Historic Summit of Security Council Pledges Support for Progress on Stalled Efforts to End Nuclear Weapons Proliferation

24 September 2009
Security CouncilSC/9746
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6191st Meeting (AM)

Historic Summit of Security Council Pledges Support for Progress

on Stalled Efforts to End Nuclear Weapons Proliferation


Resolution 1887 (2009) Adopted with 14 Heads of State, Government Present

At a historic summit meeting presided over by President Barack Obama of the United States and addressed by 13 other Heads of State and Government, the Security Council pledged its backing this morning for broad progress on long-stalled efforts to staunch the proliferation of nuclear weapons and ensure reductions in existing weapons stockpiles, as well as control of fissile material.

Joining President Obama, whose country holds the rotating Council presidency, were United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Presidents Óscar Arias Sánchez of Costa Rica, Stjepan Mesić of Croatia, Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico, Heinz Fischer of Austria, Nguyen Minh Triet of Viet Nam, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, Hu Jintao of China, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, as well as Prime Ministers Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, Yukio Hatoyama of Japan and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey.

Also addressing the summit were Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Permanent Representative of Libya, and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Agency (IAEA).

Unanimously adopting resolution 1887 (2009) in its first comprehensive action on nuclear issues since the mid-1990s, Council members emphasized that the body had a primary responsibility to address nuclear threats, and that all situations of non-compliance with nuclear treaties should be brought to its attention.

The Council reaffirmed, in particular, its strong support for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, calling on States that were not yet signatories to accede to it.  It also called on States parties to comply fully with their obligations and to set realistic goals to strengthen, at the 2010 Review Conference, all three of the Treaty’s pillars -- disarmament of countries currently possessing nuclear weapons, non-proliferation to countries not yet in possession, and the peaceful use of nuclear energy for all.

While the resolution did not target specific countries, the Council demanded that parties involved in “major challenges to the non-proliferation regime” comply fully with their obligations, and reaffirmed its call on them to find early negotiated solutions to their issues.

The text underlined the right to pursue peaceful nuclear energy under IAEA supervision, but also urged States to curb the export of nuclear-related material to countries that had terminated their compliance with Agency safeguards agreements.  It also called for the enforcement of strict controls on nuclear material to prevent it from falling into dangerous hands.

In addition, the Council called upon all States to refrain from conducting nuclear test explosions and to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in order to bring it into force as soon as possible.  It called upon the Conference on Disarmament to quickly negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile materials for explosive devices.

Addressing the summit following adoption of the text, Secretary-General Ban said he had long advocated a stronger role for the Council in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and he urged the 15-member body to make the most of the moment to sustain the momentum.  “The need for action is clear.  Thousands of nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert.  More States have sought and acquired them,” he added.

“And every day, we live with the threat that weapons of mass destruction could be stolen sold or slip away,” the Secretary-General said, emphasizing that nuclear disarmament was the only sane path to a safer world.  He called for new ways to increase transparency with regard to the weapons programmes of the recognized nuclear-weapon States, and pledged the commitment of the United Nations in that area and in all other relevant efforts.

In his own opening remarks, President Obama said today’s resolution represented agreement on a broad framework of action to end the complex dangers posed by nuclear weapons in the post-cold-war world.  To that end, he pledged that the United States would host a Summit in early 2010 and pursue deeper cuts in its nuclear arsenal, as well as agreements with the Russian Federation towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  He said the resolution also emphasized the Council’s authority to respond to violations of its resolutions, including those on Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  “The world must stand together and demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise,” he added.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers agreed that much stronger action must be taken on all fronts of the nuclear issue, with many expressing hope that today’s resolution would end the prevailing international paralysis.  Presidents Museveni of Uganda and Compaore of Burkina Faso, emphasizing the importance of keeping Africa a nuclear-weapon-free zone, said the continent should be assisted in developing urgently needed peaceful nuclear energy.  Libya’s representative said his country should be rewarded with aid for having voluntarily abandoned its nuclear programme.

President Arias Sánchez of Costa Rica emphasized that, with the proliferation of nuclear and conventional weapons, the United Nations had failed to keep its promise to allow the world’s people to sleep peacefully.  “This Council fails in its historic mission every day that it turns a blind eye to the rampant arms race,” he said, pointing out that the world spent $3.5 million every day on weapons and soldiers, and that each year more than $42 billion worth of conventional arms were sold to developing nations, money that could be used towards much better ends.

