Statement on behalf of the European Union by Ambassador Bernhard BRASACK
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 the assumption of the post as Coordinators, respectively, for Item 1 and Item 2 of our Agenda. 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. The CD has been debating the issue of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (FMCT) for a long time, with a particular intensification of its deliberations during last year’s structured and focussed debates.
4. The EU continues to attach a clear priority to the negotiation, at the Conference on Disarmament, of an FMCT as a means to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and thus international security, as the EU has said in the CD on 30 March 2006 and 26 May 2006 and at the First Committee of the 61st UN General Assembly on 10 October 2006. This was also made clear in the Common Position adopted by the EU relating to the NPT Review Conference on April 25, 2005, and by which the EU stands.
5. The EU is convinced that an FMCT, by banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, will strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and will constitute a significant achievement to nuclear disarmament efforts in accordance with article VI of the NPT. Logically, an FMCT constitutes the next multilateral instrument to be negotiated in the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament field. An FMCT would have beneficial consequences beyond those that pertain to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, including reducing the risk of theft or diversion to terrorist groups or activities. This consideration is increasingly pertinent in today's security environment.
6. The EU would like to see an early commencement of negotiations on an FMCT. In advance of such negotiations, however, there is an opportunity to discuss some of the issues that will inevitably be of greatest interest. This would help to prepare us for the negotiations that we hope will follow.
7. The EU supports the outline proposed by the Coordinator. The EU and its Member States will actively participate in the work. We acknowledge that CD Members might have differing views on some of these individual issues, we should nevertheless address all relevant questions. And we should do so openly, constructively and with the necessary sense of realism.
8. In addition to the outline proposed by the Coordinator, we would like to suggest also treating the following issues of :
a. Review and Amendment
b. Eligibility for signature and arrangements for accession after Entry into Force
9. We are encouraged by the new momentum on starting the FMCT negotiations that developed in the CD last year and call on all parties to make this possible. We welcome the fact that the US has contributed to this momentum through the submission of a draft treaty and a draft mandate. Contributing to the momentum last year was the active participation of delegations during the FMCT focussed, structured debate, the presence of experts, the presentation of papers and the participation of IAEA. We need to build on these achievements.
10. It is our responsibility to increase this momentum in the CD, generated by this year’s P6 proposal for an Organizational Framework, with a view to agreeing on a negotiation mandate without delay.
11. Starting negotiations on an FMCT and thus getting the Conference on Disarmament back to substantive work would also be a clear signal that the CD is back to fulfilling its function as the single multilateral forum at the disposal of the international community for disarmament negotiations. Such an effective forum is all the more important against the backdrop of the security challenges that we are facing today. In addition, starting negotiations on an FMCT would clearly also have a significant positive impact on the next NPT review process which starts at the end of April with the first session of the Preparatory Committee in Vienna.
12. The EU continues to call for the immediate commencement of negotiations as well as an early conclusion of a non-discriminatory, universally applicable Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, without pre-conditions, and bearing in mind the special co-ordinator's report and the mandate contained therein.
13. Pending the entry into force of an FMCT, the EU calls on all States to declare and uphold a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Such moratoria would significantly contribute to regional and international security. Furthermore, they would facilitate negotiations on an FMCT. We welcome the action of those four States which have decreed such moratoria and urge others to follow suit.
Madame President, Mr. Coordinator,
14. The EU is encouraged by the current efforts in the CD, which should help break the stalemate that has lasted nearly a decade and prevented the CD from taking forward meaningful work. Logically, an FMCT constitutes the next multilateral instrument to be negotiated in the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament field, and it is overdue.
Thank you, Madame President.