New Approach Crucial for Eliminating Atomic Bombs, Speakers Tell Security Council, Warning Dangerous Rhetoric about Nuclear Weapons Use Is Eroding Disarmament Gains

With the erosion of the disarmament and arms control framework that reaped significant post-cold-war-era gains, all States must work collectively towards a new twenty-first century approach to rid the world of atomic bombs, the Security Council heard today as it considered the existing regime ahead of the 2020 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

While the 50-year-old Non-Proliferation Treaty has played the greatest role in preventing the catastrophic consequences of an atomic war, Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said the instrument’s durability should not be taken for granted at a time when the acquisition of arms is prioritized over the pursuit of diplomacy.

The disarmament success of the post-cold war era has come to a halt, she cautioned, with the security landscape being replaced with dangerous rhetoric about the utility of nuclear weapons and an increased reliance on these weapons in security doctrines. The prospect of the use of nuclear weapons is higher than it has been in generations.

Whatever new arms control and disarmament approaches in the twenty-first century might look like, one thing is clear: the Non-Proliferation Treaty will still be at the centre of our collective security mechanism and it will have to stay fit for purpose across its three pillars � disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The 2020 Review Conference is a golden opportunity to make headway on all of these goals, and to make sure this linchpin of international security remains fit for purpose through the next 25 or even 50 years.

Presenting a snapshot of achievements, Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said safeguards are being implemented in 182 countries, including 179 which are States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, key challenges include a steady increase in the amount of nuclear material and the number of nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, coupled with continuing pressure on the Agency’s regular budget. Topping its agenda are the nuclear programmes of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Iran continues to fully implement its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and it must continue to do so. Meanwhile, the Agency continues to monitor the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme and evaluate all safeguards-relevant information available to it, he said, noting that, subject to the approval of IAEA’s Board of Governors, it could respond within weeks to any request to send inspectors back to Pyongyang.

In a broader sense, the Agency helps to improve the health and prosperity of millions of people by making nuclear science and technology available across many sectors, he continued. Nuclear power can also help address the twin challenges of ensuring reliable energy supplies and curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Helping countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, using relevant nuclear technology, is an important part of our work, he said, noting that the Agency helps countries to use nuclear science and technology to meet 9 of the 17 Goals and a special initiative has helped to raise more than Euros 140 million for approximately 300 projects benefitting more than 150 countries.

In the ensuing discussion, some Council members, including those from CAte d’Ivoire and the Dominican Republic, reported benefits reaped from nuclear technologies. Some highlighted concerns, from terrorists acquiring atomic bombs to the disarmament machinery’s languishing impasse that continues to hobble negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and delay the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

Some members spotlighted a crumbling security landscape exacerbated by concerns such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme and the suspension of disarmament agreements. Summing up a common theme, Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs said that, for all the successes we have achieved in recent decades, we mustn’t fool ourselves. He pointed out that dismantling nuclear arsenals has come to a standstill and prospects of actual nuclear re-armament have been raised by the impending loss of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty � known as the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles.

While many members commended the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s contribution to international peace and security, some urged States to extend every effort to achieve disarmament progress ahead of the 2020 Review Conference and to avoid a repeat of the failure of the 2015 review to agree on an outcome.

The Russian Federation’s representative said the 2020 Review Conference should not be used to settle political scores, adding that attempts are being made to undermine universally recognized norms which have worsened an already complicated situation. While the Russian Federation has reduced its nuclear arsenal by more than 85 per cent, his Government remains greatly concerned about global security, given the unfettered deployment of United States anti-missile systems, its placement of military weapons in outer space and its attempts to decrease the defence capabilities of other countries through unilateral sanctions. This hardly creates an environment favourable to reducing the nuclear weapons stockpile, he said.

The representative of the United States said reaching a consensus at the 2020 Review Conference is possible if parties avoid using divisions to hold the review process hostage. We cannot overlook the fact that the actions of those who are expanding their nuclear stockpiles have contributed to a deterioration of the global security environment, she said, adding that the United States will seek a positive outcome from the 2020 review process.

China’s delegate said unilateralism and double standards in non proliferation continue to exist. As such, the international community must uphold the concept of a shared future, strengthen unity and cooperation, and steer the 2020 review process towards a unified outcome.

