NATO and the New Agenda Coalition
Building a Bridge
Presentation for the Ottawa Policy Roundtable
The Non-Proliferation Treaty and Canada’s Nuclear Weapons Policies
February 27, 2004
On the plane coming to Ottawa yesterday I read a story in the New York Times about a group of environmental scientists called “Bridging the Rift” which have established an environmental studies center on the border between Jordan and Israel. The center, developed with the assistance of two US universities, Cornell and Stanford, will straddle the frontier opening up to academics and students from across the divide in this conflict torn region. Mr Mati Kochavi, an Israeli businessman who pioneered the project, said that “The idea is to remove part of the border and create a free education zone. Very few people in these two countries talk to each other and we want to start by speaking the common language of science and then we will build the language of cooperation and partnership.”
In a region where security is too often erroneously pursued by building walls or destroying the lives of those perceived as different and threatening, this project of “Bridging the Rift’ demonstrates that there are ways we can open up communication and collaboration in a way that could develop genuine security and peace.
This example of creative bridge building, in difficult times between peoples who have very different experiences and perspectives of the conflict, is similar to what the Middle Powers Initiative was envisaging, but in the nuclear weapons policy arena, when it was formed in March 1998.
There are a range of different perspectives and political realities relating to nuclear weapons that have prevented agreement on comprehensive nuclear disarmament and allowed nuclear proliferation, both horizontal and vertical, to continue. These include, just to highlight a few, differences between the US and Russia on NATO expansion, between the US and China on Taiwan and missile defense, between Israel and many Arab States on WMD and the peace process, between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, between the NWS and NAM on a timeline for nuclear disarmament, between the NWS and non-NWS on general security assurances, between the US and North Korea on specific security assurances, between Iran and nuclear advanced States on nuclear technology sharing, between States with advanced missile systems and those without on missile technology control, between potential WMD proliferators and others on the legitimacy of interceptions of shipments, between the NWS and the NWFZs on transit of deployed nuclear weapons through the zones, between NAM and NATO on NATO nuclear sharing arrangements, between NWS and non-NWS on the legality of current nuclear doctrine and practice, and I could go on.
These differences are summarized in the draft policy paper “The Non-Proliferation Treaty and Canada’s Nuclear Weapons Policies”, which notes that “The polarization of the nuclear debate between the NWS, which tend to focus on non-proliferation at the expense of disarmament, and the NNWS, most of which tend to focus on disarmament at the expense of non-proliferation, is a major impediment to progress.”
However, between these poles are groups of other States including members of NATO and the New Agenda Coalition. These States which occupy positions more towards the centre of the nuclear debate may be able to bridge the gap between the NWS, the NNWS and the nuclear capable states, thus enabling comprehensive and sustainable non-proliferation and disarmament to occur.
The possibility of success through bridging the divergent and polarized positions is demonstrated by the NPT which is itself a product of negotiations which encompassed a range of perspectives and included a balance of obligations to reflect these. The key bargain of course is that between the non-nuclear weapon States which agreed not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, and the NWS which agreed to pursue negotiations leading to complete nuclear disarmament.
A key to the successful negotiation of the NPT was the role played by ‘middle power countries’ such as Canada and Ireland, which had themselves given up the nuclear option but faced countries on the one side which already possessed nuclear weapons and were in no hurry to give them up, and those on the other side which did not possess nuclear weapons but may have had fledgling nuclear programs or intentions to hold onto the option in order to provide themselves with security against those who did possess nuclear weapons.
The type of bridge building which helped bring about the NPT in 1970 is required even more today as new conflicts and differences threaten the non-proliferation regime and the NPT itself. The Middle Powers Initiative was formed in March 1998 to encourage middle power countries to collaborate in such bridge building endeavours.
MPI’s concerns about the instability of the non-proliferation regime were highlighted by the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in May 1998. Our belief in the value of middle power countries working together was shared by number of countries including Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, Aotearoa-New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden, who released a foreign ministers’ statement in June 1998 calling for a new agenda for nuclear disarmament. This was the kernel for the New Agenda Coalition, which has played a bridging role between NWS, allies of the NWS and non-NWS since then.
