Nuclear-Weapon States Have Special Responsibility to Advance Non-Proliferation, Disarmament, Speakers Stress on Day Three of Review Conference
States that possess nuclear weapons have a particular responsibility to advance nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, speakers at the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons stressed today, as many delegates also highlighted the need to address the obstacles hindering the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
As the tenth Review Conference began its third day (for background, see Press Releases DC/3845 and DC/3846), the representative of France recalled President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that possessing nuclear weapons confers on those countries concerned a moral responsibility of unprecedented scope in history. France assumes this responsibility, and nuclear weapons must not be seen as tools of coercion or destabilization. Spotlighting the Russian Federation’s strategy of intimidation in Ukraine, he stressed that “this is not what France calls deterrence”.
Similarly, the representative of Sweden, speaking for the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, stressed that — while all States can and should help drive progress on nuclear disarmament — nuclear-weapon States bear a special responsibility. Encouraging such States to contribute to next-generation arms-control arrangements, she also encouraged visits to — and interaction with — communities affected by nuclear-weapon detonations.
Offering the perspective of one such community, Kiribati’s representative recalled that, between 1957 and 1962, the United States and the United Kingdom conducted 33 thermonuclear tests in his country, leaving 500 of its citizens with little warning or protection. Cases of cancer, congenital disabilities and abnormalities persist today in their descendants, and he called on States to support the inclusion of victim assistance and environmental remediation in the Review Conference outcome document.
The speaker for Algeria also pointed out that tests took place on his country’s territory, which is why the Government signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Algeria also ratified the Pelindaba Treaty — which created a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa — and he expressed concern over obstacles preventing the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.
Other delegates echoed the need for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, including those of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Stressing that the responsibility to create such a zone is a collective one, the representative of Saudi Arabia underlined his country’s support for all international efforts that seek to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or threatening the region or the world.
The representatives of Syria and Yemen and the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine joined others in highlighting Israel’s refusal to accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as another obstacle to the creation of such a zone. The latter speaker stressed that the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons has always been illegal, given that their very nature violates the fundamental principles of humanity and distinction. As such, there is also no justification for “Israeli exceptionalism”, he stressed, adding that “our region should be free of nuclear weapons, full stop”.
The representative of Iran said that, due to the application of double-standards in enforcing non-proliferation provisions, “the Zionist regime’s” nuclear weapons — developed with the United States’ support — continue to pose a serious threat to the security of countries in the Middle East. He went on to say that his country will cease its remedial actions and resume full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action when the United States decides to assure that Iran will enjoy the economic benefits promised by that accord.
“A nuclear weapon detonation, whether by accident, design or miscalculation, can eliminate countries like Jamaica from the face of the planet,” stressed that country’s representative as the meeting drew to a close. Not only is it morally indefensible and legally irresponsible to house and spread these weapons, he said, but the vast and increasing expenditure thereon in the face of underfunded sustainable development is grossly reprehensible. Calling for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones across the world, he underscored that “nuclear weapons should not exist in the future we want to bequeath to our children”.
Also speaking were ministers and representatives of Brazil, San Marino, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Portugal, Egypt, Nicaragua, Türkiye, Malta, Cyprus, Finland, Bolivia, Serbia, Senegal, Estonia, Ghana, Paraguay, Canada, Malaysia, Mongolia, Qatar, Montenegro, Belarus, Libya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uruguay, Nigeria, Morocco, Guatemala and Lithuania.
The representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine also spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 4 August.
ANN LINDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, speaking for the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, highlighted the risk of a threefold trend reversal — in nuclear stockpile reduction, in reducing the role of nuclear weapons and in successfully containing proliferation — and underscored that the 76-year record of the non-use of nuclear weapons must be maintained. The Initiative has presented a feasible way forward for eliminating nuclear weapons, and the 16 countries that launched it in 2019 are united in the belief that constructive political and diplomatic engagement is essential to building the trust necessary for real progress towards the shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. The Initiative has submitted two working papers to this conference — Stepping Stones for Advancing Nuclear Disarmament and A Nuclear Risk Reduction Package. Detailing these papers, she said the former consists of 22 practical steps to fulfil disarmament obligations and related commitments, while the latter urges the conference to adopt concrete measures and a process for reducing the immediate threat posed by nuclear weapons use.
Stressing that urgent action is needed, she called for crisis-communication hotlines to be revisited and adapted to meet current and future challenges, notably the deteriorated security environment and great Power competition. She also urged a return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. She encouraged visits to, and interaction with, communities affected by nuclear weapons, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and former nuclear test sites such as Semipalatinsk. While all States can and should help drive progress on nuclear disarmament, nuclear-weapon States bear a special responsibility. She therefore called on such States to contribute to next-generation arms-control arrangements and to positively consider the Initiative’s proposals.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil), associating himself with the New Agenda Coalition, said one of the greatest achievements in recent years in nuclear disarmament efforts has been the 2017 adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Those who reject that Treaty are more than welcome to come up with constructive suggestions that will make the gradual approach work or to produce something better, he added. His country and others have done everything to support the gradual approach, yet those concerted efforts have yielded meagre results. Non-nuclear-weapon States contribute decisively to the non-proliferation regime, he pointed out. By example, Latin America and the Caribbean created the first nuclear-weapon-free zone in a permanently inhabited area through the entry into force of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) and the establishment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean. Detailing his country’s other efforts, he said the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials is at the centre of an innovative and effective verification and safeguards arrangement.
