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Indefinite Extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty: Risks and Reckonings

ACRONYM Report No.7, September 1995

Part III: Review

Article VIII (3) of the NPT provides for five-yearly Review Conferences 'with a view to assuring that the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realised.'

Although, after 25 years in force, the Treaty faced its extension decision in 1995, it was also time for the Fifth Review, which states parties decided to hold simultaneously, at the same Review and Extension Conference.

As in previous review conferences, three Main Committees were established to consider implementation. As agreed by the Preparatory Committee, focus was to be on the five years since the previous Review in 1990. Agenda item 16 allocated the work of the Review as follows:

Main Committee I (MC.I): implementation of the provisions of the Treaty relating to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, disarmament, and international peace and security: Articles I and II and preambular paragraphs 1-3; Article VI and preambular paragraphs 8 to 12; Article VII; Security Assurances.

Main Committee II (MC.II): implementation of the provisions of the Treaty relating to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, safeguards and nuclear weapon free zones: Article III and preambular paragraphs 4 and 5, especially in their relationship to Article IV and preambular paragraphs 6 and 7; Articles I and II and preambular paragraphs 1 to 3 in their relationship to Articles III and IV; Article VII.

Main Committee III (MC.III): implementation of the provisions of the Treaty relating to the inalienable right of all Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II: Article III (3) and IV, preambular paragraphs 6 and 7, especially in their relationship to Article III (1), (2) and (4) and preambular paragraphs 4 and 5; Article V.

Some cross-over between issues was inevitable, compounded perhaps by slight modifications to the terms of reference, made at the insistence of Iran, partly to ensure that it could raise export controls in several contexts. Main Committees II and III therefore covered some of the same ground on non-military uses of nuclear energy, safety and export controls, and Main Committees I and II were both tasked with consideration of Article VII on nuclear weapon free zones. Main Committees II and III were also required to consider the role of the Treaty in 'the promotion of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and of nuclear disarmament in strengthening international peace and security and measures aimed at promoting wider acceptance of the Treaty.'

The early meetings of the Committees were open to the public, with summary records accordingly kept. However, at the very beginning of Main Committee I, the UK expressed its reservations about this, saying that it 'would not necessarily be conducive to the full and frank exchange that was desirable...'. A senior British official commented that, with all the NGOs in attendance, he feared some states' representatives would 'play to the public gallery'. As a consequence, meetings tended to be closed after an initial 'exchange of views', with the rest of their deliberations proceeding outside public scrutiny and the purview of the summary record takers.

Main Committee I: Nuclear Disarmament

+ At the first session of MC.I, the Chair, Ambassador Isaac Ayewah of Nigeria, described its task as review of the implementation of the Treaty with regard to 'the lateral transfer or acquisition of nuclear weapons, nuclear materials and related technology for weapons purposes, qualitative improvements of such weapons and their vectors, efforts at nuclear disarmament, including relevant negotiations leading thereto, security assurances, and cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.' Early on, a separate working group on security assurances was convened, chaired by Ambassador Richard Starr of Australia. Nuclear weapon free zones, which fell mainly under MC.II's programme of work, were considered in a joint working group.

Discussion in MC.I was dominated by a small proportion of the 175 states parties: the P-5, Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Tanzania, with contributions by a few others.

For the first time, all five nuclear-weapon states were represented as states parties. In addition to providing conference documents, each of the nuclear-weapon states set out its record in support of its claim to have complied with its NPT obligations. Much of this had been covered in the speeches to the plenary, but was reiterated for the purposes of the Review.

United Kingdom
The UK welcomed the cessation of the nuclear arms race and progress on nuclear disarmament. Arguing that UK nuclear forces had always been maintained at a minimum, Ambassador Sir Michael Weston stated that by the end of the 1990s, the total number of UK warheads would be 21 percent lower and the total explosive power 59 percent lower than in the 1970s; operational warheads would be 30 percent less, with a total explosive power 63 percent less than in the 1970s. Mimicking the long-held Chinese position, he underlined that '[a] world in which US and Russian nuclear forces were numbered in the hundreds rather than the thousands would be one in which [the UK] Government would respond to the challenge of multilateral nuclear arms control talks.' With emphasis on the 6 April decision to drop the requirement for 'tests in exceptional circumstances', Ambassador Weston said that the UK was in favour of a CTBT and welcomed agreement on a Fissban mandate. In that regard, he announced that the UK had 'ceased the production of fissile material for explosive purposes.' The UK said it had played an active part in achieving UNSC 984 (1995) on security assurances, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and sought various reductions in conventional arms. Thus, the UK was 'fully committed to practical disarmament and non-proliferation measures, including negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament, which remained its ultimate goal.'

The UK said it had complied fully with Article I, and that it had supported international actions to ensure compliance with Article II, 'including action in respect of Iraq and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.'

United States
With all five nuclear-weapon states now parties to the NPT and the end of the cold war, 'the role of nuclear weapons in the United States national security strategy had never been lower.' Laurence Scheinman listed US achievements, saying that up to 2,000 warheads were being dismantled per year, that defence expenditure for strategic nuclear weapons had been cut by almost two thirds, the active strategic nuclear stockpile cut by nearly 60 percent, and its non-strategic nuclear stockpile by 90 percent, resulting in a reduction of the total US nuclear forces of 80 percent if START II is implemented as planned. The US had ceased production of fissile material for nuclear explosive purposes and removed 'massive amounts of nuclear material' from its military stockpile, with a recent commitment to take 200 tons permanently out of the military stockpile as material 'excess to weapons needs' and place it under IAEA safeguards. He said that the US was committed to a CTBT and a Fissban, and was no longer manufacturing new nuclear weapons or researching and developing third generation weapons. US nuclear weapons were not targeted against any country, US bombers no longer stood on day-to-day alert, and the US fully supported the security assurances in UNSC 984 (1995), which represented 'substantial progress'. Scheinman said that the US had reaffirmed its commitment under Article VI 'to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament, which remained its ultimate goal.'
Referring to Russia's recent reaffirmation of its commitment 'to the ultimate goal of complete nuclear disarmament' in the four power statement issued at the CD on 6 April, Ambassador Grigori Berdennikov said that the nuclear arms race 'had ceased and been reversed'. He referred to the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, START I and II, and said that as a result 40 percent of the Russian and US arsenals would be removed under START I, with further 'considerable reductions' under START II. Russia had also unilaterally withdrawn 'a large number' of its tactical nuclear weapons. Russia supported the CTBT negotiations and would continue its moratorium. Russia backed establishment of a Fissban committee at the CD and announced that it had ceased production of weapons-grade uranium and was in the process of halting 'weapons grade plutonium' production. Berdennikov spoke of Russia's backing for UNSC 984 (1995), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and conventional arms limitation, and reiterated President Yeltsin's 1994 call for 'a [five power] treaty on nuclear security and strategic stability, under which the proposed measures could be carried out on a step-by-step basis in view of the differing nuclear potentials of the countries concerned.'

Berdennikov said Russia had 'complied strictly' with its Article I obligations, and referred positively to the accession of former Soviet states Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan as non-nuclear-weapon state parties to the NPT. Making no mention of Belarus's proposal for a nuclear weapon free zone in Central Europe, Berdennikov pledged support for NWFZs, and emphasized Russia's adherence to the relevant protocols of the Treaties of Tlatelolco and Rarotonga.