The meeting began at 9:30 a.m. and ended at 11:30 a.m.


For its consideration of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, the Security Council had before it a concept paper conveyed in a letter dated 15 September 2009 (document S/2009/463) from the President of the Security Council and addressed to the Secretary-General.

According to the paper, the Security Council will focus broadly on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament and not on any specific countries, with the goals of underscoring the global reach of proliferation threats; the broadly shared obligation to respond; the positive steps taken to reduce nuclear dangers; and the Council’s essential role in addressing growing and pressing nuclear threats.

The paper states that preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons is fundamental to the security of nations and the peace of the world.  With the recent Group of Eight (G-8) statement on non-proliferation in L’Aquila, Italy, the upcoming Global Nuclear Security Summit in March 2010 and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference to follow, there is an opportunity for important global attention and focus on this critical security issue.

During today’s summit, the paper continues, three key and related nuclear threat reduction topics will be discussed: arms control and nuclear disarmament; strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime; and denying and disrupting illicit trafficking in materials of proliferation concern and securing such materials wherever they might be located.

According to the paper, the summit is intended as an opportunity to build support for fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations; the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol; ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; and strategic arms control, including new negotiations over the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START).

With its goal of strengthening the existing international nuclear non-proliferation regime, the paper says, the summit can facilitate support for technical assistance and access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and efforts to improve and ensure compliance with non-proliferation and safeguards obligations while preventing abuse of the NPT withdrawal provision.  The summit is also an opportunity to explore ways to enhance the abilities of States to counter proliferation financing and eliminate procurement networks while reinforcing implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).  It is further intended to underscore the importance of an accelerated effort to secure nuclear weapons materials around the world and to build support for establishing and sharing best practices for nuclear security.

Action on Draft Resolution

At the outset of the summit meeting, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1887 (2009), the full text of which reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Resolving to seek a safer world for all and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the goals of the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all,

“Reaffirming the Statement of its President adopted at the Council’s meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government on 31 January 1992 (S/23500), including the need for all Member States to fulfil their obligations in relation to arms control and disarmament and to prevent proliferation in all its aspects of all weapons of mass destruction,

“Recalling also that the above Statement (S/23500) underlined the need for all Member States to resolve peacefully in accordance with the Charter any problems in that context threatening or disrupting the maintenance of regional and global stability,

“Reaffirming that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

“Bearing in mind the responsibilities of other organs of the United Nations and relevant international organizations in the field of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, as well as the Conference on Disarmament, and supporting them to continue to play their due roles,

“Underlining that the NPT remains the cornerstone of the nuclear non‑proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,

“Reaffirming its firm commitment to the NPT and its conviction that the international nuclear non-proliferation regime should be maintained and strengthened to ensure its effective implementation, and recalling in this regard the outcomes of past NPT Review Conferences, including the 1995 and 2000 final documents,

“Calling for further progress on all aspects of disarmament to enhance global security,

“Recalling the Statement by its President adopted at the Council’s meeting held on 19 November 2008 (S/PRST/2008/43),

“Welcoming the decisions of those non-nuclear-weapon States that have dismantled their nuclear weapons programs or renounced the possession of nuclear weapons,

“Welcoming the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament efforts undertaken and accomplished by nuclear-weapon States, and underlining the need to pursue further efforts in the sphere of nuclear disarmament, in accordance with Article VI of the NPT,

“Welcoming in this connection the decision of the Russian Federation and the United States of America to conduct negotiations to conclude a new comprehensive legally binding agreement to replace the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, which expires in December 2009,

“Welcoming and supporting the steps taken to conclude nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties and reaffirming the conviction that the establishment of internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned, and in accordance with the 1999 United Nations Disarmament Commission guidelines, enhances global and regional peace and security, strengthens the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and contributes toward realizing the objectives of nuclear disarmament,

“Noting its support, in this context, for the convening of the Second Conference of States Parties and signatories of the Treaties that establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones to be held in New York on 30 April 2010,