Many members agreed that of the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s three pillars, disarmament has produced the least results, with Poland’s Foreign Affairs Minister saying efforts remain a work in progress, at best. To change that, delegates from non-nuclear-weapon States said the instrument is complemented by the legally binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia said that treaty’s entry into force will help to advance the aim of completely eliminating atomic bombs, as enshrined in article 6 of the Non Proliferation Treaty. The human species’ survival is dependent on our collective courage to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all, she said.

The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France said that, given tensions and growing energy needs worldwide, preserving the Non-Proliferation Treaty is more central than ever before. To do so, Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister said, multilateralism and the principles of the United Nations Charter remain essential tools.

Also delivering statements were representatives of South Africa, Belgium, United Kingdom, Peru and Equatorial Guinea.

The meeting began at 10:11 a.m. and ended at 12:31 p.m.

Briefings

IZUMI NAKAMITSU, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons has played the greatest role in preventing the catastrophic consequences of an atomic war. It also remains the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation of nuclear disarmament, with four key elements lending to its success: verifiable obligations via safeguards on peaceful nuclear activities; legally binding disarmament commitments; the establishment of a strategic balance between the three pillars of disarmament, non-proliferation and access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy; and its near universality, which ensures an almost global subscription to its normative framework.

Citing other achievements, she said former United States President John F. Kennedy’s dire prediction that between 10 and 20 States would have nuclear weapon capabilities by the 1970s did not come true. Only four nuclear-weapon States remain outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Likewise, the disarmament pillar has helped to ease global tensions, reduce great power conflicts, build confidence among nuclear-armed competitors and shrink arsenals. Such gains have helped to create an environment conducive to broader international cooperation for various global challenges, from peace and security to development and climate change. The two sides of the Non-Proliferation Treaty � disarmament and non-proliferation � are two sides of the same coin, she said, with backward movement on the one resulting in the same on the other. Citing the Secretary-General, she said the two sides are measures to prevent, mitigate and resolve conflict and can and should be pursued in tandem with other peacemaking and security processes.

However, the instrument’s durability should not be taken for granted at a time when the acquisition of arms is prioritized over the pursuit of diplomacy, she said. The disarmament success of the post-cold war era has come to a halt, she cautioned, with the security landscape being replaced with dangerous rhetoric about the utility of nuclear weapons and an increased reliance on these weapons in security doctrines. Moreover, expensive modernization programmes aimed at making faster, stealthier and more accurate weapons have effectively begun a qualitative nuclear arms race. Rapid technological development will start to impact the international security environment in various ways, including potentially lowering barriers to acquire atomic bombs. In addition, regional conflicts might heighten proliferation drivers. The disarmament and arms control framework upon which the gains of the post-cold war era were made is eroding, but we have nothing else yet with which to replace it, she said. As a result, the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons is higher than it has been in generations.

Such pressures are putting the Non-Proliferation Treaty under increasing stress while exacerbating the fault lines that have been evident between States parties for some time, she said, emphasizing that the 2020 Review Conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty will be a defining moment. A failure to reach a consensus in 2020 does not necessarily mean the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s demise, but it would set a poor precedent, highlight divisions between States parties and raise questions about States’ willingness to seek collective security for all, rather than narrow, short-term and eventually unsustainable security benefits for individual countries.

This situation should be avoided, she said, highlighting that 2020 marks the instrument’s fiftieth anniversary of its entry into force and presents a golden opportunity to make practical gains to ensure its continued viability. Ahead of the Review Conference, she urged States to consider and recognize four essential elements: demonstrated implementation of previous review cycle commitments by all States parties; genuine dialogue about the current security landscape; a strategic balance between the three mutually reinforcing pillars; and creative thinking about what a successful outcome looks like in 2020. Since 1995, review conferences have produced decisions, action plans and practical measures, she said, adding that States parties must consider in 2020 what possible outcomes can ensure success and drive forward the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s implementation.