Ambassador Gerard Errera said that France had joined with other nuclear-weapon states in updating its security assurances in UNSC 984 (1995) and in reaffirming its commitment to Article VI. France hoped a CTBT would be concluded 'without delay' and sought universal ratification of the CWC and enhanced verification of the BWC. Reviewing measures France had undertaken to 'reduce its nuclear forces and scale down its nuclear-weapons programmes', Ambassador Errera emphasised that France had given 'a full account of all French nuclear forces' in order to promote transparency.
Ambassador Sha Zukang said that China had adhered strictly to its NPT obligations since signing in 1992, and called again for 'a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, under which they would undertake to ban and destroy all their nuclear weapons under effective international supervision.' Rejecting the doctrine of nuclear deterrence, Sha said that China's nuclear weapons were for self defence, and that China 'had never taken part in the nuclear arms race.' Underlining China's commitments on no first use and security assurances, Sha repeated the call for a five power statement on the 'mutual non-first-use of nuclear weapons'. China 'had actively participated' in CTBT negotiations and 'would welcome the conclusion' of a Fissban treaty. China also emphasised its backing for NWFZs and its adherence to the relevant protocols of the Treaties of Tlatelolco and Rarotonga.

Articles I and II: Transfer of Nuclear Weapons or Technology

All of the nuclear-weapon powers stated that they had fully complied with their Article I commitments. There was general agreement that the non-nuclear-weapon states, with the demonstrated exception of Iraq and probable exception of the DPRK, had also complied. After much heated debate, MC.I remained deadlocked on two key issues relating to Articles I and II: Israel's nuclear programme; and the deployment of nuclear weapons in NATO states.

Most of the Northern representatives referred to two violations of Article II: Iraq and the DPRK. As expressed by Finland, 'The obligations under Article II had been challenged twice since the Fourth Review Conference. In the case of Iraq, non-compliance had been established beyond the shadow of a doubt. In the case of the DPRK, doubts still remained, and needed to be removed.' Nigeria broadened the assessment, arguing that 'some parties, and also non-parties, to the Treaty had acquired weapons-grade materials from nuclear-weapon States.' Without accusing the nuclear-weapon states or others per se of any violation, Jordan 'wondered how those States which had contravened the provisions of the Treaty had managed to do so', since any transaction involved a provider and recipient. Egypt, Sudan and others backed Jordan's concern, with Syria singling out Israel as enjoying 'an unfair advantage'. Tanzania demanded a sanctions regime on suppliers as well as recipients, since '[t]he nuclear-weapon States had assisted, encouraged and induced some countries to acquire nuclear weapons for one reason or another.' Italy responded by saying that nuclear materials exports made in good faith for peaceful purposes could be diverted. South Africa pointed out that 'a State with significant fuel cycle activities and an advanced technological infrastructure could equip itself with a nuclear capability through domestic enrichment processes and very simple equipment'. Sudan raised doubts about China's compliance with Article I, saying that, with regard to transfer of nuclear material 'China was following the same procedure as during the Cold War'.

NATO Deployment and US/UK Cooperation
Mexico then made an unexpected challenge concerning the transfer of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices among NATO states, and between the US and the UK. Using information provided by Greenpeace, Ambassador Marin Bosch argued that if the US had transferred 'copious quantities of technical information, materials and basic components for the United Kingdom nuclear weapons programme' over 36 years, as reported, this was both a violation of Article I and had contributed to the UK's failure to comply with Article VI. He followed up by questioning the legality of NATO states' arrangements for deployment of US and UK nuclear weapons in countries that were non-nuclear-weapon parties to the NPT. Accepting that the retention of US bombs under control of the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) would not necessarily violate Articles I and II, Mexico queried whether control could be deemed to be transferred to other states if nuclear-armed NATO planes were flown by allied pilots, as they were being trained to do. Mexico's questions caused a furore, with non-aligned countries demanding more information, and the US, the UK and NATO states identified as hosting the nuclear weapons queuing up to deny any wrongdoing.

The US and the UK both stressed that their mutual defence agreements, and that the relevant NATO provisions predated and were 'fully in accord with Article I of the Treaty.' Germany, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands all argued that their NATO agreements were compatible with the NPT and that they had never received military nuclear technology or sought to control nuclear weapons.

Over the next two weeks Ambassador Ayewah brought out a series of 'Chairman's Papers' in an attempt to get agreed text on Articles I and II and preambular paragraphs 1 to 3. He tried to base the papers on MC.I's discussions and proposals submitted by several states, including the EU, the US, NAM, Belarus and Ukraine, and Egypt, but drew criticism for misrepresenting some of the discussions. The NAM had welcomed positive international developments, noting that the INF and START agreements would reduce the nuclear weapons of US and Russia. They urged China, France and the UK 'to join the process.' However, the NAM language was only willing to 'take note' of the nuclear-weapon states' and non-nuclear-weapon states declarations of compliance and raised 'concerns about the ability of certain states non-parties to the NPT to obtain nuclear materials, technology and know-how to develop nuclear weapons.' The final paragraph expressed 'great and serious concerns' about Israel's nuclear weapon capability, calling for a complete halt to nuclear cooperation with Israel and for Israel's accession to the NPT, a point emphasised separately by Egypt. The US refused to allow explicit condemnation of Israel, but wanted direct mention of two violations of Article II (Iraq and the DPRK), and expressed the view that 'there had been a high level of compliance with the obligations of Article I and II of the Treaty.' The EU text 'acknowledges' the nuclear-weapon states' declarations of compliance and also that the non-nuclear-weapon states 'have fulfilled their obligations under Article II' with the two exceptions noted. The EU language underlined 'the vital need for all parties to the Treaty to comply scrupulously and unreservedly with their obligations and to avoid any actions which could raise questions about their compliance...'.

From 27 April through 4 May, the Chair ran through at least six revisions on Articles I and II, with divisions and alternative bracketed paragraphs seeming to multiply. The Draft Report of Main Committee I contained eight alternatives for paragraph 9 on nuclear cooperation within alliances. At one extreme, a few NAM states wanted Main Committee I's report to express 'grave concern' that nuclear collaboration between certain nuclear-weapon states and as part of regional security alliances 'run counter to the spirit and letter of the Treaty...and give rise to proliferation of nuclear weapons in all their aspects' - which was wholly unacceptable to the NATO states; at the other, the US and UK wanted it reaffirmed that 'the existing security arrangements are implemented in full compliance with Articles I and II of the NPT...', which many other countries regarded as too sweeping and complacent. However, the majority of options were very similar, noting difference of interpretation and emphasising the need to ensure that security arrangements were fully compatible with the Treaty.

The raising of Articles I and II compliance by NATO states clearly took many delegations by surprise. Commenting that there had never been any complaints at previous review conferences, some dismissed the issue as Mexican mischievousness. Others took it more seriously, recognising that in the post-Cold War era with former Soviet bloc countries applying to join NATO, deployment beyond the territory of the nuclear-weapon states themselves indeed carried the threats of proliferation and destabilisation. Most states accepted that NATO countries should not be criticised for the past, since the interpretation of Articles I and II had been understood to exempt deployment within alliances, providing control was not directly transferred. The future, however, was different. One senior official speculated on the reaction if China were now to form regional alliances and begin deploying its nuclear missiles in, for example, Pakistan, the DPRK, Viet Nam etc. The interpretation accepted in the 1970s needed to be re-examined in light of international changes and in the interests of non-proliferation, and NATO should reconsider the deployment of nuclear weapons in non-nuclear-weapon states. A number of Western delegates privately acknowledged that this should perhaps be re-examined now, and if Main Committee I had not become so polarised, it should have been possible to find a satisfactory compromise.