“Reaffirming its resolutions 825 (1993), 1695 (2006), 1718 (2006), and 1874 (2009),

“Reaffirming its resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), and 1835 (2008),

“Reaffirming all other relevant non-proliferation resolutions adopted by the Security Council,

“Gravely concerned about the threat of nuclear terrorism, and recognizing the need for all States to take effective measures to prevent nuclear material or technical assistance becoming available to terrorists,

“Noting with interest the initiative to convene, in coordination with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an international conference on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,

“Expressing its support for the convening of the 2010 Global Summit on Nuclear Security,

“Affirming its support for the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment, and the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism,

“Recognizing the progress made by the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and the G-8 Global Partnership,

“Noting the contribution of civil society in promoting all the objectives of the NPT,

“Reaffirming its resolution 1540 (2004) and the necessity for all States to implement fully the measures contained therein, and calling upon all Member States and international and regional organizations to cooperate actively with the Committee established pursuant to that resolution, including in the course of the comprehensive review as called for in resolution 1810 (2008),

“1.   Emphasizes that a situation of non-compliance with non-proliferation obligations shall be brought to the attention of the Security Council, which will determine if that situation constitutes a threat to international peace and security, and emphasizes the Security Council’s primary responsibility in addressing such threats;

“2.   Calls upon States Parties to the NPT to comply fully with all their obligations and fulfil their commitments under the Treaty,

“3.   Notes that enjoyment of the benefits of the NPT by a State Party can be assured only by its compliance with the obligations thereunder;

“4.   Calls upon all States that are not Parties to the NPT to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States so as to achieve its universality at an early date, and pending their accession to the Treaty, to adhere to its terms;

“5.   Calls upon the Parties to the NPT, pursuant to Article VI of the Treaty, to undertake to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear arms reduction and disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, and calls on all other States to join in this endeavour;

“6.   Calls upon all States Parties to the NPT to cooperate so that the 2010 NPT Review Conference can successfully strengthen the Treaty and set realistic and achievable goals in all the Treaty’s three pillars: non-proliferation, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and disarmament;

“7.   Calls upon all States to refrain from conducting a nuclear test explosion and to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), thereby bringing the treaty into force at an early date;

“8.   Calls upon the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices as soon as possible, welcomes the Conference on Disarmament’s adoption by consensus of its Program of Work in 2009, and requests all Member States to cooperate in guiding the Conference to an early commencement of substantive work;

“9.   Recalls the statements by each of the five nuclear-weapon States, noted by resolution 984 (1995), in which they give security assurances against the use of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon State Parties to the NPT, and affirms that such security assurances strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime;

“10.  Expresses particular concern at the current major challenges to the non‑proliferation regime that the Security Council has acted upon, demands that the parties concerned comply fully with their obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions, and reaffirms its call upon them to find an early negotiated solution to these issues;

“11.  Encourages efforts to ensure development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy by countries seeking to maintain or develop their capacities in this field in a framework that reduces proliferation risk and adheres to the highest international standards for safeguards, security, and safety;

“12.  Underlines that the NPT recognizes in Article IV the inalienable right of the 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, and recalls in this context Article III of the NPT and Article II of the IAEA Statute;

“13.  Calls upon States to adopt stricter national controls for the export of sensitive goods and technologies of the nuclear fuel cycle;

“14.  Encourages the work of the IAEA on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle, including assurances of nuclear fuel supply and related measures, as effective means of addressing the expanding need for nuclear fuel and nuclear fuel services and minimizing the risk of proliferation, and urges the IAEA Board of Governors to agree upon measures to this end as soon as possible;

“15.  Affirms that effective IAEA safeguards are essential to prevent nuclear proliferation and to facilitate cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and in that regard:

a.  Calls upon all non-nuclear-weapon States party to the NPT that have yet to bring into force a comprehensive safeguards agreement or a modified small quantities protocol to do so immediately,

b.  Calls upon all States to sign, ratify and implement an additional protocol, which together with comprehensive safeguards agreements constitute essential elements of the IAEA safeguards system,

c.  Stresses the importance for all Member States to ensure that the IAEA continue to have all the necessary resources and authority to verify the declared use of nuclear materials and facilities and the absence of undeclared activities, and for the IAEA to report to the Council accordingly as appropriate;

