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It is indeed a great honor to be here among you and to deliver this speech on behalf of H.E Ambassador Hisham Badr, who for pressing engagement could not participate in this important gathering.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs for hosting this august Forum and affording me the opportunity to outline my Government's position regarding the issue of nuclear disarmament.

But before I do so, I find it incumbent upon me to pay homage to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the victims of Bikini test, and I believe that their sacrifices should not go in vain. These valiant citizens of Japan have witnessed the ultimate horror and paid the ultimate price, and perhaps no one better than them understands the crucial importance of the common aspirations that we are all gathered here to promote today and to hopefully achieve tomorrow.

Egypt signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(NPT) in 1968 and ratified it in 1981. In depositing its instrument of ratification , the Government of Egypt made a statement detailing its position at the time, which said:
" Convinced that the proliferation of nuclear weapons which threatened the security of mankind must be curbed, Egypt signed and then ratified the NPT. Egypt was among the first countries which called for the rapid conclusion of this Treaty, and played a constructive role in the negotiations preceding its conclusion as a complement to earlier efforts which had successfully culminated in the conclusion of the 1963 Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water."

The Egyptian statement in 1981 went on to address the nuclear arsenals of the five recognized nuclear states:
"Egypt wishes to express its strong dissatisfaction at the nuclear-weapon States, in particular the two super-Powers, because of their failure to take effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament. Consequently,
Egypt avails itself of this opportunity to appeal to the nuclear-weapon States Parties to the Treaty to fulfill their obligation whereby the nuclear arms race will be stopped and nuclear disarmament achieved."

That statement also identified the importance of establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones in different parts of the world so as to enable the NPT to achieve its objectives and aims.

This statement, as I mentioned earlier, was made in 1981. Almost 24 years to the day have since elapsed, and yet the issues raised at the time are no less valid and important today as they were back then. To be certain, the world has indeed changed profoundly during these 24 years and it has witnessed an evolving dynamic in the architecture of international relations. And yet many issues unfortunately, have also not changed during the same period. Nuclear-weapon-States remain today, as they were then, unwilling to abide by their obligations under Article ‡Y of the NPT. Ironically, those who are the most vocal in calling for increasing human, technical and financial resources to be devoted to preventing and fighting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, are also those who prefer to cling indefinitely to their nuclear arsenals. Some are even considering giving nuclear weapons a new lease on life, thereby undermining the very essence of the NPT.

We strongly maintain that nuclear weapons today have become more of a liability than an asset. Recognized nuclear-weapon Sates devote massive resources to maintaining thousands of weapons that we hope will never be used, while aspiring nuclear-weapon States deprive their people of badly needed resources in return for what is perceived as the ultimate military status symbol.

Egypt has left no stone unturned in its quest to promote universal nuclear disarmament. We have worked towards this goal within the IAEA, at the United Nations, and through relevant multilateral and regional fora. We have also established, along with Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden, the New Agenda Coalition(NAC), which is a grouping of States pushing for the attainment of this goal. The members of the Coalition believe that each and every article of the NPT is binding on all its States Parties at all times and in all circumstances, and that all States Parties must be held fully accountable with respect to the strict compliance of their obligations under the Treaty. The Coalition also firmly believes that the establishment of internationally recognized nuclear-weapons-free zones ultimately enhances global and regional peace and security and contributes towards realizing the objective of universal nuclear disarmament.

In a region of tension such as the Middle East, nuclear weapons also cast their sinister shadow, further complicating an already complex situation. Have such weapons brought security to those who possess them? The truth is that genuine and lasting security can only result from a structure of peace based on justice and the respect of the fundamental rights of people to live in dignity and respect for national identities and aspirations. While Egypt has multiplied its efforts aimed at ridding the Middle East of nuclear
Weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, Israel, as the only country possessing nuclear weapons in the region, has remained largely indifferent to the matter. And while IAEA Member Sates speak willingly at length about nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran as they did before in Iraq, few seem to attribute much interest to Israel's nuclear activities.

Notwithstanding this obvious discrepancy, the evident fact is that as long as double standers continue to govern the issue of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and as long as the region continues to be plagued with festering political problems and unresolved security issues, more countries might eventually seek means of mass destruction in a bid to redress the military imbalance and to protect their national security. In order to avoid such a situation, we must all show a stronger sense of commitment to the cause of peace and stability in the Middle East. Egypt has been working arduously for peace and security in its region. Its efforts aimed at establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East are well documented. It has also continued to promote the initiative launched by President Mubarak in April 1990 with the aim of ridding the Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction. It will continue to explore all avenues leading to secure and stable Middle East, and foremost amongst them the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in our region. But in the absence of an equally strong commitment to these objectives on the part of the entire international community, these efforts run the risk of abject failure.

The Foreign Minister of Egypt was quite clear when he addressed this issue only two weeks ago during the Forty-First Munick Conference on Security Policy, when he stated:
"Peace in the Middle East will not be durable or complete if we do not create a situation where equal security for all is guaranteed at the lowest level of armament, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The highest priority in this regard must be given to the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, without exception to any state or any weapon system. I must underscore that applying double standards in this regard will not guarantee any party's security, but will, on the contrary, fuel an arms race that will endanger regional and international peace and security."

The nations of the world will gather in New York in May for the 2005 NPT Review Conference. Egypt looks forward to this meeting as an opportunity for States to reaffirm, in word and in deed, the continued importance of the NPT as the cornerstone of the global
nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. As such, it is necessary for the Sates Parties to use this opportunity to renew their commitment and mutual obligations under the Treaty, and in particular as regards the achievement of nuclear disarmament. The Review Conference will also be required to reaffirm its commitment to the pursuit of nuclear non-proliferation in the world, and in particular as regards the region of the Middle East.

In conclusion, allow me reiterate once again Egypt's conviction that the continued unwillingness on the part of declared and undeclared nuclear-weapon States to part from their nuclear arsenals on the grounds that such arsenals constitute the ultimate guarantee of their national security would lead other States to seek a similar guarantee. The only measure that would enable the IAEA to devote its full resources to its main objective\namely to seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world\is the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

I believe that all of us gathered here today share the same conviction and desire the same result. The Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs is an important and vocal voice in this global campaign, and we fervently hope that it will continue to exercise its noble mission until the ultimate human ideal is realized, namely a world free of the horrors of nuclear weapons and free of the terror of their destructive capability.

Thank you very much.


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