Article VI: Nuclear Disarmament

Ambassador Ayewah inaugurated discussion on Article VI, calling it 'the linchpin of the Treaty'. He said that the Committee must determine whether negotiations were being conducted in good faith, the meaning of 'at an early date' and what elements constituted 'nuclear disarmament'. It was clear from the beginning that there was widespread disagreement among delegations. Many Northern states considered the arms race to be ended, and even reversed. But the 15 countries of the EU split, with Austria, Ireland and Sweden refusing to endorse an EU statement on Article VI. The nuclear-weapon states relied on their record over the past five years. While four of the nuclear powers referred to nuclear disarmament as 'an ultimate goal', China repeated its call for a convention banning nuclear weapons, along the lines of the CWC and BWC. There was also a marked tendency by the US, the UK and France to locate nuclear disarmament within the framework of general and complete disarmament. This again seemed to distance nuclear disarmament as an ideal rather than a concrete objective of Article VI. The majority of comments clearly welcomed recent nuclear arms reduction by the US and Russia, but various delegations commented that nuclear weapon stockpiles were nevertheless larger now than in 1970, a perspective endorsed by the NAM as a whole.

To the mounting irritation of some delegations, the Chair returned several times to ask whether 'the nuclear arms race had really ended, or merely abated.' His compatriot from Nigeria responded that the arms race had only abated. The NAM working document agreed by stressing 'the need for the cessation of the nuclear arms race at the earliest possible date'. Mexico identified some of the criteria by which the assessment could be made: if international tension had eased, why had the manufacture of nuclear weapons not ceased? Were there plans to modernise the existing arsenals? What would be done with fissionable materials in terms of production, prevention of diversion to military use, and disposition of materials from dismantled warheads? What would be the scope of a CTBT and would a moratorium on testing continue until a CTBT entered into force? Would negotiations begin on a convention to eliminate nuclear weapons? Venezuela said that 'at an early date' could not possibly be construed to mean 25 years later. The Philippines added that 'the call for a time-bound framework could not be considered impatience, since 25 years had passed...'. Algeria said that while its delegation was interested in the promises for the future, an assessment based on the past 25 years was negative, raising doubts about the sincerity of the nuclear-weapon states' commitments. In an illustration assumed to mean the UK, Algeria referred to 'one nuclear state, a depositary of the Treaty, [which] had stated that [it] was not willing to discuss nuclear disarmament in the foreseeable future.' Algeria then advanced the novel suggestion that the declared nuclear-weapon states (and others, if they wished) 'could provide information on the number and type of nuclear weapons they intended to have under their future military programmes and what countries they intended to use such weapons against. The Conference could then judge from their answers whether or not the nuclear-arms race had ceased.'

EU Split
There was a dramatic moment on 26 April, when Ambassador Errera of France, which held the EU Presidency, introduced a statement on behalf of 11 named European countries. Though Italy later associated itself with what had clearly been intended as a joint EU statement, Austria, Ireland and Sweden had broken away from what one official later described as 'a complacent view tailored to the needs of France and Britain.' In particular, those three countries said it did not go far enough, and objected to: the bald statement that 'the nuclear arms race has ceased'; the reference to 'significant reductions by France and the UK', which have withdrawn some tactical nuclear systems, but still resist participation in multilateral nuclear-arms reduction; and lack of any concrete future steps towards nuclear disarmament.

In their own statements, Ireland and Sweden went considerably further. Sweden said that the goal should be a 'nuclear-weapon-free world' and that the Conference should 'reaffirm that all nuclear weapons must be eliminated from the face of the earth.' In four key departures from the main EU bloc, Sweden argued for: a specific time schedule for implementation of nuclear disarmament measures; a negotiated multilateral treaty on negative security assurances, advocating also declarations of no-first-use; a Fissban treaty covering 'not only future production but also existing stockpiles'; and conclusion of a CTBT in 1995. Ireland reiterated the six objectives outlined in its plenary speech, and emphasised the need for concrete steps to achieve 'the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.' In a further important departure from its EU partners, Ireland also advocated a Fissban that would prohibit 'the production and stockpiling of fissile materials for use in the manufacture of nuclear weapons'. When questioned afterwards, a British official said the countries concerned were 'wholly irrelevant', while a French official said 'the little countries outside are not important; what matters is that 12 countries support our statement.' Nevertheless, the EU, and France in particular, were clearly embarrassed by the public split and seemed to blame Sweden, a very recent member of the EU, most of all. From then until the end of the Conference, Sweden appeared to become increasingly isolated from the Western group.

Further Measures on Disarmament
As well as Sweden and Ireland, NAM states called for concrete steps, a time-frame or time-schedule to achieve nuclear disarmament. The NAM working document called on 'all nuclear-weapon states [to] commit themselves to a definite time-bound programme of action, for continued reduction of nuclear weapons leading to their total elimination' and listed seven requirements for compliance: cessation of the nuclear arms race; immediate conclusion of a CTBT; a legally binding commitment on no-first-use and non-use of nuclear weapons; a non-discriminatory treaty banning the production and stockpiling of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other explosive devices; a programme of action for significant reduction leading to total elimination of nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles within a time-bound framework; a legally binding instrument giving positive and negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states; and establishment of NWFZs, with full adherence by the nuclear-weapon states.

Nigeria proposed the immediate adoption of a no-first-use policy, an agreement on security assurances by December 1996, CTBT by September 1996, establishment of a nuclear weapons register at the UN by the end of 1997, a ban on production of 'weapon grade fissile material' by 2000, and negotiations on a 'ban on the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons to start by the year 2005.' Linking this with its proposal for a limited extension of the NPT, Nigeria argued that 'the end of the duration of the extension should coincide with the entry into force of a treaty banning the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.'

The nuclear-weapon states opposed any kind of time-bound framework. 'Given...the complexity of... negotiations,' the US was 'concerned when unrealistic proposals were made, especially regarding time-bound disarmament.' Sweden pointed out that there were already precedents for such a schedule: the START Treaties encompassed a time-frame for removal of the specified weapons.

The fact that a CTBT was under negotiation in Geneva was welcomed by all, but several states, including Australia, Sweden, Nigeria, Norway and New Zealand, underlined the importance of concluding in 1995. By contrast, the NAM document gave no date, while a number of NAM countries, including Mexico, shifted the deadline for CTBT conclusion to 1996. Their reasons, they said, were pragmatic: they no longer saw any chance of getting a treaty this year, but pinning down the P-5 to 1996 was still achievable and would be taken more seriously. Although some took the opportunity to emphasise their opposition to thresholds or so-called 'peaceful nuclear explosions' (PNEs), comments on the CTB negotiations were generally low key, without serious divisions.

While many states welcomed the establishment of a Fissban committee at the CD, disagreements over its scope arose again and again. The nuclear-weapon states backed the language in the 1993 UNGA resolution 48/75L, which formed the basis of the CD mandate. This would ban all future production and left open the possibility of discussing related issues, including scope. The NAM, supported by Ireland and Sweden, called for a ban on the stockpiling as well as production of fissile material for nuclear weapon purposes. Mexico referred to fissionable material for military purposes, which would prohibit its use in submarine propulsion as well as nuclear bombs. Egypt, to the surprise of some, backed away from the demands it had been making in the CD for a ban on weapon-usable fissile material, calling only for a treaty banning the production and stockpiling of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. Concerns about terrorism and security of nuclear installations and materials were also raised by some delegates.

