1. I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union.
2. The EU is committed to the preservation of the integrity of the NPT and the strengthening of its implementation. This commitment is enshrined in the EU Strategy Against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction agreed by our Heads of State and Government in December 2003. Integral to this Strategy is our conviction that a multilateralist approach to security, including disarmament and non-proliferation provides the best way to maintain international order. Multilateralism is based on the concept of shared commitments and obligations and we must ensure that these commitments are respected and all obligations are complied with, within the NPT framework by all States Parties. The NPT can only fulfil its role if we are confident of the compliance of all States Parties with the obligations of the Treaty.
3. Non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control remain indispensable elements of cooperative security between states. The EU will cover the disarmament aspects of this Cluster in the present statement and will cover the non-proliferation aspects in the statement under Cluster II.
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.
4. The EU supports the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in accordance with Art. VI of the NPT and welcomes the reduction of strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons and their delivery systems since the end of the Cold War and stresses the need for an overall reduction of the global stockpiles of nuclear weapons, 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. In this context, 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 reinforcement of international peace, security and stability, taking these conditions into account. We are pursuing efforts to secure transparency as a voluntary confidence building measure.
5. 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 reducing these nuclear arsenals through appropriate follow-on processes. We would welcome a further continuation of the above processes represented by a bilateral follow-on agreement to the expiring START I Treaty.
6. The issue of non-strategic nuclear weapons was included in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference. Reductions in these weapons are an integral part of the nuclear arms control and disarmament process. We look forward to the fulfilment of the United States and Russian 1991-1992 Presidential Declarations on unilateral reductions in their stocks of non-strategic nuclear weapons, as well as of the commitments made by relevant states at the 2000 Review Conference. We encourage states concerned to start negotiations on an effectively verifiable agreement to best achieve the greatest possible reductions in these weapons.
7. In addition, the EU calls on all states concerned to take appropriate practical measures in order to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war.
8. The EU recognises the importance, from the point of view of nuclear disarmament, of the programmes for 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 of fissile material into a physical state which can no longer be used in nuclear weapons.
9. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is as essential to nuclear disarmament as it is to non-proliferation. 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 weapons test explosions and all other nuclear explosions as well as a credible verification regime are vital. The occurrence of nuclear tests after the opening of the CTBT for signature underlines the need for as early entry into force of the Treaty as possible. The EU reiterates its call on States, particularly those listed in Annex II, to sign and ratify the said Treaty without delay and without conditions and, pending its entry into force to abide by a moratorium on nuclear testing and to refrain from any action contrary to the obligations and provisions of the CTBT. The EU would also like to express its appreciation for the substantial work of the CTBT Organisation Preparatory Commission. We will continue to actively support the work of the Special Representative of the States which have ratified the Treaty in his work promoting universal accession.
10. At the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva we were encouraged by the structured and substantive debates conducted during the sessions last year and at the beginning of this year. A new momentum has developed as a result of the initiative taken jointly by the six Presidents of the CD last year as well as this year which led to the recent tabling of a formal proposal by this year's six Presidents. The EU hopes that the deadlock in the work of the CD can be overcome and significant work be resumed. The EU will not object to a consensus in the CD on the six Presidents' proposal as it stands.
The EU attaches a clear priority to the negotiation without precondition in 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. It constitutes a priority that waits to be seized.
11. As part of its Weapons of Mass Destruction Strategy, the European Union will promote a stable international and regional environment and address the root causes of instability. The EU will play its part in addressing the problems of regional insecurity and the situations of conflict, which lie behind many weapons programmes. We recognise that instability does not occur in a vacuum and we are committed to fostering regional security arrangements and regional disarmament and arms control processes.
12. The EU recognizes the continuing high value of the existing legally binding security assurances, provided for by the protocols of the nuclear weapons free zones and unilateral declarations of nuclear weapons States, noted by UNSC Resolution 984/1995 and reaffirmed at the sixth NPT Review Conference to non nuclear weapon state parties to the NPT on the use of or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Positive and negative assurances can play an important role in the NPT regime and can serve as an incentive to forego the acquisition of WMD. We are committed to promoting further consideration of security assurances.
13. The European Union hopes that this first Session of the Preparatory Committee will help to lay the foundations for a successful 2005-2010 Review Cycle. We must pay due consideration to all aspects of the implementation of the Treaty - disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use. In particular, non-proliferation and disarmament are mutually reinforcing. The EU will continue to encourage the progress made towards systematic and progressive efforts towards disarmament, and will remain fully committed to the effective implementation of Article VI of the NPT.