International Atomic Energy Agency
Information Circular
(Unofficial electronic edition)
28 February 1996

Original: ENGLISH

Communication of 14 February 1996 Received from the Permanent Mission of New Zealand to the International Atomic Energy Agency

  1. On 14 February 1996, the Director General received a communication of 9 February 1996 from the Resident Representative of New Zealand transmitting Statements made by the Prime Minister of New Zealand on 28 January 1996 about the sixth nuclear test by France and on 30 January 1996 after France announced the conclusion of nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

  2. As requested by the Resident Representative of New Zealand, the Prime Minister's Statements are being circulated for the information of Member States of the Agency.

Texts of Statements by the Prime Minister of New Zealand

28 January 1996

Press Release

French Nuclear Tests

"This sixth test must surely be the last," the Prime Minster, Rt Hon J B Bolger, said today. He was commenting on the news that France had conducted a sixth nuclear test.

"France's insistence on continued testing has been outrageous," the Prime Minster said. "The overwhelming opposition to their testing programme can only be strengthened by the latest reports of radiation leakages at Mururoa as a result of earlier tests."

"France's commitment to a CTBT and to sign the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone are welcome and as evidence of good faith I invite President Chirac to move immediately on both issues."

The Prime Minister said the French Ambassador would yet again be called in to receive the Government's strong protest and be told that it is our firm expectation that this test will be the last. The message would also be delivered in Paris.

"The aim of the world must be to stop nuclear testing for ever and as a step in that direction, France must close its testing sites in the Pacific for all time."

30 January 1996

End of French Nuclear Testing Welcomed

"New Zealand's work for nuclear disarmament will continue", Prime Minster, Rt Hon J B Bolger, said today following news that the French had concluded nuclear tests in the Pacific.

"Like many New Zealanders, I have mixed feelings over the French announcement. The end of testing is welcome, but France should never have resumed testing in our region in the first place."

"France's testing in the Pacific, in defiance of world opinion, has cast a shadow over its relations with the region. France will have to work hard to regain lost ground."

"Now that testing is finished, my government stands ready to commence the resumption of normal relations with France. We want to see France play a positive role in our region, as it does in international affairs generally. But the restoration of France's standing in the Pacific will necessarily be a gradual process."

"France's early signature of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty will be an important first step towards normalising relations", the Prime Minister said. "Along with other Pacific countries, we also await confirmation of the permanent closure of France's nuclear test sites in the Pacific."

"Uncertainties remain over the long term impact of testing programme on the fragile marine environment of Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls", Mr Bolger said. "I hope that the forthcoming scientific study, though the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be able to provide answers to the many questions we have in this area." The participation in the IAEA exercise of Professor Alan Poletti, Head of Physics at Auckland University, and the National Radiation Laboratory in Christchurch, means New Zealand will be directly involved in the study, and the assessment of its results."

"Welcome as it is, the end of French testing only highlights the tasks that lie ahead for disarmament" the Prime Minister continued. "We once again urge China to put an immediate stop to its nuclear weapons testing programmes."

New Zealand will also continue to urge the nuclear powers to commit themselves to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

"We want the nuclear powers to put their arsenals on the table to negotiate their eventual elimination, " the Prime Minister said. "As a first step, the Prime Minister concluded, "New Zealand will continue to work towards the conclusion this year of a comprehensive test ban treaty to bring a permanent end to nuclear test explosions."

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