New Zealand identified a step beyond the CTBT and Fissban, calling for 'an effectively verifiable ban on the production of nuclear weapons.' This could arguably relieve some of the pressure on the CTBT and Fissban negotiations, so that the scope of those treaties are not overloaded. It could provide a way out of the difficulties in CTBT scope negotiations regarding inertial confinement fusion, other laboratory experiments (with and without release of nuclear energy) and computer simulations, as well as the central question of whether the Fissban should cover only future production or deal with stockpiles as well. The pressure on both negotiations comes from the desire of non-nuclear-weapon states to ensure that the treaties perform effectively in promoting nuclear disarmament, and not just preventing horizontal proliferation. However, some argue for first steps first, such as a Fissban to bring the facilities of the de facto and declared nuclear-weapon states under safeguards. If a nuclear warhead production ban were identified as the next step after a CTBT and Fissban, it would be easier for non-nuclear-weapon states to agree CTBT scope that deals only with nuclear explosions and a Fissban covering only future production. Then as the next step, it would be appropriate for a warhead production ban to prohibit nuclear weapon development and manufacturing activities and to monitor that no fissile materials were taken from the stockpiles to build additional or new nuclear weapons.

After two and a half weeks of negotiations, the section of MC.I's report on Article VI was almost entirely enclosed in brackets, what one observer later dubbed 'the instrument of vengeance'. There was no compromise on how to characterise recent progress, on what to say about the nuclear arms race, on nuclear disarmament or any other measures. The only agreed paragraph acknowledged the important contribution to implementation of Article VI of fulfilment by Russia and the US of their obligations under the START I and INF Treaties.

Security Assurances

MC.I established a working group (WG.1), chaired by Ambassador Richard Starr of Australia, to consider issues relating to security assurances and Article VII. Since Article VII also fell partly within the remit of MC.II, which established a working group chaired by Enrique de la Torre of Argentina, it was mutually agreed that the relevant aspects of Article VII could be addressed in an open-ended working group to consider nuclear weapon free zones, thus reducing duplication of effort. Since almost all these discussions were closed to the public, no summary records were kept. Middle East security and Israel's nuclear programme caused the major road blocks, with difficulty in resolving language acceptable to all sides.

Although the UN Security Council had unanimously endorsed UNSC 984 (1995), it was clear from the statements in the NPT General Debate that many states parties did not consider that it went far enough. In discussions in MC.I and WG.1, many elaborated on the ways they felt the security guarantees to non-nuclear-weapon states could be improved and strengthened.

While there were disagreements over what the assurances should cover, the principal argument was over form. The NAM argued for 'an effective, unconditional, comprehensive, internationally negotiated and legally binding instrument.' They welcomed UNSC 984 (1995) only as a first step. The NAM further called for a conference to work out a protocol to the NPT 'on the prohibition of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states parties.' China made its familiar proposals for a Convention on no-first-use of nuclear weapons, as well as an international legal instrument on negative security assurances. The Ukraine backed some kind of legally binding agreement and Sweden argued for a 'negotiated multilateral treaty on negative security assurances... [which] could be further developed into declarations on the non-first-use of nuclear weapons.'

With regard to content, the NAM argued that UNSC 984 (1995) 'should have included language committing the nuclear-weapon states to take action in the event of a threat of use of nuclear weapon[s], to suppress that threat.' The NAM statement advocated NWFZs and called for 'appropriate measures' to provide protection from threats 'that emanate from the ambiguous policy of certain states non-parties to the Treaty, which possess significant unsafeguarded nuclear facilities and might have acquired nuclear weapon capability.' Additionally, 11 non-aligned states - Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Peru, Sri Lanka and Venezuela - all members of the CD, submitted their CD statement of 6 September 1994, which had advocated a draft protocol on security assurances attached to the NPT.

Egypt wanted better security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states parties to the NPT who were also parties to NWFZs. Egypt, which as a member of the UN Security Council had endorsed UNSC 984 (1995) was very critical of its short-comings and the conditional terms hedging any Security Council action. Egypt therefore submitted language advocating 'an immediate response' from the UN Security Council in the event of attack or threat of attack by nuclear weapons.

Nigeria resubmitted the proposal it had presented to the 1990 Review Conference, containing a four-article protocol on security assurances to be attached to the NPT. The operative paragraphs are as follows:

"Article I

Each nuclear-weapon state party to this Agreement undertakes not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon state party to the Treaty which does not belong to a military alliance and does not have other security arrangements providing for mutual defence with a nuclear-weapon state.

Article II

Each nuclear-weapon state party to this Agreement undertakes not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon state party to the Treaty which belongs to a military alliance, or has other security arrangements providing for mutual defence, with a nuclear-weapon state but has no nuclear weapons stationed on its territory. The non-nuclear-weapon state party to the Treaty referred to in this article undertakes not to partake in, or contribute to, any military attack on any nuclear-weapon state party to this Agreement, or its allies, parties to the Treaty, except in self defence, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations."

By 26 April, WG.1 had collected proposals on language from Indonesia, Mexico, Egypt, China, Italy, Ukraine, Malaysia, Nigeria, France, Syria, New Zealand, Russia and the US. These were compiled into a draft text, reported to MC.I on 4 May. Seven proposals, boiling down to three distinct options, were reflected:

  • a protocol to be attached to the NPT - advocated with slight variations by Mexico, by Nigeria, and by 11 non-aligned states at the CD, and taken up by the NAM in a common position paper;
  • international convention on no-first-use - China;
  • multilateral treaty on negative security assurances (based on the P-5 unilateral declarations) - Sweden.

Although the CD was promoted as one forum for negotiations, several NAM states supported Nigeria's proposal for a special conference to be held. Since both India and Pakistan (non-NPT de facto nuclear-weapon states) are members of the CD, it is argued that a conference open only to NPT parties would be more appropriate. In brackets still is text asserting that the best security guarantee is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons; disagreement over whether security assurances are a legitimate 'right' or only an 'interest' of non-nuclear-weapon states; whether the Conference should welcome, acknowledge or only note the unilateral assurances from the P-5, and whether this should be done 'with appreciation' or not; and also references to 'ambiguous nuclear programmes'. Complementing or strengthening UNSC 984 (1995) and the central question of what form a legally binding instrument should take remained in several brackets.

Ambassador Starr was reappointed by the Drafting Committee to continue his negotiations, and by the eve of the final day, he had consensus agreement on security assurances, which fell with the aborted Final Declaration.

Nuclear Weapon Free Zones

Article VII of the NPT enshrines the right of groups of states to conclude regional treaties assuring 'the total absence of nuclear weapons' in their territories. The first nuclear weapon free zone treaty, the Treaty of Tlatelolco, covering Latin American and the Caribbean, was established a year before the NPT, in 1967, but with a waiver clause that allowed it to work as a confidence-building measure without full entry into force. With Cuba coming on board in April 1995 all 33 states within the zone have signed Treaty of Tlatelolco. This, together with ratification by France of Additional Protocol I on 24 August 1992, mean that the Treaty of Tlatelolco is universally regarded as a successful implementation of the concept of a NWFZ.

The Treaty of Rarotonga, establishing the South Pacific NWFZ, followed in 1985. China and Russia have signed and ratified protocols 2 and 3, undertaking not to test or use nuclear weapons in the territory (protocol 1 does not apply to them). As mentioned by several South Pacific Countries during the General Debate, the US, the UK and France have so far not ratified the three protocols, which apply to them.

In MC.II, many states, including the US, China, Indonesia, Sweden, Mexico, Jordan, Netherlands, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Egypt and Kyrgyzstan, said they supported a NWFZ or zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Many countries also welcomed the near conclusion of an African NWFZ. Sri Lanka, the US and Jordan advocated a NWFZ for South Asia. Indonesia, the US, Sweden and Nigeria gave support to a NWFZ in South-East Asia. Nigeria spoke of moves to make the South Atlantic nuclear free and Kyrgyzstan advocated NWFZs for the Korean Peninsula and Central Asia. Belarus advocated a Central European NWFZ, while Switzerland said it 'hoped that other continents, including Europe, would also become denuclearised zones one day.'

