2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Opening Plenary
2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

H.E. Hussein Haniff
Ambassador and permanent representative of Malaysia to the United Nations in Vienna

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First and foremost, allow me to express my sincere appreciation to the Organizing Committee of the 2004 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs for having invited me to address this conference. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the role played by the civil society, in particular the NGOs, in our common efforts to abolish nuclear weapons including the hosting of this world conference.

2. It is indeed an honour for me to participate at this important gathering especially at a time when there is a clear lack of progress in the field of nuclear disarmament. It is my fervent hope that this conference would continue to provide avenues for representatives of governments and NGOfs to further strengthen their global solidarity beyond boundaries in the common endeavor to see the elimination of nuclear weapons from this world. This conference is also important because it gives us the opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of atomic bombs who perished or suffered that tragic event some 59 years ago. It serves a stark reminder for all of us to redouble our efforts and renew our determination to strive for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. We cannot remain idle until this noble aim is achieved for the sake of safety, security and survival of mankind.

3. Despite the end of the cold war, we are today still confronted with the threat of self extinction arising from the existence of nuclear weapons. The accumulation of weapons of mass destruction in particular nuclear weapons, constitute much more a threat than a protection for the future of human race. Existing arsenals of nuclear weapons are more than enough to annihilate the entire population of the world. The prolong existence of nuclear weapons continue to pose threats to international peace and security. That is why Malaysia strongly believes that the most effective guarantee against the danger of nuclear war and the use of nuclear weapons is the complete elimination of such weapons.

4. The lack of progress in the field of nuclear disarmament towards achieving the total elimination of nuclear weapons in the past years remains a serious concern to Malaysia. There were reports that some Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) have taken bilateral and unilateral actions to reduce their nuclear arsenals. However, we believe that the remaining nuclear arsenals, which continue to be deployed and ready to be fired anytime, are still substantial and posing a grave threat to human race. In this regard, Malaysia reiterates its call for the full implementation of the 13 practical steps agreed to at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, including the unequivocal undertaking given by the NWS to the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. Malaysia also welcomes the signing of the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reduction between the Russian Federation and the US on 24 May 2002. This agreement, however, can be no substitute for irreversible cuts in nuclear weapons to which all NWS have committed to at the 2000 NPT Review Conference.

5. Malaysia is deeply disappointed that there was no progress made at the recent Third Preparatory Committee (Prepcom) of the 2005 NPT Review Conference held in New York from 26 April to 7 May 2004. As we all know, the Third Prepcom, which was mandated by the 2000 NPT Review Conference to make recommendations to the 2005 NPT Review Conference, could not even reach agreement on procedural matters, let alone on substantive matters. The lack of progress, despite much effort put in by members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of which my country is the current chairman, was due to the continuing divergence of positions between NAM member countries which are signatory to the NPT and the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS), in particular on the implementation of Article VI of the Treaty which deals with the obligation of State Parties, including NWS, to commit themselves to nuclear disarmament.

6, Malaysia is deeply concerned at the outcome of the Third Prepcom not only because we did not make any progress but also because we observed that the NWS are now reneging on their commitments and obligations agreed to by consensus at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. This is particularly so on the unequivocal undertaking by NWS to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament whereby the NWS agreed to implement the 13 practical steps for systemic and progressive efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. During the debate at the Third Prepcom, some NWS repeatedly rejected any reference to the 2000 NPT Review Conference. Malaysia views this backpedaling by some NWS with serious concern because it could put the whole NPT in jeopardy. In addition, the position taken by the NWS at that Prepcom has a far reaching implication on nuclear disarmament because it will also affect negatively the progress in CTBT and the Conference on Disarmament (CD). It appears that in the light of the 911 incident, the NWS states, in particular the US, are now trying to devote more attention in addressing the issue of nuclear proliferation and verification whilst ignoring the issue of nuclear disarmament.