“16.  Encourages States to provide the IAEA with the cooperation necessary for it to verify whether a state is in compliance with its safeguards obligations, and affirms the Security Council’s resolve to support the IAEA’s efforts to that end, consistent with its authorities under the Charter;

“17.  Undertakes to address without delay any State’s notice of withdrawal from the NPT, including the events described in the statement provided by the State pursuant to Article X of the Treaty, while noting ongoing discussions in the course of the NPT review on identifying modalities under which NPT States Parties could collectively respond to notification of withdrawal, and affirms that a State remains responsible under international law for violations of the NPT committed prior to its withdrawal;

“18.  Encourages States to require as a condition of nuclear exports that the recipient State agree that, in the event that it should terminate, withdraw from, or be found by the IAEA Board of Governors to be in non-compliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement, the supplier state would have a right to require the return of nuclear material and equipment provided prior to such termination, non-compliance or withdrawal, as well as any special nuclear material produced through the use of such material or equipment;

“19.  Encourages States to consider whether a recipient State has signed and ratified an additional protocol based on the model additional protocol in making nuclear export decisions;

“20.  Urges States to require as a condition of nuclear exports that the recipient State agree that, in the event that it should terminate its IAEA safeguards agreement, safeguards shall continue with respect to any nuclear material and equipment provided prior to such termination, as well as any special nuclear material produced through the use of such material or equipment;

“21.  Calls for universal adherence to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and its 2005 Amendment, and the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism;

“22.  Welcomes the March 2009 recommendations of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) to make more effective use of existing funding mechanisms, including the consideration of the establishment of a voluntary fund, and affirms its commitment to promote full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) by Member States by ensuring effective and sustainable support for the activities of the 1540 Committee;

“23.  Reaffirms the need for full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) by Member States and, with an aim of preventing access to, or assistance and financing for, weapons of mass destruction, related materials and their means of delivery by non-State actors, as defined in the resolution, calls upon Member States to cooperate actively with the Committee established pursuant to that resolution and the IAEA, including rendering assistance, at their request, for their implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) provisions, and in this context welcomes the forthcoming comprehensive review of the status of implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) with a view to increasing its effectiveness, and calls upon all States to participate actively in this review;

“24.  Calls upon Member States to share best practices with a view to improved safety standards and nuclear security practices and raise standards of nuclear security to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, with the aim of securing all vulnerable nuclear material from such risks within four years;

“25.  Calls upon all States to manage responsibly and minimize to the greatest extent that is technically and economically feasible the use of highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes, including by working to convert research reactors and radioisotope production processes to the use of low enriched uranium fuels and targets;

“26.  Calls upon all States to improve their national capabilities to detect, deter, and disrupt illicit trafficking in nuclear materials throughout their territories, and calls upon those States in a position to do so to work to enhance international partnerships and capacity building in this regard;

“27.  Urges all States to take all appropriate national measures in accordance with their national authorities and legislation, and consistent with international law, to prevent proliferation financing and shipments, to strengthen export controls, to secure sensitive materials, and to control access to intangible transfers of technology;

“28.  Declares its resolve to monitor closely any situations involving the proliferation of nuclear weapons, their means of delivery or related material, including to or by non-State actors as they are defined in resolution 1540 (2004), and, as appropriate, to take such measures as may be necessary to ensure the maintenance of international peace and security;

“29.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Opening Remarks

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States, recalled that the Council and the United Nations had been established at the dawn of the nuclear age, pointing out, however, that while a nuclear nightmare had been averted during the cold war, today the threat of proliferation was growing in scope and complexity.  Just one explosion of a nuclear weapon could kill hundreds of thousands of people.  The United Nations had a pivotal role to play in avoiding that.

He said the resolution just adopted had brought agreement on a broad framework for action, which acknowledged that all nations had a right to peaceful energy, and those with nuclear weapons had a responsibility to move towards nuclear disarmament.  To that end, the United States would host a summit in April 2010.  The resolution would strengthen institutions and initiatives aimed at battling trafficking in proliferation-sensitive materials.  It also called for safeguards to prevent the conversion of peaceful nuclear energy programmes into weapons programmes.

