2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

International Meeting
2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Luis Alfonso de Alba
Permanent representative of Mexico to the United Nations in Geneva

Prospects for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2005 will mark the 60th Anniversary of the humanitarian catastrophe that began in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, tragedies that should never be repeated. This commemoration should be used to examine were we stand in the abolition of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, as you are all well aware, not much has been achieved. The 60th anniversary should give us a new impetus to continue towards our common objective: the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Besides the commemoration of the nuclear bombings, in 2005 we will have again the opportunity to review the implementation of the nuclear disarmament commitments under article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the implementation of the thirteen steps and the unequivocal undertaking made by the nuclear-weapon States in 2000 to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament. This commitment has already been given. We do not need a new commitment. What we need is its implementation.

The 2005 Review Conference will take place in an unsettled global security backdrop dominated by concerns over terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. We must not lose sight that whether in the face of terrorism or proliferation, global security can only be achieved with the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the assurance that they will never be produced.

The indications of a new generation of nuclear weapons being developed are also disturbing. The development or even the planning of the development of new nuclear weapons is a flagrant violation of the commitments made in the framework of the NPT, and it undermines the efforts of the international community to improve international security. I think the latter summarises somehow the general framework in which the 2005 NPT Review Conference is going to take place.

If we take a closer look at what has happened to the thirteen practical steps since 2000, the scenario is not very promising either.

It is disappointing to see that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), an essential element of the NPT has not yet entered into force. Particularly disturbing is the position assumed by the United States concerning this Treaty, when its government simply says, that this step is no longer valid and pretends that the whole international community accept this blunt statement. As the New Agenda has stated, any move by any nuclear-weapon State towards the resumption of nuclear testing would be a step back for international peace and security.

The perspectives in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) are not very promising either. The CD, currently beginning its last session of 2005, does not look as if it is close to reaching an agreement on its programme of work. It is imperative that this body resumes negotiations, and that it establishes a subsidiary body to deal with nuclear disarmament.

Concerning the negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material, there are some indications that some modest progress could be done in this field. Nevertheless, to be effective, it is necessary that this treaty address the issue of existing stocks, as well as that of a verification mechanism. So far, countries bearing a special responsibility on this issue are trying to push for a weak mechanism that from our perspective would not suffice to achieve the objectives we are hoping for.

On the issue of the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, movements in 2005 by China and the Russian Federation seemed to be encouraging. Unfortunately, other States have not followed suit.

Concerning the Treaty of Moscow, we have to acknowledge that it is a step in the right direction, but its contribution to effective nuclear disarmament is still questionable. The reductions of deployed nuclear weapons cannot be a substitute for irreversible cuts towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The lack of transparency and verification mechanisms is also questionable.

Non strategic nuclear weapons is also an issue were little progress has been made. In this regard, the New Agenda has called for the formalization of the 1991 and 1992 presidential nuclear initiatives, and has called the United States and Russia to finalize their implementation, and formalize the initiatives in a transparent, verifiable and irreversible manner.

On the issue of reporting to promote confidence it is also astonishing to see how nuclear weapon States avoid discussing on the issue in a serious manner.

In this scenario, it is no wonder that during the last meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the 2005 Review Conference, Nuclear weapon States did not want the 2000 outcome to have a special place in the agenda of the 2005 Review Conference. This is regrettable and needs to be addressed with extreme seriousness.

We see that at this stage the prospects for a successful outcome of the 2005 Review Conference do not look very promising. So I think that what States Parties to NPT committed to nuclear disarmament should do, is focusing in keeping what we have already achieved and working towards the operationalization of these commitments. It will be a difficult task. Nevertheless I do not think that this will be impossible. The nations committed to all aspects of the NPT represent an overwhelming majority. We count as well on the support of civil society and NGOs.

From now on, and taking advantage of the 60th Anniversary of the tragic events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must all act together to raise awareness of the importance of reaching a positive outcome of the 2005 Review Conference. We must all work, governments and civil society. The role of the latter is particularly important in mobilizing public opinion in those countries, whose governments so far do not share our common goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. In the memory of those hundreds of thousands of innocent victims that perished 59 years ago let us work with a renewed vigour towards that end.

OJO: Habra una declaracion al final de esta reunion. No se si quieras decir algo en el sentido de que tu participacion es a titulo personal y no vincula de manera alguna al gobierno de Mexico.



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