New Agenda Coalition
The 1998 NAC foreign ministers’ declaration (Appendix I) was an attempt to bridge the divergent approaches to nuclear disarmament of the NWS and their allies, which favoured a step-by-step approach, and the NAM which favoured a comprehensive approach. The NAC agenda focused on concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament consistent with the step-by-step approach, but placed these within a comprehensive dimension indicating that multiple steps could be taken simultaneously, and that each step must lead towards to ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament. Unlike NAM however, the NAC program did not set down time limits. The NAC approach was also an attempt to bring the nuclear-capable states into the process by combining nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation aims.
1998 UNGA resolution
The 1998 NAC resolution (Appendix II) embodied the main elements and approaches of the June NAC foreign ministers’ statement. An indication of the potential of NAC to play a bridging role was the vote of the NATO countries. Where-as NATO countries tend to oppose resolutions on comprehensive disarmament favouring instead the step-by-step approach, on the NAC resolution most did not oppose but instead abstained.
2000 UNGA resolution
In 2000 NAC opted to use its draft resolution (appendix III) not to affirm the disarmament program proposed in the 1998 foreign ministers’ statement as was done in the 1998 UNGA resolution, but rather to affirm the program of action agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference (Appendix IV). As a result the UK, USA, China and all of the NATO States except France supported the resolution and only India, Pakistan and Israel opposed (their opposition likely due to the call for unconditional adherence of all states to the NPT).
2002 UNGA resolutions
In 2002 NAC introduced two resolutions, an omnibus resolution (Appendix V) similar to that in 1998, and a resolution focusing specifically on non-strategic nuclear weapons (Appendix VI). The omnibus resolution found greater support than the one in 1998 with a number of Eastern European countries switching from opposition to abstention and some key countries like Canada and China moving from abstention to support.
The resolution on non-strategic nuclear weapons did gain any support from NATO States but did find support from some European countries including Austria, Finland, Liechtenstein and San Marino as well as cosponsors Ireland and Sweden.
2003 UNGA resolutions
In 2003 NAC again introduced an omnibus resolution (Appendix VII) and a resolution on non-strategic weapons (Appendix VIII). In spite of changes to the resolution to accommodate some of the NATO concerns, the voting pattern was similar to 2002.
The role of Canada and other NATO States as bridge builders
I would like to comment on the role of Canada and other NATO states in the bridge building process. I am speaking from the perspective of an NGO from a New Agenda country and so my comments are very much from the outside – as opposed to the perspective of an NGO or official from Canada or other NATO country, both of whom would know a lot more about the policies and practices of Canada and NATO. However, I have had the fortune of being included in a number of MPI delegations which have met repeatedly over the past five years with officials, parliamentarians and NGOs in Canada and other NATO countries to discuss the New Agenda proposals. I was also fortunate to be on the New Zealand delegation to the 2000 NPT review Conference when our ambassador Clive Pearson chaired the subsidiary body which negotiated the program of action for disarmament including the 13 practical steps.
The achievement of the program of action agreed at the 2000 NPT review conference, including the unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, was a phenomenal accomplishment given the polarized perspectives leading up to the 2000 Review. The agreement has provided a base for States to take action on aspects of nuclear disarmament rather than just continue debating what should be done – though of course the debate does not stop there.
A key factor in achieving the 2000 agreement was the multiple bridging roles played by both the New Agenda Coalition and key NATO States including Canada, Norway, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands (the NATO five). NAC was able to encourage the non-nuclear weapon States, in particular those in NAM, to compromise on some of their nuclear disarmament demands and to accept the need for increased focus on non-proliferation in return for the acceptance by the NWS of their disarmament obligations, something which the NATO States were instrumental in achieving.
United Nations General Assembly
In September 1998 when the New Agenda drafted its initial UNGA resolution careful attention was given to shaping the resolution in a way that would call attention to the need for disarmament steps, but would do so in a way that would engage rather than distance the NWS and which could therefore find support from NATO states. Unfortunately some of the NWS reacted negatively indicating they would oppose the resolution. This led most NATO States to initially perceive the resolution as non-constructive and prepare to vote against the resolution. Canada, to its credit, recognized the intention of the NAC and worked with NAC and MPI to persuade NATO that the NAC approach was one of engagement with NWS not condemnation of them, with the result that most NATO states abstained on the resolution.
In 2000, as previously noted, NAC’s draft resolution to the UNGA was aimed at consolidating the agreement reached at the 2000 NPT Review Conference and so was not surprisingly supported by most States.
