Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to address the critical issues before this Committee and congratulations to you on your assumption of the Chairmanship of this Committee. President Obama, on the 40th anniversary of the NPT, said, “Each of the NPT’s three pillars -- disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful uses -- are central to the vision that I outlined in Prague of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and seeking a world without them.” These pillars are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. The United States pledges to work to strengthen the Treaty and to ensure that the rights and responsibilities of every nation in each of the Treaty’s three pillars are upheld.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to address the nonproliferation pillar of the Treaty today. Strong International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards are essential to assure Parties that any Party who is not fulfilling its obligations under the NPT will be detected. While we have a good system of safeguards now, with notable successes, we also have faced major challenges to the Treaty. One of these challenges, serious noncompliance by several States Party to the Treaty, has profound implications for the Treaty’s future.
The United States believes strongly that the IAEA safeguards system must be improved. President Obama has called for “more resources and authority to strengthen international inspections.” The United States is committed to enhancing IAEA safeguards to improve our ability to respond both to known and emerging threats and also to future, unanticipated threats. Additionally, we will work to build support for increasing the regular IAEA budget so that the Agency may fulfill its statutory mandates, while at the same time continuing to increase our own extra-budgetary contributions.
We learned nearly twenty years ago that it is not enough to track declared nuclear material and ensure that it is not diverted. It is also essential that IAEA safeguards be able to detect and deter undeclared nuclear activities. The IAEA decided in 1995 that comprehensive safeguards agreements should be implemented to achieve both objectives, but that they also need to be bolstered by new authorities – which became the Additional Protocol – in order to give the IAEA the essential tools to fulfill this important task.
Mr. Chairman, all States Parties have a responsibility to support the IAEA’s mission, and all should conclude required NPT safeguards agreements, Additional Protocols, and where appropriate, modified Small Quantities Protocols. The United States notes that, since the last review conference, 18 States Parties have concluded safeguards agreements required under Article III of the Treaty; but 20 states still have not brought into force a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the Agency.
Since the last review conference, 32 states have ratified the Additional Protocol, including the United States, bringing the total number of states with Additional Protocols in force to 99. Significantly, an overwhelming majority of States Parties with substantial nuclear activities is implementing the Additional Protocol. As such, we must recognize the Additional Protocol to be a standard part of the international safeguards system. This Conference, therefore, should affirm that a comprehensive safeguards agreement – together with an Additional Protocol – best fulfills the objectives of Article III of the Treaty. The Conference also should urge all States Parties to conclude and bring into force a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an Additional Protocol as soon as possible. The United States stands ready to provide assistance to States Parties to help them prepare to implement their safeguards agreements and additional protocols in an effective an efficient manner.
An effective nonproliferation regime whose members comply with their obligations provides an essential foundation for progress on disarmament and helps ensure that nuclear reductions can continue. It also contributes to the fullest possible global cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, by promoting confidence that peaceful nuclear cooperation will not be misused for weapons purposes.
A strong safeguards system, therefore, is necessary to detect violations of states obligations not to pursue clandestine nuclear programs. But to deter such violations and achieve the full benefits of the Treaty, we also need effective responses to any non-compliance that is detected. Frankly, the international community needs to do more to enforce compliance if we want to maintain and strengthen the global nuclear nonproliferation regime. All NPT States Parties share the responsibility to work resolutely to prevent further proliferation by ensuring compliance. As President Obama said, “We need real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules.” Working together, we must ensure that all States come into full compliance, and press those states seeking nuclear weapons to abandon their ambitions. In so doing, we can help create the circumstances whereby all nations can enjoy the peaceful benefits of nuclear energy.
Effective IAEA safeguards are essential to prevent nuclear proliferation and to facilitate cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Specifically, the IAEA must further develop a robust, flexible, safeguards regime that takes account of all information available to inspectors and that is supported by an adaptive international technology base for advanced safeguards maintained in cooperation with Member States. The United States, therefore, encourages the Conference to call upon the IAEA to assess and implement measures to promote the highest standards for international safeguards, and for Member States to cooperate to ensure that the IAEA has the necessary resources and authority to verify compliance with the NPT and IAEA safeguards and confirm the absence of undeclared activities.
