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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Ends Without Consensus

27 May 2005

Sanders says United States is committed to strengthening NPT

At the conclusion of the Seventh Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) May 27, the head of the U.S. delegation said participants examined new ground on the subject of treaty noncompliance.

Speaking at the United Nations, Ambassador Jackie Sanders said this was the first review to:

· Examine in detail indicators of proliferation;

· Explore the link between the right to peaceful nuclear energy use and the treaty's nonproliferation obligations;

· Exchange views on how NPT members, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the U.N. Security Council should hold accountable those violating their NPT obligations; and

· Seriously discuss how NPT members, the IAEA, the United Nations and the Nuclear Suppliers Group should handle the sensitive issue of treaty withdrawal. Discussions focused on the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.

Sanders, who serves as the president's special representative for the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, noted that even though consensus was not achieved at the conference there was "often broad agreement" on ways to strengthen treaty implementation as well as the broader nonproliferation regime.

Along with many others, Sanders said, the United States supports the efforts of the EU-3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom with the support of the European Union) to solve the Iranian nuclear problem diplomatically.  Such a solution, she said, "must include the permanent cessation of Iran's enrichment-related and reprocessing efforts, as well as its dismantlement of equipment and facilities related to such activity," because of Iran's track record.  In similar fashion, she said NPT members supported Six-Party Talks with North Korea to persuade Kim Jong-il to abandon his nuclear weapons programs.

Sanders, who also serves as the U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, highlighted the U.S. record of nuclear disarmament accomplishments (including cutting its nuclear stockpile in half) carried out in fulfillment of Article VI of the NPT. (See related article.)

She also highlighted multinational efforts to deter and impede those who would proliferate weapons of mass destruction. Speaking on the verge of the second anniversary of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), Sanders said more than 60 nations have expressed support for the initiative and such support “continues to grow based upon the international consensus that WMD [weapons of mass destruction] proliferation is a threat to global peace and security.”

The United States, Sanders said, is working with PSI partners “to broaden and deepen international cooperation” and is fully committed to sustaining and building upon the initiative’s successes.

Following is the text of Sanders' remarks:

(begin text)

U.S. Mission to the United Nations
May 27, 2005

Closing Statement by Ambassador Jackie W. Sanders, Special Representative of the President for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to the 2005 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [NPT]

Thank you, Mr. President.

We now are in our concluding session of this Review Conference.  Thank you for your efforts over the past year to prepare for, and preside over, this Conference.

As the U.S. and others have stated throughout this conference, much has changed since we last gathered here in 2000.  Following numerous violations of its legal obligations -- under the Agreed Framework, its IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards agreements, and the NPT itself -- North Korea summarily withdrew from the NPT and declared itself a nuclear weapons state.  Iran's nuclear weapons program, previously shrouded in secrecy and deceit, has been exposed, as have Iran's violations of its IAEA obligations.  Libya pursued a clandestine nuclear program in violation of the NPT until making the strategic decision to give up its weapons ambitions in 2003.  We welcome this decision.  Lurking behind these violators was the A.Q. Khan network; selling, buying and transferring nuclear technology around the world for profit.  While this illicit network has been shut down, the North Korean and Iranian programs continue, and other sources of supply remain open for business in this deadly trade.  We also confront today's preeminent security challenge of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists who will not be deterred from using them against us.

We gathered here with the specific purpose of discussing ways to strengthen the NPT and the broader nonproliferation regime.  The NPT has given rise to a robust nonproliferation regime that is far-reaching in scope, and that addresses the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials.  We are hopeful that our discussions here over the past four weeks will continue in other fora and make a lasting impression on the global nonproliferation regime.

The United States is pursuing a robust and comprehensive approach to counter the threat of weapons of mass destruction [WMD] falling into the hands of the world's most dangerous regimes or terrorists, first articulated by President Bush in 2002 in the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction.

In response to the need to build new barriers to the acquisition of WMD materials, technologies and expertise, in May 2003, President Bush announced the Proliferation Security Initiative to deter or impede proliferators by interdicting specific WMD shipments en route.  On the eve of the second anniversary of the PSI, more than 60 countries have indicated their support for the PSI, and support continues to grow based upon the international consensus that WMD proliferation is a threat to global peace and security.  The U.S. is working with partner countries to broaden and deepen international cooperation.  The U.S. is fully committed to sustaining the PSI and building on its successes.

The United States is also fully committed to the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540.  Resolution 1540 reflects the steady progress of national and international efforts to address the challenges of WMD terrorism.  We hope that states that have not already done so, will take seriously the requirement to submit comprehensive reports to the 1540 Committee on their efforts to comply with the resolution's operative elements.  We must remain determined in the face of proliferators' efforts to sell or acquire the world's most dangerous weapons and Resolution 1540 is one of the key nonproliferation tools in this effort.

