23 January 1997
Mrs. BOURGOIS (France) (translated from French):..............
In the nuclear area, if we consider the
United Nations General Assembly, the venue for the highest
expression of international public opinion, I must note that
in 1993, in resolution 48/75 L, the Assembly recommended
by consensus the negotiation in the most appropriate forum
of a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and
effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile
material for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. In March 1995,
prompted by Ambassador Shannon, the delegations of the Conference
on Disarmament laid down the mandate of the ad hoc committee
to negotiate a treaty on the basis of that resolution. In May 1995,
that commitment to draw up a universal treaty was taken up formally
in the section devoted to nuclear disarmament in the declaration
of principles and objectives subscribed to by the 185 members
of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
As you know, France has already taken
a number of steps at the national level in this area. As of 1992
my country stopped producing weapons-grade plutonium at Marcoule,
and stopped producing highly enriched uranium at Pierrelatte in 1996.
Furthermore, in 1996 the President of the Republic announced
that those two plants would be closed. France no longer produces
fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. With the closures
at the Plateau d'Albion and Mururoa and the reductions I have
just referred to, France has made a unique effort towards nuclear
disarmament, an effort which is consistent with deterrence based
on strict sufficiency. My country has therefore unilaterally made
irreversible commitments which must facilitate the success of
the negotiations on the "cut-off" treaty. We expect
as much from countries which have not yet made such commitments,
or not on such a scale.
Only a treaty negotiated in the Conference
on Disarmament, as the Comprehensive Nuclear-TestBan Treaty was,
can confer on these commitments the universality which is
an essential element to enable the international community to
make progress towards nuclear disarmament. Such a treaty will
put an end to any possibility of a quantitative
resumption of the nuclear arms race, just as the CTBT has
put an end to the possibility of a qualitative resumption by making
it impossible to develop new types of nuclear weapons which are
even more sophisticated. It will impose new constraints on the
nuclearweapon States and any other States which may possess weapons-grade
fissile material, and will thus effectively promote nuclear disarmament
and non-proliferation in all its aspects. Negotiations on the
treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons
and other explosive devices will require a great deal of work
because it will be necessary to address the delicate issue of
the scope of the treaty, arrangements for verifying compliance
with each party's obligations and also implementation. The verification
provisions will, if they are properly negotiated, be able to introduce
a note of trust which is fundamental in relations among States,
both nuclear and non-nuclear, whether or not they have signed
To summarize, my country remains convinced,
as others are, including our friends from the Non-Aligned group,
that because of their importance, nuclear issues must remain at
the centre of our Conference's attention. If negotiations are
able to begin on the "cut-off", France will do what
it can to promote their rapid initiation and speedy conclusion.
On the other hand, however, the idea of embarking on a road leading
to the setting up of an ad hoc committee entrusted with all
the issues of nuclear disarmament is triply problematical for
us, or at least raises some questions in our minds. First of all,
with regard to procedure, as we are only too aware, and as we
hear every day, this is a time for saving money, and it would
not be in the interest of the Conference to set up a mechanism,
committee or any other arrangement which lacked a precise negotiating
mandate and would be limited to disputatious discussions of generalities.
The Conference on Disarmament is not a local pub or bar: it should
not duplicate the discussions in the First Committee, it
should not overlap with the Disarmament Commission. Although there
are some who hold the opposite view, this is an automatic corrollary
of its restricted membership.
Secondly, with regard to the substance,
there is a very clear logic in making the "cut-off"
the second set of multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament
and non-proliferation after the CTBT. If we consider other
measures which might be proposed, I cannot see any which has any
real meaning, in a gradual and step-by-step process, as long as
the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons continues.
My country can see in advance that the "cut-off" negotiations
presuppose the imposition of new restrictions, new restrictions
on nonnuclearweapon States, whether or not they are parties
to the NPT; new restrictions too on the States which have
nuclear weapons. Today these are the only type of negotiations
which can produce results in both disarmament and non-proliferation.
Lastly, from a practical point of view, we need results. Trying to evade the "cut-off" negotiations, which constitute an essential stage, would mean remaining at the stage of declamatory phrases or placing oneself in the final perspective of nuclear disarmament in the framework of general and complete disarmament: in either case, no concrete progress can be expected in the near future.
