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Special Coverage 2010 NPT RevCon
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is hosting its Review Conference in May 2010. In this special coverage, the IPCS aims to provide a daily analysis on the developments at the conference and its implications from an Indian perspective.
Summaries of key issues which were discussed during the NPT Review Conference 2010

Additional Protocol

The Additional protocol to IAEA safeguards system was introduced in 1997 to strengthen the safeguard mechanism established under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. It embodies the IAEA’s right to acquire more extensive information on nuclear related activities such as manufacturing, exports and imports of nuclear or related material. It is currently being implemented by 102 states.  The Additional Protocol was extensively discussed in the NPT Revcon under the auspices of the Main Committee III which dealt with the issue of Nuclear Energy. Though initially in favor of making the Additional Protocol mandatory for any exchange of nuclear technology and material under article IV of the NPT, the committee adopted a more balanced approach under the pressure of NNWS, especially Egypt, Brazil and Iran. It adopted an approach which is reflected in the Final Declaration as well, where it accepted that the decision to sign the Additional Protocol is a sovereign privilege of the states and it could not be forced upon them. However, once the protocol is in force, it is a legal obligation for the state to adhere by its standards. However, this does not lead to any resolution of the political imbroglio which underlies sensitive nuclear trade. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has declared the Additional Protocol to be a standard for trade in nuclear material. If that be the case, the NNWS who seek to establish their nuclear energy programs, will need to sign the Additional Protocol. This reflects that, at the level of the NPT, the Additional Protocol has not been forced upon the NNWS, but the NWS have used other mechanisms to achieve the same objective.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty seeks to ban all testing of nuclear devices. The negotiations for the treaty were concluded in 1996 and the treaty was opened for signature and ratification. Till date the treaty has been signed by 182 states and ratified by 151 states.  .  However, the treaty is still pending since under article 14 it requires 44 key states to sign and ratify the treaty for its entry into force. Nine states are still holding out including USA, China and India. The treaty has been considered a watershed for nuclear disarmament. Pandit Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, called for a standstill agreement way back in 1954. Also, over time, a number of treaties have been signed to restrain states from testing such as the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 1976 which banned nuclear weapons testing in all environments, except underground... However, CTBT envisages putting a complete stop on all kinds of nuclear tests.

The 2010 NPT RevCon, following the spirit, of article VI of the NPT, Principles and Objectives of the 1995 NPT RevCon and the “13 steps” of the 2000 NPT Revcon, reiterated that the CTBT “is an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects”. It also reaffirmed the vital importance of the entry into force of the CTBT as a symbol of the NWS’s seriousness about their article VI commitments. It also, taking into accounts the fears of some NWS especially USA, asked the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to develop a robust verification regime to detect any clandestine nuclear testing.

Multilateralization of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Article IV of the NPT recognizes the “inalienable right” of all parties to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. However, the dual nature of nuclear technology allows conversion of peaceful nuclear programs to nuclear weapon programs. To solve this dilemma, there have been repeated calls for shifting the focus from state controlled nuclear energy programs to multilateral or internationally owned programs. Multilateralizing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (NFC) is aimed at discouraging states from acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies and thereby halting nuclear proliferation. By providing nuclear fuel to needful states on competitive market prices, this process would undermine the logic of state owned fuel manufacturing facilities which are economically costly.

 The NPT Revcon has taken a positive stand on this issue of NFC and their multilateralization. It has underlined their importance by asking all parties “to discuss further the possibilities to create voluntary multilateral mechanisms for assurance of nuclear fuel supply”. However, it stressed the need to “not affect rights of the states to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with the treaty”. This clearly states the position of the NNWS who are willing to discuss nuclear fuel cycles but fear any attempts to curtail their rights under article IV to develop their own fuel cycles.

Yogesh Joshi

NPT Withdrawal
Article X, Para 1, of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provides the terms on which state parties can withdraw from the treaty. Accordingly to the clause, states have the right to withdraw from the treaty if the withdrawing party “decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country.” The withdrawing party is expected to “give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance” and “such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests. In 2003, North Korea announced its withdrawal from the treaty under this clause and since then there have been concerns regarding the withdrawal of other state parties from the NPT, in particular Iran, after acquiring the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Iran in the past has threatened to withdraw from the treaty in the face of increasing international sanctions against the state and any such consideration from Iran in the future would damage the treaty severely. Since North Korea’s withdrawal from the treaty, the NPT state parties have not been able to address the specificities and consequences of an eventual withdrawal by states. Moreover it has still not been determined whether North Korea is still party to the NPT. On 22 April, 2010, when addressing a gathering on the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and WMD Proliferation and Terrorism Gary Samore said that, “as a technical legal matter we don’t recognize that they (North Korea) have withdrawn from the treaty,” thereby implying that North Korea’s withdrawal is not formally recognized by the NPT state parties.  

Negative Security Assurances (NSAs) and Positive Security Assurances (PSAs)

A Negative Security Assurance (NSA) is a guarantee by the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) that they will never use nuclear weapons against the Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS). A Positive Security Assurance (PSA) is a pledge by the NWS that they will come to the aid of NNWS in case of a nuclear threat or attack on them. The issue of NSA has been a subject of contention at the NPT review conferences. The NNWS want “legally binding negative security assurances” from the P5. In 1995, the UN Security Council passed resolution 984 on NSAs; it however did not address the desire of the NNWS for legally binding assurances. Under the 2002 US Nuclear Posture Review, the Bush administration adopted a policy of using nuclear weapons in retaliation for chemical and biological weapons attack. Since then the call for a legally binding NSA commitment by nuclear weapon states has only increased. The Obama Administration released the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which has sought to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US national security strategy. The NPR acknowledged the US negative security assurance by stating that “the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.” The NPR however states that the US reserved the right “to make any adjustment in the assurance that may be warranted by the evolution and proliferation of the biological weapons threat and U.S. capacities to counter that threat.” China, on the other hand, has issued both NSA and PSA; however, there is no clarification whether this applies to India and Pakistan post- their 1998 nuclear tests.

Rekha Chakravarthi

Indo-US Nuclear Deal

The Indo-US civil nuclear agreement provides India access to previously restricted nuclear fuel to certain safeguarded reactors. Significant because India is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and therefore is now the only non-NPT state to have been given a NSG waiver; the agreement has therefore been criticized by non-proliferation pundits. Iran, whose nuclear program is presently under scrutiny for violating NPT guidelines, has opposed the deal. Iran at the 2010 NPT Review Conference demanded the “cessation of all kinds of nuclear cooperation with non-member states of NPT, and adoption of effective punitive measures against all those states which continue their cooperation with such non-member states.” The United States has been at pains to defend the agreement, highlighting that the agreement strengthens institutions of safeguards, and other transparency mechanisms that add to the security and the nonproliferation concerns. However, developments such as the Chinese announcement of assisting Pakistan’s nuclear program under similar aegis, have brought to the fore the difficulties of such an agreement. The precedent nature of the deal would be a weighted factor in the resolution urging India and other hold out states-Pakistan and Israel, to sign the NPT at the earliest.

