Statement on behalf of the European Union by Ambassador Bernhard BrasackMadame President,
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
2. At the outset, Madame President, allow me to congratulate Ambassador Strømmen of Norway and Ambassador Trezza of Italy on their assumption of the post as Coordinator for Item 1 and Item 2 of our Agenda, respectively. The EU would like to assure you, Madame President, as well as all Coordinators, of our full support in your efforts to guide and lead our work.
3. Non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control remain indispensable elements of cooperative security between states.
4. We stress the need for an overall reduction of the global stockpile of nuclear weapons in accordance with article VI of the NPT, in particular by those with the largest arsenals, while acknowledging the considerable nuclear arms reductions which have taken place since the end of the cold war, in particular by two EU Member States.
5. We note with concern that serious nuclear proliferation events have occurred in recent years
6. We recognise the application of the principle of irreversibility to guide all measures in the field of nuclear disarmament and arms control, as a contribution to the maintenance and enforcement of international peace, security and stability, taking these conditions into account.
7. The EU notes that the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which reduced the US and Russia's strategic nuclear weapons arsenal to 6,000 accountable warheads, is due to expire in 2009. We welcomed the ratification of the Moscow Treaty by the Russian Federation and the United States of America in 2002, while at the same time stressing the need for more progress in reducing their arsenals. We also note that the Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, which limits each side to no more than 1,700 - 2,200 deployed strategic nuclear warheads, will expire on 31 December 2012. The EU welcomes the reductions in deployed nuclear weapons which START and the Moscow Treaty have brought about, and stresses the need for more progress in structurally reducing these nuclear arsenals through appropriate follow-on processes. We would welcome a further continuation of the above processes represented, inter alia, by a bilateral follow-on agreement to the expiring START I Treaty.
8. The EU highlights the need to implement the declarations made by the Presidents of Russia and the United States of America in 1991 and 1992 on unilateral reductions in their stocks of non-strategic nuclear weapons and calls on all States with non-strategic nuclear weapons to include them in their arms control and disarmament processes, with a view to their reduction and elimination.
9. We are also pursuing efforts to secure transparency as a voluntary confidence building measure to support further progress in disarmament.
10. In addition, the EU calls on all States concerned to take appropriate practical measures in order to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war.
11. The EU recognises the importance, from the point of view of nuclear disarmament, of the programmes for the physical protection of the destruction and elimination of nuclear weapons and of fissile material as defined under the G8 Global Partnership. The EU recalls that EU Member States and the European Community participate in this effort which entails, inter alia, the de-activation of thousands of nuclear warheads, the dismantlement of nuclear submarines, and efforts to convert military stockpiles into a form no longer usable in nuclear weapons.
12. The EU believes the prevention of nuclear proliferation and the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in accordance with Article VI of the NPT are essential for global peace and security. The NPT is the cornerstone of this regime, based on three mutually reinforcing pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. We believe it is as important today as it was when first agreed almost 40 years ago. In the face of today’s challenges it is of paramount importance to preserve the integrity and authority of the NPT by pursuing all the objectives laid down in the Treaty in a structured and balanced manner as identified and recorded in the EU Council Common Position that we adopted prior to the Review Conference on 25 April 2005, by which the EU stands.
13. We also continue to work towards universal adherence to the NPT. The possession of nuclear weapons by States outside the NPT and non-compliance with the Treaty’s provisions by States party to the Treaty, risk undermining non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. Therefore the EU continues, in accordance with the Common Position of 25 April 2005 mentioned above, to call on all States not party to the NPT to pledge commitments to non-proliferation and disarmament and to call on those States to become States Parties to the NPT as non nuclear weapon States.
14. Furthermore, we call on all States for universal accession to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols.
15. The EU regrets that the Review Conference of the NPT in 2005 was unable to agree on a substantive final document to address the most pressing challenges to the Treaty. The Review Conference of 2010 is a new opportunity and therefore we will put all our efforts into making this a success. The EU is looking forward to the first Preparatory Committee meeting of the next NPT Review Conference in 2007, which will take place in Vienna. We will contribute actively to a successful outcome of that meeting. In our view, during the next NPT review cycle, tangible results will have to be produced on all three pillars of the NPT to reinforce the non-proliferation regime and disarmament efforts. We therefore look forward to discussing those topics with all parties.
16. The EU reaffirms its strong support for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, which we consider as one of the pivotal pillars in the non-proliferation and disarmament framework, together with an FMCT and as part of the 1995 agreement by States Parties to the NPT. Therefore the EU attaches the utmost importance to the entry into force of the CTBT at the earliest possible date.
17. The EU continues to call on States, particularly Annex 2 States, to sign and ratify the Treaty without delay and without conditions. Last year’s 10th anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT reminded us all of the need to redouble our efforts to complete the outstanding ratifications required for the Treaty to enter into force. The EU believes that a legally binding prohibition of nuclear weapon test explosions and all other nuclear explosions as well as a credible verification regime, are vital. Pending the entry into force of the Treaty, we urge all States to abide by a moratorium and to refrain from any actions which are contrary to the obligations and provisions of the Treaty.
18. The EU attaches a clear priority to the negotiation, at the Conference on Disarmament, of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices, as a means to strengthen disarmament and non-proliferation. Here at present, in the CD, it is obvious that among the nuclear issues an FMCT is the nearest negotiating opportunity and priority that waits to be seized.
Thank you, Madame President.