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Norwegian statement during NPT PrepCom II

During the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), H.E. Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen delivered the Norwegian general statement on 29 April 2008.


Mr. Chairperson,

Let me echo other speakers in congratulating you as chair of the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of the NPT 2010 Review Process. We are pleased that you have conducted extensive consultations with States Parties prior to this meeting. This augurs well for constructive deliberations the coming two weeks. We look forward to starting promptly with our substantive work after the general debate.

I also wish to thank the chair of PrepCom I, ambassador Amano, for the excellent manner in which he guided our deliberations in Vienna last year.

Mr. Chair,

The NPT is under growing strain. We are facing serious proliferation challenges, such as the ones posed by Iran and the DPRK. There is a wide-spread feeling that we are lagging behind in the implementation of the NPT disarmament commitments.

It is imperative to avoid a downgrading of the NPT. The Treaty has been a core pillar for collective security for nearly four decades. We all have much to loose by weakening the NPT. We cannot let this happen.

Our task during this Review Process must be to consolidate and further strengthen the NPT.  We must create the necessary enabling environment and political will to this end. This entails working in more innovative ways, not least across regions. This is what the Seven Nation Initiative is trying to achieve. 

We must see this PrepCom meeting as an important step in the process of forging a new international consensus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We cannot afford another failure at the 2010 Review Conference. We remain convinced that the elements contained in the Seven Nation Ministerial Declaration from 2005 provide a solid basis for consensus facilitation.

An international consensus must fully reflect that the NPT is based on the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, while at the same time ensuring the right to peaceful nuclear applications. This requires a comprehensive and balanced approach to our work, where the three pillars of the Treaty mutually strengthen each other. At the same time we must avoid artificial linkages. We cannot allow that progress in one area is blocked and held hostage to insufficient progress in another.

Yet, there can be no doubt that a world free of nuclear weapons clearly depends on a reliable and credible non-proliferation regime. This dimension would become increasingly important as we move forward in the dismantling of existing weapons.

For this reasons Norway continues to advocate full universal application of the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards and the Additional Protocol. In our view that should be a pre-condition for taking part in peaceful nuclear cooperation.

It is vital that we provide the IAEA with the necessary political and financial support to carry out its safeguards, security and safety mandate - as well as its important role in assisting members to fully benefit from nuclear energy and other peaceful nuclear applications. In this respect, we consider the Agency to be an important partner in reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Norway continues to call for universal adherence to all relevant UN and IAEA conventions and instruments related to nuclear security and safety. We remain firmly committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1540. Norway has supported a number of projects to assist States Parties in the field of national implementation of non-proliferation obligations set by the NPT, CWC and BTWC. We will continue to render such support.

Norway recognises States Parties’ rights to determine their own energy mix. We note that we may enter a new era as regards the peaceful use of nuclear energy. From our perspective, such a development must not be to the detriment of non-proliferation concerns, human safety and the environment.

For this reason, Norway attaches great importance to the key role of the IAEA in promoting nuclear safety. Likewise, we believe that multilateral arrangements as to the nuclear fuel cycle are essential in reconciling non-proliferation with peaceful uses.

Norway fully supports the establishment of a nuclear fuel reserve under the auspices of the IAEA. On 26th February this year, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs announced at the International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in Oslo a contribution of USD 5 millions to such a fuel bank.  We consider such a fuel bank to be an important first step towards developing an equitable multilateral framework for the nuclear fuel cycle that provides assurances against supply disruptions and strengthens the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We encourage other countries to contribute as well. It is our hope that we during the Review Process could address this, also reflecting the needs of developing countries.

Mr. Chairperson,

Nuclear disarmament can support peaceful uses by converting existing military excess stocks of highly enriched uranium and weapons grade plutonium to nuclear fuel for civilian reactors. We welcome steps taken by nuclear weapons states towards this end, and encourage them to accelerate this process, and - more importantly - take new and bolder steps towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear disarmament is not a naïve or altruistic option. There is an increasing awareness that nuclear disarmament serves our common security interests. Nuclear arms, which are dismantled in an irreversible way, cannot be used or fall into terrorist hands. Indeed, nuclear disarmament is an essential non-proliferation measure.

While there have been considerable weapons reductions since the end of the Cold War, it is a paradox that there are still nearly 27 000 nuclear weapons. What is even more worrisome is that there are signs that nuclear weapons may be given enhanced relevance in security policies. That would not be in conformity with commitments set by previous NPT Review Conferences.

