and development. True progress can be found only in lasting peace and security.

Brazil is proud to live in harmony with all its ten neighbors, and to have done so uninterruptedly for well over a century. South America today is at once the least-armed region in the world... We are setting an example of cooperation and solidarity. Brazil therefore strongly rejects the notion that nuclear weapons can bring security to any nation. On the contrary, they breed only tension and instability and constitute a major roadblock to international peace and security.

Our decision to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty flows precisely from our determination to pursue another greater role in the area of international peace and security. Brazil has always been a force in favor of disarmament and non-proliferation. As a member of the NPT, we will work actively and critically to insure that peaceful nuclear activities in non-nuclear-weapons States and international cooperation [is] not restricted, and to help eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons.

Alongside Argentina, Brazil has come forward to offer our bilateral experience in the nuclear field as an example of how it is possible to successfully cooperate on nuclear non-proliferation in a climate of transparency and trust, and in so doing, to strengthen the international non-proliferation regime. We hope that others will seize on that example.

But limiting the spread of nuclear weapons is not enough. The NPT will not have fulfilled its goal, as set out in Article 6, until all existing nuclear weapons are gone. That is certainly the understanding of the Brazilian Government and Congress when they approve the accession to the treaty.

Nuclear-weapons States share a great responsibility in this, though we recognize the advances that have been made in the reduction of nuclear stockpiles by the United States and Russia and also...by other nuclear-weapons States, this still falls far short of what is needed to achieve the goal of nuclear disarmament. That is the main message of the declaration towards a nuclear-weapon-free world - the need for a new agenda - issued last June by Brazil and seven other countries equally committed to this goal. ..."

Remarks by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

"[W]e are here to mark a milestone in the world's efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.

For Brazil, joining the Non-Proliferation Treaty cements its rightful place in the circle of the world's leading nations. For the NPT itself, this is a major stride toward our goal of universality. Less than a handful of nations remain outside the treaty. And for the long quest to end nuclear testing, Brazil's ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in tandem with the NPT is a powerful and timely rebuttal to the opponents of arms control.

Fifteen years ago, few would have dared dream of this day. Brazil's military leaders, like Argentina's, were embarked on an unsafeguarded program to enrich uranium and someday test a nuclear weapon. They rejected the NPT and refused all on-site inspections. Since then, Brazil's civilian leaders have had the wisdom to define their country's greatness not by seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal, but by striving to develop the potential of the Brazilian people.

These leaders publicly revealed and shut down a hidden test site. They took remarkable confidence-building steps with Argentina and they established a path-breaking bilateral agency to monitor one another's nuclear sites and materials. And they entered into a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

By its example, Brazil has shown that structures of transparency that build peace can halt escalation of suspicions and transform rivals into neighbors. This is an apt lesson for all nations especially those in the world's tensest regions.

In the wake of South Asia's nuclear follies, Brazil has given the lie to the dangerous nonsense that the global nonproliferation regime is dead. And as a nuclear 'could have been,' it has special standing to speak out and act against nuclear proliferation. This standing has already been put to good use. By publicly renouncing its nuclear cooperation agreement with India, Brazil has clearly rejected the tortured claim that the way to rid the world of nuclear weapons is to saddle the world with new nuclear-weapons States. ..."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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