Mr. Chairman, the IAEA safeguards system works hand-in-hand with nuclear export controls -- the most basic requirements of which are contained in Article III.2 of the Treaty. My government continues its productive work with many in this room to strengthen standards, and to detect and shut down the troubling activities of illicit nuclear supply networks, which have, for example, facilitated the spread of enrichment technology. The United States, however, believes that the Parties should endorse steps to strengthen further and enforce strong export control standards. We urge Parties to join us in calling for the Additional Protocol to become the standard for nuclear supply arrangements.
Mr. Chairman, recognizing that nuclear proliferation is a clear threat to international peace and security, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1540 to address gaps in the non-proliferation regime. The resolution requires states to act on the legal and regulatory front as well as to maintain effective physical protection and control measures against illicit export, transshipment, or brokering. In 2009, the UN Security Council created a committee to assist states in implementing their obligations. The United States has proposed, and intends to contribute to, a voluntary fund to help countries build capacity to meet their 1540 obligations, and to facilitate and provide a wide range of national, international, and nongovernmental sources of assistance.
Additionally, we have long supported efforts to minimize the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian applications, as highlighted recently in UNSCR 1887 (2009) and at the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit. The United States recommits itself to work actively with international partners, including the IAEA and Russia, to return research-reactor HEU fuel and other eligible HEU materials and to secure or eliminate excess stocks of proliferation-sensitive nuclear materials worldwide. Moreover, we continue to support the development of advanced research-reactor fuel and isotope-production targets that are based on low enriched uranium (LEU) and to make possible the conversion of additional research reactors as soon as possible. We welcome the commitments by many countries to convert such reactors and isotope-production processes to LEU as soon as such fuel and targets are qualified.
The United States believes that Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaties (NWFZs) can contribute to regional as well as international peace, security, and stability. Protocols to NWFZs Treaties provide legally binding assurances to the parties to the zone against the threat or use of nuclear weapons against them. The United States makes its decisions regarding whether to sign NWFZ protocols on a case-by-case basis, taking into account a set of long-standing national criteria including the principles and guidelines for establishment of NWFZs adopted by the UN Disarmament Commission in 1999. For example, the Protocol to the Treaty of Tlatelolco has been in force for nearly three decades. Additionally, as Secretary Clinton announced last week, the United States will submit, to the United States Senate for its advice and consent to ratification, the protocols for the NWFZs that have been established in Africa and the South Pacific. Upon ratification, parties to those agreements will have a legally binding assurance that the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them, and will fully respect the nuclear-weapons-free status of the zones. And we are prepared to consult with the parties to the nuclear-weapons-free zones in Central and Southeast Asia, in an effort to reach agreement that would allow us to sign those protocols as well.
Mr. Chairman, the United States fully supports the objective of a Middle East verifiably free of weapons of mass destruction and we support the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East. To that end, we are prepared to support concrete, realistic measures that take due account of full compliance by regional states with the Treaty, IAEA safeguards obligations and all relevant UNSC resolutions. As the 1995 resolution recognized, progress toward a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East contributes to achieving the goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Chairman, in closing, preventing nuclear weapons proliferation is our common obligation. We must strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime through cooperation with others and concerted international action including in such key areas as preventing the smuggling of dangerous nuclear materials and technology, strengthening the IAEA’s safeguards system, ensuring that the IAEA’s budget matches its statutory mandates, or persuading governments in noncompliance with the Treaty and safeguards agreements to alter their behavior. For we cannot expect to realize our objectives of disarmament and a world free of nuclear weapons, nor can we realize the broadest possible benefits from the peaceful use of nuclear energy, if we do not succeed in shoring up the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
To be successful in this Committee, we must not simply talk -- we must be prepared to act to meet our nonproliferation goals. We must not simply accept vague pledges of future action, but we must commit to meaningful steps toward strengthening nonproliferation and begin to implement them right now. It is the fervent hope of my government that, when the next Review Conference convenes here five years from now, all States Parties will be in full compliance with the Treaty, and the IAEA safeguards system will be stronger, more resilient, and universally accepted. To this end, the United States will do all it can to ensure that our efforts in this Committee succeed.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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