International Meeting

2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Mahmoud Mubarak

Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Relations

Arab Republic of Egypt

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Allow me to begin my speech by expressing my deep appreciation for the efforts exerted by the organizing committee of the 2002 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs and its sincere dedication to the noble cause of riding the world of nuclear weapons.

We are meeting today in the great city of Hiroshima, the city that has taught the world the destructive impact of weapons of mass destruction.  We have all learned from what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki how terrifying and horrific those weapons could be.  Not just because they have caused the indiscriminate death of tens of thousands of innocent civilians, but also because of its fatal radiation which continues to affect new generations until today.

What makes it really shocking is that the bombs, which were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are considered primitive toys in comparison to the new generations of nuclear weapons that are available today.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

From Durban to Seattle, we are witnessing the growing influence of the civil society in the field of international relations.  We hope that this would lead transnational Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to further develop their role when it comes to the issue of nuclear disarmament as an issue of great concern to the peoples of the world.  Needless to say that international conferences, like this one, represent an important step in this direction.

We – in Egypt – are genuinely committed to the cause of nuclear disarmament.  We were among the first to support the conclusion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and have been calling since then for achieving the universality of the treaty.  We have also pledged strict observance of the purposes and provisions of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

However, there is a growing concern regarding the negative developments that have taken place lately in that respect.  Developments that threaten to alter the prevailing strategic balance of power.  There include: the United Statesf unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and her attempts to set up a missile defense shield; the very recent withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the START II agreement; and the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons – namely tactical nuclear weapons – for the purposes of preemptive defense.

The domination of narrow unilateral national security concerns in this field together with the centrality of nuclear weapons in strategic defense theories are jeopardizing world peace and security in an unprecedented manner.  We are witnessing a new arms race – one that would endanger global security and stability.  It is apparent that the new security environment emerging in the post September 11th era is causing various uncertainties and insecurities around the globe.

Hence, we should all collaborate our efforts to stop this trend before it escalates any further.  Especially that the inconsistent approach and lack of strict adherence of the nuclear-weapon States to their international commitments in the field of nuclear disarmament has induced two other states to follow suit and develop their own nuclear capabilities.  Let alone Israel that has started her nuclear program as of the sixties of the 20th century, according to numerous credible reports.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Egyptfs role in the field of nuclear disarmament has been a significant one on both the regional and international levels.

Our region – the Middle East – is a turbulent one.  It is filled with rivalry and protracted contentions.  That is why Egypt had always regarded the establishment of a nuclear-weapon free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East as one of the basic tenets its foreign policy.  We have pursued this goal persistently on different levels, including the multilateral one.

Our efforts have been crystallized in the Fifth Review Conference on the NPT in 1995 with the passing of the Resolution on the Middle East, as part of the comprehensive package on the indefinite extension of the Treaty.  This resolution has been so-sponsored by the three depository states of the Treaty: the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.  It reaffirms the importance of the early realization of the universal adherence to the treaty and calls upon all States of the Middle East that have not yet done so to accede to the Treaty as soon as possible and place their nuclear facilities under full-scope international Atomic Energy Agency (IALA) safeguards.  This was against reaffirmed in the 2000 NPT Review Conference and during the first meeting of the PrepCom for the 2005 NPT Review Conference, which was held in New York city in April 2002.

It is worth mentioning here that the efforts of Egypt in the field of nuclear disarmament started as early as 1968 when we signed the NPT and later ratified it in 1981.

Also in that respect, Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak has launched his famous 1991 initiative to establish a zone free in the Middle East.  This was later developed in 1998 by announcing a second initiative calling for the convening of an international conference to consider freeing the world of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons.

Our regional efforts were not confined to the Middle East zone, but were also extended to the African continent.  In 1996, Cairo hosted the signing of the Treaty of Pelindaba meant to establish a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Africa..  

As for Egyptfs role concerning nuclear disarmament on the international revel.  It would like to start by mentioning that we have been working closely with our partners in the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) to achieve our common goals in this regard.

Members of the New Agenda have been for long calling upon nuclear-weapon States to undertake the necessary steps leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and thus, reaching a world free from nuclear weapons.

We believe that these should include substantial and irreversible reductions in both strategic and non-strategic nuclear arsenals alike.  In addition to maintaining the moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions pending entry into force of the Comprehensive test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

As for the United Nations, Egypt has been tabling a resolution, since 1974, concerning the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East.  This resolution has been issued in 1978 and has been reintroduced every year and passed by consensus since 1980.

We have also succeeded this year in passing a resolution concerning the Dangers of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I would like to end my speech by thanking those involved in the organization of this important gathering.  I assure you all that my country will continue performing an active role in the field of nuclear disarmament with an eye on the importance of maintaining global peace and security for the coming generations.

Thank you.