The Council had the authority to respond to violations of its resolutions, including on Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said, emphasizing: “The world must stand together and demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise.”  The coming 12 months would be critical to implementation of today’s resolution.  Meanwhile, the United States would pursue an agreement with the Russian Federation, as well as ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  It would also make deeper cuts in its nuclear arsenal.

“We harbour no illusions about the difficulty of bringing about a world without nuclear weapons,” he said, cautioning that there would be “days like today that push us forward” and that told a different story.  “It is the story of a world that understands that no difference or division is worth destroying all that we have built and all that we love.”  Quoting the words of President Ronald Reagan, he said a nuclear war could not be won and must never be fought.  “We must never stop until we see the day that nuclear arms are banished from the face of the earth.  That is our task.”

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said he had long advocated a stronger role for the Security Council in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  The Council should make the most of this moment to sustain the momentum.  “The need for action is clear.  Thousands of nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert.  More States have sought and acquired them. […]  And every day, we live with the threat that weapons of mass destruction could be stolen, sold or slip away,” he said, emphasizing that nuclear disarmament was the only sane path to a safer world.

Calling for new ways to increase transparency with regard to the weapons programmes of the recognized nuclear-weapon States, he pledged the Secretariat’s willingness to serve as a repository for information.  Member States should make the best use of the United Nations disarmament machinery, including the work of the Conference on Disarmament on a fissile material cut-off treaty.

Disarmament and non-proliferation must proceed together, he continued, stressing the importance of effective verification of disarmament and ensuring that IAEA had the resources and support it needed to implement its growing safeguards responsibility.  For too long, a divided international community had lacked the will, vision and confidence to move ahead.  “Together we have dreamed about a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Now we must act to achieve it”.


ÓSCAR ARIAS SÁNCHEZ, President of Costa Rica, said the United Nations had been founded on the promise that all would be able to sleep peacefully.  That promise had not been kept.  “While we sleep, death is awake.  Death keeps watch from the warehouses that store more than 23,000 nuclear warheads, like 23,000 eyes open and waiting for a moment of carelessness.”  It did not seem plausible to discuss disarmament as long as existing agreements were not even being honoured.  Countries resisted ratifying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and rejected international mechanisms for verification as long as the clandestine network of proliferation of nuclear supplies continued.

It did not seem plausible to speak of a safer world as long as weapons proliferation took second place on the international agenda, he continued.  “This Council fails in its historic mission every day that it turns a blind eye to the rampant arms race,” he said, pointing out that the world spent $3.5 million every day on weapons and soldiers and that each year, more than $42 billion worth of conventional arms were sold to developing nations.

Even in Latin America, which had never been more peaceful or democratic, $60 billion would be assigned to military spending this year, he noted.  “That is why I ask that we approve the arms trade treaty that my Government has presented to this Organization, because if it is legitimate for us to worry about the possibility that terrorist networks gain access to a nuclear weapon, it is also legitimate for us to worry about the rifles, grenades and machine guns that are given into their hands.”

STJEPAN MESIĆ, President of Croatia, said there was one action to be taken this very day with regard to limiting nuclear proliferation: reinforce the role of the United Nations in that effort.  That would not replace any institution or forum dealing with non-proliferation, but would affirm, unanimously and jointly, that the greatest efforts were needed to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons while also guaranteeing the right of every country to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  If necessary, more stringent universally accepted international controls would be implemented.

The goal was to affirm or establish principles that would help lead to a world free of nuclear weapons without necessarily entering into debate over concrete issues, he said.  A first step would be to support, without any reservation, a contractual multilateral system of treaties on the control of nuclear weapons and disarmament, including strict implementation and verification components.  The next step would be to call on Member States to contribute to activities aimed at preventing abuse of existing treaties and strengthening both non-proliferation efforts, as well as resources to support them.

He said the long-standing effort to limit and then reduce nuclear weapons with the end-goal of disarmament had received a strong new impetus from the announcement by the President of the United States that his final objective was a world free of nuclear weapons.  As a result of that pronouncement, the task of those present in the Council today should be to send a message to the world which had authorized them to act that there was political will to pursue a policy that would provide for the security of all countries without nuclear weapons.  The objective was “peace in security”, not the “balance of fear” that had prevailed during the cold war, a time of peace without security.