The process of reducing existing stocks of nuclear arms must be accelerated, based on the fundamental principles of irreversibility, transparency and verification. We welcome the transparency measures taken by nuclear weapons states. Reporting is an obligation and not a matter of choice. We greatly appreciate our cooperation with the UK on verification of nuclear disarmament, and look forward to co-hosting a side-event on this important topic on Monday 5th May. Verification is the best way to foster confidence, through documenting that nuclear disarmament is actually taking place.

It is essential to move the nuclear disarmament agenda forward. In doing so we need to mobilise all stake-holders, and not least research institutions and other parts of civil society. That motivated the Norwegian Government in February this year to host an international conference in Oslo on Achieving the Vision of a World Free of Nuclear Weapons in cooperation with the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Hoover institution. The focus was on the steps necessary to reach our common vision.

While the Oslo Conference did not negotiate any declarations; five principles and 10 policy recommendations were made in the summary.

The five principles were:

First, achieving the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons will demand leadership at the highest level as well as committed outreach to key stakeholders, including the general public.

Second, taking disarmament seriously requires that we begin taking concrete steps now to sustain our vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and to build momentum behind it.

Third, achieving a world free of nuclear weapons must be a joint enterprise among states – nuclear-weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states alike.

Fourth, in addressing the wide range of challenges, we should be faithful to non-discrimination – the key principle of effective multilateralism.

Fifth, transparency from both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states should be at the heart of our global efforts.
 
On the basis of these principles, the following ten steps were recommended:

1. National leaders in all states should engage personally, and they should seek to involve key domestic stakeholders — their populations in particular — at an early stage. The disarmament efforts of our times will be an inter-disciplinary endeavour, and national leaders should also seek to engage experts from all relevant areas including science, diplomacy, politics, law and the military.

2. The United States and Russia are encouraged to reduce the size of their arsenals significantly so that nuclear weapon numbers are measured by the hundred, and not by the thousand. This should be affected by means of a verified, legally-binding treaty. It is also important to engage China, and eventually other states that possess nuclear weapons, in a strategic dialogue to develop a cooperative approach to nuclear security.

3. Non-nuclear weapon states should co-operate with nuclear weapon states to develop the technology needed for verifying disarmament. Nuclear weapon states should seize the opportunity presented by reductions in nuclear weapon numbers to demonstrate this technology.

4. All states that possess nuclear weapons are encouraged to make every effort to reverse their reliance on these weapons as a contribution towards their elimination. They should also change the operational status of their nuclear weapons in order to increase decision time in the event that use is contemplated, and to take other steps to promote strategic stability.

5. Entry into force of the CTBT is crucial to prevent a new nuclear arms race. Until the treaty enters into force, the existing moratorium on nuclear testing should be strengthened. Each state that has tested nuclear weapons in the past should pledge that it will not be the first to restart testing. In addition, funding for the CTBT’s International Monitoring System must continue.

6. FMCT is vital to advance disarmament and prevent proliferation. In addition to starting negotiations on an FMCT, the international community should consider the creation of a voluntary Fissile Material Control Initiative to enhance the security and transparency of all nuclear material—including material that may not be subject to an FMCT.

7. Eliminating nuclear arms requires a robust and credible non-proliferation regime. All states that have not yet done so should adopt a Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement and an Additional Protocol. In addition they should sign, ratify and implement all relevant multilateral instruments to enhance the safety and security of their nuclear materials.

8. In order to help avert the awful prospect of nuclear terrorism, all states that possess nuclear weapons are urged to take all necessary measures to ensure that their weapons do not fall into unauthorized hands.

9. We should aim to create a non-discriminatory system of nuclear fuel supply in close collaboration with the IAEA. In this regard, a serious and sustained dialogue between producer and consumer is needed so that consumers have an opportunity to explain their needs and suppliers have an opportunity to tailor arrangements and incentives accordingly.

10. And finally: The conference raised the question of convening a broadly-based high-level Intergovernmental Panel on Nuclear Disarmament, analogous to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to advise governments on the core requirements for abolishing nuclear weapons.

We hope that the outcome from the Oslo Conference can inspire our deliberations here in Geneva. We must together build the necessary momentum for a successful outcome of the 2010 Review Conference, responding to the security challenges of our century.

Thank you, Mr Chairperson


 


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