Working papers on Article VII were submitted by: Egypt, calling for the Middle East to be made a zone free of nuclear weapons; Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, advocating a NWFZ in South East Asia; various Pacific and South Atlantic states, supporting NWFZs in a number of regions and calling on those nuclear-weapon states which had not yet done so to adhere to the Protocols of the Treaty of Rarotonga; and Kyrgyzstan (later backed by Uzbekistan), which sought to make Central Asia a NWFZ.

In discussions on Article VII, the main area of debate concerned the desire of many Arab states, supported by others, for a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, in the Middle East. While the Arab states wanted an explicit demand on Israel to dismantle its nuclear weapon programme and accede to the NPT, others (notably the US) were insisting that Israel should not be singled out by name.

Pressure came from Pacific nations for the US, the UK and France to ratify the relevant protocols of the Treaty of Rarotonga, and for France to refrain from any further nuclear testing in the region. There was some discussion over the nearly-concluded African NWFZ, which was temporarily stuck over the precise boundaries of the zone of application. In particular, Mauritius was using the opportunity to assert its claims to Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, a former British colonial territory which the US uses as an important strategic base. This was backed by Uganda in MC.II, alluding to: 'some small islands which should fall within the African region and which were known to contain nuclear arsenals. When African states claimed that those islands belonged to the African region, they were told that the islands did not belong to that region.'

MC.II's draft on Article VII, dated 5 May, bracketed two paragraphs relating to establishment of a Middle East NWFZ, while retaining a general paragraph recognising that a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, as proposed by Egypt, would contribute towards regional and international peace and security. There were also brackets around the proposal by Belarus and Ukraine for a NWFZ in Central Europe. Although modified, language is retained which calls on the nuclear-weapon states to respect NWFZ treaties and requiring France, the UK and the US (unnamed) to give 'early consideration to signing the relevant protocols' of the Treaty of Rarotonga. Progress on an African NWFZ treaty is commended, as are efforts by ASEAN states to establish a South East Asia NWFZ, noting Mongolia's declaration regarding its own territory, and the 'interest' of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in creating a NWFZ in Central Asia.

Main Committee II: Safeguards

Ambassador André Erdös of Hungary, Chair of Main Committee II, opened its first session by describing the programme of work. The Committee would consider the safeguards system of the IAEA, including 'Programme 93+2' and efforts to strengthen safeguards. In addition to addressing Article VII on nuclear weapon free zones, the Committee would also address Agenda item 17, the 'role of the Treaty in promotion of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and of nuclear disarmament, including measures aimed at promoting wider acceptance of the Treaty.'

About 40 states parties contributed actively to the debates in MC.II, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, UK and the US.

A series of eight working papers were submitted by what was historically called the G-10 (Group of 10), now comprising 11 developed, non-nuclear-weapon states: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. These papers contained text proposals on: safeguards; state systems of accounting and control; financing of safeguards; safeguards in nuclear-weapon states; IAEA inspectors; export licensing; physical protection of nuclear materials; and plutonium. In addition to these now-called 'G-11' working papers, the NAM, China and Romania also submitted papers on Article III.

As expected, what the G-11 called 'export licensing' and the NAM called 'export controls' was a major issue, requiring a separate working group, chaired by Philip McKinnon of Canada. Most states backed the IAEA's attempts to extend safeguards to undeclared nuclear facilities, although NAM speakers stressed the importance of this not hampering development. There were warnings about fissile material stockpiles, reprocessing, dual purpose technologies and nuclear smuggling, with some concerns about IAEA resourcing and a time-frame for implementing 'Programme 93+2'. On a number of these issues, the alliances were across-group allegiances. Only a few NAM countries backed Iran's attempts to have the Zangger Committee and Nuclear Suppliers Groups proscribed. Similarly, G-11 attempts to insert prescriptive language about the stockpiling of weapon-usable fissile materials and the use of plutonium and HEU in commercial programmes were supported by many non-aligned states, but drew defensive reactions from France, the UK, Germany and Japan.

Undeclared Nuclear Facilities

The majority of Northern states and a few NAM delegations made direct reference to non-compliance by Iraq and the DPRK with their safeguards agreements under the Treaty. Many of these also endorsed the IAEA's efforts to increase the effectiveness of its safeguards by means of 'Programme 93+2', stressing the need to be able to detect clandestine nuclear activities by monitoring undeclared facilities, as well as the declared facilities covered by the IAEA's earlier guidelines. According to the IAEA Background Paper to the NPT Conference, Programme 93+2 is intended to assess, develop and test further measures for strengthening the IAEA's capabilities to detect undeclared nuclear activities, and to improve the technical aspects and cost-effectiveness of safeguards.

Few NAM speakers addressed Programme 93+2 directly, but a number of them raised questions about safeguards. Mexico strongly supported Programme 93+2 and said it should apply to all nuclear material and activities by NPT states parties. Tanzania agreed that Programme 93+2 should apply equally to the nuclear-weapon states 'since they had helped to arm the undeclared nuclear-weapon states' and said that Article III 'remained contentious since it required only non-nuclear-weapon states to accept IAEA safeguards'. China also seemed to concur, referring to the 'imbalance in the rights and obligations of different states parties'. Tanzania called for a 'comprehensive safeguards system...universally applicable and based on the principles of transparency and accountability.' Several NAM and Northern States argued for full-scope safeguards, covering the facilities of the nuclear-weapon states as well as non-nuclear-weapon states. Sweden backed preferential treatment for states which signed full-scope safeguards agreements with the IAEA and Germany recommended that full-scope safeguards should be a condition for all new nuclear supply contracts. Sri Lanka reinforced the NAM demand for 'comprehensive and strengthened safeguards to all nuclear activities and facilities.'

The report of MC.II backed IAEA full-scope safeguards on all 'peaceful' nuclear activities and expressed concern over the 'unsafeguarded ambiguous nuclear activities in some states' not party to the NPT. It commended the IAEA for Programme 93+2 but emphasised that the process should be 'objective and non-discriminatory.' It advocated verification by the IAEA 'of the correctness and completeness of the state's declaration', providing credible assurance that nuclear material is not being diverted and that there are no undeclared nuclear activities.

Export Controls

Concern was expressed by several NAM states that export controls were administered in ways which discriminated against developing countries. Indonesia argued that 'the existing export control regime should be replaced by multilaterally and legally binding commitments that [are] universal and more acceptable to developing countries.' Iran, which had virtually paralysed the Third PrepCom over this issue, argued that the existing export control regimes should be removed and replaced 'where necessary... [with] transparent international mechanisms with the participation of all states parties to the Treaty.' By contrast, Canada said such controls were 'not roadblocks but confidence building measures that fostered cooperation', a position which many Northern countries endorsed.

Iran, backed at times by Indonesia, Syria, Nigeria and Algeria, used two principal arguments to convey its message against export controls. In an attempt to present the Zangger Committee and Nuclear Suppliers Group as rivals of the IAEA or usurpers of its prerogatives, it argued for the Agency to be recognised as the 'sole body' responsible for verifying compliance with the Treaty, demanding that nothing should undermine the IAEA's authority. Secondly, opposing what it called closed, secretive groupings, Iran proposed an export/licensing regime comprising all states parties.

A Conference document by the 29 members of the Zangger Committee described and explained the evolution and working of export controls, presenting them as complementary to IAEA safeguards, and as neither secretive nor closed, since 'any party that is an actual or potential nuclear supplier and is prepared to implement the Committee's understandings is eligible for membership'.