DMITRY A. MEDVEDEV, President of the Russian Federation, said it was obvious to everyone that issues of security were indivisible and global, and that only on the basis of the principles of equal security, mutual respect and compliance with the norms of international law could present-day threats be fought.  “Only in this way can we strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and give additional impetus to the nuclear disarmament process,” he said.  The measures contained in the resolution were a realistic programme of action for the international community to respond efficiently to common threats in the nuclear sphere.

He said his country and the United States had carried out unprecedented reductions of strategic nuclear arsenals within the framework of the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START).  The Russian Federation had tabled proposals during negotiations with the United States on a new treaty to replace START.  “Our main shared goal is to untie the problem ‘knots’ in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament.”  That could not be done overnight, as the level of distrust among nations remained too high.  Because one of the most dangerous threats was that of nuclear components falling into the hands of terrorists, the existing “back-up system” needed to be modernized.

Underscoring the importance of paying serious attention to peaceful nuclear energy, he said new nuclear power programmes were a key to resolving many of the problems afflicting developing countries and an incentive for the economic growth of entire regions.  However, States that carried out such programmes must abide strictly by non-proliferation agreements.  Priorities in that area of international cooperation included strengthening the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime, in particular the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The system of IAEA safeguards must be universalized, and there was also a need to stimulate the earliest ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty by the countries that would ensure its entry into force, he said.  The non-proliferation measures of resolution 1540 (2004) must be used more actively.  An effective solution to many of the aforementioned problems depended on an interested and constructive engagement by all parties.  The strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the intensification of the nuclear disarmament process required, most of all, strategic stability and ensuring security for each and every State.

FELIPE CALDERÓN HINOJOSA, President of Mexico, said world peace and security could not be built on nuclear arsenals.  Welcoming the arms-reduction talks between the United States and the Russian Federation, he said their final objective should be the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  While efforts to put the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into effect were also welcome, Mexico could not accept the paralysis on disarmament and non-proliferation, which must end with today’s resolution.

He expressed support for the right of every State to avail itself of atomic energy for peaceful uses under IAEA supervision, saying that only through related incentives could proliferation be contained.  Mexico had taken steps to join export control regimes in order to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of those who must not have them.  He also urged the Security Council to help “put the brakes” on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, which also wreaked havoc on the Earth.

HEINZ FISCHER, Federal President of Austria, said the international community should no longer accept complacency about the nuclear shadow hanging over the world, adding that a world without nuclear weapons must be the goal.  Meanwhile, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty must be strengthened and universal, while the nuclear States must reduce their arsenals.

He said his country had worked hard to get the Test-Ban Treaty into force and would also work for a fissile cut-off treaty.  IAEA monitoring capabilities and export controls must be strengthened, and confidence should be built through the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Today’s text was a strong one, but resolutions were not enough.  Austria, as well as the European Union, would move forward on non-proliferation and disarmament.

NGUYEN MINH TRIET, President of Viet Nam, said nuclear weapons used up resources that could be used for development.  They also threatened mass destruction and were liable to fall into the hands of terrorists.  Viet Nam supported all efforts to strengthen international action to prevent those ills, in addition to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, starting with unilateral and multilateral reductions.  The countries with the largest arsenals must take leading roles in that area.  The strength of IAEA also must be enhanced.  Viet Nam supported a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South-East Asia and called for more action on peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  The Vietnamese had suffered greatly from wars and therefore pledged their strong efforts to accomplish disarmament and non-proliferation for the purpose of strengthening peace.

YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI, President of Uganda, said it was critical to consider non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy in a balanced way in order to address them effectively.  It was imperative that nuclear-weapon States accelerate their engagement so as to achieve complete disarmament.  The possession of nuclear weapons by some countries was the sole cause for the desire of others to possess them.  Welcoming the desire expressed by the largest nuclear weapons States to reduce their arsenals, he stressed that Africa was not interested in nuclear weapons, but in nuclear energy, which was much cheaper than other alternatives, in order to meet the continent’s future needs.

