21 January 1997
..............Mr. DINI (Italy): .......
We do understand the impatience shown
by certain States regarding nuclear disarmament, but we believe
that the problem cannot be solved by merely issuing fine-sounding
declarations. This is why we urge everyone to be specific and
to embark on negotiations for which we feel, along with others,
that the time is now ripe. I am referring to a convention banning
the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other
nuclear explosive devices - the so-called "cut-off"
- and to the resumption of the negotiations in the 1995 Ad Hoc
Committee, whose activity is still paralysed. It is inconceivable
to permit fissile materials to be manufactured while nuclear tests
are being banned and existing fissile material is being destroyed.
It would be a historical contradiction. But the "cut-off"
is only the first in a series of measures set out in the "Principles
and objectives" document agreed at the Review and Extension
Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In the
view of the Italian Government, this document is itself a plan
of action for nuclear disarmament over the next few years. Some
of the most promising goals that still lie ahead are the following:
consolidating and extending the denuclearized zones, especially
in areas of tension; strengthening negative and positive security
assurances to benefit States that fully comply with the provisions
of the Non-Proliferation Treaty; and extending and enhancing the
IAEA safeguards in order to detect and prevent more effectively
any possible undeclared nuclear activity.
Sir Michael WESTON (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland):.........
The starting-point for the United Kingdom's
approach to nuclear disarmament is, of course, article VI of the
Non-Proliferation Treaty, the NPT. Under that article, to quote
it exactly: "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes
to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating
to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to
nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament
under strict and effective international control".
The United Kingdom is fully committed
to this article of the NPT, as to other articles of the Treaty.
Clearly the nuclear arms race between East and West has now ceased.
But, of course, both nuclear disarmament and general and complete
disarmament remain to be fully achieved. And there is scope for
debate about how best to pursue these objectives. Fortunately
the 1995 Conference of NPT States parties has helped to identify
the way forward by adopting the "Principles and objectives
for non-proliferation and disarmament", in which the section
on "Nuclear disarmament" sets out the importance to
the international community of three specific objectives: the
completion of negotiations for a comprehensive test-ban treaty
no later than 1996; the immediate commencement and early conclusion
of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty; and "systematic
and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally".
The United Kingdom continues to believe that this represents a
very sensible agenda for the foreseeable future and I should like
to say a few more words about each of these items.
The second element in the "Nuclear
disarmament" section of the "Principles and objectives"
is the fissile material cut-off treaty, the FMCT. This treaty
is in effect a complementary measure to the CTBT. Like the CTBT,
it will not lead directly to any reductions in nuclear forces.
But, also like the CTBT, it will put a limit on the extent to
which they can be developed. And it is certainly impossible to
envisage the achievement of nuclear disarmament without an FMCT.
Let me expand on these two points.
How will the FMCT circumscribe the way
in which nuclear forces can be developed? Quite simply by constraining
the amount of unsafeguarded fissile material available for potential
use in nuclear explosives. I have heard it said that, in practice,
the FMCT is unnecessary because the nuclear-weapon States have
already said they have ceased the production of fissile material
for use in nuclear explosives. Well, the United States, Russia,
the United Kingdom and France have indeed made such statements.
But a universal and verifiable FMCT would still have a number
of very important effects. It would formalize and verify these
statements. It would bring in the other nuclear-weapon State,
China. And it would put constraints on the ability of certain
non-parties to the NPT to produce more unsafeguarded fissile material.
These would be important accomplishments.
But the FMCT would do much more than
this. It would also provide an essential foundation for the eventual
achievement of nuclear disarmament. Clearly there can be no final
achievement of this goal without verification arrangements on
all the key facilities which can produce fissile material suitable
for use in nuclear explosives. I refer to enrichment and reprocessing
facilities. And whatever else an FMCT may or may not do, it will
certainly have to involve applying verification arrangements to
all such facilities. So, as I have said, the FMCT will put in
place an essential prerequisite for the achievement of nuclear
I hear it said by some of my colleagues
here in the CD that there can be no negotiation of an FMCT without
a simultaneous negotiation about a timetable for nuclear disarmament.
But the experience of the recent past shows very clearly that
linkage between negotiations is not the way to make progress.
The INF Treaty, the START I Treaty, the START II Treaty,
and the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty - none of these was achieved
by linking progress on them to progress on other issues. Nor indeed
were other important treaties, such as the Conventional Armed
Forces in Europe Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention. So
let us now get on with the negotiation of an FMCT in the CD without
getting distracted by questions of linkage.
There are those who feel that, in pursuit
of this objective, the international community now needs to agree
on a timetable for nuclear disarmament - to map out all the steps
for getting from here to there. Some CD members believe this so
strongly that they are refusing to allow an ad hoc committee to
negotiate an FMCT unless there is also an ad hoc committee to
negotiate such a timetable for nuclear disarmament. I have to
say quite bluntly that the United Kingdom does not believe
this is the best way of making progress towards the goal we all
share, either substantively or procedurally.
Substantively, we simply do not see the
value at this stage in trying now to devise a complete blueprint
for the final achievement of nuclear disarmament. In the United Kingdom's
view, the next steps are clear enough - the ratification of START II
by Russia, the implementation of START II, the negotiation
of a bilateral START III between the two States who
still possess the vast majority of nuclear weapons in the world.
These are large steps in their own right. And taking them will
require time. Given the huge uncertainties that looking even further
into the future would involve, is it really sensible to expend
a lot of effort doing that now? I do not deny that this would
be an interesting intellectual exercise. But is it an exercise
to which diplomats can usefully contribute at this stage? Frankly,
we do not think so.
And this brings me to my procedural point.