NAC continued consulting with NATO States in order to address their concerns in their draft resolutions in 2003 and 2003. Specific changes were made in these resolutions such as a greater emphasis on non-proliferation, a better explanation of the need for simultaneous progress on non-proliferation and disarmament, a recognition of the asymmetry between non-strategic nuclear forces stored in Europe and those of Russia, and a greater recognition of the complementarity of bi-lateral, pluri-lateral and multilateral steps.
Canada, again to its credit, moved from abstention to a positive vote for the NAC omnibus resolution. Some other NATO States were, it appears, very close to supporting. In consultations that MPI had with some key NATO States, the key reason given for not supporting was that such support might reduce their influence on the NWS – and in particular the USA – in moving nuclear policy forwards, particularly at the NPT 2005 Review Conference.
However the result of such a stand is that it fails to indicate to the US that:
a) they are not making sufficient progress on nuclear disarmament,
b) some of their policies and actions such as opposition to the CTBT, withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and research and development of new nuclear weapons is detrimental to non-proliferation and disarmament, and
c) the NAC program for disarmament has considerable merit and should be used to stimulate and guide disarmament actions.
MPI will thus continue to encourage NATO States to join Canada in supporting the NAC omnibus resolution.
It was of course a disappointment that none of the NATO States, including Canada, supported the NAC resolution on non-strategic weapons. The fact that the language of the resolution was virtually identical to the language on non-strategic nuclear weapons in the omnibus resolution which Canada supported, indicates that perhaps Canada was reluctant to support for political reasons rather than substantive reasons.
Another arena in which Canada has played a bridge building role is between NATO and non-Nuclear Weapon States which in general are very critical of NATO nuclear policy, in particular NATO nuclear sharing arrangements, and NATO reliance on nuclear weapons in its security policy, including the possible first-use of nuclear weapons.
Canada initiated a nuclear policy review process, the so-called paragraph 32 review, in an attempt to update NATO nuclear policy to current realities, including the implications of the 1996 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion which affirmed the general illegality of the threat of use of nuclear weapons, and subsequently the 13 disarmament steps agreed in 2000.
Unfortunately there seems to have been little actual progress in this review. MPI, and I am certain most non-nuclear countries, would be encouraged if greater attention would be given to this review process and some concrete changes thus made in NATO policy and practice. New political realities, including an increasing independence of European policy from the US, increased parliamentary attention to these issues and growing public concern about the proliferation of nuclear technology could open possibilities for progress on this review.
Prospects for the 2005 NPT
The 2000 NPT Review Conference was successful in developing agreement on many of the steps necessary to the achievement of comprehensive nuclear disarmament. However, the steps were very general and no indication was given of timelines for the implementation of each step, or which steps would be more feasible in the near term, which in the medium term and which in the long-term.
Key tasks leading up to the 2005 NPT Review Conference include:
a) to determine which steps hold the political opportunity for the greatest amount of progress,
b) to develop in greater detail what is required for implementation of these steps,
c) to ensure that implementation on these steps begins, and
d) to build the basis for agreement in 2005 on the program of action for the next five years.
Much of this is being developed through working papers, reports and statements presented to the NPT Preparatory Committee meetings, some of which I will recall here with my comments and recommendations.
Canada initiated a process at the 2002 NPT Prep-Com to encourage implementation of transparency and accountability obligations by the development of guidelines for reporting by all States at NPT Prep Coms and review Conferences. States responded favourably at the 2003 Prep Com with many making reports on activities they were undertaking in order to fulfill their NPT obligations. At the 2003 Conference, there was also the beginning of an interactivity process, whereby States could question others on their reports. This is a positive development that should be supported and extended.
The UK reported on its ongoing study on the verification of nuclear disarmament, a study prompted by their assumptions that the UK will at some stage be engaged in negotiations for complete nuclear disarmament, that in order to succeed, verification processes, mechanisms and capabilities will be required, and that starting work on these verification elements now will aid the negotiations.
Non-nuclear States could indicate an interest in collaborating with the UK especially in the study and development of multilateral verification measures. This could help pave the way for negotiations on disarmament steps, just as work by the ad hoc experts group in Geneva on verification of nuclear tests helped pave the way for negotiations on the CTBT.