PHILIPPE BERTOUX (France), associating himself with the European Union, noted his country’s President, Emmanuel Macron, stated in 2020 that possessing nuclear weapons confers on those countries concerned a moral responsibility of unprecedented scope in history, and that France assumes this responsibility. Nuclear weapons must not be seen as tools of coercion or destabilization — but in Ukraine, the Russian Federation employs a strategy of intimidation. “This is not what France calls deterrence,” he stressed. He further called on Iran to cease its nuclear escalation and return to cooperation with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as soon as possible, and for efforts to ensure the strict and universal implementation of the sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea regime to accept dialogue and abandon its proliferation programmes. The central issue of the Review Conference is simple, he noted: to reaffirm the authority and primacy of Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, one of the fundamental pillars of strategic stability for more than 50 years. In a context of tensions over energy supplies and growing concerns about climate change and its effects, the development of nuclear energy is critical on many levels. He called on all States parties to strongly reaffirm their support for the Treaty and find common ground on concrete and realistic solutions to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.
ABDULAZIZ MOHAMMED O. ALWASIL (Saudi Arabia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, expressed concern about IAEA verification reports on Iran and that country’s lack of respect and transparency with the Agency. In that regard, he underlined his country’s support for all international efforts that seek to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or threatening the region or the world. The responsibility to create a zone free from nuclear weapons in the Middle East is a collective responsibility on the international level. It is regrettable that the Review Conferences have not been able to achieve the necessary commitments to prevent the danger posed by Iran through a collective plan of action. Another grave obstacle to nuclear disarmament is Israel’s continued refusal to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said, noting that the aim of the Treaty is for non-nuclear-States to be able to enjoy security guarantees with respect to recourse to and use of atomic energy. Israel is refusing to accept international resolutions on this and is ignoring all recommendations and decisions from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. “We must address the issue of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East,” he stressed.
HATEM ABDULHAMEED MOHAMED SHARIF HATEM (Bahrain), associating himself with the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, underscored the importance of the Treaty as the cornerstone of the global security architecture. Noting that Bahrain acceded to it in 1988 and is also party to the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and the Convention on Nuclear Safety, he said his country also has ratified the IAEA Safeguards Agreement. Underscoring the inalienable right of States to peacefully use nuclear energy, notably in the area of health, he voiced concern over Iran’s opposition to IAEA oversight of its nuclear programme and called on it to fully comply with the Agency. He also expressed hope that a nuclear-weapon-free zone will soon be established in the Middle East.
NATASCIA BARTOLINI (San Marino), aligning herself with the European Union, voiced concern over growing nuclear competition and stressed that a new nuclear arms race must be avoided. Urging all parties to refrain from escalating tensions further, she also underlined the need for progress in the reduction of nuclear weapons stockpiles. Unfortunately, there has been no concrete progress on nuclear disarmament since the last Review Conference. All States parties must fully implement their commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Highlighting the present dangers of malfunction and miscalculation, she also expressed concern over any possible accidental or unintended nuclear-weapon detonation. Such an event would result in irreversible, catastrophic damage to human health, the environment and socioeconomic development. It is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons should never be used again, she emphasized, underscoring that: “Ultimately, disarmament is everyone’s responsibility.” A meaningful outcome document would represent a “remarkable step towards our common goals”, she added.
YOSEPH KASSAYE (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said the world is confronted with grave concerns in non-proliferation and disarmament due to geopolitical tensions and erosion of security arrangements. That said, Africa remains the only region with a nuclear-weapon-free zone, with the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) ratified by 44 of its countries. That Treaty also promotes cooperation for the development and practical application of nuclear technology, and he reiterated the need to redouble international cooperation to implement the peaceful use of that technology. While Africa remains fully compliant with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he cited the non-compliance of other States, a cause of serious concern and friction threatening humanity. Possible possession and use of nuclear weapons by non-State armed actors and terrorist groups remains a serious threat for Africa, along with the dumping of radioactive waste — outlawed under article VI of the Treaty of Pelindaba. He called for strict safety and security measures by nuclear-weapon States to ensure that any aspect of the technology or capability does not fall into the hands of irresponsible actors, and expressed hope that the Conference will conclude with a concrete outcome.
Mr. BAGGNA (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Africa Group, encouraged the IAEA to continue its work to ensure access to nuclear science and technology for an effective response to the sustainable development challenges faced by Member States. He welcomed the IAEA’s cooperation programme and called upon Member States to make every effort to fully comply with their voluntary contributions to the Technical Cooperation Fund. He also called on States and organizations who can do so to continue or increase their funding of technical cooperation activities, stressing their importance for international peace and security. Noting that nuclear testing is also a key part of nuclear non-proliferation, he deplored the non-entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty over the last two decades following its adoption. Non-proliferation obligations must be scrupulously and universally respected, he stressed, urging all States to honour the commitments to which they acceded.
EDUARDO RAMOS (Portugal), associating himself with the European Union, called for renewed efforts to implement the Treaty and render it universal and expressed support for steps taken by some nuclear weapon States to increase transparency on their nuclear capabilities and doctrines. Noting that Portugal submitted a national report on the implementation of the 2010 Action Plan, he said it includes measurable actions in support of the Treaty’s three pillars. With the unprovoked, unjustified invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an “unprecedented attack” on the global rules-based order, leaving the nuclear security environment marked by high tensions and serious proliferation crises, which must be collectively addressed. In addition, he urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to engage with all parties to ensure the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Further, he said he looked forward to positive results from negotiations on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He called on all States that have not yet joined the Treaty to adhere to its terms, likewise pressing those States that have yet to sign or ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to do so as soon as possible.
