Iran, North Korea, USA blamed in failure of month-long Non-Proliferation Treaty conference

Thursday, June 2, 2005

The month-long 2005 Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was concluded in May this year.

It was generally considered disappointing. The Chilean representative, Mr Labbe, stated that the outcome could only be described as a failure.

The point of view of some state representatives was that the meeting failed because of possible violations of the first pillar of the treaty (non-proliferation), both because of grave challenges to security and to the non-proliferation regime posed by Iran's and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's non-compliance with their non-proliferation and safeguards obligations, and the de facto proliferation of nuclear weapons to non-weapons states under nuclear sharing, in which Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey host nuclear weapons and may, in principle, participate in decisions on using those weapons and participate in the delivery of the weapons to their targets.

However, the Iranian representative, Javad Zarif, countered by stating that the three pillars of the Treaty (non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear technology) were intertwined and needed to be followed without diminishing the significance and effectiveness of any one pillar against the others, in reference to the failure of the nuclear weapons states to progress in disarmament. Article VI of the NPT states that

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.

He claimed that the United States had adopted a Nuclear Posture Review, incorporating the breach of the obligations on irreversibility, diminished role of nuclear weapons and lowering the operational status of nuclear weapons by stressing the essential role of nuclear weapons as an effective tool for achieving security ends and foreign policy objectives; developing new nuclear weapon systems, and constructing new facilities for producing nuclear weapons; resuming efforts to develop and deploy tactical nuclear weapons, despite the commitment to reverse the process and reduce them; and targeting non-nuclear weapon States parties to the Treaty and planning to attack those States.

The Malaysian representative, Rastam Mohd Isa, summarised the point of view of the states in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), claiming that they had maintained that the three pillars, nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear technology should be approached in a balanced manner and that the Treaty should be fully and non-selectively implemented. He also asserted the indispensable need to preserve the decisions and resolutions of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference and the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference, which were positions, on which the NAM had consistently insisted on since the NPT's entry into force in 1970.

The Ukrainian representative, Anatoliy Scherba, judged that the case for non-proliferation rested on the primary objective of the NPT to eliminate all nuclear weapons and, hence, the central importance of article VI and felt that it required from those who did not possess, not to acquire, and for those who possessed, to eliminate.


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