The New Agenda introduced a working paper on security assurances, noting that “The negotiation of legally binding security assurances within the NPT umbrella would provide a significant benefit to the Treaty parties and would be seen as an incentive to those who remain outside the NPT.” Just as important, the negotiation of security assurances would provide an incentive to non-nuclear States to remain in the NPT, without which they might consider withdrawing for reasons of national security.
The lack of adequate security assurances was a primary reason given by North Korea for their decision to withdraw from the NPT.
NPT Emergency Mechanism
The NPT, unlike the CTBT and the CWC, has no mechanisms to deal with non-compliance or breakout. Germany suggested that there should be a mechanism to deal with any State intending to withdraw from the NPT. This is a useful proposal and deserves further consideration, but perhaps it should go further. Consideration should be given to the establishment of a mechanism that could deal with any NPT compliance crisis – whether that be a threat of horizontal proliferation or a threat of vertical proliferation (such as the resumption of nuclear testing or development of new nuclear weapons).
Nuclear Weapons Convention
At the 2000 NPT Review Conference, Malaysia and Costa Rica submitted a working paper on elements of a Nuclear Weapons Convention. While there is no expectation that states will be ready to begin negotiations on a NWC in the near future, preparatory work on elements of a NWC would be helpful to:
a) develop a better idea of the steps required to reach the final destination of a NWC,
b) consider which elements of those steps can be developed currently or in the near future, and
c) be prepared for when a window of opportunity arises to begin such negotiations. Without such preparation we could lose the opportunity if it does arise.
The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade took the initiative of supporting a roundtable meeting in January 2002 on the topic of “Legal and Technical Aspects of Complete Nuclear Disarmament” using the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention (UN Document A/C.1/55/7 (1997) to explore the future requirements of a regime for the effective and verified reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons. Such preparatory work for a NWC could be the subject of a follow-up working paper for the 2005 NPT review conference.
2005 program of action
In 1998 and 1999, prospects for a successful 2000 NPT review conference seemed very dim, with a number of developments threatening the NPT including the Iraq situation, US withdrawal from the ABM and the failure of the NPT preparatory committee meetings to reach agreement on recommendations to go to the 2000 Review Conference. The fact that the 2000 review conference was successful in generating an agreed program of action, may be in part due to bridging initiatives including a consultation, between delegations of the NWS and non-NWS, hosted by former US president Jimmy Carter in early 2000. Consideration should be given to the possibility of a similar diplomatic initiative, possibly hosted by a respected middle power government such as Canada, if the prospect of a successful 2005 Review Conference is looking bleak following the 2004 Preparatory Meeting.
Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education
The development of public awareness of disarmament and non-proliferation issues is vital in order to develop the political will in governments to take significant nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament steps. The lack of US public awareness of the benefits of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program in the US, for example, has led to a downgrading of the program by the US government. In India and Pakistan, a low level of public awareness about the effects of nuclear weapons and the history of near-nuclear conflicts such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, has contributed to widespread support for their governments’ acquisition of nuclear weapons. Thus, the working paper on disarmament and non-proliferation education introduced by Egypt, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Poland and Sweden is important and deserves wider attention and support.
Non-proliferation outside the NPT: Proliferation Security Initiative
The lack of sufficient mechanisms within the NPT to deal with compliance and breakout, the fact that the NPT has not achieved universality, and the fact that recent events have indicated a growing risk from proliferation of nuclear technology and other WMD materials, has lead some States to jointly establish a Proliferation Security Initiative. There is considerable concern by States outside the PSI that this could be used in a discriminatory manner, in a manner inconsistent with international law and in ways that heighten the conflicts between the NWS, nuclear threshold states and others, and possibly lead to armed conflict. The validity of at least one of these concerns was indicated by PSI member Australia when the foreign minister Alexander Downer noted that:
"[there is a] very real difficulty in terms of vessels that might be going through the high seas because international law requires that those ships should not be intercepted," and that “[there might therefore] need to be some change to international law to facilitate these types of interdictions, to stop illicit trade."
