Statement on behalf of the European Union by Ambassador Rüdiger LÜDEKING
I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union. I would, first of all, like to congratulate you on the assumption of the post as the President of the Conference on Disarmament. I can assure you of the European Union’s full support in your efforts to guide the work of this Conference.
We are at the start of a new year and a new annual session of Conference. The EU has been encouraged by the structured and substantive debates conducted during last year’s session. A new momentum has developed as a result of the initiative taken jointly by the six presidents of the CD last year. This has created the hope that the deadlock in the work of the CD can be overcome and substantive negotiating work be resumed.
We very much welcome, and encourage the efforts undertaken by you, Madame President, and the other CD-Presidencies of 2007 to take up the relay baton from last year’s P6 and bring the CD activities to even more fruition in 2007. In particular we highly commend the meticulous way in which you gathered the view of every single CD-Member State and managed to merge all these views into a coherent Organizational Framework for this year’s activities in the CD.
The EU supports the view that the traditional CD Agenda and the Rules of Procedure allow for every CD Member to raise any security issue relevant to the work of the conference. In this perspective the EU urges all CD Member States to swiftly adopt the Agenda as proposed by the six Presidencies of 2007 to be able to immediately start its work .
I would also like to avail myself of this opportunity to recall the EU’s attachment to the follow-up of the enlargement process of the CD -- and in particular to those members of the EU which are not yet members of the CD, and which have submitted a request for admission to the Conference.
The EU is strongly committed to reaching consensus on a programme of work and supports all genuine efforts undertaken towards that end. We welcome the new ideas and proposals that have been put forward towards that end over the last few years.
Getting the CD back to fulfilling its function as the single multilateral forum at the disposal of the international community for disarmament negotiations is all the more important against the backdrop of the security challenges that we are facing today. The threats to our security are more diverse, less visible and less predictable. Non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control remain indispensable elements of cooperative security between States and are essential for effectively addressing those threats.
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery is potentially the greatest risk to our security. The EU has developed a comprehensive Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction which was adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003. In this strategy, the EU has again expressed its conviction that a multilateralist approach to security, including disarmament and non-proliferation, provides the best way to maintain international order. This conviction determines our overall approach to meeting today’s security challenges.
In this vein the EU has been and continues to be committed to making a constructive contribution to the work of the Conference on Disarmament.
The EU attaches a high priority to the negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. We call for the immediate commencement of such negotiations here in the Conference on Disarmament. The new momentum which was created in the course of last year’s discussions on the subject must be seized.
It has again become clear last year that there continue to be some differences regarding individual aspects of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), in particular verification and scope. However, rather than continuing protracted debates on these aspects the EU believes that the negotiations should start without delay and without preconditions, bearing in mind the 1995 Special Coordinator report and the mandate contained therein. The early conclusion of a non-discriminatory, universally applicable treaty should remain the goal. Pending the achievement of this goal the EU urges all States to declare and uphold a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. We welcome the action of those four States which have decreed such moratoria and urge others to follow suit.
In the structured debates during last year’s session of the Conference on Disarmament the EU also set out its views regarding other important issues on the agenda of the CD. Thus, for example, we recalled our support for pursuing the consideration of the issue of security assurances to the non-nuclear weapon States Parties to the NPT. Such assurances can play an important role: they can serve both as an incentive to forego the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and as a deterrence. We called on nuclear weapon States to reaffirm the existing security assurances noted by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 984 and to sign and ratify the relevant protocols on nuclear weapon-free zones, drawn up following the requisite consultations, recognising that treaty based security assurances are available to such zones.
In addition, in last year's structured debates in the CD, many EU Member States also expressed their views on the issue of Nuclear Disarmament.
I would also like to recall the statement that was made by the Austrian Presidency of the EU in June last year on PAROS. With it the EU reiterated its clear commitment to preventing an arms race in outer space. Preventing an arms race in outer space is an essential condition for the strengthening of strategic stability and for the promotion of international cooperation in the free exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes by all States.
The EU is very concerned about a recent test of an anti-satellite weapon. Such a test is inconsistent with international efforts to avert an arms race in outer space. In this context the EU calls upon all signatory States to the Outer Space Treaty to abide by their commitment to exercise their space activities in accordance with international law and in the interest of maintaining international peace and security.
We consider, inter alia, all these issues to be important matters to be dealt with in the CD. We wish to see the concerns of all addressed substantively and concretely. We believe that progress can be best achieved with a combination of prioritizing and at the same time allowing for a just and meaningful consideration of the concerns of all. The EU is ready to engage in constructive and result-oriented work in the course of this year’s session of the Conference on Disarmament.
Getting the Conference on Disarmament back to substantive work and in particular starting negotiations on an FMCT would 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.
The NPT Review Conference in 2005 was unable to agree on a substantive Final Document to address the most pressing challenges to the Treaty. This provides the EU with an extra reason to put all efforts into a successful Review in 2010. The EU believes that 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. We are therefore firmly committed to the objective of strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime as underlined in the EU Common Position of 25 April 2005, by which we stand. The EU continues to support the decisions and resolution adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference and the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference and will bear in mind the current situation. We will strive to preserve the authority and integrity of the NPT.
We note that the final report, which includes the programme of work, adopted by consensus at the 2005 NPT Review Conference, constitutes a reference for the future review process. The EU is committed to contributing actively to a successful outcome of the first Preparatory Committee meeting in Vienna. We pledge our full support to the chairman of the first Preparatory Committee session, Ambassador Amano of Japan, and we hope that his consultations to prepare the ground for the outcome of the first session as well as on its agenda are successful in order for that first session to proceed to substantive work pursuant to the existing agreements among the NPT States Parties relating to the strengthening and the improved effectiveness of the review process. We are looking forward to fruitful and substantive discussions with a view to building consensus on the three mutually reinforcing pillars of the NPT: non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
I would also like to reaffirm the EU’s strong support for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), 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. The early entry into force of the CTBT was recognized at the 2000 Review Conference of the NPT as a practical step to achieving NPT nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation objectives.