The NAM working paper partially supported Iran's position. It urged that nuclear exports should not assist states not party to the Treaty to acquire nuclear weapons, noted the importance of 'non-discriminatory guidelines' on the transfer of nuclear materials, equipment and technology, and advocated establishing an ad hoc committee to formulate criteria and procedures, agree on an export control trigger list, and ensure supply for non-nuclear-weapon states parties for peaceful purposes.

After considerable debate, MC.II's report accepted language on the IAEA as the 'sole body responsible for verifying...compliance', and did not contain any specific reference to export licensing or export control regimes.

Plutonium and HEU

The G-11 welcomed declarations by certain nuclear-weapon states that 'excess' fissile material from dismantled warheads would be put under safeguards. A few went further, arguing that fissile material from all dismantled nuclear weapons should be placed under safeguards. The G-11 paper called for 'substantial progress without delay' on separating peaceful and military nuclear facilities, which was resisted by France, the UK and Russia, who said the problem was technical, not political. Warning of the dangers of stockpiling weapon-usable material, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden encouraged 'the relevant states' not to stockpile uranium and plutonium in excess of 'normal requirements for civilian nuclear programmes', a demand also made in the G-11 working paper on plutonium. Sweden went further, saying that 'the direct disposal of spent nuclear fuel [is] preferable to reprocessing' and calling for the adoption of long term arrangements for the secure handling and storage of plutonium and HEU. These comments were particularly aimed at Japan, France and the UK, with their reprocessing programmes and round the world shipments of nuclear materials, and Germany's HEU programme.

Several states also aired their concerns about terrorism, nuclear smuggling and illicit trafficking. Australia called for strengthened international cooperation and physical protection. South Korea called on all states to accede to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. However, Tanzania blamed the nuclear-weapon states, saying that the Treaty had enabled them to accumulate stockpiles of fissile materials 'which had recently been the target of thieves and smugglers.' Malaysia argued that illicit trafficking was not a question of safeguards, but that 'nations that had the ability to stockpile large amounts of nuclear material should be in a position to prevent such things from happening.' If they could not, 'they should place such material under international supervision or have it destroyed.' While no names were mentioned, much of this criticism was aimed at Russia and other former Soviet states. Russia responded, supporting a broadening of international cooperation to prevent trafficking and saying that 'states that possessed nuclear materials had the obligation to guarantee their non-proliferation, physical protection, security and safekeeping, and they would also be held responsible in the event that such materials disappeared, were stolen or illegally moved.'

The report of MC.II recognised the need for safeguards of 'unirradiated direct-use nuclear fuel' but stopped short of any strictures on commercial reprocessing or uranium enrichment. Instead, it endorsed the IAEA's 'improving safeguards arrangements' in this area. It called for greater transparency relating to plutonium and HEU, 'including stock levels and their relations to national nuclear fuel cycles', and recommended that states planning new civilian reactors 'avoid or minimise use' of HEU, with the further qualification 'to the extent that this is feasible, taking into account technical, scientific and economic factors.' Expressing 'grave concern' over illicit trafficking in nuclear materials, the report noted that it is 'the responsibility of all states to protect and ensure the security of such material' and that only 53 countries have acceded to the Convention of the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

The report that went from MC.II to the Drafting Committee was substantially agreed, with brackets around paragraphs relating to Iraq and DPRK, brackets on two paragraphs relating to the Middle East in the section on Article VII, and a couple of very minor drafting brackets.

Main Committee III: 'Peaceful' Uses

The Chair of Main Committee III, Ambassador Jaap Ramaker of the Netherlands, outlined that the Committee would cover the provision relating to the right of all parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II: specifically, Articles III (3) and IV, and the relevant preambular paragraphs, and Article V, relating to 'peaceful' nuclear explosions (PNE). It would consider universality in accordance with Article IX and, as with MC.II, it would also consider the role of the NPT in the promotion of non-proliferation and strengthening international peace and security.

As with the other committees, active participation was by fewer than one quarter of the states parties, including: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, France (individually and on behalf of the EU), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Syria, the UK, and the US. The AOSIS - the Association of Small Island States - played a significant (and to many, unanticipated) role. IAEA representatives also participated in discussions.

Inevitably there was some duplication between MC.III's discussions and those of MC.II. The G-11 submitted three working papers on Article IV, covering sustainable development, cooperation, nuclear safety, nuclear waste and liability; China and the NAM each put in papers; and 31 countries, spearheaded by Australia, put in text underlining the de facto redundancy of Article V on PNEs. In addition, around 45 states parties in the AOSIS, backed by some of the larger Pacific and South American states, made a strong stand on the transshipment of nuclear materials.

Although export controls came up, as expected, the issues most hard-fought turned out to be nuclear transport (at sea) and PNEs. Other important issues included cooperation, waste management, nuclear safety and liability. The IAEA gave details of its Technical Assistance and Cooperation Fund, although adding that it 'did not take into account whether the [IAEA] member state was a party or not to the Treaty.' Tacitly recognising that nuclear power is not as desirable a bargain as it may have appeared in the 1960s and '70s, the IAEA was at pains to stress its involvement in food and agriculture, human health, industry, science, radiation protection and nuclear safety.

Nuclear Cooperation

The P-5 and many Northern states presented a positive overview of the ways in which they had assisted in nuclear cooperation and technology exchange. China argued that 'international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is conducive to the socio-economic development of all states.' While several delegations presented statistics and listed their joint projects with developing countries, they also sought to distance themselves from the view that some NAM statements implied: that reference to the 'inalienable right' in Article IV meant an automatic right. The UK pointed out the distinction between industrial cooperation, based on market forces, and technology transfers to governments. The US said it had implemented a preferential policy of nuclear commerce with NPT parties, but underlined that Article IV had not been meant as 'an assistance or resource transfer provision.' It did not mean that 'every party was bound to undertake any kind of cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with any other party at that party's demand, but that the parties could choose what activities of other nations they wished to support...Article IV did not require any nation to support [another party's fuel cycle choices] unless it chose to do so.' The US emphasised that Article IV 'did not alter the economic or commercial realities of nuclear power.' Canada agreed: The NPT did not oblige every party 'to cooperate with every other: bilateral cooperation remained a sovereign national decision.' Challenging the argument that export controls had constituted an impediment, Australia said that 'there were many reasons why the use of nuclear technology was not more widespread: the economic priorities and development needs of countries, the availability of less costly alternative sources of energy, the cost of developing infrastructure to support nuclear activities, the capacity of countries' educational, scientific and industrial bases to absorb and utilise that technology, and the availability of international financing. Public perceptions were also crucial...'. The UK agreed, identifying 'cost, infrastructure, safety and environmental concerns' as 'greater constraints' than export controls. Belgium seemed to hedge its bets, on the one hand arguing that a state should have 'the necessary financial and strategic means to manage safely the radioactive waste for which it was responsible' and at the same time asserting 'that requirement should not represent an obstacle to regional and international cooperation.'

The G-11 proposed that the IAEA should 'to the extent possible, redirect its programme in keeping with the promotion of sustainable development and the improvement of the environment' and urged more attention on radiation protection, nuclear safety and radioactive waste management. Some Northern states were themselves defensive about their own choices. Japan, for example, conscious of criticisms in MC.II and MC.III over its enthusiasm for plutonium, asserted its view that each country's decisions 'should be respected without jeopardising its respective fuel-cycle policies, and any programme in that sphere should be carried out in accordance with the principle of not holding surplus plutonium and observing as much transparency as possible.'