In our view, the CD should continue to do what it has always done
best - namely to negotiate detailed treaties on specific subjects.
By adopting this approach, the CD and its predecessors have notched
up an impressive list of achievements over the years - the
NPT, the BTWC, the CWC, and most recently the CTBT. The CD should
not now depart from this winning formula. Instead of wasting its
talents on star-gazing, it should turn its energies to the specific
job of negotiating an FMCT, a task which its excellent track record
suggests it could fulfil admirably. And which, as I have noted
earlier, would lay one of the essential foundations for nuclear
Mr. HASMY (Malaysia):
In speaking about the fissile "cut-off"
issue, my delegation is of the view that a ban on the production
of fissile materials for weapons purposes, which has been a long-standing
goal in nuclear disarmament, would indeed be a desirable goal.
It would constitute an important step towards deepening further
the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. My delegation therefore
supports the early conclusion of a "cut-off" treaty
as it would complement and reinforce existing unilateral, bilateral
and other multilateral nuclear disarmament mechanisms such as
the NPT and the CTBT. Clearly, for such a ban to be effective
there must be foolproof international control of all fissile materials
- hence the importance, in any fissile "cut-off" arrangement,
of an effective international control regime. It is imperative,
therefore, for the present impasse to be resolved as soon as possible
to allow substantive negotiations to begin.
Mr. AYE (Myanmar):
My delegation also holds the view that
there exists an urgent need to re-establish the Ad Hoc Committee
on Prohibition of the Production of Fissile Materials for Nuclear
Weapons and Other Nuclear Explosive Devices, and commence negotiations
on this important subject. The terms of reference and a good starting-point
for the work of this Ad Hoc Committee have been already formulated
in the report submitted to the CD by Ambassador Shannon in document
CD/1299 of 24 March 1995.
The alternative, to which I refer as
the extended programme, is to establish ad hoc committees on nuclear
disarmament, a fissile material ban, prevention of an arms race
in outer space, transparency in armaments and negative security
If we are to consider the concentrated
programme just mentioned, and in the event that the CD finds itself
unable to establish separate ad hoc committees on nuclear disarmament
and on fissile materials, we may possibly reach consensus to establish
an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament with two working groups,
i.e. one working group on nuclear disarmament and another working
group on fissile materials. This can be an alternative compromise
formula, which merits serious consideration by the member States
of the CD. And given the experience we have had in the recent
past, the CD can handle effectively one ad hoc committee at a
time and perhaps two at most.
Mr. REIMAA (Finland):
In 1995, an agreement was reached on
the establishment of an ad hoc committee to negotiate a treaty
banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons
or other nuclear explosive devices. It is time for the Ad Hoc
Committee to start its work. Differences relating to the scope
and other aspects of the "cut-off" treaty should be
addressed during the negotiations.
Mr. LEDOGAR (United States of America):...........
As we begin the 1997 session of the Conference
on Disarmament, it gives me great pleasure to read out a statement
to this body from President Clinton. I quote:
"In my message to the Conference
on Disarmament three years ago, I urged the negotiation of a comprehensive
nuclear test ban at the earliest possible time. Your success in
that negotiation, and the subsequent adoption of the Treaty by
the United Nations General Assembly, will help create
a safer world. The successful conclusion of the negotiation is
evidence of the Conference's potential to respond to the challenges
it now faces.
"Now the Conference on Disarmament
should take the next steps on the road to a more secure world.
"Prompt conclusion of a ban on producing
fissile material for use in nuclear explosives. Effectively cutting
off the spigot for more nuclear weapons is a necessary step toward,
and would greatly contribute to, the ultimate goal of nuclear
"Negotiation as soon as possible
of a comprehensive, global ban on anti-personnel landmines. These
weapons of war have caused terrible suffering to innocent civilians
and represent an enormous obstacle to restoring a more hopeful
life after a conflict has ended. All the children of the world
deserve to walk the Earth in safety.
"I call on the Conference to press
forward with a renewed sense of purpose, to demonstrate to the
world its capability to take these key steps to advance the process
of nuclear and conventional disarmament."
As I and many of my colleagues have stated,
the CD's first priority in the field of nuclear disarmament should
be to negotiate a treaty to ban the production of fissile material
that could be used for nuclear weapons purposes. Such a negotiation
would fulfil not only the requirement set forth in the "Principles
and objectives" document approved by consensus at the 1995 NPT
Review and Extension Conference, it would also represent a major
step forward in the ongoing process of reducing the number of
nuclear weapons as well as in preventing their proliferation in
the world. Clearly it would be another major step in the continuum
of actions that has been under way for some time now to make progress
toward the ultimate goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons.
For these reasons, I hope we all will be able to re-establish,
as was approved by this body almost two years ago, an
ad hoc committee to negotiate a treaty
on banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
Mr. MOHER (Canada):..............
In the context of our views on the CD's
agenda, we again note the agreement among CD members, based on
the Shannon paper and mandate therein, to negotiate a ban on the
production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear
explosive devices. The CD should begin these negotiations immediately.
There is no doubt that the passage of time since 1995, other developments
and the complexity of the issue itself all mean that the CD will
need to do considerable definitional, organizational and operational
work so that the Ad Hoc Group established to negotiate on the
basis of the Shannon mandate will be able to implement successfully
our earlier decision. Canada sees no reason why we should not
begin that work immediately.
Certainly, as a country firmly committed
to fulfilling our NPT responsibilities, we believe we have
an obligation to begin work - now - on such a "cut-off"
convention. The global community, through the United Nations,
and during the NPT Review and Extension Conference, has urged
the CD to get on with concluding such a convention.