HU JINTAO, President of China, said the threat of nuclear war must be eliminated and, for that to happen, global balance and stability must be maintained.  Proliferation should be stopped and the nuclear-weapon States with the largest arsenals should reduce those arsenals, after which the countries with smaller arsenals should also begin to reduce their stocks.  In order to maintain the peace, there was a need to renounce the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the threat to use them against non-nuclear-weapon States.  Work should then commence on the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

He said the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be actively promoted, and IAEA strengthened with that purpose in mind.  All countries should strictly observe international agreements on nuclear materials and work together to keep them out of the hands of terrorists.  China had always supported the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.  It only held them for defence, having pledge no first use and no use against non-nuclear-weapon States.  China would continue to play its role in upholding international non-proliferation and disarmament regimes.

BLAISE COMPAORE, President of Burkina Faso, said international security demanded the elimination of all nuclear weapons and their testing.  International norms must be respected and deep thought must be put into keeping countries from seeking nuclear weapons when others continued to build them.  Bilateral actions to reduce arms were also needed.  Now more than ever, there was a need to support the IAEA in order to allow nuclear energy to become an effective development tool.  That was the purpose of having a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa, which should be assisted in its non-proliferation efforts.

GORDON BROWN, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that by adopting today’s resolution, nuclear-weapon States as well as non-nuclear-weapon States were making a commitment to ridding the world of the danger of nuclear weapons.  The global bargain underlying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty –- based on the obligations of both categories -– must be strengthened through a renewed commitment to ensuring compliance and seeking solutions to technical and policy problems.

The world could not stand by when Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea breached international agreements, he stressed.  Far tougher sanctions must be considered, and the onus of proof must be on those who breached the relevant agreements.  The United Kingdom welcomed efforts to prevent nuclear weapons and materials to fall into the hands of terrorists.  It had already taken major steps towards nuclear disarmament, reducing its nuclear-strike capability by 75 per cent.  Retaining only the absolute minimum needed for national security, Britain would also reduce its nuclear submarine fleet as a way to further disarmament goals.

NICOLAS SARKOZY, President of France, said that while “we are here to secure peace” and say yes to reductions, two countries, “right in front of us”, were doing exactly the opposite.  What Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were doing undermined the very rules upon which collective security was based.  In violation of five Security Council resolutions, Iran had been pursuing nuclear proliferation activities since 2005, he said.  It was amassing centrifuges and enriched uranium, while threatening to wipe a United Nations Member State off the map.

“There comes a moment when stubborn facts will compel us to take a decision,” he said.  “Let us not accept violations of international rules.  We may all be threatened one day by a neighbour endowing itself with nuclear weapons,” he warned.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had acted in defiance of all Council decisions since 1993 and continued to test ballistic missiles.  “Here again there will come a moment one has to agree and take sanctions,” he said, stressing that Council decisions must be followed by results.

Access to nuclear energy for peaceful uses and the transfer of technology by developed countries would obviate the arguments of those who claimed that they needed nuclear energy but converted their nuclear programmes into weapons programmes.  Given the courage to impose sanctions against those violating Council resolutions, efforts towards a world without nuclear weapons would gain credibility.  Those who needed civil nuclear energy must be guaranteed sustainable access to technologies and fuel, and the entire international community must be assured that nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation would be respected.

YUKIO HATOYAMA, Prime Minister of Japan, said his country had a special moral responsibility as the only one ever to suffer atomic bombings.  Describing a wrenching visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he encouraged all world leaders to experience on their own the cruelty of nuclear weapons by speaking to survivors.  Having chosen not to possess nuclear weapons, Japan had signed onto the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to try to prevent the vicious cycle of a nuclear arms race.  He renewed his country’s commitment to the three non-nuclear principles no matter what steps neighbouring countries took.

Calling upon nuclear-weapons States to reduce their arsenals and foster a climate for disarmament by ensuring transparency, he urged the pursuit of nuclear-weapons-free zones, the entry into force of the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the immediate start of negotiations on a fissile materials cut-off treaty.  Japan would engage in active diplomacy to lead international efforts on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  The nuclear development programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in particular, posed a grave threat to the peace and security of Japan and the world as a whole, and must not be tolerated.  There was also cause for concern about Iran in that regard and there was a need to strengthen the Council’s ability to meet those challenges.

