Statements Miscellaneous

24 September 2009 | New York, USA
United Nations Security Council Summit on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

Summit on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament

by Heads of State (Summaries)

ÓSCAR ARIAS SÁNCHEZ, President of Costa Rica, said the United Nations had been founded on the promise that all would be able to sleep peacefully. That promise had not been kept. "While we sleep, death is awake. Death keeps watch from the warehouses that store more than 23,000 nuclear warheads, like 23,000 eyes open and waiting for a moment of carelessness." It did not seem plausible to discuss disarmament as long as existing agreements were not even being honoured. Countries resisted ratifying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and rejected international mechanisms for verification as long as the clandestine network of proliferation of nuclear supplies continued.

It did not seem plausible to speak of a safer world as long as weapons proliferation took second place on the international agenda, he continued. "This Council fails in its historic mission every day that it turns a blind eye to the rampant arms race," he said, pointing out that the world spent $3.5 million every day on weapons and soldiers and that each year, more than $42 billion worth of conventional arms were sold to developing nations.

Even in Latin America, which had never been more peaceful or democratic, $60 billion would be assigned to military spending this year, he noted. "That is why I ask that we approve the Arms Trade Treaty that my Government has presented to this Organization, because if it is legitimate for us to worry about the possibility that terrorist networks gain access to a nuclear weapon, it is also legitimate for us to worry about the rifles, grenades and machine guns that are given into their hands."

STJEPAN MESIĆ, President of Croatia, said there was one action to be taken this very day with regard to limiting nuclear proliferation: reinforce the role of the United Nations in that effort. That would not replace any institution or forum dealing with non-proliferation, but would affirm, unanimously and jointly, that the greatest efforts were needed to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons while also guaranteeing the right of every country to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. If necessary, more stringent universally accepted international controls would be implemented.

The goal was to affirm or establish principles that would help lead to a world free of nuclear weapons without necessarily entering into debate over concrete issues, he said. A first step would be to support, without any reservation, a contractual multilateral system of treaties on the control of nuclear weapons and disarmament, including strict implementation and verification components. The next step would be to call on Member States to contribute to activities aimed at preventing abuse of existing treaties and strengthening both non-proliferation efforts, as well as resources to support them.

He said the long-standing effort to limit and then reduce nuclear weapons with the end-goal of disarmament had received a strong new impetus from the announcement by the President of the United States that his final objective was a world free of nuclear weapons. As a result of that pronouncement, the task of those present in the Council today should be to send a message to the world which had authorized them to act that there was political will to pursue a policy that would provide for the security of all countries without nuclear weapons. The objective was "peace in security", not the "balance of fear" that had prevailed during the cold war, a time of peace without security.

DMITRY A. MEDVEDEV, President of the Russian Federation, said it was obvious to everyone that issues of security were indivisible and global, and that only on the basis of the principles of equal security, mutual respect and compliance with the norms of international law could present-day threats be fought. "Only in this way can we strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and give additional impetus to the nuclear disarmament process," he said. The measures contained in the resolution were a realistic programme of action for the international community to respond efficiently to common threats in the nuclear sphere.

He said his country and the United States had carried out unprecedented reductions of strategic nuclear arsenals within the framework of the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START). The Russian Federation had tabled proposals during negotiations with the United States on a new treaty to replace START. "Our main shared goal is to untie the problem ´knots´ in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament." That could not be done overnight, as the level of distrust among nations remained too high. Because one of the most dangerous threats was that of nuclear components falling into the hands of terrorists, the existing "back-up system" needed to be modernized.

Underscoring the importance of paying serious attention to peaceful nuclear energy, he said new nuclear power programmes were a key to resolving many of the problems afflicting developing countries and an incentive for the economic growth of entire regions. However, States that carried out such programmes must abide strictly by non-proliferation agreements. Priorities in that area of international cooperation included strengthening the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime, in particular the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The system of IAEA safeguards must be universalized, and there was also a need to stimulate the earliest ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty by the countries that would ensure its entry into force, he said. The non-proliferation measures of resolution 1540 (2004) must be used more actively. An effective solution to many of the aforementioned problems depended on an interested and constructive engagement by all parties. The strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the intensification of the nuclear disarmament process required, most of all, strategic stability and ensuring security for each and every State.

