Index

NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY

PRESS BRIEFING OF MAY 24, 2000

STATEMENTS BY THE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON

The review conference on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) ended in New York on Saturday, May 20. The issues at the conference were not comparable to those at the 1995 conference which had to decide on the NPT extension, which it did moreover for an indefinite period. It was however important to reach a consensus at this new review conference on the resolve of all the states parties (there are 187) to continue to observe their commitments.

The document adopted covers all aspects of the treaty (disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of atomic energy) and includes elements in review and perspectives.

The European Union had agreed on a common position.

The five nuclear powers issued a joint message at the start of the conference, at France’s initiative and through our voice, expressing their unequivocal resolve to further the objectives of nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament in response to the call by the non-nuclear weapon states.

The commitments by the nuclear powers reiterate and clarify those contained in the treaty and the 1995 conference decisions. In regard to nuclear disarmament specifically, the final document emphasizes the importance of the unequivocal commitment of the nuclear-weapon states to achieve the complete elimination of their arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament, to which all the states parties are committed in accordance with article VII.

The priorities set out in the action program contained in the decision on the principles and objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament (decision 2 of 1995) are reaffirmed: entry into force of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT); negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear- weapons use (FMCT) and systematic and progressive measures to reduce nuclear arms, then eliminate them and to progress towards general and complete disarmament. The 2000 conference also mentions possible avenues of approach (transparency, further reductions, reductions in non-strategic weapons) to be followed with due respect for the security interests of the states concerned.

The survey of our actions in the area of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, illustrated in the reference work published in April 2000, was welcomed. France, which ceased all production of fissile materials for nuclear-weapons use in 1996 and has begun dismantling the installations producing these materials, earnestly hopes that the 2000 Review Conference will be followed by the immediate start of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of these materials (FMCT). The states parties have recommended the conclusion of such a treaty in five years; this would be an important stage in consolidating the non-proliferation regime established by the NPT and towards nuclear disarmament.