Siddharth Ramana

Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone

Implementation of 1995 resolution on the Middle East was a controversial issue discussed at NPT RevCon. On the opening day of Conference, Secretary Hillary Clinton addressing the issue said U.S. would “reaffirm the commitment to the objective of a Middle East free of these weapons of mass destruction, and we are prepared to support practical measures that will move us toward achieving that objective.”  It happened for the first time when a statement came from U.S. that they would support any measure to the cause of nuclear weapon free Middle East. 
The States of Israel and Iran are considered as major hindrances to achieve this objective. The strenuous discussions on this issue are well noted in paragraph 105 of Draft Final Document which says, “The Conference underscores the importance of the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones where they do not exist, especially in the Middle East.” Further, the Section IV of recommendations is entirely dedicated to the 1995 resolution, where the conference not only regretted the little progress being made on the implementation of the 1995 resolution but also recalled the reaffirmation by 2000 RevCon on the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty (NPT) for the success of Middle East NWFZ. 
In 1974 the UN General Assembly passed the Resolution 3236 calling for “the establishment of the nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the region of Middle East.” It is yet to be seen how long it is going to take for the Middle East NWFZ as it entirely depends on the attitude of Israel and Iran. 

 Nuclear Terrorism: The missing element at NPT RevCon 2010

A comprehensive discussion on the issue of nuclear terrorism was expected during the NPT RevCon but unfortunately it seems that it was not on the primary agenda of the NPT RevCon 2010. Out of 78 working papers presented during 2007 PrepCom for the 2010 Revcon, only one paper was dedicated to nuclear terrorism. In the wake of the Nuclear Security Summit where nuclear terrorism was a major concern, much was expected on this issue at the NPT RevCon.
The issues of nuclear terrorism, prevention of black market supply networks and acquisition of nuclear weapons by non-state actors drew attention to the importance of implementing UNSC Resolutions 1540, 1673 and 1810. On this particular issue, the 2007 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was only mentioned at the RevCon. The issue of nuclear terrorism is also absent from the draft reports of Main Committee II and Main Committee III. In the first draft report of Main Committee II, paragraph 50 welcomed the establishment of the “Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.” To the disappointment of many States the new draft does not make any reference to the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.  In the present context where terrorism is the primary threat to nation states; where the world have witnessed new methods for terror attacks, it is regrettable that its importance was not appreciated at such an important world forum.

New START and Disarmament: Are they linked?

In Paragraph 90 of its Draft Final Document, the NPT RevCon welcomed the initiative taken by the United States and Russia in signing the New START agreement contemplating a massive reduction in their nuclear stockpile. Can we consider the New START to be a major step towards disarmament? There are numerous arguments and counter-arguments being made here.  It has been widely seen as a formidable step taken by President Obama to achieve a nuclear free world to meet growing expectations for nuclear disarmament. The NPT RevCon 2010 served as a platform for States to express their views on the New START.
During the Conference NAM countries stated that the New START is a Treaty that is “below the international community’s expectations which anticipates more concrete, uniform and systematic nuclear disarmament efforts.”  In terms of Article VI of the NPT many States welcomed the conclusion of the New START whereas many States regarded it as only a demonstration of compliance with Article VI as the START is yet to be ratified. According to Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), New START talks about reduction of numbers for deployed warheads but does not actually reduce the number of warheads. It seems true according to Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group who called it a “force protection” treaty rather than a disarmament treaty. The New START does not address U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in NATO States; therefore undermining the overall objectives of disarmament.

Jasbir Rakhra

Daily Updates NPT Review Conference 2010

28 May 2010
NPT Review Conference

The penultimate day of the Review Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty saw a final agreement being accepted by its members, after a number of changes were made to the original draft. The final document is described as a “watered down” version of what was originally intended to push nations towards universal disarmament and strengthen the non-proliferation regime. The President of the Conference, Filipino Ambassador, Libran Cabactulan, articulated the difficulties faced in reaching a consensus by admitting that the document “may not fully satisfy many, however he expressed the hope that the consensus achieved “could still be the answer to our prayers” – it was the “very best that can be offered given the complexities of the issues.” Cabactulan expressed his deep appreciation that the delegates had agreed to the compromises which allowed for the successful outcome of the final agreement in the following words: “though the negotiations were complex, and some key issues could not be isolated from difficult political realities, I was pleasantly pleased to see a very potent spirit of cooperation and the clear message with the clear common desire of all participants to work towards success.”

According to the agreed document, the P5 are urged to “engage” with the aim of total disarmament and report back to a preparatory committee by 2014, with the 2015 Review Conference taking stock of the developments. Egypt, which leads the 118-nation bloc of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), had originally proposed the total elimination of nuclear weapons by 2025. Then, in an apparent compromise, an early committee draft called for an international conference in 2014 to begin talks on abolishing nuclear arms. However, the UN Secretary-General is no longer being urged to convene a conference to agree on a roadmap for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The document states that “in implementing the unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, the nuclear-weapon states commit to undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed.”

The major hurdle during the conference has been that the NWS which were particularly wary of the language used in the draft versions dealing with disarmament. Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the US emphasized that they were keen on being hailed for their disarmament gestures, as reported in the preceding blogs. Paragraphs 90, 92, 95, and 96 relating to the review of the operations of the Treaty deal with hailing these states, and these paragraphs alone would have sufficed for the P5 states. Commenting on the agreement, the French Ambassador Eric Danon called it “realistic” in achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament.

Another sore point for the NWS was the inclusion of timelines in the document. Para 83 reaffirmed that the final phase of the nuclear disarmament process and other related measures should be pursued within a legal framework, but now notes, “which a majority of state parties believe should include specified timelines,” rather than simply stating “within a legal framework with specified timelines.” Another example of how the treaty has been watered down by the NWS is that the clause which asked for committed action by them to cease modernization and development of nuclear weapons has been deleted. It has been replaced by some non-actionable language recognizing “the legitimate interests of Non-Nuclear Weapon States in the constraining by the Nuclear Weapon States of the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of weapons.”

Further evidence of the placation of NWS concerns are apparent in other sections of the agreement. For example, in Action 5a, the NWS are exhorted to “rapidly move towards” an overall reduction of the global nuclear stockpile, whereas, earlier, they were to consult on rapidly “pursuing” this reduction (originally, they were to “lead to the rapid conclusion of negotiations” on this reductions). Action 5b on nuclear sharing has been rephrased to “address the question of all types of nuclear weapons of Non-Nuclear-Weapon States,” rather than consulting them. They are now to to “address the question of all nuclear weapons regardless of their type or their location as an integral part of the general nuclear disarmament process.” Action 5e on de-alerting has the NWS considering “the legitimate interest of non-nuclear-weapon States” in further reducing the operational status of nuclear weapon systems rather than considering ways to reduce this status.

A significant area of friction during the conference was the issue of a Nuclear Weapons Free Middle East, which had been raised in previous review conferences since 1995. A consensus was reached on this question, and the document states that Middle East countries should meet at a 2012 conference on the establishment of the 1995 Middle East Resolution, which calls for a region free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. In a controversial move, the delegates reaffirmed “the importance of Israel's accession to the NPT.” Israel is a non-signatory to the NPT and has a stated policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Significantly, while discussing the Middle East, the final document calls on states to fully comply with the NPT to uphold its integrity and the authority of its safeguards system. But it falls short of accusing Iran of violating its safeguard agreements with the IAEA. Iran itself made it subject to Israel’s participation in the 2012 conference. According to the chief Iranian delegate, Soltanieh, the 2012 Middle East conference is “a suggestion” rather than “a commitment.” He signaled that Iran would attend with the precondition that Israel accedes to the NPT, and puts all its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection.

