Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation Ambassador Susan F. Burk today said Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty parties have risen to the challenge and defied the skeptics.
At the 23rd United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues: “Urgent and United Action Toward a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World,” Ambassador Burke said the conference is a good opportunity to take stock of what the world has accomplished as states begin to lay the groundwork for the start of formal preparations for the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
“I do not need to dwell on the challenges faced by the NPT as we headed into the 2010 NPT RevCon. Noncompliance by certain NPT parties; concerns that nuclear disarmament was not proceeding quickly enough, even as the international community failed to deal adequately with emerging nuclear states; and the dramatic increase in the number of states interested in pursuing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy for power generation, which raised the issue of how to expand the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in a way that does not increase the risk of nuclear proliferation.” -Ambassador Burke
She highlighted that cross-cutting the NPT’s challenges to the three pillars was the Middle East issue and widespread interest in seeing steps taken to implement the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East.
“Fortunately, NPT Parties roses to the challenge and defied the skeptics. They engaged constructively and worked across geographic and political lines to find common ground. The result was a comprehensive, balanced and forward-looking Action Plan to support the objectives of the NPT’s three pillars.” -Ambassador Burke
She underscored that the Parties’ willingness to translate their support for a “balanced” review into agreement on steps to advance each of the Treaty’s pillars was essential to the result. She added that also important to the success of the Conference was the decision to convene a conference to begin addressing the issues involved in establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
“We worked together to make progress where we could, and accepted, albeit reluctantly at times, that on some issues progress was not yet possible. Our efforts demonstrated the contribution that responsible multilateral diplomacy can make to addressing international interests and concerns.” -Ambassador Burke
She pointed out that the NPT Action Plan’s 64 actions and its decision on the Middle East represent a set of follow-on actions whose implementation promises to strengthen the Treaty. She said it is a plan that reflects the balance between the NPT pillars that Parties’ agreed should be pursued, as well as broad acceptance of the principle of “mutual responsibility,” a principle that is critical to the continued vitality of the NPT regime.
“The Plan’s nonproliferation goals include resolving all cases of noncompliance, promoting universality, concluding comprehensive safeguards agreements and Additional Protocols, adhering to export control guidelines, preventing illicit trafficking, and maintaining the highest standards of security and physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities.” -Ambassador Burke
Ambassador Burker stressed that on disarmament, all Parties are committed to pursue policies necessary to establish conditions for a nuclear-weapon-free world and to apply the principles of irreversibility, verifiability and transparency. The Parties also underlined the importance of achieving the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and maintaining testing moratoria pending that outcome.