It has been 11 years now since the CTBT was opened for signature. The entry into force of the Treaty is more urgent today than ever before. The recent nuclear test made by the DPRK showed again the importance of the CTBT and the value of the International Monitoring System, which is still expanding. The Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO provides invaluable legal and technical information and advice in this respect.
The EU welcomes the fact that the CTBT has achieved near universal adherence. Of the 44 States whose ratification is necessary for the entry into force of the Treaty, ten have yet to do so. We particularly call upon those States to do so without delay and without conditions. This would also contribute to a positive atmosphere needed for the NPT Review Conference in 2010.
The importance of maintaining the authority and integrity of the NPT is underlined by the serious regional proliferation challenges that the international community is facing.
The EU fully shares the concern over Iran’s nuclear programme expressed by the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council. We welcome the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1737 in reaction to Iran’s failure to take the steps repeatedly required by the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council. The resolution represents a necessary and proportionate response to Iran’s disregard for the concerns of the international community and for Security Council Resolution 1696.
The EU will ensure the effective implementation of the measures contained in that Resolution, which are targeted against the most proliferation sensitive parts of the Iranian nuclear and missile programmes that are of concern. We call on all countries also to implement the measures in full and without delay.
The EU is disappointed that Iran has reacted negatively to the Resolution and that it has as yet not taken any steps to comply with it. We welcome the Security Council’s decisions to request a report by the IAEA Director General within 60 days, and to review Iran’s action in the light of that report.
To avoid any misunderstanding, I believe it bears repeating at this juncture that there is no dispute about Iran’s right under the NPT. The issue at stake is Iran’s failure to build the necessary confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. The pursuit of a secret nuclear programme relating to the most sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle over more than 18 years, Iran’s documented record of concealment, which has resulted in many failures and breaches of its obligation to comply with its NPT safeguards agreement as well as the fact that the IAEA is not yet in a position to clarify some important outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme are at the heart of the matter. I would like again to emphasize – as it is being done in the UN Security Council Resolution 1737 – the importance of political and diplomatic efforts to find a solution guaranteeing that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes. I would like to avail myself of this opportunity again to stress the EU’s continuing support for efforts to find a negotiated long-term solution. Therefore we urgently call on Iran, consistent with the Security Council’s decisions, to suspend all enrichment related activities to allow a return to the negotiating table.
The EU also continues to be gravely concerned by the situation on the Korean peninsula. We strongly condemn the provocative missile test launches performed by the DPRK in July 2006 and the nuclear test conducted by it in October 2006. We deplore that the DPRK continues to defy the international community and disregard its obligations under the relevant statement and resolutions of the UN Security Council. The EU fully supports the most recent Resolution 1718 adopted by the Security Council on 14 October 2006 and is committed to the full implementation of the measures contained therein.
We call on the DPRK to observe its obligations under the NPT, refrain from any further tests of a nuclear device and re-establish the moratorium on long-range missile testing. The EU fully endorses the diplomatic efforts undertaken in the framework of the six party talks. We regret that the most recent round of these talks has not produced any results. We call on the DPRK to adopt a constructive attitude to the talks and work towards the implementation of the joint statement of September 2005 and, in particular, verifiably abandon all nuclear weapons programmes and ambitions.
I have so far mainly dealt with nuclear issues. However, this should not detract from other important tasks on the disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation agenda this year. These tasks are manifold and include a broad range of issues also relating to conventional weapons, in particular small arms and light weapons. It would go well beyond what is possible in my statement today if I were to try to deal with these issues in an even remotely adequate or balanced way. Let me therefore only make a few additional remarks on issues other than nuclear issues.
I would particularly like to draw attention to two successes of last year in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation:
Firstly, the third Review Conference of the CCW agreed on a substantive final document that will enhance the instrument;
Secondly, the sixth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention has made an important contribution to the further strengthening of the effectiveness of the BTWC. The international community now has the responsibility to promptly, concretely and effectively implement the decisions contained in the Final Document of the Review Conference. The adoption of a new intersessional work programme, leading to the seventh Review Conference to be held not later than 2011, is a significant achievement. The EU is committed to making best use of the opportunities provided by it and will promote successful outcomes of the meetings in the intersessional period.
Both achievements, jointly with the revitalization of the CD experienced last year, make a contribution towards overcoming the stalemate in the field of disarmament and should provide a new impetus for the work within our Conference.
In conclusion, I would like to touch upon the fact that April 29 this year marks the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention. With the Second Review Conference of the implementation of that treaty due to take place in April 2008, this year provides an opportunity to take stock of the successful operation of that treaty so far and of what remains to be done. This anniversary should also remind us what, political will permitting, the Conference on Disarmament can achieve.
The CWC ranks among the most ambitious and complex international projects as yet undertaken in our field. The successful negotiation of this treaty should encourage us to overcome the stalemate, which has characterised the CD for the last 10 years, and start another ambitious project. The FMCT provides the opportunity that awaits to be seized. We call upon all CD partners to take a constructive approach towards the FMCT as one of the most pressing items on the CD agenda. Starting FMCT negotiations will underscore the relevance of a multilateralist approach to security and testify to our commitment to a multilateral treaty system, which provides the legal and normative basis for all non-proliferation efforts.
Thank you, Madame President.