The final agreement also addresses the DPRK issue, which had illegally developed nuclear weapons while being a signatory of the NPT and then abrogated its membership. The final document called for its return to the NPT and adhering by IAEA safeguards, while reaffirming its support for the six-party talks on the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula. In some areas, the new draft describes the perspective of some states rather than asserting a particular viewpoint. For example, as reported by Reaching Critical Will, “regarding its language on noncompliance, the Conference notes the concerns expressed by numerous states parties with respect to matters of non-compliance.”

Similarly, the language on the Additional Protocol mentions that some states think it is integral to the NPT, while the comprehensive safeguards agreement recommends the enhanced verification standard. This clause had been edited in the face of severe opposition of some states against inclusion in the final agreement

The final agreement significantly mentions the non-signatory states - Israel, India and Pakistan. Addressing the universality of the NPT, the text reads “the conference remains convinced that universal adherence to the treaty can achieve this goal (of non-proliferation) and it calls upon all States not parties to the Treaty, India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to it without further delay and without conditions.” It argues for the “three states, operating un-safeguarded nuclear facilities (to) reverse clearly and urgently any policies to pursue any nuclear weapon development or deployment and to refrain from any action which would undermine regional peace and security.” While the consensus achieved has helped to prevent the failure of the review conference as occurred in 2005, there are strong reservations on the real achievements of the conference. As elucidated by the Iranian delegation “There are numerous examples that the outcome is coming short of expectations of the international community.” The delicate maneuvering which the document has achieved has made it extremely vulnerable to amendment of its controversial clauses. The RevCon President highlighted this when he observed that “trying to change this carefully balanced document could put our work in danger.” Furthermore, the inclusion of Israel’s presence for the 2012 conference on the Middle East has raised serious questions about whether a conference document would be possible in this RevCon. The US Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ellen Tauscher, has regretted this rigid position.

Siddharth Ramana

27 May 2010
NPT final draft document released

After a month of deliberations, the President of the NPT Conference, Ambassador Libran Cabactulan of the Philippines held a brief plenary on Thursday to distribute the draft final document and three procedural documents. He described the draft as a “carefully balanced document,” and asked all delegations to consider it carefully, refer to their capitals and return on Friday to adopt it. The states parties now have to decide if they want to move forward on the basis of these substantive (but limited) agreements and recommendations. Ambassador Cabactulan stated that “it may not fully satisfy many” states parties, but “could still be the answer to our prayers” and it was the “very best that can be offered given the complexities of the issues.” He also warned of failure if parties cling to their positions and that “trying to change this carefully balanced document could put out work in danger.”

The document was based on work in all three Committees, the three subcommittees and additional consultations by delegations. Though some parts have also been discussed among a select group of 16 to 20 ‘Friends of the President,’ where key parties from all groups and regions work together to resolve the most contentious issues that came out of the committees. The Acronym Institute reported that this document would “constitute a small but significant step towards strengthening global security and laying the groundwork for a transformative, comprehensive approach to build a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The draft appears to be written to accommodate the principle concerns of all delegations at the conference. It supports a conference in 2012, under the auspices of the UN, “to be attended by all States of the Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the States of the region, and with the full support an engagement of the nuclear weapon states (NWS).” The draft also calls for nuclear-weapon States to undertake further efforts to “reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures.” It calls on all NWS to undertake “concrete disarmament efforts and affirms that all States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.” The NWS have so far not agreed on a clear timeline for nuclear disarmament and the draft only says that “a majority of States parties believe this process should include specified timelines.” A deep rift is evident between the NWS and non-NWS, but the submission of the final draft by the president signals that progress is being made though it is still uncertain whether the member states will ultimately adopt the text on Friday.

Tara Sarin

26 May 2010
Towards a successful Review Conference?

On Wednesday, closed door negotiations continued on the draft Final Declaration that was released on May 25, Tuesday. The Reaching Critical Will (RCW) NPT News in Review, no. 19, reported that the NGOs, press and even official observes, including the International Committee on Red Cross were kept out of the conference room on Wednesday. According to the report, the Review Conference has been unable to retain the initial enthusiasm and positive atmosphere witnessed in the early weeks of the conference. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged state parties at the conference "to be pragmatic and coalesce around solutions that will advance the interest of the whole community of nations." He called on the delegations to "step up their work with flexibility and in a cooperative spirit, to reach agreement on an outcome document that will contribute to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and to further progress on disarmament."

The debate on Wednesday centered on the language of the text of the Final Declaration. There is concern over the conference's ability to reach consensus on a strong agreement within the remaining two days of the conference. The P5, in particular France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US, recommended amendments to disarmament efforts may undermine the Final Declaration, in case these amendments are adopted. Russia is said to have called for deletion of Article 6e in the action plan, which calls on nuclear weapon states to "consider further reducing the operational status of nuclear weapons." The NWS have also asked for deleting references to any form of "time frame" for achieving disarmament. The RCW also reported that the NWS are also seeking the deletion of Action 5, which says that nuclear weapon states "commit to cease the development of and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and to end the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons." Similarly, efforts to reach an agreement on other issues such as Article X (withdrawal), the additional protocol etc. have been controversial.

Rekha Chakravarthi

25 May 2010
The Last Lap of NPT RevCon

On Tuesday, 25 May, the first draft of the Final Declaration was released by President of the Review Conference compiling the Chair’s draft report from the three main committees and subsidiary bodies, including the preamble.

According to Reaching Critical Will, the substance has not been changed from the last revised version submitted by each committee but the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has  requested more time to review the document and  coordinate the position  of its over 110 member states. The closed door meeting resumed in the evening and further discussions were held on areas where consensus has not been reached. The major controversy revolves around the IAEA safeguards system and its Additional Protocol (AP), the action plan on disarmament, non-compliance and export controls. The issue of Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East is still pending with no official response. The Chair of Subsidiary Body II (SB II) on regional issues including 1995 Resolution on the Middle East, Ambassador Alison Kelly (Ireland) had circulated the first draft report last week after two weeks of intense consultations, but the report did not provoke any response. 

Apart from these issues a major concern for the Non-nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) is the action plan on disarmament, with practical steps being taken to reflect the commitments made by President Obama to work for a world free of nuclear weapons. As the Review Conference has reached its final phase, the world is hoping for a successful outcome. Will the outcome guarantee nuclear disarmament and take positive steps towards nonproliferation? It remains to be seen if a document will be finalized as occurred after the 2000 NPT RevCon.

Jasbir Rakhra

24 May 2010
NPT Review Conference Daily Update

Day 21 of the NPT Review Conference saw a lot of pressure on the P-5 countries that had guarded their nuclear programs from any international scrutiny. The United Kingdom for example, opposed the term “nuclear disarmament verification” in favor of the watered down expression “nuclear warhead dismantlement”. Its opposition to definite timelines was opposed by support from South Africa, Tanzania, Turkey, Morocco, Iraq, and Cuba calling for its retention. France defended the track record of the P-5 states, lauding their efforts since the end of the cold war in reducing nuclear tensions.