FELIPE CALDERÓN HINOJOSA, President of Mexico, said world peace and security could not be built on nuclear arsenals. Welcoming the arms-reduction talks between the United States and the Russian Federation, he said their final objective should be the total elimination of nuclear weapons. While efforts to put the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into effect were also welcome, Mexico could not accept the paralysis on disarmament and non-proliferation, which must end with today´s resolution.

He expressed support for the right of every State to avail itself of atomic energy for peaceful uses under IAEA supervision, saying that only through related incentives could proliferation be contained. Mexico had taken steps to join export control regimes in order to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of those who must not have them. He also urged the Security Council to help "put the brakes" on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, which also wreaked havoc on the Earth.

HEINZ FISCHER, Federal President of Austria, said the international community should no longer accept complacency about the nuclear shadow hanging over the world, adding that a world without nuclear weapons must be the goal. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty must be strengthened and universal, while the nuclear States must reduce their arsenals.

He said his country had worked hard to get the Test-Ban Treaty into force and would also work for a Fissile Cut-off Treaty. IAEA monitoring capabilities and export controls must be strengthened, and confidence should be built through the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. Today´s text was a strong one, but resolutions were not enough. Austria, as well as the European Union, would move forward on non-proliferation and disarmament.

NGUYEN MINH TRIET, President of Viet Nam, said nuclear weapons used up resources that could be used for development. They also threatened mass destruction and were liable to fall into the hands of terrorists. Viet Nam supported all efforts to strengthen international action to prevent those ills, in addition to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, starting with unilateral and multilateral reductions. The countries with the largest arsenals must take leading roles in that area. The strength of IAEA also must be enhanced. Viet Nam supported a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South-East Asia and called for more action on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Vietnamese had suffered greatly from wars and therefore pledged their strong efforts to accomplish disarmament and non-proliferation for the purpose of strengthening peace.

YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI, President of Uganda, said it was critical to consider non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy in a balanced way in order to address them effectively. It was imperative that nuclear-weapon States accelerate their engagement so as to achieve complete disarmament. The possession of nuclear weapons by some countries was the sole cause for the desire of others to possess them. Welcoming the desire expressed by the largest nuclear weapons States to reduce their arsenals, he stressed that Africa was not interested in nuclear weapons, but in nuclear energy, which was much cheaper than other alternatives, in order to meet the continent´s future needs.

HU JINTAO, President of China, said the threat of nuclear war must be eliminated and, for that to happen, global balance and stability must be maintained. Proliferation should be stopped and the nuclear-weapon States with the largest arsenals should reduce those arsenals, after which the countries with smaller arsenals should also begin to reduce their stocks. In order to maintain the peace, there was a need to renounce the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the threat to use them against non-nuclear-weapon States. Work should then commence on the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

He said the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be actively promoted, and IAEA strengthened with that purpose in mind. All countries should strictly observe international agreements on nuclear materials and work together to keep them out of the hands of terrorists. China had always supported the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. It only held them for defence, having pledge no first use and no use against non-nuclear-weapon States. China would continue to play its role in upholding international non-proliferation and disarmament regimes.

BLAISE COMPAORE, President of Burkina Faso, said international security demanded the elimination of all nuclear weapons and their testing. International norms must be respected and deep thought must be put into keeping countries from seeking nuclear weapons when others continued to build them. Bilateral actions to reduce arms were also needed. Now more than ever, there was a need to support the IAEA in order to allow nuclear energy to become an effective development tool. That was the purpose of having a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa, which should be assisted in its non-proliferation efforts.

GORDON BROWN, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that by adopting today´s resolution, nuclear-weapon States as well as non-nuclear-weapon States were making a commitment to ridding the world of the danger of nuclear weapons. The global bargain underlying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - based on the obligations of both categories - must be strengthened through a renewed commitment to ensuring compliance and seeking solutions to technical and policy problems.

The world could not stand by when Iran and the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea breached international agreements, he stressed. Far tougher sanctions must be considered, and the onus of proof must be on those who breached the relevant agreements. The United Kingdom welcomed efforts to prevent nuclear weapons and materials to fall into the hands of terrorists. It had already taken major steps towards nuclear disarmament, reducing its nuclear-strike capability by 75 per cent. Retaining only the absolute minimum needed for national security, Britain would also reduce its nuclear submarine fleet as a way to further disarmament goals.

