Statement by Ambassador Abdul S Minty to the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Geneva, 29 April 2008
I wish to congratulate you on your election as Chair of this Second Preparatory Committee meeting for the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and to assure you of my delegation’s fullest support and co-operation during the course of deliberations. We also wish to thank the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ambassador Sergio Duarte, for his inspiring opening remarks and personal dedication to ensuring that our review cycle will successfully conclude in 2010.
In the context of the deliberations that will be taking place at this PrepCom, South Africa will be putting forward its own views both in the context of this statement, as well as in statements during our consideration of specific issues.
We would like to associate ourselves with the statements and proposals that will be made by the Non-Aligned Movement and the New Agenda Coalition.
Our primary goal is to achieve the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality. The core bargain of the NPT where States undertook not to aspire to nuclear weapons on the basis that all States Parties would work for their elimination should not be forgotten, as in recent years a great deal of attention has been paid to the threat of nuclear proliferation. Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are inextricably linked, and both therefore require continuous and irreversible progress.
In dealing with the question of nuclear disarmament, we should guard against creating the perception that we should search for new solutions that would bring about the implementation of Article VI of the NPT. The 1995 “Principles and Objectives” and the 13 practical and progressive steps for nuclear disarmament agreed to in 2000 represent our consensual blueprint for a step-by-step process that would reduce the threat of nuclear weapons, de-emphasize their importance and lead to their elimination.
We should also recall that peaceful nuclear co-operation and access to the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, pursuant to Article IV of the Treaty, are integral components of the NPT. The peaceful use of nuclear energy is inextricably linked to nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation obligations of the Treaty and none of these elements exist in isolation. The IAEA plays a central role in this regard, and
it is therefore incumbent upon all of us to fully commit ourselves to provide the IAEA with the necessary support and assistance to fulfil its statutory mandate.
In 2007 South Africa released a Draft Nuclear Energy Policy and Strategy for public comment. This White Paper outlined an extensive programme to develop all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, including a possible resumption of conversion and fuel fabrication as well as investigating the viability of enrichment and the reprocessing of used fuel.
The recent debate on the establishment of credible mechanisms to assure the reliable supply of nuclear fuel has been followed with interest by South Africa. Due to the anticipated expansion in the use of nuclear energy for electricity production the issue of having access to a reliable supply of nuclear fuel is under discussion in various
There remains a perception that while demands are being made for non-nuclear-weapon States to agree to new measures in the name of non-proliferation, concrete actions towards nuclear disarmament are neglected.
However, South Africa believes that having access to such a mechanism to ensure the reliable supply of nuclear fuel should not involve any pre-conditions that will require non-nuclear-weapon States in conformity with their legal obligations under the NPT to forgo aspects of their article IV rights related to the use of nuclear energy.
The existence of the illicit nuclear network poses one of the most serious challenges to the international community and to the NPT. Our shared commitment to the Treaty’s non-proliferation provisions demands that we effectively and decisively take appropriate action against illicit nuclear networks.
South Africa also considers the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones as an indispensible and integral part of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Nuclear-weapon-free zones, such as the Treaty of Pelindaba, enhance global and regional peace and security, strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and contribute towards realising the objectives of nuclear disarmament. South Africa welcomes all endeavours aimed at the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in other regions around the world. We also wish to commend the recent ratification by Mozambique of the Treaty of Pelindaba.
South Africa further welcomes the recent ratifications of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) by Barbados, Colombia and Malaysia. South Africa believes that the non-entry into force of the CTBT weakens the disarmament and non-proliferation regime and undermines the international community’s quest to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.
In conclusion, Chairperson,
South Africa wishes to re-iterate that the NPT remains the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and we will continue to promote universal adherence to it. South Africa looks forward to a successful outcome of the 2010 Review Conference.
After our successful first PrepCom meeting held in Vienna under the able guidance of Ambassador Amano of Japan, we have laid the foundation for a positive outcome to this Review Process that would address all provisions of the NPT in a balanced manner.
I thank you.