The United States opposed calls for legally binding security assurances against the use or threat of nuclear weapons, in addition to referring to issues which seemed out of place, in the context of the work of Main Committee I. The US wanted to change the language referring to the prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons -“without hampering the peaceful uses of nuclear energy”, to “while facilitating the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in accordance with article IV”. This has been attributed to its desire to placate NAM concerns about their “inalienable right” to nuclear energy.

Furthermore, commenting on Action 16 (Subsidiary Body I on nuclear disarmament), the US stated that it opposed any movement on it. Action 16 refers to closing of nuclear test sites, and states “all states that have not yet done so are encouraged to initiate a process towards the closing and dismantling, as soon as feasible and in an irreversible and verifiable manner, of any remaining sites for nuclear test explosions and their associated infrastructure.” The United States also opposed the inclusion of India, Israel, and Pakistan in the second and third paragraphs, dealing with the security of non-nuclear weapon states, suggesting reference to only North Korea. This move was objected to by the Arab countries.

The P-5 put up a united front against the proposals to devalue nuclear weapons in doctrines and operations, and wanted the UN Secretary General’s 5-point disarmament proposals to be noted in the review section and not the action plan. The NAM countries were the ones to initially observe that the nuclear posture of the Nuclear Weapons States, particularly the NATO countries, set out rationales for the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Cuba and Iran supported this opposition to the P5.

The P-5 also opposed Action 5 which calls for a commitment by the NWS “to cease the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons and to end the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons”. Discussions on Monday also reflected Chinese support to the position of the Non-Nuclear Weapons States for their protection from the Nuclear Weapons States. China supported them by arguing that the text should highlight no first use against anyone, and should provide unconditional security assurances to all NNWS. In addition, China also promoted its own proposals for nuclear disarmament, supporting calls for commitments in the review conference to negotiating a comprehensive ban on nuclear weapons.

Discussions in the Main Committee II centered on the additional protocol and export controls. The United States argued that it cannot ignore the relationship between non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy; outlining the need for automatic punishment for noncompliance of safeguards. The NAM countries and Argentina, Iran, Lebanon, Brazil, Syria, and Algeria reiterated that the additional protocol (AP) is a voluntary decision, which was opposed by Australia and some others. The EU, the UK, the US, Belgium, and Ireland reiterated their position that the AP should be considered the new standard for verification by the IAEA and wanted to retain the paragraph that calls upon states parties to conclude and bring into force the AP.

Australia argued that “it is the sovereign decision of any state to conclude an AP, but once in force, it is a legally binding instrument”. Australia also suggested that the text should note that an AP would increase the ability of the IAEA to verify nuclear material and that the AP should be referred to as of “vital importance”. Brazil which opposed the Australian position on the additional protocol said that to describe the Additional Protocol as being of “vital importance” was not true and dangerous.

On export controls, the UK acknowledged that there was a lot of controversy around the Zangger Committee and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG); however these regimes play a critical role in nonproliferation and promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The United States shrugged off suggestions that its nuclear deal with India would create any precedent, which was not accepted by some Middle Eastern states-particularly Iran. Iran also made reference in its statement to argue against a military attack on nuclear facilities (alluding to the possibility of allied action against its facilities) and also distanced itself from any comparison to North Korea. . Divisions in the committee were also reflected in the opposing views of Russia, which believed that the final document should be on the basis of consensus, and Argentina which disagreed.

Main Committee III saw a debate on the terminology of “uses” rather than “applications” of nuclear energy, by Morocco. Brazil called for the deletion of “and its relevant international obligations” in paragraph 20 regarding defining a state’s energy policy, arguing that the right should not be confused with the exercise of the right. Iran said it did not see the relevance of “putting conditionality” on article IV and requested that paragraph 7 be deleted in line with NAM’s proposal. Iran argued that the NNWS are by definition transparent under the safeguards regime and that transparency should only refer to NWS.

Overall, the debates and discussions at the beginning of the final week of the NPT review conference indicate that the final document would be “weak”, in the words of one Western diplomat. The opposition to stricter disarmament regimes by the Western countries has been detrimental to the positions taken by the Non-Nuclear Weapon States. The watered down version of the newest draft released by Main Committee I reflects the divisions which continue to haunt the workings of the Review Conference.

Siddharth Ramana

21 May 2010
NPT Review Conference Daily Update

The end of the third week of the NPT Review Conference was marked by significant events in its progress towards the final draft.

Main Committee II led by Ambassador Volodyrmyr Yelchenko discussed the controversial question of the Middle East Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, which has seen intensive negotiations that would continue into the final week of the conference. The divisions are into two camps-the P5 led by the United States and the Arabs led by the Egyptians. One diplomat reminisced on the failure of the Review Conference in 2005. According to him, "If we can't get a deal on the Middle East in the next few days, the NPT review conference will probably collapse". On the upside, there seems to be greater consensus on the Additional Protocol and export controls. Some of the controversial issues have been either resolved or moderated- for example, references to the Nuclear Suppliers Group have been removed and so has the request for the nuclear weapon states to reconsider their reservations or interpretations of the NWFZ treaty protocols.

The key question during the debates was whether the IAEA's Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) should be treated as the safeguards standard or a condition for supply of nuclear technology. This was essential to restrict access to nuclear materials by non-signatories to the additional protocol. This has been opposed by states like Egypt, Brazil and Iran, which have argued that the Additional Protocol is voluntary. In order to address these concerns, the Committee's revised draft treaty has highlighted that "the additional protocol, being voluntary in nature, once concluded, represents a legal obligation".

Some of the other key elements of the revised draft include, the question of export controls which has witnessed a tussle between the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Vienna Group of Ten (Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden) against the NAM countries, many of whom regard export controls as an illegitimate and coercive imposition on non-nuclear-weapon states. A notable deletion from the revised draft was on the question of Highly Enriched Uranium. The Vienna group of ten argued in favor of the "non-proliferation and security benefits of the minimization of the use of high enriched uranium in civilian applications, including the conversion of civilian research reactors to low enriched uranium fuel", which was supported by Australia, the United States among others.

The original draft included that "The conference calls upon all States parties to manage responsibly and minimize to the greatest extent that is technically and economically feasible the use of highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes, including by working to convert research reactors and radioisotope production processes to the use of low-enriched uranium." This and another paragraph in the version carried last week, finds no mention in the latest report.

Main Committee III which examines Nuclear Energy has seen progress with a detailed review of the paragraphs mentioned in the last report being made. There were some disagreements, like the NAM countries stressing that the report should emphasize support for the transfer of nuclear materials for peaceful uses in a non-discriminatory manner and in conformity with the NPT. Egypt called for wording to include that all efforts be made to ensure that IAEA resources for technical cooperation should be sufficient, assured and predictable (SAP). States including Germany continued to call for language addressing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, i.e. nuclear waste. On the question of fuel banks, Indonesia suggested that it be included as a political statement as opposed to including it in the final statement. The United States raised the point that broader questions pertinent to the sale and transfer of nuclear technology would have to be addressed by a nuclear supplier, including the overriding concerns regarding transfers to third parties.

Subsidiary Body 1, chaired by Ambassador Alexander Marschik, highlighted the changes to the initial SBI draft that have led to regressive actions from 2000. While nuclear weapon states were called upon to implement the 13 steps in 2000, they would in 2010, under the revised action plan, only commit to "convene timely consultations" on these outlined steps under Action 6. Significantly, it calls on the United Nations General Assembly to take up the issue of disarmament if the Conference on Disarmament fails to make headway by the end of 2011.