7. In this regard, I would like to recall that the fundamental bargain struck at the NPT was that the NNWS are assured of their basic and inalienable rights to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes in exchange for their forfeiture to bear nuclear arms. The NWS, meanwhile, are obliged to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of 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. Therefore, in our view, the issues of nuclear proliferation and nuclear disarmament are equally important and inextricably linked. One is not more important than the other, one should not be allowed to lag behind the other and one should not be more strictly enforced than the other. If we are really serious in wanting to attain our oft repeated goal of a world free of the scourge of nuclear weapons, progress on both fronts are required.

8. When the NWS rejected any reference to the 2000 NPT review Conference in New York during the Third Prepcom of the 2005 NPT Review Conference, it also put in jeopardy the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is aimed at banning all forms of nuclear testing and ultimately abolishing nuclear weapons. This is because the first of the 13 practical steps agreed to at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, is the entry into force of the CTBT. We are extremely concerned that the rejection of some NWS to any reference to the 2000 NPT Review Conference will further impede the already lack of progress towards the entry into force of the Treaty. As it is now, the entry into force of the CTBT is still uncertain. India, Pakistan, and North Korea still have not signed it. While it is encouraging to note that so far out of 172 member states, 115 have ratified the Treaty, 11 states out of 44 states listed under Annex 2, whose ratifications are required for the entry into force of the Treaty, have yet to ratify the Treaty. Out of these 11 states, 2 NWS namely US and China have yet to ratify the Treaty.

9. What is disturbing is that the US has made it public that it was not going to ratify the Treaty and in fact it boycotted the Third Conference on Facilitating Entry into Force of the CTBT held in Vienna from 3-5 September 2004. This is the second time that the US has boycotted such conference reflecting its lackadaisical attitude towards the Treaty. In this regard, I call upon the US to take a leadership role and to reconsider its position because Malaysia believes that ratification of the Treaty by NWS would encourage the rest listed under Annex 2 to do the same. At the same time I also call upon countries listed under Annex 2 of the Treaty to sign or ratify the Treaty without delay. The CTBT has now been opened for signature for almost 8 years now, yet there is no sign as to when it will be operational. Malaysia is of the view that the CTBT advances international peace and security by making a significant contribution towards the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It halts the development of new weapons of more destruction thereby giving impetus to the process of nuclear disarmament.

10. I would like to recall that at the conclusion of the negotiations on CTBT, the NWS gave the assurance that the Treaty would prevent the improvement of existing weapons and development of new types of weapons. However, one particular NWS in its recent nuclear policy review has stated, among others, that it was developing a new generation of low-yield nuclear earth penetrating weapons known as the gbunker bustersh. This action clearly runs counter to and in contravention of the objectives and purposes of the CTBT. The stated willingness of this state to use such weapons, under the doctrine of gpreemptive strikesh to destroy suspected underground command centers and alleged underground storage sites for weapons of mass destruction, would not only weaken the existing NPT regime but would also trigger other NWS and NNWS to join the arms race to develop such weapons. Pending entry into force of the CTBT, Malaysia urges all states that are capable of carrying out nuclear test explosion to strictly observe the moratorium.

11. Step 4 of the 13 Practical steps of the 2000 NPT Review Conference outlines gThe necessity of establishing in the Conference of Disarmament (CD) an appropriate body with a mandate to deal with nuclear disarmamenth. Malaysia attaches great importance to the CD because we view the body as the single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament. Malaysia is therefore deeply concerned that since 1998, the CD is not yet able to agree on its programme of work. Without any programme of work, there will not be any progress in establishing a body at the CD to deal with nuclear disarmament. The current impasse in the CD, which is eroding the credibility of the body, is due to the inflexible postures of some of the NWS on the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament. As the President of the CD from 16 February to 14 March 2004, Malaysia exerted maximum efforts to bring delegations to a consensual agreement on the programme of work. However, the substantive gaps among delegations were too wide to be bridged. In this regard, Malaysia would like to reiterate the call made by the Heads of State and Government at the Kuala Lumpur 13th NAM Summit in February 2003 for the CD to establish as soon as possible and as the highest priority, an Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament.

