Fissile Material Treaty', Statement from Munir Akram, Ambassador of Pakistan

Munir Akram, Ambassador of Pakistan
12 August 2002

'Fissile Material Treaty', Statement from Munir Akram, Ambassador of Pakistan

  1. Pakistan is happy that the CD has been able to adopt a decision to establish an ad hoc Committee to negotiate a Treaty on Fissile Material based on the Shannon Report.

    Mr President,

  2. A Fissile Material Treaty has been a long-standing goal of the international community. Para 50 of the Final Declaration of SSOD-I called for a ban on the production of fissile material as part of the measures for nuclear disarmament, the creation of NWFZs and a time-bound programme for the elimination of nuclear weapons. We continue to adhere firmly to this long-standing international consensus. It is the attempt to deny or compromise this consensus which has delayed the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Treaty.
  3. As the discussions and consultations of the past two weeks have confirmed, there are some fundamental differences among members of the CD on the purpose and scope of the FMT. A few States -- including the 5 NWS and one self-declared NWS -- wish to restrict the proposed ban on fissile materials only to future production. The vast majority of the CD;s membership continues to adhere to the long-standing consensus that the FMT must address the issue of stockpiles of fissile material possessed by some States and, through their progressive and balanced reduction, to promote the goal of nuclear disarmament. The Treaty should not be, once again, a measure for nuclear non-proliferation alone.
  4. Therefore, my delegation does not agree to the Treaty being described as a fissile material "Cut-off" Treaty, implying only a halt in future production. We cannot endorse the loose abbreviation - FMCT - in any formal description of the Treaty which is to be negotiated by the CD.
  5. The existence of unequal stockpiles of fissile material in South Asia was always an issue of central importance since it threatened to destabilise the situation of "existential" or "non-weaponised" deterrence between India and Pakistan. This issue has become even more critical in the wake of India's declaration that it is now a nuclear weapon State and that it will produce and deploy nuclear weapons for what it calls "minimum deterrence". We can therefore only presume that India will transform its large fissile material stocks into nuclear weapons. This will accentuate the threat to stability and security in South Asia. In calculating the balance required to maintain deterrence vis-a-vis India and Pakistan, we shall need to take into account both India's nuclear weapons and fissile material stockpiles. We cannot therefore agree to freeze inequality, specially when this directly threatens our security. It is for this reason that Pakistan has asked for a clarification -- before commencing negotiations -- about India's nuclear status. Unfortunately, the response that has been given is legalistic rather than realistic. We shall therefore need to factor the "new realities" into our negotiations on the FMT.

    Mr President,

  6. A decision on the scope of the treaty will be essential to determine the nature of the Treaty and its provisions for verification and compliance. We shall need to proceed step by step in evolving agreement on the FMT.
  7. The negotiations we will commence in the ad hoc committee on the FMT will be complex, arduous and time-consuming.
  8. But, at this stage, we wish to affirm what has been stated by the G-21 in the informal consultations. The FMT is not the highest priority for the Group. As the coordinator of the G-21 has just stated, the realisation of nuclear disarmament enjoys the highest priority in our pantheon of the purposes of the CD. Together with the G-21, Pakistan will continue to seek the early establishment of an ad hoc Committee to negotiate on nuclear disarmament. We have proposed specific measures for nuclear disarmament, including a Convention to commit all States to the elimination of nuclear weapons. We hope this will be taken up by the CD in the near future. We expect that the NWS will be responsive to the desires and hopes of the vast majority of mankind in pursuing nuclear disarmament, specially in this sole multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament.

Thank you, Mr President.