According to the draft "If the discussions in the Conference on Disarmament do not commence before the end of the 2011 session of the Conference on Disarmament, the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly is encouraged to examine how discussions should be pursued". The first draft called for discussions on nuclear disarmament by the P-5 to meet before 2011, after which UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said would convene an international conference. A subsequent draft of the document states that the Geneva based "Conference on Disarmament should immediately establish an appropriate subsidiary body ... to reduce nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal of their elimination."

Siddharth Ramana

20 May 2010
Towards consensus building at NPT RevCon

The 18th day of NPT RevCon saw the release of two more draft texts. The draft texts of Main Committees I and II were released for consideration while considerable progress was made to reach consensus in Main Committee III.

According to Reaching Critical Will NPT News in Review, the new Main Committee I (MCI) draft, which reviews the operation of the Treaty’s disarmament and security related obligations, is a weaker draft than its original. Taking into consideration Subsidiary Body I’s (SBI) action plan, the MCI text now expresses concern for “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons” as mentioned in paragraph 1 under Article VI and the eighth to twelfth preambular paragraphs. The MCI has moved away from operationalizing the “vision” of a nuclear weapons free world, which is evident from the text of paragraph 3 which says “the final phase of nuclear disarmament process and other related measures should be pursued within a legal framework with specified timelines.” Paragraph 3 replaces the old paragraph 5 in which the RevCon had agreed “on the need to implement Article VI within a timebound framework.” On the other hand the language in new paragraph 6 strengthens the language on the international monitoring system. According to paragraph 6, “The Conference stresses the importance of the international monitoring system and commends the progress made by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization towards its completion.”     

Further, on the issue of de-facto nuclear weapon states, the NPT RevCon has again urged these States to accede to the Treaty in paragraph 2 under the Role of the Treaty, which states, “The Conference urges all States not yet party to the Treaty, namely India, Israel and Pakistan, all of which operate unsafeguarded nuclear facilities to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States, promptly and without condition.”  

The draft of Main Committee II (MC II) seems to be balanced and based on mutually acceptable grounds. On the issue of compliance with the Treaty, the Conference reaffirmed under paragraph 2 that “the fundamental importance of full and strict compliance of all States with all provisions of the Treaty, and recognizes that full implementation of all provisions of the Treaty is essential to preserve the integrity of the Treaty and continuation of trust among State parties.” The draft of MC II described the importance of IAEA safeguards in paragraph 6 as, “a fundamental component of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, plays an indispensable role in the implementation of the Treaty and helps to create an environment conducive to nuclear cooperation.” Further mentioning the importance of safeguards under paragraph 15, the Conference notes the “relationship between additional protocol (AP) and safeguard agreement between the IAEA and the State party as set out in Article I of the Model Additional Protocol.” It notes that the “additional protocol being voluntary in nature, once concluded, represents a legal obligation.” Further, the new draft contains no reference to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as paragraph 28 has been deleted in the new draft which had said, “The State parties note the useful role that the Nuclear Supplier Groups can play in guiding States parties in setting up heir export control policies.” 

 Main Committee III held discussion on paragraphs 32-49 of the draft text which addresses nuclear safety and security concerns. During discussions, the Non-Aligned Movement came forward with several suggestions. Paragraph 32 states, “…IAEA should play a key role in the development of international safety standards, nuclear security guidance and relevant conventions based on best practices,” whereas NAM argued that the IAEA should act on the basis of best practices and in conformity with its mandate. NAM suggested deleting paragraph 41 which recognizes the importance of nuclear safety and the environment for implementing best practices in uranium mining and processing. It also insisted on adding two additional paragraphs acknowledging responsibility towards people affected by nuclear contamination, calling upon governments and international organizations with relevant expertise to provide assistance. 

Jasbir Rakhra

19 May 2010
Debating a Time Bound Framework for Nuclear Disarmament

The concept of having a “time bound framework” for disarmament was discussed on Wednesday in Main Committee I. The debate revolved around arriving at a timeline for implementing disarmament commitments. The timeline framework is being supported by most state parties at the conference. France however called for deleting the paragraph B5 from the first draft of the Chair’s text, which says, “the Conference agrees on the need to implement article VI within a time bound framework.” France argued that setting a timeline would undermine the nonproliferation regime, because such timelines have not been adhered to before and therefore such time limits should not be imposed, they risk the chances of not being met again. France was backed by the US and Russian delegates on this issue but they faced strong reactions from Brazil, Iran, South Africa, Indonesia, Mexico, Libya, Cuba and Canada. New Zealand pointed out that France’s proposal was unacceptable. South Africa argued that there is sense of desperation on part of the non-nuclear weapon states because of the lack of progress on Article VI by the nuclear weapon states. Canada on its part took a middle ground by saying that the conference should avoid language that calls for strict time limits as well as no timeframe. At the end of the debate, the Chair of the Subsidiary body I released a draft action plan with no timelines included in the original draft and this was done despite strong support for having a timeline from majority of the state parties. The original draft specified that the NWS "shall convene consultations not later than 2011 to accelerate concrete progress on nuclear disarmament." The revised draft action plan now says that the NWS "are called upon to convene timely consultations."

According to the Reaching Critical Will NPT News in Review, the original document had NWS reporting back to NPT states parties in 2012 while the new version calls on them to do it during the upcoming review cycle. Instead of the UN Secretary-General convening "an international conference in 2014 to consider ways and means to agree on a roadmap for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified timeframe, including by means of a universal, legal instrument," the UNSG is now invited to convene "an open-ended high-level meeting to take stock and agree on a roadmap for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, including by means of a universal, legal instrument."

Note: Article VI of the NPT

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.

Rekha Chakravarthi

18 May 2010
NPT RevCon overshadowed by other events

On Day 14 of the NPT RevCon, debates continued over the committee draft texts. Only Main Committee II held official deliberations and the issues largely focused on non-proliferation, safeguards, non-compliance, nuclear weapon free zones, universality and the role of non-parties to the NPT.

The amendments suggested by various delegations underscored some significant differences. The western countries continued to propose more specific language on the role of the additional protocol, concrete conditions for export control, and the importance of compliance with the IAEA and UN Security Council resolutions. The US suggested a new paragraph encouraging all states to comply with the Treaty by discouraging other states not to develop nuclear weapons. On universality, the US also requested that the names Israel, India and Pakistan be replaced by “states not parties to the NPT.” On this proposal Iran expressed concern, arguing that it implied that the US not only does not mind that these countries remain outside the NPT, but that it is not even willing to send a simple message to them.

On the other hand, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) called for the deletion of all references to the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) and Zangger. NAM also proposed a new paragraph that would call upon nuclear weapon states to refrain strictly from cooperating with non-parties to the NPT and undertake not to transfer any nuclear material, equipment, information, knowledge and technology to them. Iran argued that the NSG and Zangger are exclusive control regimes that have so far undermined the NPT. Iran stated that the NSG is not committed to the principles of the NPT, because it violated such principles in the case of India and made compromises on political grounds. Iran stated that it could not be expected that the NPT could endorse such a double standard. Egypt also questioned the NSG authority and argued that because the dire consequences that the NSG waiver for India caused, the RevCon should not proudly speak of the NSG.