12. Pending total elimination of nuclear weapons, Malaysia believes that efforts for the conclusion of a universal, unconditional, and legally binding instrument on security assurances by the NWS to the NNWS should be pursued as a matter of priority. We believe that in order to prevent nuclear war, it is pertinent for the NWS to undertake not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances. To strengthen their assurances, Malaysia calls on the NWS to sign the protocol to the Treaty on South East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ), or the Bangkok Treaty, and conclude an international legal instrument on security assurances as soon as possible. So far, among the NWS, only China has reached agreement with the Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the Bangkok Treaty and its Protocol. We warmly welcome this move and hope that other NWS would take similar action.

13. Malaysia is also of the view that the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) negotiations constitute the next essential step in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and in the break out of nuclear war. While supporting the call for a non-discriminatory, multilateral, internationally and effective verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other explosive devices, Malaysia is of the view that negotiations on a FMCT should also include existing stockpiles.

14. Malaysia continues to attach prime importance to the Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Use and Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 8 July 1996. Malaysia views the ICJ opinion as a historic and resolute decision in the field of nuclear disarmament as the decision constitutes an authoritative legal call to eliminate nuclear weapons. The ICJ unanimously concluded that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective control. Malaysia strongly believes that the systematic and progressive reduction of nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal of their complete elimination should remain the highest priority on the global disarmament agenda. That is why Malaysia has continued to co-sponsor Resolution 58/56 on Nuclear Disarmament and Resolution 58/46 on the Follow-up to the Advisory Opinion of the ICJ on the Legality of the Use and Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons which were adopted respectively by a majority vote of 112 and 165 at the 58th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2003. Unfortunately, this opinion remains to be ignored by the NWS.

15. Malaysia firmly believes that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free-zones (NWFZ) constitutes another important disarmament measure in the prevention of nuclear war. Apart from enhancing the global and regional peace, the establishment of NWFZ would also strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and contribute towards realizing the objective of nuclear disarmament. Malaysia, as a party to the Bangkok Treaty, continues to work closely with other members of ASEAN to strengthen the South East Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ). I would like to stress the importance of the signature and ratification by the NWS to the relevant protocols of all the NWFZ treaties in order to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. Efforts should also be intensified to promote the establishment of NWFZ in regions where they do not exist especially in volatile regions such as the Middle East, South Asia and North East Asia.

16. Despite the setbacks experienced in the disarmament field in the past years, we should not be disheartened or demoralized. On the contrary, these setbacks should inspire us to redouble our efforts in the quest for genuine progress in this area. We should make these efforts our highest priority.

17. Malaysia strongly believes that genuine progress on nuclear disarmament issues can only be achieved when the NWS take concrete measures in reducing and subsequently eliminating their nuclear arsenals. And at the same time, every effort should also be made to prevent other states to acquire nuclear weapons.

18. Malaysia values the efforts undertaken by the NGOs in promoting nuclear disarmament, in particular in highlighting the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Malaysia considers the NGOs as indispensable partners in this noble cause. The NGOs and members of civil society have an important role to play in promoting disarmament, particularly in drawing attention to the continuing threat faced by nuclear weapons. We wish to commend the supportive and valuable role of civil society, as represented by many NGOs in the disarmament process. We are also pleased and encouraged to see the active participation of Japanese NGOs in their noble crusade to eliminate these horrendous weapons from the planet.

19. I would like to reiterate that Malaysia strongly believes that international peace and security could not be achieved through the doctrine of deterrence or strategic superiority since the prolonged existence of nuclear weapons increases the sense of insecurity among states. Failure to completely eliminate nuclear weapons would not only aggravate international tension but also increases the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons. So long as the world is divided between the ghavesh and the ghaves noth, the world continues to run the risk of being annihilated through the use of nuclear weapons. Therefore, the absolute guarantee against the use of such weapons is to completely eliminate and abolish them from the surface of the earth. Let us all jointly work together as representatives of Governments and of the civil society to realize our noble cause of a world free from nuclear weapons.

20. On a personal note, having visited for the first time the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and saw the pain and suffering of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I am now more convinced that nuclear weapons are not weapons of deterrence but rather weapons that cause great misery and suffering to mankind. Malaysia, as current chairman of NAM, will do its utmost to work with others towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons as the only absolute guarantee against the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. Let us work together to achieve this noble objective.

I thank you for your attention.

Hiroshima, Japan

4 August 2004.


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