NICOLAS SARKOZY, President of France, said that while "we are here to secure peace" and say yes to reductions, two countries, "right in front of us", were doing exactly the opposite. What Iran and the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea were doing undermined the very rules upon which collective security was based. In violation of five Security Council resolutions, Iran had been pursuing nuclear proliferation activities since 2005, he said. It was amassing centrifuges and enriched uranium, while threatening to wipe a United Nations Member State off the map.

"There comes a moment when stubborn facts will compel us to take a decision," he said. "Let us not accept violations of international rules. We may all be threatened one day by a neighbour endowing itself with nuclear weapons," he warned. The Democratic People´s Republic of Korea had acted in defiance of all Council decisions since 1993 and continued to test ballistic missiles. "Here again there will come a moment one has to agree and take sanctions," he said, stressing that Council decisions must be followed by results.

Access to nuclear energy for peaceful uses and the transfer of technology by developed countries would obviate the arguments of those who claimed that they needed nuclear energy but converted their nuclear programmes into weapons programmes. Given the courage to impose sanctions against those violating Council resolutions, efforts towards a world without nuclear weapons would gain credibility. Those who needed civil nuclear energy must be guaranteed sustainable access to technologies and fuel, and the entire international community must be assured that nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation would be respected.

YUKIO HATOYAMA, Prime Minister of Japan, said his country had a special moral responsibility as the only one ever to suffer atomic bombings. Describing a wrenching visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he encouraged all world leaders to experience on their own the cruelty of nuclear weapons by speaking to survivors. Having chosen not to possess nuclear weapons, Japan had signed onto the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to try to prevent the vicious cycle of a nuclear arms race. He renewed his country´s commitment to the three non-nuclear principles no matter what steps neighbouring countries took.

Calling upon nuclear-weapons States to reduce their arsenals and foster a climate for disarmament by ensuring transparency, he urged the pursuit of nuclear-weapons-free zones, the entry into force of the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the immediate start of negotiations on a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty. Japan would engage in active diplomacy to lead international efforts on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The nuclear development programme of the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea, in particular, posed a grave threat to the peace and security of Japan and the world as a whole, and must not be tolerated. There was also cause for concern about Iran in that regard and there was a need to strengthen the Council´s ability to meet those challenges.

RECEP TAYYİP ERDOĞAN, Prime Minister of Turkey, stressed the need to bolster the integrity and credibility of the three pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy - by treating them equally, with universal adherence and implementation as key objectives. The current meeting should re-energize the international community for new initiatives towards the Review Conference next year.

Nuclear disarmament required an incremental but sustained approach in which treaty-based commitments were "absolutely indispensable", he said. One of the treaty´s big achievements was the unequivocal undertaking by nuclear-weapons States to eliminate their arsenals. That responsibility must now be upheld, building on article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the 13 practical steps for disarmament agreed in 2000. It was in that context that Turkey welcomed and encouraged efforts to replace START with a new legally-binding instrument.

Irreversible progress on nuclear disarmament would also reinforce the other two pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he continued, pointing out that it was with that understanding that his country spared no effort in continuing to promote key non-proliferation issues, including the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; the start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty; and promotion of IAEA´s role in advancing the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology.

States in compliance with safeguard obligations should enjoy unfettered access to civilian nuclear technology, as enshrined in the NPT, which placed strict obligations on States, he said. The most credible assurance about the peaceful nature of national programmes was implementation of the Additional Protocol now serving as the verification standard. Confidence in nuclear technology depended on the strength and reliability of safety measures while nuclear terrorism and illicit trafficking posed grave security threats. The international community should work towards a comprehensive and mutually reinforcing approach based on already available conventions.

ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM (Libya) said his country had taken an historic initiative by voluntarily ceasing work on the nuclear bomb it had been on the verge of producing. Libya therefore deserved the appreciation of the world and assistance in developing its nuclear energy capability for peaceful purposes. It also deserved a permanent seat on the Security Council.

While all countries had a right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, with IAEA oversight, the agency must monitor all States without exception, including the recognized nuclear-weapon States, he stressed. Furthermore, the Middle East must become a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and for that to happen, Israel must open its nuclear facilities to inspection. Otherwise, other States would have a desire to build their own weapons.

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