MOHAMED ENNADIR LARBAOUI (Algeria), endorsing the statements by the Non-Aligned Movement, African Group and Arab Group, recalled his country’s contributions to the disarmament process, noting that it was the first to open the Conference in 1979 and chaired the Review Conference in 2000, leading to the 13 practical steps for nuclear disarmament. Algeria also chaired the first meeting of the General Assembly on the topic, and alongside Germany, co-chaired the Eleventh Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. He described the Non-Proliferation Treaty as the cornerstone of the global security regime and underscored the need for nuclear-weapon States to uphold their article VI obligations, as well as the 13 Practical Steps on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and the 2010 Plan of Action. Recalling that tests took place on Algeria’s territory, which is why the Government signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, he reaffirmed the rights of States to develop, modernize and use atomic energy for peaceful purposes, in line with article IV. Noting that Algeria ratified the Pelindaba Treaty, creating the nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa, he voiced concern over obstacles preventing implementation of a decision adopted at the 1995 Review Conference to create such a zone in the Middle East. He welcomed the Assembly’s subsequent decision allowing for an annual Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction to be convened, whose second session was in November 2021, marking a first step towards achieving stability in the region.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDEL KHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt), associating himself with the Arab Group, African Group, Non-Aligned Movement and New Agenda Coalition, pointed out that the Non-Proliferation Treaty has not achieved universality, which raises questions regarding its ability to achieve its goals. He called on all States parties to conduct a comprehensive assessment and then agree on practical steps with which to address this situation, as the Treaty’s credibility is at stake. Non-implementation of commitments made under article VI of the Treaty is one of the key challenges. Various initiatives proposed during the Conference should not be a substitute for nuclear-weapon States’ compliance with their commitments. Stressing that the success of international non-proliferation efforts is linked to those aimed at disarmament, he said that some States are attempting to impose a mandatory character on certain voluntary mechanisms in a manner inconsistent with article III. This limits the rights of States parties to benefit from the peaceful use of atomic energy under article IV, he added.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated the importance of making headway towards complete and total disarmament. He also expressed concern that nuclear-weapon States continue to modernize and develop their arsenals, hand-in-hand with dangerous military doctrines claiming to justify their use. The resources expended could be used to attain the Sustainable Development Goals — above all, the eradication of poverty, he pointed out. He expressed regret that the international conference to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East has not been convened and noted that non-nuclear-weapon States have no guarantees on the potential use of those arms. This Conference must make progress on realistic, ambitious results, ensuring implementation of the three pillars of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in a balanced way, he stressed. Recognizing the legitimate right of all States to research, develop and peacefully use nuclear energy, he called for cooperation in scientific domains — rejecting any attempt to politicize that right, or unilateral coercive measures restricting developing countries from exercising it. He also highlighted that Nicaragua is a member State of the world’s first nuclear-weapon-free zone.
ÖNCÜ KEÇELI (Türkiye), aligning himself with the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, expressed regret that the Review Conference is organized under extraordinary circumstances due to the invasion of Ukraine, calling for an immediate end to the war and expressing concern over the safety and security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine. He also expressed concern over the lack of progress in the implementation of commitments undertaken during previous review conferences, stressing that his country is committed to systematic, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament pursuant to article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Calling on all States possessing nuclear weapons to take practical steps in this direction, he said that the Initiative’s reporting template is a useful tool to measure the implementation of Treaty commitments. Further, negotiations should be commenced immediately on a treaty banning the production of fissile materials, and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty remains a top priority. He added a call for the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to fully uphold their commitments and obligations, including by allowing the IAEA to carry out monitoring and verification activities.
MARK CISCALDI (Malta), associating himself with the European Union, called on States not yet party the Non-Proliferation Treaty to adhere to its terms, stressing that the disarmament architecture has significantly eroded since the last Review Conference. Describing the prospect of nuclear weapons use in the Ukraine war as “deeply concerning”, he said “we are witnessing an escalation of tensions unparalleled since the days of the cold war” and urged States Parties to inject much-needed diplomatic momentum and political will into the non-proliferation and disarmament regimes. He also said he was encouraged by the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and convening of the first meeting of States parties in June; the benefits of this humanitarian-led initiative strengthen the global norm against nuclear weapons and fills a legal gap as the first outright prohibition. However, regarding the IAEA warning that Iran’s the decision to turn off 27 cameras installed to monitor enrichment activity, he said this could strike the “fatal blow” to efforts to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He called on Iran to reverse its decision and instead allow full, unhindered access to IAEA monitors. He also called on Syria to address its safeguards issues in full cooperation with IAEA, urging Member States to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in particular to both refrain from testing and return to IAEA safeguards.
ANDREAS HADJICHRYSANTHOU (Cyprus) said that like other small States, his country’s security relies heavily on the international system of collective security. “We cannot overstate the importance of ensuring that no additional States acquire nuclear weapons,” he said, stressing that balancing the Treaty’s three pillars is of primordial importance. While some gains have been registered, extra efforts must be taken in relation to disarmament. He expressed particular concern over the effects of the heavily polarized international climate, as well as the potential of having an arms race in the immediate neighbourhood. He called for compliance with the Treaty, as well as for a diminished role of nuclear weapons in defence and security doctrines. Voicing support for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and adoption of a verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty, he also said he hoped to see resumed implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Further, a greater focus on nuclear energy safety is needed in the region, he said, cautioning States against building such plants in areas of high seismicity and stressing the importance of updated early warning systems.