Indeed, the instrument’s security benefits have been manifested in times of relative stability, and should be even more so in an era of global turbulence, she said. The instrument should serve as a mechanism that can help create a safer, more secure world while forming a basis for building trust and confidence, addressing emerging threats and challenges, and laying the ground for future gains in the pursuit of the collective global goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Whatever new arms control and disarmament approaches in the twenty-first century might look like, one thing is clear: the Non-Proliferation Treaty will still be at the centre of our collective security mechanism; it will have to stay fit for purpose, she said. The 2020 Review Conference is an opportunity to make headway on all of these goals, and to make sure this linchpin of international security remains fit for purpose through the next 25 or even 50 years.

YUKIYA AMANO, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the Agency now implements safeguards in 182 countries, including 179 which are States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Additional Protocol model approved in 1997 is as a powerful verification tool that gives inspectors greater access to sites and locations, in some cases with as little as two hours’ notice. Today, 134 countries have brought Additional Protocols into force. This is very encouraging, he said, calling on States Parties to Non-Proliferation Treaty, without comprehensive safeguards agreements in force, to bring such agreements into force without delay. All countries that have not yet done so should bring into force Additional Protocols. Turning to the key challenges facing the Agency, he pointed to the steady increase in the amount of nuclear material and the number of nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, coupled with continuing pressure on its regular budget. The regular budget had close to zero increases in recent years and it was cut in 2018. Continued cuts in the coming years could seriously affect nuclear verification activities, he warned.

The nuclear programmes of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remain among the top items of the Agency’s agenda, he said, noting that in his December 2015 final assessment, he stated that Iran had conducted a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device before the end of 2003. However, these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities. Iran continues to fully implement its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and it must continue to do so. Our inspectors have had access to all the sites and locations in Iran which they needed to visit, he added. The implementation in Iran of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, Additional Protocols and additional transparency measures under the Plan of Action is the most robust verification system in existence.

Ten years since IAEA inspectors were required to leave the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Agency continues to monitor the country’s nuclear programme and evaluate all safeguards-relevant information available to it, including open-source information and satellite imagery, he said. In the past decade, Pyongyang’s nuclear programme has significant expanded. The Agency has observed indications of the operation of the 5MW(e) reactor and reprocessing plant, the extension of the building housing, the reported centrifuge enrichment facility, and the construction of the light water reactor. Over the past year, activities at some facilities continued or developed further, while some other facilities appeared not to be operating. However, without access, the Agency cannot confirm the nature and purpose of these activities, he stressed.

Since 2017, the Agency has intensified its efforts to monitor the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme and enhanced its readiness to undertake verification and monitoring activities, he said. Subject to the approval of our Board of Governors, we could respond within weeks to any request to send inspectors back to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said.

In a broader sense, the Agency helps to improve the health and prosperity of millions of people by making nuclear science and technology available in health care, food and agriculture, industry and many other areas, he continued. Helping countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, using relevant nuclear technology, is an important part of our work, he said, noting that the Agency helps countries to use nuclear science and technology to meet 9 of the 17 Goals. The IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative launched in 2010 provides additional funds for its technical cooperation activities and has helped to raise over Euros 140 million for approximately 300 projects benefitting more than 150 countries. Nuclear power can also help address the twin challenges of ensuring reliable energy supplies and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Statements

HEIKO MAAS, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany and Council President for April, spoke in his national capacity, saying that for all the successes we have achieved in recent decades, we mustn’t fool ourselves. Dismantling nuclear arsenals has come to a standstill and the impending loss of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty � known as the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles � has raised the prospect of actual nuclear re-armament. The Review Conference must make it clear that article 6 of the Treaty still applies � requiring parties to cease a nuclear arms race and commit to disarmament. The world needs a road map to get back on track, with tangible steps towards risk reduction, laying the technical groundwork for a nuclear-weapon-free world and strengthening and developing the nuclear arms control architecture, including the start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and putting the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force.

Whether in Europe, in Asia or anywhere else, we cannot afford any more shocks to our security and stability, he said, underlining the importance of persevering effective instruments, such as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START Treaty. Further reductions are possible without any loss of security and the Russian Federation and the United States should continue to cut the number of their warheads and delivery systems. The Non Proliferation Treaty must be preserved, he said, adding that our shared security and peace around the world are surely worth it.