On the sidelines of the conference some significant events occurred. Brazil, Turkey and Iran brokered a tentative deal in Tehran for the Iranian government to send the bulk of its uranium to Turkey, under the supervision of the IAEA, for enrichment for its medical reactor. This is aimed at bolstering the international community’s confidence in Iran’s activities and avoiding tougher penalties. However, “shrugging off” the deal, the US announced an agreement on Tuesday with other major powers, including Russia and China, to impose a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the new sanctions “as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide.”

Tara Sarin

17 May 2010
Article X (withdrawal clause) dominates the start of the third week

Nuclear energy, safety and security related issues were discussed extensively at the committee level last week and are likely to remain the focus of upcoming discussions this week as well. The conferees were concerned in particular about new attempts to constrain the rights of parties to withdraw from the NPT.

Non-aligned states (NAM) stressed that the NPT's provisions should not be interpreted in a way that discriminates against the right of all parties to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. They also expressed concern regarding proposals that constrain the rights of states to withdraw from the treaty (Article X). Egypt also expressed reservations over attempts to modify Article X.

Japan's statement acknowledged the sovereign right of states to withdraw from the treaty, but warned that concerted efforts by all nations were needed to prevent violators from abusing article X. Columbia's representative was clear that his country would not permit any modification of the withdrawal clause.

French Ambassador Florence Mangin said that "any state that fails to meet its obligations with regard to non-proliferation and the implementation of IAEA safeguards, or for whom the peaceful purpose of its nuclear activities cannot be verified, should not be entitled to benefit from the provisions of Article IV".

The U.S and EU promised to address issues surrounding the withdrawal clause at Subsidiary Body 3 when it convenes later this week.

Sweden and Norway highlighted the utility of multilateral approaches to nuclear fuel supply, fuel supply assurances and the centrality of the IAEA in this regard to enhance the confidence of states in the non-proliferation system.

Iraq's representative cautiously suggested that the setting up of an international fuel bank required more study. The Republic of Korea reckoned that "due consideration should also be given to the back end of the full fuel cycle, including waste management."

The United Arab Emirates urged parties to sign the CTBT and to allow IAEA inspections on all their facilities.

Argentina said that nuclear activities for peaceful use should have international standards for safety and physical protection.

Ukraine reiterated its pledge of last month to "get rid of all national stocks of high enriched uranium by 2012."

The Statement of the European Union emphasized that it will "continue to provide its full support to the activities of an effective and efficient IAEA that has the adequate resources to fulfill its mandate……"

Chaitanya Ravi

14 May 2010
Reports from the three Main Committees

On Day 10 of the NPT RevCon, the committees discussing the future of the treaty released draft reports of their meetings, along with those of their subsidiary bodies. While main negotiations of the future of the treaty continue to be held behind closed doors, Friday's session at the NPT RevCon is important for it outlined the various issues being discussed among the interlocutors. President of the NPT, Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, initiated proceedings with a short plenary and enable the Chairs of the Committees to give brief oral reports in public. Main Committee I is in charge of issues such as nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, disarmament and security assurance. Main Committee II is tasked with safeguards and nuclear weapons-free zones, and Main Committee III is in charge of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Reports have indicated that Main Committee I "looked back" and reviewed the 13 steps from 2000 and "looked forward" and debated an action plan for disarmament in its subsidiary body. Among the proposals, there was a plan to hold an international conference in 2014, with the aim of drawing up a road map for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The draft statement proposed that "The secretary general of the United Nations is invited to convene an international conference in 2014 to consider ways and means to agree on a road map for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified timeframe, including by means of a universal, legal instrument". Main Committee I also presented a list of 26 action plans towards the abolition of nuclear weapons, while urging nuclear weapon states to hold negotiations by 2011 to promote nuclear disarmament. According to the draft, "The nuclear weapon states shall convene consultations not later than 2011 to accelerate concrete progress on nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes international stability and is based on the principle of undiminished security for all".

Main Committee II led by Ambassador Volodyrmyr Yelchenko debated particularly on focusing on IAEA safeguards and the additional protocol. Most western countries continued to argue that the additional protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement should be considered the verification standard. This was opposed to by the delegations from the NAM, who argued that the additional protocol was never a part of the original bargain and that new obligations should not be applied automatically. The German delegation had argued that if the nuclear weapon states had confidence in a strong and robust safeguards system, they might consider more reductions. "It's like a down payment. We do it now, and reap the benefits later." To this, the Brazilian delegation argued that considering reductions of nuclear stockpiles that have over 5000 warheads in them should not be dependent on whether or not all of the non-nuclear weapons states have signed up for the additional protocol. Additionally, the P5 and the Arab states held meetings to explore options for the implementation of the 1995 Middle East resolution. The meetings on the NWFZ took place under the Subsidiary Body 2, which is chaired by Alison Kelly.

Main Committee III led by Ambassador Takeshi Nakane focused its discussions on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and institutional issues. The committee held four meetings, which heard forty-three general statements and then got down to work on four specific areas:
i) Peaceful uses of nuclear energy in all aspects
ii) Nuclear safety
iii) Technical cooperation
iv) Multinational fuel cycle approaches, including assurances of supply to those that give up the option to develop their own national facilities.
Discussions on the Subsidary Body 3's agenda are continuing into the next week, which is why the draft report for the Ambassador Jose Luis Cancela chaired body could not be released on Friday.

Siddharth Ramana

13 May 2010
The Mid-course of NPT RevCon

The NPT Review Conference 2010 has reached half-way. During the past few days the Main Committees and their subsidiary bodies seem to be making progress on a host of issues related to nonproliferation, 13 steps towards nuclear disarmament, IAEA safeguards system and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The draft text from Main Committee I and II is expected to be circulated today but Main Committee III requires a few more days of discussion before the Chair draws its conclusion.

The discussions on 13 May addressed export controls, vertical proliferation, IAEA compliance and safeguards system. Australia and Hungary argued on the importance of export controls in line with Security Council Resolution 1540 and 1887; they insisted that it should be recognized by the RevCon. On the issues of IAEA Safeguards System, the European Union, Australia, Czech Republic, Norway, France, Netherlands, Ireland and Japan argued in favour of adopting the Additional Protocol (AP) along with Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) as the verification standard. Iran argued in favour of CSA but maintained its position against making Additional Protocol mandatory and warned that the IAEA inspectors should not use inspections to carry out intelligence activities.

Iran and Ukraine raised concerns on the issue of confidentiality of the information provided to IAEA inspectors and insisted on the creation of a mechanism to address this issue. In Main Committee III, Iran called on RevCon to address transfer denials and ensures that State parties have access to nuclear technology for peaceful uses in terms of the IAEA Statute and Article IV without discrimination.

On the issue of technical cooperation and assistance there were mixed reactions on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme. Canada argued that the IAEA should take into account the socioeconomic needs of developing countries and pointed out that the Programme should be more transparent, accountable and result-oriented. On the other hand Indonesia called for a balanced approach to strengthen IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme and urged states to avoid a distinguishing between donor and recipient or between developing and developed countries.