TEBURORO TITO (Kiribati), associating himself with the Pacific small island developing States, expressed concern that nuclear weapon States have yet to fulfil their article VI obligations or commitments under the 2010 Action Plan, and are instead modernizing and expanding their arsenals. He also said he was deeply troubled by the war in Ukraine and threats by the Russian Federation to use nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapon States must urgently diminish the role of these weapons in their military doctrines, remove them from high operational alert and implement all other commitments, he emphasized, recalling that the 2010 outcome document contains a strong reference to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use. Many non-nuclear-weapon States ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which fills legal gaps in the Non-Proliferation Treaty and addresses victim assistance, environmental remediation, international cooperation and assistance.
He recalled that between 1957 and 1962, the United States and United Kingdom conducted 33 thermonuclear tests in Kiribati, leaving 500 citizens with little warning or protection. Explaining that most of them lifted the tarpaulin cover provided for them to catch the spectacular display of an intensely hot fire cloud above, he said “many of these people complained about all sorts of untreatable illnesses and health complications, most of which resulted in death.” Cases of cancer, congenital disabilities and abnormalities persist today in their descendants. He thus called on States to support the inclusion of victim assistance and environmental remediation in the Conference outcome document. Discussion is also needed around ensuring international consultation, international law, and independent, verifiable scientific assessment related to the discharge of water treated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. He also voiced concern over the potential impact of the trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, and underlined his agreement with Indonesia’s concerns about nuclear naval propulsion as outlined in Working Paper 67.
BASSAM SABBAGH (Syria), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, pointed out that the 1995 resolution calling for a zone free from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East still has not been implemented. While all countries in the region are ready to take steps to create that zone, Israel is defying the international community, and refusing to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon State and submit its nuclear installations to the IAEA safeguards system. Israel is refusing to cooperate because it is supported by the United States and Western allies, he added, noting that for decades the United States and other Western countries have given Israel modern nuclear technology, allowing it to build its nuclear military capacity. He underscored the right of States parties to obtain nuclear technology and use that technology in different fields. He condemned unilateral coercive measures imposed by Western countries on Syria that hinder technical assistance for the peaceful uses of atomic energy, particularly in the fields of health and cancer treatment, noting that they negatively impact citizens’ lives.
JARMO VIINANEN, Ambassador for Arms Control, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, condemned the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified attack against Ukraine, and Belarus for its involvement. With President Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear use undermining the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament architecture, “arms control is unravelling,” he stressed. He also urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with its international obligations and called for revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, with Iran cooperating fully with the IAEA. “This grim reality is a wake-up call for us,” he said, underlining that now is the time for action to strengthen the rules-based international order. He welcomed the extension of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), adding that further reductions by the two biggest nuclear weapon States in their arsenals are key in building confidence and gradually advancing the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Non-nuclear-weapon States have a legitimate right to receive legally binding, unequivocal assurances that there is no threat of nuclear use against them, he said. Therefore, it is high time to initiate a process leading to an international treaty on negative security assurances. Finland was the first country to sign the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA; it also adopted early the Additional Protocol, he noted, urging all States to conclude the Additional Protocol.
DIEGO PARY RODRÍGUEZ (Bolivia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed regret that 77 years after 200,000 people died in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the world is still unable to understand that nuclear weapons are the most inhumane weapons to have ever been conceived. It is concerning that global military spending has reached $2 trillion, especially when people are still suffering from the COVID-19 crisis. With States possessing 13,000 warheads — of which 2,000 are on alert — compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty is a moral imperative. The notion that these weapons are an indispensable, legitimate source of guarantees is an indefensible argument. Nuclear weapons must be eliminated from security doctrines and defence policies, he said, adding that article VI obligations should be a priority topic at the Review Conference. All nuclear-weapon States must reduce their arsenals and curb tests that aim to modernize nuclear weapons, yet they only increase catastrophic humanitarian risks. He urged all countries to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Noting that Bolivia is in the first densely populated region in the world to be declared nuclear-weapon-free, thanks to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, he said his country has banned the manufacture and use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons on its territory. He called for universal, non-discriminatory, irreversible and binding guarantees to achieve the Treaty’s universality, which would enable future generations to avoid events like those that occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
DIJANA IVANČIĆ, Assistant Minister for Security Policy of Serbia, detailing national measures to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, underscored that the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons remains the foundation of international peace and security. Preventing States from developing nuclear weapons and non-State actors from acquiring them must remain a priority for all. Affirming the essential role of the IAEA in verifying nuclear programmes, she voiced her support for negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme and diplomatic efforts aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. On disarmament, she welcomed the decision by the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the validity of the New START Treaty for five years, as well as the five nuclear powers’ joint declaration on the prevention of nuclear war and the avoidance of a new arms race. Urging all nuclear-weapon States to find new ways to fulfil their obligations under article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, she added that it is unacceptable to threaten the use of nuclear weapons to resolve disputes between States.