France is well aware of the difficulty
of reaching an agreement and the fact that the negotiations on
a treaty banning the production of fissile material will be long
and complex. We know that 185 countries have committed themselves
here to implementing the Shannon mandate, agreed two years
ago, and beginning the negotiations on a "cut-off",
without any conditions and without any linkage to any other measures,
but we are also aware that two or three partners are not
ready to do so. We do not hope to force them to do so. However,
we do hope to convince them to do so.
Mr. HOFFMANN (Germany):................
When the Non-Proliferation Treaty was
extended indefinitely, it was further qualitatively strengthened
by the decisions on "Strengthening the review process for
the Treaty" and on "Principles and objectives for nuclear
non-proliferation and disarmament". The "Principles
and objectives" make a significant contribution to some of
the main areas of concern to the Conference on Disarmament, in
particular nuclear disarmament and security assurances. The first
step of the programme of action laid down in the "Principles
and objectives" under the heading of nuclear disarmament,
the negotiation of a nuclear-test-ban treaty, has been taken.
The second step should be a "cut-off"
of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive
devices. The objective of such a multilateral and effectively
verifiable "cut-off" treaty would be to cap the amount
of fissile material available for nuclear weapons. Such a treaty
would be a necessary complement to the CTBT.
Nations have long sought such a "cut-off"
treaty. In 1993, the forty-eighth United Nations General
Assembly finally adopted unanimously resolution 48/75 L calling
for "cut-off" negotiations. Two years later - after
many months of consultations and based on the valuable work of
Canadian Ambassador Shannon - we achieved consensus in the CD
on a mandate to negotiate the treaty called for in the resolution.
The basis for "cut-off" negotiations being firmly laid,
there is no justification in further delaying the establishment
of the respective ad hoc committee.
The German Government attaches high priority
to the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a convention
as a further important contribution towards non-proliferation
and nuclear disarmament.
Mr. ZAHRAN (Egypt) (translated from Arabic):.............
Is it true that there are a number of
forums which address nuclear issues, in particular the Conference
on Disarmament, which is the sole negotiating forum on disarmament
questions, and the General Assembly of the United Nations. However,
these issues are not being approached in a comprehensive and conclusive
manner and, consequently, the security assurances for the non-nuclear-weapon
States provided, jointly and separately, by the nuclear-weapon
States, which were reflected in Security Council resolution 984 (1995)
still fall short of our expectations since they are conditional,
non-comprehensive and not legally binding and have not been negotiated
multilaterally. Therefore, the decision on "Principles and
objectives" adopted by the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review
and Extension Conference in May 1995 should be implemented
by beginning serious negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament
on a multilateral and legally binding instrument to provide non-nuclear-weapon
States with comprehensive security assurances as soon as possible.
Furthermore, in this connection I would like to refer to General
Assembly resolution 51/43 which recommended that the Conference
on Disarmament should actively continue intensive negotiations
with a view to reaching early agreement and concluding effective
international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States
against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
The issue of a ban on the production
of fissile materials is another case in point. We believe that
a ban on the production of fissile materials, should not disregard
the past production of those materials, which is commonly referred
to as stockpiles, because that would be only a limited measure
constituting a partial solution to non-proliferation and could
not be considered as a further step towards nuclear disarmament.
On this basis therefore, and in conformity with the terms of reference
established by Ambassador Shannon the Special Coordinator on this
matter, we could begin to negotiate a convention on the prohibition
of the production of fissile materials in a committee on nuclear
disarmament which the Group of 21 has requested to be established
in the CD, because we are considering this question as one of
the measures forming part of the nuclear disarmament programme
contained in the "Principles and objectives" that were
adopted by the NPT Review Conference.
I do not wish to enumerate yet again
the very numerous instances in which calls for nuclear disarmament
have been made by the international community, I do, however,
wish to make reference to General Assembly resolution 51/45 O,
which called upon the Conference on Disarmament to establish,
on a priority basis, an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament
to start negotiations early in 1997 on a phased programme of nuclear
disarmament with a view to the eventual elimination of nuclear
weapons within a time-bound framework through a nuclear weapons