Export Controls

Various Northern delegations had come prepared to respond to an expected assault by Iran on export controls. Zangger Committee members put in a Conference paper to inform both MC.II and MC.III of its doings, and of the positive endorsements in the final document from the First and Third Review Conferences in 1975 and 1985 and the agreed language in the draft final document from 1990. In MC.III, Germany kicked off by asserting that 'as a major exporting country [it] was under the obligation to prevent its nuclear transfers and exports from being misused for non-peaceful purposes' which it translated into an 'obligation to set up reliable systems of export controls.' Hungary called the export licensing system 'a useful and indispensable tool in creating an environment of confidence and a secure framework for legitimate trade to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.' France, on behalf of the EU, called the controls 'an essential guarantee', ensuring that 'exchanges were the norm and restrictions the exception.' France went on to say that export controls were not secret and only obstructed transfers with 'countries within the international community that had placed themselves beyond the pale', naming Iraq, Libya and the DPRK (but not Iran, although the UK had earlier done so).

Iran said that Article IV had been understood to mean 'not only unrestricted but even preferential access'. Sharing with Syria its criticisms of the restrictions on dual-use items, Iran argued that 'Ways must be found to remove all existing export control regimes and to create transparent international mechanisms with full participation of all states parties to the Treaty in the decision-making process, so as to ensure compliance with the Treaty.' China called for 'the unreasonable restrictions on the transfer of nuclear energy technology' to be removed, but without explaining whether export controls were judged unreasonable. A number of NAM states were clearly unhappy about pushing so hard on this issue, with Indonesia, for example, expressing satisfaction with nuclear cooperation so far, and Malaysia saying that it had no experience of discrimination 'but it was imperative that the Conference should institute a forum to address...complaints.' Iran reiterated the same arguments as in MC.II, calling for a special committee within the context of the NPT. Where the NAM paper to MC.II had backed Iran to some extent by advocating an ad hoc Committee on transfers and exports, the NAM paper to MC.III did not mention this, although it referred to the 'need for setting up United Nations mechanisms to provide a forum for parties to the Treaty to discuss regularly the implementation of Article IV...'.

Nuclear Safety, Waste and Transport

Nuclear safety came up in a number of forms. Several countries mentioned the Chernobyl disaster. Russia commented that as a result, programmes for building nuclear plants in Russia and Eastern Europe had been 'drastically cut back'. Ukraine spoke of the difficulties it had in ensuring the closure and safe dismantling of the stricken plant, estimating the total cost at over $4 billion. A number of countries, including Germany, Australia, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Switzerland, spoke positively of the 1994 Convention on Nuclear Safety (with around 56 signatories from September 1994), calling on more states to join. Ireland, however, had been disappointed by the Convention's 'limited scope' and argued for a 'sound and comprehensive nuclear waste-management safety convention'. Mexico proposed that such a convention should cover military installations as well. This was not adopted, although the final report noted the importance of effects on human health and the environment, and noted that sea dumping of radioactive waste was now effectively prohibited under the 1993 amendment to the 1972 London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and other Matter.

MC.III's report noted that states were aware of the transboundary impact of nuclear accidents, and that the safety of nuclear installations is 'the primary responsibility of individual states.' However, the transboundary implications of nuclear activities as well as accidents had been stressed by a number of delegations, including Ireland, the AOSIS and New Zealand. Ireland had in mind UK discharges into the Irish Sea. The AOSIS was primarily thinking of the shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel and uranium which regularly plied between Japan and two European Countries, France and the UK. The AOSIS and New Zealand both put in text proposals raising concerns and calling for effective liability mechanisms. The AOSIS went further, wanting it noted that 'a number of small island developing states parties have called for an end to [nuclear] shipments through their archipelagic and territorial waters... [and] economic zones'. They pointed to shortcomings in the 1993 International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Code for the Safe Carriage of Irradiated Nuclear Fuel, Plutonium and High-Level Nuclear Radioactive Wastes in Flasks on Board Ships, by emphasising the need for 'additional measures...'. The AOSIS said they wanted a 'comprehensive/strict liability regime.' France and Japan were against anything more than a passing reference to transshipments.

At the last minute, the issue threatened to impede the finalisation of MC.III's report, but bearing in mind the number of potential extension votes involved, France and Japan were persuaded to compromise. Four paragraphs under a subheading 'Safe transport by sea' noted that all states had an interest in nuclear transshipments being conducted 'in a safe and secure manner and in accordance with international law', noting especially the concerns of small island developing states and other coastal states. It welcomed the adoption of the 1993 IMO Code and the 'ongoing IAEA review of safety standards', and then called on states parties to work with the IMO and IAEA to develop 'additional measures which would complement the Code.' On liability the final report noted 'that effective international liability mechanisms are essential to provide compensation for nuclear-related damage which may occur during transportation of irradiated nuclear fuel, plutonium and high-level nuclear waste'.

Article V: 'Peaceful' Nuclear Explosions

Article V of the NPT refers to making the 'potential benefits from any peaceful applications of nuclear explosions' available to non-nuclear-weapon states. In view of the CTBT negotiations in the CD, where China has been evoking this provision to support its demand for PNEs to be permitted when nuclear weapon testing is banned, Australia organised 31 countries in support of a proposal to undermine China's rationale for PNEs. Arguing that the potential benefits had not been demonstrated and that there were serious concerns about the environmental consequences and implications for nuclear non-proliferation, the cross-group working paper called for the CD to take this into account in its CTBT negotiations, with the rider that 'a ban on all kinds of nuclear explosions [does] not constitute a detriment to the peaceful utilisation of nuclear energy.' Ten more countries quickly added their names and many more gave tacit backing, in a debate that was essentially China v The Rest of the World. Completely isolated on this issue, China insisted that the final rider be removed, and that the CD should take 'this situation and future developments' into account. China found further amendments difficult to justify since the most compelling argument was framed as a series of factual statements, noting that the IAEA had received no request for services and that no state party had an active programme for PNEs. However, when Ambassador Ramaker presented MC.III's report for final agreement, Russia's representative said that, while joining the consensus, his delegation reserved the right to raise this issue at a later stage. Nevertheless, Russia did not impose any brackets then or later around the paragraphs dealing with PNEs.

Clean Text Thwarted

Ambassador Ramaker had a text practically 'clean' of brackets by 4 May, with some last minute pressure needed on Japan and France to accept compromise language on nuclear transports at sea, brokered with the help of New Zealand and the UK on AOSIS insistence. But when he brought the text for final approval by MC.III the next morning, Iran's delegate informed the Committee that he had 'direct and explicit instructions from his government' and insisted that paragraph 7 from the NAM paper be inserted in the report. This paragraph criticised export controls, making particular criticism of 'unilaterally enforced restrictive measures'. This was clearly aimed at the US. The previous Sunday, President Clinton had made a domestic speech with inflammatory references to Iran's reactor deal with Russia, and calling for a trade embargo on Iran. Other members of the Committee refused to accept the verbatim paragraph into the report, arguing that it had been fully discussed and was now reflected in the text. But instructions were instructions, and the Iranian delegation was adamant. The report of MC.III therefore went forward to the Drafting Committee with that one bracketed paragraph on export controls.

Failure of Review

The three reports from the Main Committees passed to the Drafting Committee, chaired by Ambassador Tadeusz Strulak, for the final week. It was the job of the Drafting Committee, comprising the 38 states on the General Committee to turn the Main Committee reports into a unified Final Declaration. As discussed above, the report from MC.II needed further work to get agreement on Iraq, the DPRK and the Middle East, while MC.III had only the NAM's verbatim paragraph reinserted by Iran at the last minute, without support from the rest of the NAM. MC.I's report, despite additional struggling over the weekend, was a battleground of contending brackets.