HAMAD ALKAABI (United Arab Emirates), associating himself with the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative countries, Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, said that his country now has three operational nuclear power reactors supplying clean and sustainable energy — a successful programme that testifies to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its international cooperation framework. Member States with operational nuclear facilities that have yet to join the IAEA’s Convention on Nuclear Safety, such as Iran, should do so. The reported violent actions at nuclear facilities in Ukraine are posing a serious threat to the safety and security of these facilities, their personnel, millions of civilians, and the environment. The international community must make every possible effort to avoid a nuclear disaster, whether from a direct attack on a nuclear facility or as an unintended consequence of conflict. Stressing that advancement in Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities has no real civilian purpose and remains a source of concern, he called for that country’s full and timely cooperation with the IAEA. Similarly, he urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to respect its international obligations and to refrain from actions that could escalate tensions in the region and beyond. The way forward to a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East requires further efforts and assurances from the depository States who have special responsibility as co-sponsors of the 1995 resolution.
YOUSSOUPH DIALLO (Senegal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, recalled the Secretary-General’s warning that the world is under the risk of nuclear annihilation. He called on States in possession of these arsenals to end their modernization and urged them to submit all nuclear facilities and activities to the full IAEA safeguards regime. In the meantime, negotiations must be launched on an international treaty obliging nuclear States to guarantee universal, unconditional, effective assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States. He reiterated Senegal’s support for the Treaty of Pelindaba, which consolidates the status of Africa as a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and for a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Welcoming the extension of the New START Treaty, he called on the parties to work for further reductions in their strategic armaments in Europe, and for a relaunched Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Emphasizing the inalienable right of every State to research, develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he added that sharing experiences, good practices and equipment would benefit the entire international community — particularly in the context of the climate emergency. He invited all parties to implement the conclusions of the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences, citing the urgency of avoiding deadlock of the Ninth Review Conference.
MARWAN ALI NOMAN AL-DOBHANY (Yemen), associating himself with the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Middle East lacks stability and a sense of security due to a power imbalance and nuclear activities not subject to the non-proliferation regime. While all Arab countries have joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty and are working to establish a zone free from nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, Israel continues to defy the international community by refusing to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty and submit its nuclear facilities to the IAEA’s safeguards regime. Also, Iran continues to develop its nuclear capacities and not abide by the IAEA’s safeguards regime, leading to increased tensions in the region. Voicing concern at some nuclear States’ security and military doctrine that allows the use of nuclear weapons and upgrading of nuclear arsenals, he called on the international community to elaborate an international instrument obliging nuclear States to not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States.
TAREQ M. A. M. ALBANAI (Kuwait) called for renewed commitment to the Treaty, urging the Review Conference to adopt an ambitious action plan that “makes up for missed opportunities”, notably in disarmament. Noting that some States announced they will continue to modernize their nuclear arsenals and keep these weapons in their military doctrines — challenges which must be addressed through the Treaty, he voiced hope that Kuwait’s concerns will be taken into account during negotiations on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He called for follow-up on Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), urging partners to negotiate an agreement verifying the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. He condemned any nuclear tests or provocation that undermines international peace and security, urging States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. A lack of political will, including by Israel, has led to the indefinite postponement of a conference to set up a nuclear- weapons-free zone in the Middle East. Stressing that the 1995 decision on the Middle East “remains valid until its purposes have been achieved”, he said that as President of the second session of the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction, Kuwait will work with participating countries in an open, transparent manner. He called on countries that sponsored the 1995 resolution, and other regional countries not participating, to join the discussions. He also attached great importance to technical cooperation activities, adding that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons should not contravene or weaken current mechanisms, but rather help to rid humanity of these arms.
KRISTEL LÕUK (Estonia), associating herself with the European Union, said the Russian Federation’s actions, which directly threaten the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, and particularly the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, must stop immediately. The Non-Proliferation Treaty ́s viability must be reinforced, she said, noting that her country continues to advocate for the “progressive approach” pursued in a realistic and responsible way. Given the high tensions in international security, Member States must make a collective effort to uphold and strengthen the existing disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation architecture. She welcomed the extension of the New START Treaty and urged China to engage in those processes as well. She also called on Iran to collaborate with the IAEA to resolve all questions on its safeguards obligations. In addition, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must engage in a process of complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, she said, pointing out that sanctions must remain in place and fully implemented until then.
RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, associating himself with the Arab Group and Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that this conference should “reinforce the dividing line between our capacity to build and our capacity to destroy, between life and extinction”. The use or threatened use of nuclear weapons has always been illegal — as their very essence violates the fundamental principles of humanity and distinction — and there is no rational justification for the privileged status granted de facto to nuclear weapons over other weapons of mass destruction. He underscored, therefore, that there is also no justification for “Israeli exceptionalism in our region”, whereby that State would be the only one entitled to hold nuclear weapons. “Our region should be free of nuclear weapons, full stop,” he stressed, calling for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The only alternative to the pursuit of effective nuclear disarmament in the region is a dangerous arms race and potential nuclear proliferation. He added that the only effective remedy against the threat nuclear weapons pose to all of humanity is “ridding the world of these weapons”.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, pointed to the situations in the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula and Ukraine, and called on the international community to recommit to compliance with applicable international law. Nuclear-weapon States must fulfil their multilateral legal obligations on nuclear disarmament. He urged all States that have yet to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, particularly the remaining Annex II States, to do so without further delay. He also called on non-State parties to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States, for the treaty to achieve full universality. On the peaceful development of nuclear technology, he noted that since 2018, Ghana has been focused on its atomic science objectives aimed at producing a significant baseload of electricity for the country’s industrialization and its rapid socioeconomic transformation of the country, while being mindful of safety and environmental concerns.