RECEP TAYYİP ERDOĞAN, Prime Minister of Turkey, stressed the need to bolster the integrity and credibility of the three pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy –- by treating them equally, with universal adherence and implementation as key objectives.  The current meeting should re-energize the international community for new initiatives towards the Review Conference next year.

Nuclear disarmament required an incremental but sustained approach in which treaty-based commitments were “absolutely indispensable”, he said.  One of the treaty’s big achievements was the unequivocal undertaking by nuclear-weapons States to eliminate their arsenals.  That responsibility must now be upheld, building on article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the 13 practical steps for disarmament agreed in 2000.  It was in that context that Turkey welcomed and encouraged efforts to replace START with a new legally-binding instrument.

Irreversible progress on nuclear disarmament would also reinforce the other two pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he continued, pointing out that it was with that understanding that his country spared no effort in continuing to promote key non-proliferation issues, including the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; the start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty; and promotion of IAEA’s role in advancing the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology.

States in compliance with safeguard obligations should enjoy unfettered access to civilian nuclear technology, as enshrined in the NPT, which placed strict obligations on States, he said.  The most credible assurance about the peaceful nature of national programmes was implementation of the Additional Protocol now serving as the verification standard.  Confidence in nuclear technology depended on the strength and reliability of safety measures while nuclear terrorism and illicit trafficking posed grave security threats.  The international community should work towards a comprehensive and mutually reinforcing approach based on already available conventions.

ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM ( Libya) said his country had taken an historic initiative by voluntarily ceasing work on the nuclear bomb it had been on the verge of producing.  Libya therefore deserved the appreciation of the world and assistance in developing its nuclear energy capability for peaceful purposes.  It also deserved a permanent seat on the Security Council.

While all countries had a right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, with IAEA oversight, the agency must monitor all States without exception, including the recognized nuclear-weapon States, he stressed.  Furthermore, the Middle East must become a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and for that to happen, Israel must open its nuclear facilities to inspection.  Otherwise, other States would have a desire to build their own weapons.

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the global nuclear non-proliferation regime was fragile and had many shortcomings.  The Agency’s legal authority was severely limited in some countries because many States had not concluded the required agreements with it.  Thus, in more than 90 States, it either had no verification authority at all, or its authority was inadequate and it could not verify whether a country was engaged in clandestine nuclear activities.  Moreover, the verification mandate centred on nuclear material.  If IAEA was expected to pursue possible weaponization activities, it must be given the corresponding legal authority, he emphasized.

A growing number of States had mastered uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing and any one of them could develop nuclear weapons quickly if they decided to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he warned.  To address that, a shift was needed from national to multinational control of the nuclear fuel cycle.  He said he had proposed the establishment of a low enriched uranium bank that would ensure that States had a guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel for their reactors and did not need to process their own.  Complementary proposals had subsequently been made, but the main goal should be the full multi-nationalization of the fuel cycle towards nuclear disarmament.  Furthermore, efforts to secure vulnerable material must be intensified to prevent extremists from getting hold of nuclear and radioactive material.

He went on to emphasize that the Agency itself must be strengthened.  Given its dilapidated infrastructure and lack of state-of-the-art technology, which was key to modern-day verification, it would be unable to fulfil its mission at current funding levels.  To provide the agency with the kind of supportive political process it needed, the Council needed to develop a comprehensive compliance mechanism to address consistently and systematically cases of non-compliance with or withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including giving the Agency additional authority to act in specific cases as needed.

More emphasis should also be placed on addressing the insecurities behind many proliferation cases, including endemic conflicts, security imbalances and lack of trust, he said.  By demonstrating their commitment to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, the nuclear-weapon States would give legitimacy to the non-proliferation regime and gain moral authority in their calls to curb the proliferation of those inhumane weapons.

Closing Remarks

President OBAMA of the United States said in his closing remarks that the statements heard today affirmed the commitment to a difficult but achievable goal, adding that he had been inspired by the seriousness with which all participants had approached the question and “extraordinarily” encouraged by the unanimous adoption of the resolution.  “Words alone will not get the job done, but, having affirmed our stated goal, I am confident that if we are diligent we can in fact move this process forward and provide the sort of peace and security for our children and grandchildren that all of us so desperately want,” he said.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.