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Australia's Statement To The Conference On Disarmament

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Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND
TRADE
AUSTRALIA

D55

Following is the text of a statement delivered on 2 June
1998 to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva by the
Australian Permanent Representative, Mr John Campbell. The
text of the joint statement referred to in Ambassador
Campbell's remarks will be found at the end of the text.

Mr President,

Some two weeks ago Australia took the floor in this forum
to express its resolute opposition to any nuclear testing by
any state, and its profound disappointment with, and
condemnation of, the nuclear tests conducted by India.

The Australian government acted swiftly and decisively to
register its concern with the Indian government's actions,
to announce a series of measures Australia had taken in
response to those actions and to send a message to other
nations with possible nuclear aspirations about the
consequences of such action.

Subsequent events in South Asia provide cause for great
alarm. The Australian Government strongly condemns
Pakistan's nuclear tests. They were conducted despite the
strong international condemnation of India's tests and
despite pleas for restraint from Australia and other
governments.

Pakistan's decision to ignore the inevitable implications
of its actions for global and regional security reveals that
its professed desire to end the nuclear weapons era, like
that of the government of India, is no more than a
deception.

A South Asian arms race can only exacerbate existing
regional tensions and have serious implications for global
security arrangements. The direct threats presented by
recent tests to the credibility and existence if the
international regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons
must cease immediately.

The South Asian nuclear tests and the urgent need to
repair the potential damage of this to the international
nuclear non-proliferation regime and to regional and
international peace and security, has given the commencement
of negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty an
even greater urgency and relevance for the international
community. For Australia and others with an interest in
reducing South Asian regional tension and proliferation
pressures, a fissile material cut-off treaty would provide a
measure of transparency about the nuclear capabilities and
intentions of India and Pakistan, which would act as a
confidence-building measure between these two states and for
others within their strategic environment.

As set out in the joint statement read out at the
beginning of this plenary session by New Zealand Ambassador
Pearson, a statement with which Australia readily associates
itself, we call upon India and Pakistan to sign and ratify
the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty without
conditions, accede to the nuclear non proliferation treaty,
and participate in negotiations in this conference to
achieve a fissile material cut-off treaty.

The international community cannot let India and
Pakistan's actions pass without a strong and substantive
response. I have already outlined in my statement of 14 May
the measures we have taken in response to Indian
testing.

Australia decided on 29 May to take the following
bilateral measures in response to the test conducted by
Pakistan:

  • Recall for consultations our High Commissioner in
    Islamabad
  • Suspend bilateral defence relations
  • Suspend non-humanitarian aid
  • Suspend ministerial and senior official visits
    and
  • Terminate the visit of the Pakistani parliamentary
    delegation in Australia at the time of the tests.

Mr President,

I will also seek to have the official statements made by
my Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in response to
Pakistan's nuclear tests circulated as official documents of
the conference.

Mr President,

I reiterate Australia's deep disappointment over, and
condemnation of, the ill-advised course of action chosen by
both India and Pakistan. We urge them to cease tests and
desist from further destabilising actions such as the
development and testing of nuclear weapon delivery systems.
We urge other states to continue vigorously to encourage
India and Pakistan to join the international nuclear
non-proliferation regime and to pursue the objective of a
nuclear weapon free world.

statement ends.

The text of the joint statement referred to in Ambassador
Campbell's remarks is as follows.

The statement was subsequently subscribed to by the
countries listed.

"The following member states and observers of the
Conference on Disarmament in Geneva; Australia, New Zealand,
U.S., U.K., Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Ukraine, Canada,
Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Belarus, Germany, Poland,
Switzerland, Norway, Philippines, Denmark, Italy, Romania,
Croatia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Japan, Malta, Bulgaria,
Lithuania, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea,
France, China, Turkey, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa,
Chile, Ireland, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina are alarmed
and deeply concerned at nuclear testing by India and
Pakistan.

They condemn all nuclear testing and consider such acts
to be contrary to the international consensus which bans the
testing of nuclear weapons and other explosive devices. The
tests undertaken by India, and Pakistan's decision to
respond with its own test, blatantly undermine the
international regime of non-proliferation of nuclear
weapons. The actions of India and Pakistan threaten and
undermine the process of disarmament and the goal of
eliminating nuclear weapons altogether.

The testing of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan is
totally irreconcilable with claims by both countries that
they are committed to nuclear disarmament.

International security will not be enhanced by
provocative and dangerous acts. Nor will regional or global
security be improved or maintained by indulging in
competitive manoeuvres to further develop nuclear capability
and delivery systems. The approach that India and Pakistan
seem determined to pursue belongs to a by-gone age.

Peace in the Asian region is a global concern. Tensions
will only be resolved permanently through constructive
dialogue and negotiation.

It is now crucial that India and Pakistan announce
immediately a cessation of all further testing of these
weapons, renounce their nuclear weapons programs and sign
and ratify, unconditionally, the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty. This is a matter of urgency essential for generating
the confidence necessary for security differences to be
resolved through dialogue and negotiation.

We also call on India and Pakistan to accede without
delay to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to join all states in
ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and to
engage in negotiations to conclude a ban on the production
of fissile material. These are further essential steps that
should be taken in the process of working collectively and
constructively towards eliminating nuclear weapons.

This is a moment for all countries to exercise calm and
maximum restraint. We call on India and Pakistan to
immediately abandon the course of action they are pursuing
and to settle their security concerns and differences trough
political engagement. Such an approach will have the full
support of the international community as it strives toward
nuclear disarmament."

Last Updated: 19 September 2014
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