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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 88, Summer 2008

The 2008 NPT PrepCom:
Good Meeting, but was it Relevant?

Rebecca Johnson


Statement by the Delegations of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, NPT PrepCom, 9 May 2008

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1. The delegations of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm the strong and continuing support of our countries for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on the occasion of the second Preparatory Committee of the eighth NPT review cycle.

2. The proliferation of nuclear weapons constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The NPT has served the global community well over the last four decades. It remains a key instrument for collective security and the bedrock on which the international architecture to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons is built. We wish to see the NPT thrive and therefore affirm our unequivocal commitment to strengthening the Treaty and to a successful outcome to the 2010 Review Conference. We welcome the constructive and substantive discussion that has taken place at this year's Preparatory Committee meeting and will work to reinforce the positive dynamic that has been established.

3. We wish to address the proliferation challenges through Treaty-based multilateralism and through partnerships and relevant initiatives in which we all participate. The NPT's central role in promoting security for all depends on concerted action by all States Party to ensure compliance and respond quickly and effectively to non-compliance. We attach great importance to achieving the universality of the NPT and call on those countries remaining outside to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon States.

4. We stress the importance of the IAEA Safeguards system, which should be adequately funded. We seek universal adherence to IAEA comprehensive safeguards, as provided for in Article III, and to the Additional Protocol and urge the ratification and implementation of these agreements. We are actively engaged in efforts toward this goal, and are ready to offer necessary support.

5. We reaffirm that all States Party must ensure strict compliance with their non- proliferation obligations under the NPT. The proliferation of nuclear weapons undermines the security of all nations, imperils prospects for progress on other important NPT goals such as nuclear disarmament, and hurts prospects for expanding international nuclear co-operation. The proliferation risks presented by the Iranian nuclear programme continue to be a matter of ongoing serious concern to us. We recall that the United Nations Security Council recently sent for the third time a strong message of international resolve to Iran by adopting sanctions resolution 1803 on Iran's nuclear programme under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter as part of a dual-track strategy. We call for Iran to respond to the concerns of the international community through prompt and full implementation of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the requirements of the IAEA. We are fully behind the E3+3 process to resolve this issue innovatively through negotiations on the basis of the offer agreed in London on 2 May 2008. We also restate our support for the Six-Party Talks process moving towards the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, urge the implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and call on the relevant Six-Party members to continue their cooperation through the full implementation of the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005. We confirm our determination to achieve satisfactory resolution of these dossiers through dialogue and negotiation.

6. We reiterate our enduring commitment to the fulfilment of our obligations under Article VI of the NPT and note that these obligations apply to all NPT States Party. We note the unprecedented progress made by Nuclear Weapon States since the end of the Cold War in the field of nuclear disarmament, which has enhanced global security and advanced the goals of the NPT. Our individual contributions to systematic and progressive efforts in nuclear disarmament, including the reduction of the number of nuclear weapons in the world, have been and will be highlighted by each of us nationally.

7. We restate our support for the 1995 NPT resolution on the Middle East, which, inter alia, advocates a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction. We welcome efforts to support the principles and objectives of the Middle East peace process, which contribute toward this end. We note that significant security challenges remain in the region.

8. We reaffirm our determination to abide by our respective moratoria on nuclear test explosions. We recognise that one element in the effective implementation of Article VI and in the prevention of nuclear proliferation is a treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. We urge all members of the Conference on Disarmament to show the necessary flexibility to get the Conference back to work.

9. We reaffirm the inalienable right of all States Party to the NPT under Article IV to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaty and the relevant principles on safeguards. We note that a growing number of States Party is showing interest in developing nuclear programmes aimed at addressing their long-term energy requirements and other peaceful purposes. We are ready to co-operate with States Party in the development of nuclear energy for peaceful uses and we emphasise the requirement for compliance with non-proliferation obligations and for development of research, use and production of nuclear energy to be solely for peaceful purposes. We believe such international co-operation should contribute to the full implementation of the NPT and enhance the authority and effectiveness of the global non-proliferation regime.

10. We welcome the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and encourage efforts towards a multilateral mechanism to assure access for all countries to nuclear fuel services as a viable alternative to the indigenous development of enrichment and reprocessing. We note the various proposals that have been put forward. Such an approach would support implementation of the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy in a safe and secure fashion, preserve the existing competitive open market, respond to the real needs of recipient countries and simultaneously strengthen the non-proliferation regime. We hope States Party will contribute to discussion and development of this agenda in an open-minded and constructive manner. We stress the necessity for the 2010 Review Conference to address this issue.

11. We support, and will work to uphold and strengthen, the framework for the safe and secure uses of nuclear and radioactive materials for peaceful purposes. We reaffirm our commitment to safe and secure regulatory infrastructures, and our determination to develop innovative nuclear energy systems via our respective joint and national initiatives, which will underpin clean and affordable nuclear development, increase energy security, minimise the impact on the environment and the production of radioactive waste, and provide greater protection against proliferation through the provision of reliable fuel services, proliferation-resistant reactor technologies and strengthened international safeguards.

Delivered by UK Ambassador John Duncan to the 2008 NPT PrepCom, Geneva, May 9, 2008.

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