Jasbir Rakhra

12 May 2010
Committee Meetings

In Main Committee I (nuclear disarmament), state parties called on the NWS to respect their commitments under Article VI to work towards total elimination of nuclear weapons. While South Africa stressed on the need for the NWS to engage in accelerated negotiations in this regard, both Ukraine and South Africa also called on the NWS to ensure that the disarmament process is irreversible and verifiable. Philippines proposed focusing on “four Rs” - reducing arsenals, reducing roles, reducing alert status, and regular reporting. On security doctrines, states called on the NWS to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security strategies. On the CTBT, Ukraine called for the entry into force of the treaty and on the FMCT, Ukraine together with Lebanon and Iraq stressed on the need for commencing talks on the treaty and also urged states to declare or maintain their moratoriums on the production of fissile materials.

In Main Committee II (regional issues, nuclear-weapons free zones, and the implementation of the 1995 Middle East Resolution), states including the Arab League, Lebanon, Iraq, and Kuwait stressed on the implementation of the 1995 resolution. While Saudi Arabia called for the UNSC pressure on Israel to proceed towards making the region a nuclear-weapon-free-zone; Nigeria proposed that a stakeholder conference including Israel, Iran and P5 be held for progress on NWFZ in Middle East.

On IAEA Safeguards, Russia, Malaysia, and Iraq recognized the importance of additional protocol and called upon state parties to adhere to the additional protocol. Russia in fact argued that the additional protocol should be mandatory commitment by states in case of nuclear exports. Ukraine on the other hand was of the opinion that adherence to additional protocol is voluntary and not legally-binding instrument. On Iran, Russia was of the opinion that Iran had the right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy so long as it complied with its obligations under the NPT. On nuclear security, Russia announced a voluntary contribution to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. Russia also supported the IAEA programme designed to reduce the level of enrichment of nuclear fuel in all IAEA member countries to less than 20 per cent.

Rekha Chakravarthi

11 May 2010
Main Committee I and III

With the conclusion of the general debate of Main Committee I (nuclear disarmament approaches), delegations began to review the implementation of Articles I, II and VI. While the majority of states have welcomed the new START treaty, many expressed concern that the US and Russia have characterized the treaty as a demonstration of compliance with Article VI.

Both the South African and Irish delegations stated that arsenal reductions do not automatically mean a commitment to nuclear disarmament. South Africa’s representative said that reductions could be undertaken for a variety of reasons, such as strategic stability, financial constraints or safety issues. The Irish delegation said that reductions alone do not explain the whole story and that one can only judge a state’s true intentions by surveying the full range of its actions and pronouncements.

In the Main Committee III (nuclear energy, safety, security and institutional issues), Iran emphasized the “inalienable right of all States parties to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes” and called on the Review Conference to reaffirm Article IV and urged the removal of limitations pursued in contravention of the Treaty. Iran described the Nuclear Suppliers Group as a “exclusive and non-transparent export control regime, which claims to have been established to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, has adversely damaged the credibility of the NPT by adopting its infamous decision in September 2008” and said that its decision to engage in nuclear trade with non-NPT states parties was in defiance of paragraph 12 of the 1995 decision on principles and objectives. Lebanon stated that “we should be careful not to blur the frontiers between what is legally binding on state parties, what is voluntarily agreed to by them, and what could seem desirable as confidence building measures.”

Finland announced the construction of a final disposal facility and called it “new and unique in the power industry.” Referencing their progress in the field, Finland stated that “nuclear waste management is an issue that should be considered from the very beginning if a nation wants to build nuclear power and argued that each nation should have a strategy on how to plan the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.

Tara Sarin

10 May 2010
Action shifts to the committees:

After the conclusion of the General Debate, the action has now shifted to the committees. The first meetings of Committee II (safeguards, regional issues and Nuclear Weapons Free Zone) and Committee III (nuclear energy, safety, security and institutional issues) are underway. However, Subsidiary Body 1 (on practical nuclear disarmament approaches and security assurances) will convene behind closed doors, probably to facilitate leaders to make concessions and to avoid grandstanding induced by media scrutiny.

Ambassador Luiz Filipe de Macedo Soares of Brazil reminded the conferees that Brazil and other non-nuclear weapon States take their non-proliferation responsibilities seriously and are not “conditioning their fulfillment to indefinite, more favorable international conditions” like some NWS. He outlined 8 goals that would have to be met to ensure success. Some of them include a reaffirmation of the commitment by the NWS to totally eliminate their nuclear arsenals within a definite timeframe, policies to diminish the salience of nuclear weapons in strategic doctrines, and steps towards a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Fissile Materials Cut Off Treaty.

Egypt on behalf of NAM, submitted a working paper that adopts a three phased approach to eliminate nuclear weapons within a specified timeframe ( 2010-15: reducing the nuclear threat as well as nuclear disarmament, 2015-20: reducing nuclear arsenals and promoting confidence between States and 2020-25 and beyond: consolidation of a nuclear free world).

Japan and Australia advanced a joint policy proposal that contains practical measures for nuclear disarmament. Ambassador Jerry Matiila of South Africa said that “the provisions of the Treaty, the 1995 Principles and Objectives and the practical steps for nuclear disarmament agreed to in 2000 provide a blueprint for a step-by-step process that would reduce the threat of nuclear weapons, de-emphasize their importance and lead to their elimination”. In an oblique reference to the British decision to build new submarines for a future generation of nuclear weapons, he warned that such a move would be interpreted as a clear signal that some NWS are determined to maintain nuclear weapons indefinitely.

Ambassador Grinius of Canada urged the conferees to begin negotiations to conclude a Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty. The European Union stressed the importance of a strong commitment to universal ratification of the CTBT, a continued moratorium on testing, dismantlement of all nuclear testing facilities as confidence building measures, inclusion of non-strategic tactical nuclear weapons in future disarmament negotiations and a multilateral treaty that bans short and intermediate range missiles.

Chaitanya Ravi

7 May 2010
Day for NGOs

Marked an important day for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, as it was the day when negotiations on the future of the treaty were held behind closed doors, following the close of the general session the day before. The spotlight was now turned to the professional observers and organizations who attended the conference. Some of the delegates who spoke at the conference included Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Nobel Women's Initiative; Taniguchi Sumiteru, Japan Confederation of A-and H- Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo); Chris Ford, Hudson Institute; Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, and former UN Undersecretary-General for Disarmament Jayantha Dhanapala, who is presently a member of the Pugwash society. Additional speakers included Rob Green, a former UK nuclear bomber pilot during the Cold War who in his speech stated that he realized that "nuclear weapons would not make me safe, and would not make you (Soviet Union) safe either", adding that the notion of nuclear deterrence is a fatal misconception which "needs to be to be taken head on". Notable among organizations which attended the NPT Review Conference is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which was absent from the previous conference owing to opposition from former United States President George Bush. Another organization represented at the conference was the Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK), led by Regina Pyon who argued for the need of a peace treaty in the Korean peninsula. RevCon President Libran N. Cabactulan in his address to the delegation thanked state-parties who agreed to his proposal to create three subsidiary bodies or working groups which would look into the procedural issues which would come up during the remaining phase of negotiations. Cabactulan highlighted the importance of this phase of treaty stating "We made it past the initial hurdle but we still have a long way to go".