JOSÉ EDUARDO PEREIRA SOSA (Paraguay) expressed concern over the revival of a security model based on deterrence and the threatened use of nuclear weapons, which is a latent risk that jeopardizes collective security. Nuclear-weapon States must commit to complete disarmament, as humanity cannot again suffer the consequences of a nuclear bomb. Emphasizing that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is a keystone of the disarmament regime, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he called on all States that are not party to the Treaty to accede to the instrument without further delay or conditions. He went on to say that the Treaty can be complemented by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the declaration of nuclear-weapon-free zones, such as those established by the Treaties of Tlatelolco and Rarotonga, and called for stronger synergy between these instruments to strengthen cooperation and build trust. He added that the rights of all States to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes must be respected pursuant to article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, welcoming the fundamental role played by the IAEA and its safeguard system in this regard.
LESLIE NORTON (Canada), speaking in her national capacity, said the international community will achieve a world free of nuclear weapons “by doing it — together”. The stakes could not be higher, with the Russian Federation’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Its irresponsible threats regarding the possible use of nuclear weapons and seizure of nuclear facilities have shaken the foundations of the international world order. She also pointed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s unprecedented missile testing and nuclear activities and Iran’s continued violations of its nuclear commitments and obligations. Nuclear-weapon States bear a special responsibility to come forward this month with proposals for credible and incremental steps towards nuclear disarmament. Highlighting the work of cross-regional groupings, she cited the Stockholm Initiative’s “stepping stones” and risk reduction package; the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative’s “Landing-Zone” paper; and the Vienna Group of 10 paper on “Addressing Vienna issues”. The commencement of long-overdue negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty would be one concrete step forward. Further, the Conference must address the proliferation crises in Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, reaffirming the essential role of the IAEA. Peaceful uses of nuclear energy can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, helping overcome global challenges such as climate change and zoonotic threats. She noted that Canada is a leader in nuclear research and development in nuclear medicine and pharmacology, environmental protection and wastewater treatment, as well as next-generation power reactors and nuclear energy systems.
IKRAM MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM (Malaysia), associating himself with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Non-Aligned Movement, voiced concern about the growing risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. He underscored the importance and validity of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East and pointed out that the resolution is an integral part of the package of decisions reached that enabled the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995. Malaysia joins the call for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East region without delay, he said. Turning to Southeast Asia, he said all issues pertaining to the signing and ratification of the Protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty must be resolved urgently. Nuclear-weapon States must ratify the related protocols to all treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones, and respect the denuclearized status of those zones, he added. Regarding the Korean Peninsula, he urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from further provocative and illegal acts, and to abide by its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions.
ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, underscored his country’s commitment to the Treaty, while also highlighting the “outstanding” work of the IAEA, pursuant to articles III and IV, in verifying compliance with non-proliferation undertakings and supporting parties in fulfilling their inalienable right to research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Noting that Mongolia ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and acceded to the instrument on 10 December 2021, he welcomed the convening of the first meeting of States parties in June. He also noted that 2022 marks the thirtieth anniversary of Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status; it declared its territory a single-State nuclear-weapon-free zone in 1992. In 2014, Mongolia initiated the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security, a mechanism for facilitating talks and promoting mutual understanding and confidence-building. Its seventh conference, held this June, brought together 150 representatives from 20 countries and 30 international organizations. With that in mind, he urged States parties to renew their political will and flexibility to forge a constructive outcome to the Review Conference.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to humanity and civilization, with increased dangers, as the non-proliferation regime faces major challenges. Successive international crises are impacting the peaceful use of nuclear energy, especially in developing countries. The international community must respect its contractual obligations, aiming for full realization of article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty — which is indispensable for reaching a legally-binding instrument for guarantees from nuclear-weapon States to non-nuclear-weapon States to neither use nor threaten to use such weapons against them. The IAEA is key to verification of non-proliferation, and reaching the goals of the Treaty; however, the result of its work will be insufficient if there is a lack of enough effort towards reducing nuclear testing. Emphasizing the right of all States to the peaceful use of nuclear energy as an important part of development, she appreciated IAEA efforts to render the world more safe and secure — particularly through its technical cooperation programme. Calling on advanced countries to provide scientific and technical assistance to developing countries, she affirmed the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East as a collective responsibility covered by a number of resolutions.
SRDAN ORLANDIC (Montenegro), associating himself with the European Union, said the current compromised security environment is best demonstrated by the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine. He called on States that have not yet done so to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty and urged those who are already its Parties to adhere fully to its provisions. Pending the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and adoption of a fissile material cut-off treaty, he also urged all States to abide by the moratorium on nuclear weapon tests and declare an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Simultaneously, the international community must place a special emphasis on the potential of peaceful use of nuclear energy, with nuclear energy being an essential component for low-carbon transition. He had previously welcomed the agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the New START Treaty and the restatement of the Reykjavik Summit declaration between the two parties. However, the Russian Federation’s onslaught on Ukraine represents a blatant violation of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and the rules-based international order, casting an enormous shadow over everything positive and constructive achieved beforehand. He once again called on Moscow to immediately and unconditionally stop all fighting and withdraw all of its forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine.