RETNO LESTARI PRIANSARI MARSUDI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee to avoid a global catastrophe. Expressing strong support for all three pillars, she raised concerns that the disarmament provision is the least implemented. When non nuclear-weapon States give up their rights to such weapons, possessor States must disarm their arsenals. Further, nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties are crucial for global efforts, she said, calling on all nuclear-weapon States to adhere to all treaties to establish such areas. Meanwhile, preferential treatment should be given to non-nuclear-weapon States in their peaceful pursuit of atomic technologies. More broadly, the global community must focus on the ultimate objective of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, with all parties implementing their commitments made at the review conferences in 1995, 2000 and 2010.

With great powers, come great responsibilities, she said, urging nuclear weapon States to set a positive example. In 2020, parties must make every effort, including political will and flexibility, to avoid a repeat of the failure to produce an outcome at the 2015 Review Conference. The Treaty of the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’ entry into force will help advance the aim of totally eliminating atomic bombs, as enshrined in article 6 of the Non Proliferation Treaty. The human species’ survival is dependent on our collective courage to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all, she said.

JACEK CZAPUTOWICZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, said that, against the current security backdrop, with nuclear issues appearing daily in the media, the Non-Proliferation Treaty remains a valuable tool with its three mutually reinforcing pillars. However, disarmament and non-proliferation efforts remain a work in progress, at best, fuelled by a complicated, unpredictable security environment, he said. Non-compliance is the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s most serious challenge, with the failure of some States eroding confidence and undermining the instrument’s goals. The last pillar � the peaceful use of nuclear energy � has been largely successful, with IAEA assisting. Yet, the Non Proliferation Treaty’s efficiency across the three pillars must be strengthened and the gaps should be closed, including working towards the Test-Ban Treaty’s entry into force and the start of talks on a fissile material cut-off convention.

Challenges must be addressed, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, he continued. On the latter, Poland, together with the United States, organized a ministerial conference. In addition, the Russian Federation must return to full compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Upholding a rules-based order reflects Poland’s long-term security policy, he said, underlining the close cooperation between his country and the Netherlands in their work on the Preparatory Committees leading up to the 2020 Review Conference. The Non-Proliferation Treaty is not a perfect instrument, he said, adding that its implementation has been less than ideal. However, without the Treaty, the world would have been much less stable and secure. It is our collective duty to ensure its vitality in the years to come.

JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, said that, amid uncertain times, it is critical to preserve a rules-based order and reaffirm the decisive role of the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a barrier in the face of nuclear proliferation. Citing such gains as States giving up nuclear weapons, the peaceful development of atomic energy and drastic reductions in arsenals, he said crises have also been overcome. Preserving the instrument is more central than ever before, given tensions and that energy needs are growing worldwide. Strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty includes respecting its three pillars, with a priority focus on resolving the crisis with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which must dismantle its nuclear-weapon programme.

Turning to Iran, he said it must meet its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Meanwhile, disarmament efforts must continue. The Russian Federation and the United States, which together hold the largest share of the world’s atomic bombs, must further their reduction programmes. In addition, States must advance talks on a fissile material cut-off treaty, ensure the Test Ban Treaty entered into force and use verification programmes to build confidence. In this vein, he encouraged States to provide assurance measures and take part in trust-building activities. For its part, France will continue to contribute to efforts towards disarmament and non-proliferation, he said.

SABAH KHALID AL HAMAD AL SABAH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, reaffirmed the global threat of nuclear proliferation and condemned the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction by any State. While reiterating Kuwait’s commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said his country has great challenges in achieving its goals. The world still faces the menace of proliferation of nuclear weapons. Kuwait and all Arab countries reaffirm that the decision of 1995 to keep the Arab region a nuclear weapon free zone remains valid. Israel should join the Non-Proliferation Treaty and should also subject all its nuclear sites to review, he said, expressing concern that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has not joined the Treaty. All States parties have the right to develop, research and possess nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Multilateralism and the principles of the United Nations Charter are essential in preserving the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Kuwait looks forward to the Treaty’s review process in May 2020 in New York.

