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National statements

Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

Thematic issues

  • DPRK
  • Energy
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Middle East
  • North Korea

THIRD SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE 2015 REVIEW CONFERENCE
OF THE TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Statement by Ambassador Peter Woolcott, Australian Permanent Representative to the United Nations – Geneva and Ambassador for Disarmament

Mr Chairman,

May I congratulate you on your appointment as Chairman of this third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference. I look forward to working with you and assure you of my support and that of my delegation.

For Australia, and I am sure for all Member States here, the NPT is the centrepiece of international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, make progress in reducing existing nuclear arsenals and ultimately realise the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

In order to achieve this, all of us need to work collectively, and with determination, to strengthen implementation of the NPT across all three pillars, and strengthen the commitments and obligations its State Parties have agreed to undertake, including those of the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) and Non-Nuclear Weapon States (non NWS).

Mr Chairman,

Australia is the co-founder with Japan of the twelve-member Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), established in 2010 to encourage full implementation of the 2010 Review Conference Action Plan.

NPDI ministers recently met in Hiroshima to discuss our collective approach to the NPT PrepCom. The NPDI is a big tent and we bring different perspectives to bear, but we all share one thing in common: a desire to see the world eventually free of nuclear weapons.

The NPDI has submitted six working papers to this PrepCom session, reflecting our key priorities: de-alerting nuclear forces; Post-New START nuclear disarmament; the Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone; nuclear security; nuclear transparency; and on NPT withdrawal.

Australia is also pleased to join our fellow members of the longstanding Vienna Group of Ten, in submitting a working paper which focuses delegates' minds on the importance of pillar 2 and 3 issues to the health of the NPT.

We hope these working papers will stimulate discussion and provide new ideas that support the implementation of the 2010 RevCon consensus outcome and help lay the groundwork for a successful 2015 RevCon outcome.

Mr Chairman,

Australia underlines the enormous responsibilities of the Nuclear Weapon States to drive disarmament. We acknowledge that some of the Nuclear Weapon States, especially the United States and Russia, have made considerable reductions in their nuclear arsenals.

The results of the New START Treaty are encouraging.

We also recognise that the United Kingdom and France have made welcome progress in reducing their nuclear arsenals.

We applaud these efforts.

But the international community expects each of the P5 and other nuclear-armed states to do much more, and to show a genuine commitment to nuclear transparency. Greater transparency from the Nuclear-Weapons States will help create conditions more conducive to further progress in disarmament.

Australia remains committed to this endeavour.

This is why Australia looks forward to hearing the P5's contributions to this PrepCom session, including on the crucial issue of transparency through reporting, on the Glossary, and on their discussions about nuclear doctrines, strategic stability and how they propose to build greater strategic trust to underpin further substantive progress in meeting their disarmament obligations. Without greater strategic trust it is difficult to progress nuclear disarmament: it cannot be unilateral.

Mr Chairman,

Australia continues to be deeply disappointed by the failure of the Conference on Disarmament to do the work assigned to it, in particular the failure to commence negotiations on the long-overdue Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. Nevertheless we welcome the recent first session of the FMCT Group of Government Experts process and look forward to discussing how its proposals can help take forward the 2010 Action Plan agenda and bring fresh impetus to the work the CD should be doing.

Mr Chairman,

Australia welcomes the fact that since the last PrepCom three more States have ratified the CTBT – Guinea-Bissau, Iraq and Niue. But we are deeply disappointed that the world is still awaiting the entry into force of the CTBT. Australia is a co-chair of the Friends of the CTBT group, and entry into force is a major Australian priority. Australia, together with the other NPDI member states, again urges all remaining Annex 2 States to ratify the treaty without delay and without waiting for other States to ratify the Treaty.

Mr Chairman,

Australia reaffirms the right of countries to access nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. However, effective safeguards must underpin this access to address the proliferation risks inherent in the spread of nuclear technology. Along with our NPDI colleagues, Australia continues to advocate for States to adopt the Additional Protocol to the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. We have conducted outreach to a number of States yet to conclude an Additional Protocol and stand ready to respond to requests for assistance from States implementing an Additional Protocol.

Mr Chairman,

Australia also strongly supports the convening of a conference on the establishment of a Middle-East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone at the earliest possible opportunity. We were encouraged by the outcomes of the Glion preparatory meetings, and encourage all relevant states to participate in the Helsinki conference. We call upon all States in the region to engage in a spirit of genuine and constructive cooperation on this important goal.

Mr Chairman,

Australia remains deeply concerned by the actions of the DPRK which, alone among nations in the twenty-first century, maintains an active nuclear explosive testing program, challenging the disarmament and non-proliferation regime and contravening the international norm that has already been established by the CTBT. No Member States should be silent on this matter. We condemn the DPRK's third nuclear test on 12 February 2013 and recent provocative rocket launches which also violated UN Security Council Resolutions. Australia calls on North Korea to abandon its current path, cease its provocations and abide by its international commitments, including UN Security Council Resolutions.

While still concerned about the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program, nevertheless Australia is encouraged by the progress to date in discussions between Iran and the P5 + 1 under the Joint Plan of Action and Framework of Cooperation agreed between Iran and the IAEA in November 2013. We call on Iran to cooperate fully and unconditionally with the IAEA, and to demonstrate convincingly to the international community the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

Mr Chairman,

We look forward to working with you during this meeting. We hope to maintain momentum in implementing the Action Plan, as we move towards the NPT Review Conference next year when we will need to decide on next steps towards our shared goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

I thank you, Mr Chairman.

Last Updated: 5 June 2015
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