Middle power countries involved in the PSI, such as Canada and Germany, could thus play an important bridging role by ensuring that the PSI:
a) operates according to strict principles consistent with international law,
b) is applied in a non-discriminatory way,
c) reinforces the verification and compliance mechanisms in multilateral agreements such as the NPT, CWC, CTBTO [and BWC], and
d) reinforces global norms and commitments to disarmament as well as non-proliferation
I have recommended a number of initiatives which could be taken by middle power countries such as Canada. There are definite political risks in taking some of these initiatives. In New Zealand, for example, we experienced some dismay from our allies for our decisions to prohibit nuclear weapons from entering our harbours, eliminate our air force strike capability in deference to upgrading our peacekeeping capabilities, and for opposing the use of force against Iraq. However, in my opinion, the benefits to our country in placing a greater emphasis on nuclear disarmament, building security through the United Nations and support for international law have more than offset the political difficulties encountered when we have differed with our friends on some issues. In fact, the quality of engagement with our friends is probably much better when we accept that we may sometimes have differences and can learn from these than if our engagement is purely on the basis of political expediency.
In conclusion I would like to return to the idea of building a bridge between the different political realities and perspectives in order that we can move together towards a nuclear weapons free world. Such a bridge requires a range of specialists. Some lay the foundations. Others work on the arches. Some need to work to connect one of the banks. Others need to work to connect the other bank. All of the builders need to encourage the reluctant states to cross the bridge. I hope that the ideas and discussions of this roundtable can help us collectively and speedily build a bridge to a nuclear weapons free world before it is too late and we get swept away by uncontrollable proliferation, conflict between countries with rapidly diverging perspectives on nuclear proliferation or a disastrous slip into nuclear war.
A Nuclear-Weapons-Free World: The Need for a New Agenda,
Joint Declaration by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden, 9 June 1998
1. We, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden have considered the continued threat to humanity represented by the perspective of the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by the nuclear-weapon States, as well as by those three nuclear-weapons-capable States that have not acceded to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the attendant possibility of use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. The seriousness of this predicament has been further underscored by the recent nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan.
2. We fully share the conclusion expressed by the commissioners of the Canberra Commission in their Statement that 'the proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used - accidentally or by decision - defies credibility. The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and assurance that they will never be produced again.'
3. We recall that the General Assembly of the United Nations already in January 1946 - in its very first resolution - unanimously called for a commission to make proposals for 'the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.' While we can rejoice at the achievement of the international community in concluding total and global prohibitions on chemical and biological weapons by the Conventions of 1972 and 1993, we equally deplore the fact that the countless resolutions and initiatives which have been guided by similar objectives in respect of nuclear weapons in the past half century remain unfulfilled.
4. We can no longer remain complacent at the reluctance of the nuclear-weapon States and the three nuclear-weapons-capable States to take that fundamental and requisite step, namely a clear commitment to the speedy, final and total elimination of their nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons capability and we urge them to take that step now.
5. The vast majority of the membership of the United Nations has entered into legally-binding commitments not to receive, manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. These undertakings have been made in the context of the corresponding legally binding commitments by the nuclear-weapon States to the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. We are deeply concerned at the persistent reluctance of the nuclear-weapon States to approach their Treaty obligations as an urgent commitment to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons.
6. In this connection we recall the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice in its 1996 Advisory Opinion that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.
7. The international community must not enter the third millennium with the prospect that the maintenance of these weapons will be considered legitimate for the indefinite future, when the present juncture provides a unique opportunity to eradicate and prohibit them for all time. We therefore call on the governments of each of the nuclear-weapon States and the three nuclear-weapons-capable States to commit themselves unequivocally to the elimination of their respective nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons capability and to agree to start work immediately on the practical steps and negotiations required for its achievement.
8. We agree that the measures resulting from such undertakings leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons will begin with those States that have the largest arsenals. But we also stress the importance that they be joined in a seamless process by those with lesser arsenals at the appropriate juncture. The nuclear-weapon States should immediately begin to consider steps to be taken to this effect.
9. In this connection we welcome both the achievements to date and the future promise of the START process as an appropriate bilateral, and subsequently plurilateral mechanism including all the nuclear-weapon States, for the practical dismantlement and destruction of nuclear armaments undertaken in pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons.
10. The actual elimination of nuclear arsenals, and the development of requisite verification regimes, will of necessity require time. But there are a number of practical steps that the nuclear-weapon States can, and should, take immediately. We call on them to abandon present hair-trigger postures by proceeding to de-alerting and de-activating their weapons. They should also remove non-strategic nuclear weapons from deployed sites. Such measures will create beneficial conditions for continued disarmament efforts and help prevent inadvertent, accidental or unauthorized launches.