Iran's single-minded pursuit of uranium enrichment capability, which we firmly believe is intended to underpin a nuclear weapons program, raises a key question for NPT states party.  The fact that "ENR," our shorthand for enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technology, provides access to weapons-usable nuclear material means that the unnecessary proliferation of such facilities clearly adds to the danger of weapons proliferation.  This is a view shared by IAEA Director General [Mohamed] ElBaradei and the panel he convened to study multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle.

This danger motivated President Bush to propose, in February 2004, that states close what some refer to as a "loophole" in the NPT, namely that a state can pursue ENR capacity ostensibly for peaceful purposes while cynically planning all along to use that capacity to manufacture material for nuclear weapons.  He also recognized the importance of pursuing peaceful nuclear power and states having "reliable access at reasonable cost to fuel for civilian reactors, so long as those states renounce enrichment and reprocessing."  We are discussing this proposal in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and in the G-8 [Group of Eight: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the United States], where our concerns are broadly shared.

The G-8 has also launched its own initiative, the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.  The Global Partnership is a promising reflection of growing international commitment to ensure that terrorists and states that support them do not acquire weapons of mass destruction or the materials and capabilities to develop them.  The G-8 partners and the EU [European Union] have pledged $18 billion, and 13 more states have joined the Partnership.

In undertaking to reinforce the global nuclear nonproliferation regime, the United States also called upon states last year to press for universal adherence to the IAEA Additional Protocol and for recognition of the Protocol as the new enhanced standard for nuclear safeguards and a criterion for nuclear supply.  The U.S also believes that the IAEA should establish a special committee of the IAEA Board of Governors to focus intensively on safeguards and prepare a comprehensive plan for strengthened safeguards and verification.  We hope that the upcoming June IAEA Board of Governors meeting will agree to establish this special committee.

The benefits of peaceful nuclear cooperation comprise an important element of the NPT, as acknowledged in Article IV.  Through substantial funding and technical cooperation, the United States fully supports peaceful nuclear development in many states, bilaterally and through the IAEA.  However, peaceful nuclear programs pursued by NPT Parties must conform to their relevant obligations under Articles I, II and III.  Clearly any right to receive benefits under Article IV is also conditioned upon the fulfillment of the Treaty's nonproliferation obligations.

This brings us full circle to the reason we are gathered here -- to strengthen the NPT.  While this Review Conference did not reach consensus, we did break new ground.  This Review Conference is the first to examine in detail indicators of noncompliance with Article II.  We explored Article IV's linkage of the exercise of the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy to the obligations contained in Articles I, II, and III of the Treaty.  We exchanged views on the steps that States Parties, the IAEA, and the U.N. Security Council [UNSC] should consider to hold accountable those in noncompliance with their NPT obligations.  We also, for the first time, discussed seriously how States Parties, the IAEA, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the UNSC should address notifications of withdrawal.

Furthermore, notwithstanding the inability of the relevant Main Committees to report specific recommendations in these areas, there was serious consideration of, and often broad agreement on, steps to strengthen the Treaty's implementation.  There was important discussion of the grave challenges to security and to the nonproliferation regime posed by Iran's and the DPRK's noncompliance with their nonproliferation and safeguards obligations.  It is unfortunate that efforts to bring this discussion forward to this body were blocked, but the record of our discussions remains.  The United States and many other states voiced their support for the efforts by the U.K. , France and Germany, with the support of the European Union, to reach a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem.  Given the history of clandestine nuclear weapons work in that country, that must include the permanent cessation of Iran's enrichment-related and reprocessing efforts, as well as its dismantlement of equipment and facilities related to such activity.

Likewise, Parties supported the Six-Party Talks and efforts to convince Pyongyang that its only viable option is to make the strategic commitment to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.  I reiterate that the United States has tabled a proposal in those talks that addresses the North's stated concerns and also provides for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korean nuclear programs.

This Review Conference, Mr. President, has not neglected the important topic of Article VI.  The United States welcomed the opportunity over the past four weeks to make clear our abiding commitment to fulfill our obligations under Article VI and our strong record on nuclear disarmament.  The United States has reduced the role of nuclear weapons in our deterrence strategy, and we are cutting our nuclear stockpile almost in half, to the lowest level in decades.

Mr. President, this Conference may not have reached consensus, but we did discuss these challenges and began the process of addressing them.  Building political consensus takes time, and that process remains far from complete on May 27, 2005.  Our Delegation, however, is convinced that we, the Parties to the NPT, have taken important steps here, which need to continue.  The United States will cooperate with all Parties committed to strengthening the Treaty and the nuclear nonproliferation regime so that we can pass on to future generations a better and more secure world and an NPT regime that remains strong and vibrant.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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