MA ZHAOXU (China) said the tenth round of the Non-Proliferation Treaty review process has reached a critical state. Unilateralism and double standards in non-proliferation continue to exist. The international community must uphold the concept of a shared future, strengthen unity and cooperation, and steer the 2020 review process towards a unified outcome. The role of nuclear weapons in States’ national security policies must be diminished in order to reduce the risk of nuclear war. He urged the Russian Federation and United States to return to talks on their relevant weapons agreements. The international community must continue to support and uphold multilateralism. All countries need to work together to safeguard the United Nations authority in arms control. The authority, effectiveness and universality of the Treaty must be strengthened, not weakened. Regional hotspot nuclear issues should be resolved peacefully and diplomatically. He called on all parties to cooperate with each other and contribute to the successful holding of the review process in 2020. Committed to a path of peaceful development, China will work to safeguard the authority of the Treaty.

JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) said that his Government remains disheartened at the apparent lack of urgency and seriousness with which nuclear disarmament has been approached in the Non-Proliferation Treaty context. This state of affairs places the Treaty, as well as its review process, under increasing pressure and falls far short of expectations, he said. Measurable progress � particularly on nuclear disarmament � must therefore be a major determinant in achieving and in sustaining international peace and security. South Africa clearly demonstrated its commitment towards nuclear disarmament when it deposited its instrument of ratification on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 25 February, joining 21 other States that have ratified the instrument. He encouraged States that have not yet done so to follow suit. He urged the Council to fully respect the inalienable right of the States parties to the Treaty to use nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes as envisaged in the instrument. He further called on the Council and the international community to continue to support the Agency’s technical cooperation projects and activities. Nuclear-weapon-free zones will continue to play an important role in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, he stressed.

ANDREA THOMPSON (United States) said that, over five decades, the Non-Proliferation Treaty has grown to become more essential in ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear energy. We have seen enormous disarmament progress, she said. Easing cold war tensions has made it possible to reduce the nuclear stockpile of both the United States and the Russian Federation. However, many challenges still remain. We cannot overlook the fact that the actions of those who are expanding their nuclear stockpiles have contributed to a deterioration of the global security environment, she said. The United States will seek a positive outcome from the 2020 review process. We believe that consensus is possible if parties avoid using division issues to hold the review process hostage, she said. States must be united in demanding a denuclearized Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The international community must remain united in its determination that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons. We are optimistic that the [Non-Proliferation Treaty] will endure, she added, calling for strengthening of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) expressed concern about the erosion of the multilateral system. Confidence and cooperation between States is receding, he said. Belgium strongly supports the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s three pillars. Concrete measures which are mutually reinforcing continue to be a relevant part of the objective of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. He called for promotion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy and encouraged cooperation with developing countries in that regard. Belgium is committed to achieving a world free of new weapons. He underscored the hefty responsibility of the five permanent members of the Council that possess nuclear weapons. It is essential that we have in place a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear tests, he said. He called on States that are not yet party to the Test Ban Treaty to join the instrument so that it can enter into force. He also underscored the importance of extending the New START Treaty.

GBOLIA� DESIRA� WULFRAN IPO (CAte d’Ivoire) underlined concerns about nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists at a time when the disarmament machinery is stalled. As a State party to all relevant instruments, he said eliminating atomic bombs is the only way to avoid a nuclear catastrophe. Expressing hope that the 2020 Review Conference would make forward strides, he emphasized the importance of ensuring that States could access and benefits of nuclear technologies, as his country was benefiting from the opening of the nation’s first radiotherapy cancer treatment centre in Abidjan. Yet, efforts must be boosted to build trust among States and promote disarmament through effective steps, such as the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, he said, encouraging Middle East States to continue talks to establish such a zone in their region. Action is also needed to ensure the Test-Ban Treaty’s entry into force and the negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty. While the United States-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea summit had not achieved the desired results, he said dialogue is indeed the way forward towards an agreement. The nuclear threat is not a manifest destiny, but one created by humans, he said, highlighting that collective efforts can make the world safer.

JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) said the Council must take a step back and consider the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s gains over the past half century. For its part, the United Kingdom has more than halved its warhead arsenals since the cold war. Going forward, the Non-Proliferation Treaty contains guidelines for the Council’s action, including provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and all partners must work towards overcoming challenges leading up to the 2020 Review Conference. For instance, the United Kingdom, together with the United States, Sweden and Norway, is working on a nuclear verification system, he said, encouraging other States to follow suit with similar projects. Also, all States must work towards the full implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Test-Ban Treaty’s entry into force. For its part, the United Kingdom will present a country report on activities at the 2020 Review Conference and his Government has also signed an IAEA agreement. However, the United Kingdom would not support, sign or ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, he said, noting the silence of States on this instrument. The Council must give its full political support to the Non-Proliferation Treaty process and the upcoming Review Conference.

Mr. UGARELLI (Peru), noting the Council’s continued unity in the fight against the spread of nuclear weapons, said the only guarantee against their use was their total elimination. Urging nuclear-weapon States to abide by their commitments and to prevent the humanitarian fallout of these weapons of war, he said the legally binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons advanced the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s goals. As such, he urged all States to sign and ratify the former agreement, anticipating its universality. He also expressed hope that the situation on the Korean Peninsula will be resolved. More steps are now needed, including negotiating a fissile material cut-off treaty, he said, urging the Conference on Disarmament to end its stalemate and launch discussions on such a convention. Noting with regret the suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, he encouraged all States to take additional steps towards disarmament progress ahead of the 2020 Review Conference.

JOSA� SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic), recognizing the valuable role of IAEA in the development of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, said his country is now benefiting from such programmes. Expressing support for the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he cited recent achievements, including the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. However, progress is urgently needed in the area of disarmament, with action required by nuclear-weapon States to take verifiable steps towards eliminating their arsenals. A strong supporter of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the Dominican Republic remains concerned about a fresh nuclear arms race, given the current security climate. Pointing at the worrisome suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, he encouraged both parties to resume talks to settle differences. Turning to the effective way nuclear-weapon-free zones support Non-Proliferation Treaty goals, he anticipated that the 2020 Review Conference would result in steps to establish such a zone in the Middle East. Highlighting other areas requiring action, he said the Test-Ban Treaty, which complements the Non-Proliferation Treaty, must enter into force and talks must be launched to negotiate a fissile material cut off treaty. For the Dominican Republic, there is a clear link between disarmament and development. Money allocated to developing nuclear weapons is better spent on addressing fundamental human needs.

ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) said that his country does not have weapons of mass destruction and will remain a strong advocate of universal nuclear disarmament. Our goal has always been to pursue the goal of total elimination of weapons of mass destruction from the face of the Earth, he emphasized. Equatorial Guinea never has aligned itself with the Non-Proliferation Treaty approach of using the instrument in countries that do not possess nuclear weapons. He expressed concern that little progress has been made to disarm nuclear weapons holding States, which are armed to the teeth and have the potential to destroy the entire planet. States with nuclear weapons must work with countries that do not possesses them, he said, underscoring the humanitarian impact of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. The Council must remain united and assume its responsibility as the guarantor of international peace and security. It is not enough to establish a nuclear-free zone. Africa established itself as such and is set on using its uranium for peaceful purposes, he said, urging the Council to ensure the safe use of uranium on the continent. The Non Proliferation Treaty must be adapted to meet the needs of today’s world, he said, urging Member States to adopt a new approach looking ahead to 2020, stressing that the world is different today than in the 1970s when the cold war was at a peak.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s contribution to international peace and security cannot be overstated. The Treaty is a shining example of international cooperation to address global problems. Unfortunately, the next Review Conference is being approached in a very difficult context. Attempts are being made to undermine universally recognized norms which have exacerbated an already complicated situation. The Review platform should not be used to settle political scores. The Russian Federation shares the goal of building a world free of nuclear weapons, he said, noting that its nuclear arsenal has been reduced by over 85 per cent. Consistent efforts are still required, including by improving the strategic situation in many parts of the world. The unfettered deployment of United States anti-missile systems, its placement of military weapons in outer space and its attempts to decrease the defence capabilities of other countries through unilateral sanctions are of great concern. Such activity hardly creates an environment favourable to reducing the nuclear weapons stockpile. On a nuclear free zone in the Middle East, he called on all countries in the region to join efforts and participate in the upcoming conference on the matter. IAEA has important safeguards in place, he said, also stressing that States possess the inalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and in various sectors.

Source: United Nations