Given the chaos of MC.I's report, Ambassador Strulak of Poland decided to draft his own text on Articles I, II and VI, steering through the brackets towards what he hoped would be an acceptable compromise. His first draft was rejected by NAM states for leaning too far to the nuclear-weapon states' view that sufficient progress had been made and future commitments should be kept general and at a distance. The second draft was rejected by the nuclear-weapon states for leaning too far the other way.

Meanwhile Ambassador Starr of Australia had been retained by Ambassador Strulak to continue working for agreement on security assurances. By Thursday 11 May, Starr had won agreement on a text that was entirely clear of brackets. The parties concerned had agreed to deletion of the disputed paragraph 9, dealing mainly with Israel (unnamed). This had referred to the need for additional measures to provide protection from states non-parties to the Treaty with ambiguous nuclear programmes, and was opposed by the nuclear-weapon states. It then listed the seven proposals made by China, Egypt (2), Nigeria, 11 members of the G21, Mexico and Sweden without any comment, and urged states parties to 'pursue ways and means of considering these proposals and views on their elaboration'. Instead of welcoming UNSC 984 (1995), the parties agreed to 'acknowledge the significance of' that resolution on security assurances. Given the tricky nature of this issue, the achievement of consensus was very highly regarded.

Negotiations continued to remove the remaining few brackets and synthesize text from MC.II and MC.III's reports. Philip McKinnon of Canada continued to coordinate talks on export controls, eventually bringing about a compromise. During 11 and 12 May, several different drafts of a final declaration seemed to be circulated, with updating every few hours. The 12 May (6 pm) version had eleven bracketed paragraphs for Articles I and II, including on innocuous aspects such as listings of accessions since 1990 and welcoming South Africa, Belarus and Kazakhstan as non-nuclear-weapon state parties. The section on Article III consisted of 45 paragraphs, of which seven were still the subject of dispute. These concerned Iraq, the DPRK, transfers in conformity with Articles I, II, III and IV, and export control regimes. Since the DPRK had informed the Secretariat on 9 May that its delegation was withdrawing from decision-making, in protest at the 'outdated prejudices', its objections to the paragraph which looked forward to it 'fulfilling its stated intentions to come into full compliance' with its safeguards agreements with the IAEA, would no longer have carried weight. With regard to Article III, there was also some question of reopening debate on the reference to the IAEA as the sole responsible body to verify compliance with safeguards agreements, as the US wanted to replace this paragraph with the relevant sentences from the Principles and Objectives, where they had been successful in removing the 'sole body' designation. Article IV was covered by eight agreed general paragraphs, followed by 17 agreed paragraphs on nuclear safety, transport by sea, nuclear waste and liability. The section on technical cooperation was held up until the last day, when Iran dropped its insistence on the paragraph on unilaterally enforced measures which it had inserted into MC.III's report at the last minute. Eleven paragraphs were then agreed on nuclear cooperation, and a further four on conversion of nuclear materials to peaceful uses.

Despite China's position and the reservation that Russia had belatedly expressed in MC.III, the three paragraphs on Article V covering the lack of benefits from 'peaceful' nuclear explosions went through by consensus. Text on Article VI contained 19 paragraphs, all in brackets. Article VII on nuclear weapon free zones was covered in 15 paragraphs. Two, on the Middle East and Israel's unsafeguarded nuclear programme, were still bracketed. The eleven paragraphs on security assurances contained one in brackets, which (as mentioned above) was subsequently removed by agreement. Article IX was covered in three undisputed paragraphs.

After the extension decision had been agreed without a vote, attempts to win consensus on the review of the Treaty seemed to deteriorate. With a late and acrimonious session on Thursday night, the divisions between certain NAM states, particularly those in the 'like-minded group', and the nuclear-weapon states seemed to have widened into a chasm. Each side blamed the other. Western states said that the 'like-minded states' wanted to wreck the review to get their own back for having been defeated on the extension decision. The NAM accused certain nuclear-weapon states (the names of the US, France and the UK came up most frequently) of an arrogant attitude to the review, as if they had achieved what they wanted (indefinite extension) and could not care less about the rest. Both sides denied the accusations, but a persistent rumour circulated that a few of the NAM had informed Ambassador Dhanapala that they would not give way any more, so it was unlikely that a Final Declaration could be agreed, no matter how much time was given to it. A number of Western states seemed to back up the NAM's concerns that the nuclear-weapon states had hardened their positions and were 'celebrating' their extension victory by refusing to make compromises on the review. In particular, they were accused of vetoing any criticism of past progress or specific reference to future action on nuclear disarmament, and that, not content with neutralising most of Iran's language on export controls, were bent on further emphasis of the utility of the existing export control regime. Certainly the NAM - and the non-nuclear-weapon states as a whole - had little to gain from loss of the Final Declaration, for it contained much stronger language on several important issues than in the Principles and Objectives.

Following what was described by a senior Western official as 'rancorous and negative' discussions in the Drafting Committee on Thursday, Ambassador Dhanapala reportedly confronted the nuclear-weapon states on the final morning about their intransigence, appealing for a spirit of compromise and constructiveness. He gave both sides a deadline of 6.00 pm to come to agreement, but to no avail. NAM representatives said that they were prepared to go the extra mile, but only if there was prospect of solution. The US and the UK expressed a readiness to work all night and through the weekend, but did not compromise on their positions. Faced with no real prospect of solution, Ambassador Dhanapala decided not to prolong discussions unnecessarily further.

He opened the final plenary of the NPT Conference at 10.30 pm. It adopted the Drafting Committee's report and a final document. There was no agreed Final Declaration. The Drafting Committee's text had not been given the stamp of approval, even though three quarters had been agreed by consensus. It could not therefore be anything more than 'a historical curiosity.' In order that the endeavours of the Committees should not be entirely lost, the Conference agreed that the reports of the three Main Committees, as accepted by states parties on 5 and 8 May, should constitute part of the Final Document. This gives some standing to sections that had already been agreed, but not the authority of a Final Declaration. The sterling work which had cleaned up the text on security assurances, NWFZs and nuclear cooperation for the Drafting Committee fell by the wayside. Because the sections on nuclear disarmament and transfers were so heavily bracketed, neither of them carries any weight.

After adoption of the NPT Review and Extension Conference Final Document, which reported on the proceedings and decisions, 16 representatives (Australia, Belarus, China, Egypt, France on behalf of the EU and associated states, Indonesia, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ukraine, the UK and the US) gave short speeches, the main purpose of which was to pay tribute to Ambassador Dhanapala, the Secretariat and participants for their hard work.

In his final speech to the Conference, Ambassador Dhanapala emphasised that there were no winners or losers: "It was the Treaty that won." He highlighted the 'unmistakable message' of the Conference, that 'non-proliferation and disarmament can only be pursued jointly', and said there was 'no reason for smug complacency about the past performance of states party to the Treaty... [and] still less room for any relaxation in our pursuit of the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the achievement of the complete elimination of these weapons through their prohibition, and the promotion of cooperation in the field of the peaceful use of nuclear energy.' Dismissing arguments about what was legally or politically binding, the President emphasised that the states parties should make 'maximum use' of the strengthened review process and its mechanisms of accountability, so as to fulfil their undertakings and 'forge ahead in [their] tasks towards a nuclear weapons free world.' Dhanapala thanked all the Conference participants, Secretariat and Conference Services staff and interpreters, and paid particular tribute to the non-governmental organisations (NGOs). He called for communication between NGOs and the NPT parties to be improved, and suggested that a 'one to two day presentation' by NGOs should be considered during the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings and at Review Conferences.

© 1995 The Acronym Institute.