11. In order for the nuclear disarmament process to proceed, the three nuclear-weapons-capable States must clearly and urgently reverse the pursuit of their respective nuclear weapons development or deployment and refrain from any actions which could undermine the efforts of the international community towards nuclear disarmament. We call upon them, and all other States that have not yet done so, to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and take the necessary measures which flow from adherence to this instrument. We likewise call upon them to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty without delay and without conditions.
12. An international ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (Cut-Off) would further underpin the process towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons. As agreed in 1995 by the States Parties to the NPT, negotiations on such a convention should commence immediately.
13. Disarmament measures alone will not bring about a world free from nuclear weapons. Effective international cooperation to prevent the proliferation of these weapons is vital and must be enhanced through, inter alia, the extension of controls over all fissile material and other relevant components of nuclear weapons. The emergence of any new nuclear-weapon State, as well as any non-State entity in a position to produce or otherwise acquire such weapons, seriously jeopardises the process of eliminating nuclear weapons.
14. Other measures must also be taken pending the total elimination of nuclear arsenals. Legally binding instruments should be developed with respect to a joint no-first-use undertaking between the nuclear-weapon States and as regards non-use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States, so called negative security assurances.
15. The conclusion of the Treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok and Pelindaba, establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones as well as the Antarctic Treaty have steadily excluded nuclear weapons from entire regions of the world. The further pursuit, extension and establishment of such zones, especially in regions of tension, such as the Middle East and South Asia, represents a significant contribution to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
16. These measures all constitute essential elements which can and should be pursued in parallel: by the nuclear-weapon States among themselves; and by the nuclear-weapon States together with the non-nuclear-weapon States, thus providing a road map towards a nuclear-weapon-free world.
17. The maintenance of a world free of nuclear weapons will require the underpinnings of a universal and multilaterally negotiated legally binding instrument or a framework encompassing a mutually reinforcing set of instruments.
18. We, on our part, will spare no efforts to pursue the objectives outlined above. We are jointly resolved to achieve the goal of a world free from nuclear weapons. We firmly hold that the determined and rapid preparation for the post-nuclear era must start now.
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 53/77 Y
Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda
The General Assembly, Alarmed by the threat to the very survival of mankind posed by the existence of nuclear weapons, Concerned at the prospect of the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons, Concerned also at the continued retention of the nuclear-weapons option by those three States that are nuclear-weapons capable and that have not acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,1 Believing that the proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used accidentally or by decision defies credibility, and that the only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and the assurance that they will never be produced again, Concerned that the nuclear-weapon States have not fulfilled speedily and totally their commitment to the elimination of their nuclear weapons, Concerned also that those three States that are nuclear-weapons capable and that have not acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons have failed to renounce their nuclear-weapons option, Bearing in mind that the overwhelming majority of States entered into legally binding commitments not to receive, manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, and that these undertakings have been made in the context of the corresponding legally binding commitments by the nuclear-weapon States to the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, Recalling the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice in its 1996 advisory opinion that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control, Stressing that the international community must not enter the third millennium with the prospect that the possession of nuclear weapons will be considered legitimate for the indefinite future, and convinced that the present juncture provides a unique opportunity to proceed to prohibit and eradicate them for all time, Recognizing that the total elimination of nuclear weapons will require measures to be taken firstly by those nuclear-weapon States that have the largest arsenals, and stressing that these States must be joined in a seamless process by those nuclear-weapon States with lesser arsenals in the near future, Welcoming the achievements to date and the future promise of the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks process and the possibility it offers for development as a plurilateral mechanism including all the nuclear-weapon States, for the practical dismantling and destruction of nuclear armaments undertaken in pursuit of the elimination of nuclear weapons, Believing that there are a number of practical steps that the nuclear-weapon States can and should take immediately before the actual elimination of nuclear arsenals and the development of requisite verification regimes take place, and, in this connection, noting certain recent unilateral and other steps, Welcoming the agreement recently reached in the Conference on Disarmament on the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee under item 1 of its agenda entitled "Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament", to negotiate, on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator2 and the mandate contained therein, a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, and considering that such a treaty must further underpin the process towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, Emphasizing that, for the total elimination of nuclear weapons to be achieved, effective international cooperation to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons is vital and must be enhanced through, inter alia, the extension of international controls over all fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, Emphasizing also the importance of existing nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties and of the signature and ratification of the relevant protocols to these treaties, Noting the joint ministerial declaration of 9 June 19983 and its call for a new international agenda to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world, through the pursuit, in parallel, of a series of mutually reinforcing measures at the bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral levels,