Siddharth Ramana

6 May 2010
Nuclear Weapons and Security

On the final day of the general debate in the NPT Review Conference many delegations expressed their concerns on the relationship between security and nuclear weapons. They highlighted the dangers of relying on nuclear weapons for security and called for an erosion of the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines. It was pointed out by Mexico’s Ambassador, Claude Heller that states cannot rely on weapons that threaten humanity to ensure their security. Nuclear weapons are no longer used as instruments of deterrence but are entrenched in the military doctrines of major powers. Singapore’s Ambassador, Vanu Gopala Menon, noted that some NWS consider the possession of nuclear weapons essential to maintaining their self image in the world and not as a military necessity; hence there is need to convince all states that nuclear weapons reduce rather than increase their security, and do not enhance prestige.

On the issue of disarmament, Poland called for further reductions in tactical nuclear weapons. Polish Ambassador, Wit old Sobkov, said, “The large arsenals of such weapons seem anachronistic in the post-Cold War world and increase the risk of proliferation by non-state actors. Instead of enhancing our security they make it more volatile.” He further said that Poland and Norway undertook a joint initiative to include sub-strategic nuclear arsenals in the arms control framework.

On the issue of nuclear security and fuel cycle, Mexico and Singapore expressed support for a multilateral fuel bank that guarantees supplies for all states, emphasizing that it should involve the IAEA and should not limit Article IV rights. Commenting on the universality of the Treaty, Belgium argued that honoring the NPT commitments is the best way to promote the universality of the Treaty and called on India, Pakistan and Israel to join the NPT, and bring their nuclear posture fully in line with this treaty which has a truly universal remit.

Jasbir Rakhra

5 May 2010
P-5 Statement; Main Committees and their Subsidiary Bodies

Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, President of the Review Conference, announced that an agreement to set up three Subsidiary Bodies, one for each Main Committee, had been achieved. Accordingly, Subsidiary Body 1 (in Main Committee 1) will focus on practical nuclear disarmament approaches; Subsidiary Body 2 (in Main Committee 2) will focus on regional issues, nuclear-weapons free zones, and the implementation of the 1995 Middle East Resolution; Subsidiary Body 3 (in Main Committee 3) will focus on institutional issues of the Treaty including the issue of withdrawal from the NPT.

Ambassador Anatoly Antonov presented a joint statement on behalf of the P-5 (United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France and China). The statement reaffirmed their “unequivocal commitment to the Treaty,” and their “commitment to carry on the results of the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences.” In a clear indication to India, Israel and Pakistan, the P-5 urged the non-parties to the Treaty to accede as non-nuclear weapon states. The P-5 statement also included their commitment to fulfill their obligations under Article VI; support to the new START; entry into force of the CTBT; commencement of negotiations on the FMCT; comprehensive safeguards with additional protocol; establishing of nuclear weapon free zones; commitment to full implementation of the 1995 NPT resolution on the Middle East; call to strengthen export controls; safety and security of nuclear materials; peaceful use of nuclear energy; the need to address withdrawal from the Treaty; and underlined their determination to “achieve satisfactory resolution of these dossiers (Iran and North Korea) through diplomatic means.” The P-5 also noted that stocks of nuclear weapons are now at far lower levels than at anytime in the past half-century.

In what could be a clear indication to the Indo-US nuclear deal, Egypt pointed out in its statement that the NAM countries “reject politically motivated artificial classifications, leading to classifying States to those who are responsible, receiving all the benefits even if they are outside the Treaty…” “This applies mostly in regions where one state or more remain outside the Treaty, especially in the Middle East and North and South Asia, which are gradually looked at - in the view of some - as Parties of questioned loyalty to the Treaty, simply because they seek to achieve development for their peoples through the use of nuclear energy and its applications.”

Rekha Chakravarthi

4 May 2010
Entering a New Decade for Disarmament

As ministers and ambassadors gathered for the second day of deliberations, the general debate focused on increasing confidence in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and avoiding the debacle of the 2005 Review Conference. The German minister of state noted that the Review Conference needs to send out a strong signal of unity that all of us want more cooperation and arms control and less weaponry. The minister further called for a new decade for disarmament, saying that time has already been lost and to that end the NPT must be preserved and strengthened.

Several delegations welcomed the major positive events of recent weeks, for example the signing of the New START treaty, the release of the new US Nuclear Posture Review, and the Nuclear Security Summit. However, many acknowledged that the international community still needs further progress on nuclear disarmament and recognized it as only a first step. Venezuela said it hopes that these developments are part of a sustained effort to measures of broader scope that includes non-strategic nuclear arsenals. It described the new START as more of an “arms assessment agreement than a reduction agreement.”

Egypt on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) called upon all Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) to comply with their disarmament obligations and commitments under Article VI. In that regard, it also called upon India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty and without any conditions as non-NWS.

In a clear reference to the Indo-US nuclear deal, Algeria called for the strengthening of Article I of the NPT, arguing that NWS and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) have particular responsibilities in the implementation of the treaty. Algeria urged them not to grant cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear cooperation with non-states parties, which will help encourage them to join the treaty. China also acknowledged when conditions are ripe, other NWS, should also join the multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament.

Both Japan and Norway highlighted the strong interest of civil society, which shares the goal of realizing a world without nuclear weapons and that it is critical to maintaining the momentum. Norway’s State Secretary noted that its broad-based NGO community has stated clearly what it expects from this conference, cautioning that a failure would seriously undermine the authority and credibility of the NPT.

The Ambassador of France Eric Danon argued that all states should work resolutely towards advancing nuclear disarmament. He further stated that the role of nuclear weapons should be restricted “solely to extreme circumstances of self-defence where their vital interests are under threat, with arsenals scaled down to the level of strict sufficiency in relation to the international strategic context.”

Tara Sarin

3 May 2010
Review of the proceedings on Day 1 of the NPT Review Conference 2010

Iran assumed center stage on the first day of the conference to review the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of intimidating non-nuclear weapon states, fostering an arms race, not providing credible evidence to substantiate its allegations on Iran’s illicit weapons program and denying developing countries access to nuclear power while allowing NPT holdouts such as Israel to stockpile nuclear weapons.

U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit back and accused Iran of jeopardizing the NPT’s integrity, defying the Security Council and concealing information from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). She reminded the conferees of the Obama administration’s commitment to nuclear disarmament and its initiatives (explicit delineation of the circumstances in which the U.S would threaten or use nuclear weapons in the Nuclear Posture Review of 2010, the reduction of nuclear arsenals under the New Start Treaty negotiated with Russia and attempts to secure fissile materials through the Nuclear Security Summit held in April of 2010) in that direction. She also announced that the U.S would make public the total number of nuclear weapons in its stockpile and the ones that were dismantled since 1991. Such information was highly classified until recently and was never released. She reiterated U.S participation pending ratification by the Senate for nuclear weapons free zones in Africa and the South Pacific.

In a reversal of its previous position, Indonesia announced that it will ratify the CTBT shortly and will not wait for the U.S to lead in this regard. It called for the establishment of weapons free zones in the Middle East and urged Israel to sign the NPT.

The European Union stuck to its previous positions and did not bring any innovative proposals to the table. It reaffirmed its support for a strengthening of the global non-proliferation regime and called upon NPT holdouts to accede to the treaty.

If previous positions are any indication, it appears certain that Egypt will link further co-operation on initiatives to strengthen the non-proliferation regime with Israel’s accession to the NPT.

Chaitanya Ravi

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