Mr. PAVLOV (Belarus) said that almost 30 years ago his country made a conscious decision to renounce nuclear weapons without preconditions or reservations and joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear State. Any insinuations regarding a change in his country’s non-nuclear status, as well as its noncompliance with obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, are unfounded. Highlighting the international community’s collective responsibility to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, he outlined specific steps and stressed that the international community must reduce nuclear risk and make nuclear disarmament a multilateral and irreversible process. It must ensure the swift entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; give new impetus to the process of creating nuclear-weapon-free zones; and consider developing a universal legally binding agreement whereby nuclear-weapon States grant non-nuclear weapons State unequivocal and unconditional assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
ESAM O. BEN ZITUN (Libya), underlining how the existence of nuclear weapons is a latent destructive threat for humanity, said the Review Conference will allow for assessing progress in achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. In that regard, he urged that past outcome documents be carefully taken into account. Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee that they will not be used, he stressed, calling for activating disarmament processes, including the Disarmament Conference, which unfortunately is at a stalemate due to a lack of political will. Urgent measures must be taken so that the Conference can undertake its mandated role, a call made by the Non-Aligned Movement and like-minded countries for some time. Countries must foster the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s universality by calling on nuclear weapons States to uphold their article VI obligations and progressively reduce their nuclear stockpiles. He also called for balanced, non-discriminatory implementation of the Treaty’s three pillars. Expressing support for the establishment of nuclear weapons-free zones, he recalled Assembly resolution 63/546, which urged the Secretary-General to hold a conference for negotiating a treaty that would create such a zone in the Middle East. He urged all parties to participate in this conference.
BRIAN WALLACE (Jamaica) stressed that “nuclear weapons should not exist in the future we want to bequeath to our children.” He continued that “to put it bluntly, a nuclear weapon detonation whether by accident, design or miscalculation, can eliminate countries like Jamaica from the face of the planet”. Nuclear weapons are the biggest threats to mankind today because they remain under the control of fallible human beings. Not only is it morally indefensible and legally irresponsible to house and spread these weapons, he stressed, but the vast and increasing expenditure in the face of underfunded sustainable development priorities is grossly reprehensible. He further called for advancement on establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in all areas of the world. Stressing that the transboundary movement of radioactive materials through the Caribbean Sea poses a serious threat to the region, he called for a total ban on that practice — as well as agreements with the IAEA to ensure a decreased likelihood of accidents, and for establishing response and emergency rules in the event of a nuclear spill or other incidents. He further called for entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, as well as a ban on fissile materials consistent with article VI of the Treaty — as well as greater cooperation to ensure that nuclear technology is shared, especially with non-nuclear-weapon States, to enhance their development.
VICTORIA LIETA LIOLOCHA (Democratic Republic of the Congo) emphasized that the full, non-discriminatory and balanced implementation of the three pillars of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is crucial for maintaining that instrument’s credibility, achieving its objectives and maintaining international peace and security. Underscoring that the best way to avoid the humanitarian consequences of nuclear-weapon detonation — even if accidental in nature — is to totally eliminate such weapons, she detailed several national efforts, including speaking out on the need to fill the legal vacuum relating to nuclear weapons and ratifying the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Treaty of Pelindaba. The Democratic Republic of the Congo also signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons — which complements the Non-Proliferation Treaty — and she urged countries that have not yet done so to sign and ratify that 2017 instrument. She added that the implementation of disarmament commitments will allow more resources to be allocated to sustainable development and to preventative efforts to address health emergencies.
CARLOS AMORIN (Uruguay), associating himself with Canada on behalf of a group of States on gender, said his country — faithful to its pacifist vocation — reaffirmed its unshakeable commitment to strengthening the disarmament regime. The international community must redouble its efforts, without losing sight of the ultimate objective of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons in an irreversible, verifiable and transparent manner. In the meantime, there must be a legally binding guarantee from nuclear-weapon States foregoing the use or threat of use of those weapons — which continues to hang over the world, and is a crime against humanity. Expressing concern over the stalemate on article VI obligations, he noted that some countries are even updating their arsenals and increasing spending. The five permanent Security Council members should reaffirm their statement of January that a nuclear war must never be fought because it cannot be won. With the developing world less developed under the COVID-19 pandemic, he called for funds to be allocated to development rather than towards a new arms race. He cited the Treaty of Tlatelolco — the first nuclear-weapon-free zone in a densely populated territory — which inspired other zones in the South Pacific, South-East Asia, Africa and Central Asia, with a zone covering the Middle East hopefully in the offing as well.
MAJID TAKHT RAVANCHI (Iran), noting that certain nuclear-weapon States appear to have in practice put aside their nuclear disarmament obligations, said the United States has recently increased the role and number of its nuclear weapons and that modernization costs around $1.2 trillion. The United Kingdom has announced its intention to develop and build 80 new nuclear warheads. As well, France is spending billions of euros to gradually augment and upgrade its nuclear weapons and their launch platforms. The Review Conference’s top priority and objective should be to change the status quo and eliminate the risks of nuclear weapons. Non-nuclear-weapon States are adhering to their non-proliferation undertakings, except for a few European parties, including Germany which hosts many nuclear weapons in its territory. Iran, as a steadfast supporter of nuclear disarmament, is equally committed to nuclear non-proliferation, and supports the non-discriminatory and impartial implementation of the IAEA safeguards system, he said.