1. Calls upon the nuclear-weapon States to demonstrate an unequivocal commitment to the speedy and total elimination of their respective nuclear weapons and, without delay, to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to the elimination of these weapons, thereby fulfilling their obligations under article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons;1
2. Calls upon the United States of America and the Russian Federation to bring the Treaty on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II)4 into force without further delay and immediately thereafter to proceed with negotiations on START III with a view to its early conclusion;
3. Calls upon the nuclear-weapon States to undertake the necessary steps towards the seamless integration of all five nuclear-weapon States into the process leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons;
4. Also calls upon the nuclear-weapon States to pursue vigorously the reduction of reliance on non-strategic nuclear weapons and negotiations on their elimination as an integral part of their overall nuclear disarmament activities;
5. Further calls upon the nuclear-weapon States, as an interim measure, to proceed to the de-alerting of their nuclear weapons and, in turn, to the removal of nuclear warheads from delivery vehicles;
6. Urges the nuclear-weapon States to examine further interim measures, including measures to enhance strategic stability and accordingly to review strategic doctrines;
7. Calls upon those three States that are nuclear-weapon capable and that have not yet acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to reverse clearly and urgently the pursuit of all nuclear weapons development or deployment and to refrain from any action which could undermine regional and international peace and security and the efforts of the international community towards nuclear disarmament and the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation;
8. Calls upon those States that have not yet done so to adhere unconditionally and without delay to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to take all the necessary measures which flow from adherence to this instrument;
9. Also calls upon those States that have not yet done so to conclude full-scope safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency and to conclude additional protocols to their safeguards agreements on the basis of the Model Protocol approved by the Board of Governors of the Agency on 15 May 1997;5
10. Further calls upon those States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify, unconditionally and without delay, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty6 and, pending the entry into force of the Treaty, to observe a moratorium on nuclear tests;
11. Calls upon those States that have not yet done so to adhere to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material7 and to work towards its further strengthening;
12. Calls upon the Conference on Disarmament to pursue its negotiations in the Ad Hoc Committee established under item 1 of its agenda entitled "Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament", on the basis of the report of the Special Coordinator2 and the mandate contained therein, of a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, taking into consideration both nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament objectives, and to conclude these negotiations without delay, and, pending the entry into force of the treaty, urges States to observe a moratorium on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
13. Also calls upon the Conference on Disarmament to establish an appropriate subsidiary body to deal with nuclear disarmament and, to that end, to pursue as a matter of priority its intensive consultations on appropriate methods and approaches with a view to reaching such a decision without delay;
14. Considers that an international conference on nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, which would effectively complement efforts being undertaken in other settings, could facilitate the consolidation of a new agenda for a nuclear-weapon-free world;
15. Recalls the importance of the decisions and resolution adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,8 and underlines the importance of implementing fully the decision on strengthening the review process for the Treaty;
16. Affirms that the development of verification arrangements will be necessary for the maintenance of a world free from nuclear weapons, and requests the International Atomic Energy Agency, together with any other relevant international organizations and bodies, to explore the elements of such a system;
17. Calls for the conclusion of an internationally legally binding instrument to effectively assure non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons;
18. Stresses that the pursuit, extension and establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at, especially in regions of tension, such as the Middle East and South Asia, represent a significant contribution to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world;
19. Affirms that a nuclear-weapon-free world will ultimately require the underpinnings of a universal and multilaterally negotiated legally binding instrument or a framework encompassing a mutually reinforcing set of instruments;
20. Requests the Secretary-General, within existing resources, to compile a report on the implementation of the present resolution;
21. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-fourth session an item entitled "Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda", and to review the implementation of the present resolution.
1 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 729, No.10485.
3 A/53/138, annex.
4 The United Nations Disarmament Yearbook, vol. 18: 1993 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.94.IX.1), appendix II.
5 See IAEA/GOV/2914, attachment 1.
6 See resolution 50/245.
7 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1456, No. 24631.
8 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Final Document, Part I (NPT/CONF.1995/32 (Part I)), annex.