He went on to state that due to the application of double standards in enforcing non-proliferation provisions, “the Zionist regime’s” nuclear weapons, developed with the United States’ support, continue to pose a serious threat to the security of Middle East States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. That terrorist regime has assassinated several innocent nuclear scientists and has threatened to attack his country’s safeguarded peaceful nuclear facilities, he added, urging the Review Conference to promptly address the threat posed by the Israeli regime. On nuclear negotiations, he said that while his country was implementing its nuclear commitments under the nuclear deal, the United States withdrew from it in May 2018 and subsequently reimposed sanctions on his country. Since April 2021, Iran has negotiated in good faith to resume the deal’s full implementation. It will cease its remedial actions and resume the full implementation of its nuclear-related measures in accordance with the 2015 agreement when the United States decides to give assurance that Iran will enjoy the promised economic benefits in the accord, he said.
ABIODUN RICHARDS ADEJOLA (Nigeria), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group, the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative and the Group of 156 countries on the Humanitarian Consequences of nuclear weapons, said non-nuclear weapons States must be assured against the threat or impact of the deployment of nuclear weapons under a legally binding framework. He welcomed nuclear-weapon States’ gestures to reduce their stockpile of those weapons, while pointing out that his country’s highest expectation is for those States to wholly eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Nuclear-weapon-free zones are practical steps towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, he pointed out. The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, demonstrates the continent’s will in that regard, he said, voicing full support for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones across all regions, including in the Middle East.
OMAR KADIRI (Morocco), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, African Group and the Arab Group, said his country has always been actively engaged in regional and international disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. In accordance with its commitment to combat against all forms of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, it has adopted a Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, and has also endorsed the Declaration of Principles of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. In accordance with its commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, his country has ratified the Pelindaba Treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa. The establishment of such a zone in the Middle East is fundamental to peace and security in that region and is most urgently needed. Morocco has set up a regulatory authority for the safety and security of nuclear and radioactive materials and has a renowned nuclear science and technology research centre. In partnership with the IAEA, it is working to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
LUIS ANTONIO LAM PADILLA (Guatemala) reiterated the importance of the mutually reinforcing pillars of the Treaty, expressing concern that countries are upgrading their arsenals and developing new kinds of weapons, even amid the complex global security scenario and ongoing effects of COVID-19. “Nuclear weapons are a crime against humanity and a violation of international law,” he said, including international humanitarian law and the Charter of the United Nations. The only guarantee against their use is their elimination in a verifiable, transparent manner within a specified timeframe. He welcomed the holding of the first meeting of States parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Guatemala is a promoter of nuclear-weapon-free zones, he said, welcoming the conference on the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East and calling on States in the region to negotiate a treaty for that zone. He denounced the Russian Federation’s illegal and unjustified aggression against Ukraine, acknowledging the volatile situation in Ukraine around the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia plants, creating disturbances in the exclusion zone and posing a severe threat to nuclear security. He called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and returning control of these plants to Ukraine. He expressed regret over the lack of progress in disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. “We should not settle for simple repetitions of commitments made at previous meetings,” he said. “As States parties to the Treaty, we are in the right place to exercise the responsibility we have to protect peace and security for the benefit of future generations.”
RYTIS PAULAUSKAS (Lithuania), aligning himself with the European Union, said that the Russian Federation’s aggressive, irresponsible nuclear rhetoric directly contradicts its role as a permanent member of the Security Council and its aggression poses a serious threat to the safety and security of Ukrainian nuclear facilities. He urged the Russian Federation to cease its dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behaviour immediately, including by withdrawing its military and other personnel from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Further, the Russian Federation has violated the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, under which nuclear-weapon States committed to respect Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and existing borders. The Memorandum also gave security assurances to Belarus after it declared its territory nuclear-free in 1990. Also of concern is Belarus’ irresponsible statements expressing its readiness to host Russian nuclear weapons on its territory, which would run contrary to Belarus’ obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear State. In addition, he called on China to demonstrate responsibility and join nuclear-arms-control talks; Iran to return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with its obligations under relevant instruments.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, addressed statements by certain delegations “feigning concern over nuclear facilities in Ukraine” about the presence of Russian Federation military forces at the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plants. Those activities in no way undermine nuclear security in Ukraine, as the military is guarding the power plants to prevent Ukrainian nationalist groups and foreign mercenaries from carrying out nuclear provocations which would have catastrophic consequences. He cited an incident on 24 March when Ukrainian saboteurs fired from a building adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia plant. Rebuffed by military forces, the saboteurs then set the building on fire; Western media, at Ukraine’s instigation, claimed the fire was the result of Russian Federation shelling. On 9 March, Ukraine blew up the power lines for the cooling system on the Chernobyl territory, with Russian Federation forces then connecting it to backup diesel generators. On 27 April, he noted, an unmanned aerial vehicle attack on the Zaporizhzhia plant used Polish made aerial systems — which could qualify as Warsaw abetting nuclear terrorism. Citing further attacks on 18 July and 20 July, he stressed that Ukraine is trying to set the stage for a nuclear catastrophe. The Russian Federation regularly informs the IAEA of such incidents and has photographic and video evidence to confirm them. He further noted that it is not the Russian Federation that is preventing access by Agency inspectors.
The representative of the Ukraine reminded his Russian Federation colleague that it is not Ukrainian forces on Russian Federation territory, but vice versa. His country does not require protection of its nuclear facilities from those forces, as it has its own capabilities for that purpose. He recalled Resolution ES-11/1 adopted during the eleventh emergency session of the General Assembly, which deplored in the strongest terms the aggression of the Russian Federation in violation of Article II of Charter of the United Nations, demanding that State withdraw all its forces from Ukrainian territory. The overwhelming majority of the General Assembly voted in favour. He called on the Russian Federation’s delegate not to deny the undeniable or justify the unjustifiable, and end its temporary occupation.