Nuclear non-proliferation Treaty - 2010 Review
Key priorities for the May 2010 NPT Review Conference.
A dedicated website has been set up on this subject : FranceTNP2010.
The NPT is the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime; it is a critical and irreplaceable instrument for our collective security, which enjoys the support of virtually all States. It provides all countries with mutual benefits in terms of security, stability and development. It is in the interest of all countries to support the Treaty and strengthen it.
The 2010 Review Conference comes at a decisive time for the nuclear non-proliferation regime; a time of unprecedented threats and challenges, but a time of real opportunities as well: significant challenges, with major proliferation crises and greater risks of nuclear and radioactive terrorism; real opportunities, with new prospects for disarmament, as testified to by the major agreement just signed by the United States and Russia (new START treaty), and the growing demand for civil nuclear energy.
The Review Conference is not an end in itself, but it is indisputably a key milestone on the path that, we hope, will lead to a new and safer nuclear order in the coming years, with fewer nuclear weapons, reduced nuclear proliferation and terrorism risks, and responsible and sustainable development of nuclear energy.
Our primary objective for the Review Conference should be to consolidate the international community’s support for the NPT, at a time when it is weakened and put to the test by major proliferation crises.
Secondly, the Review Conference should be an opportunity for us to demonstrate the relevance of the NPT Review process : we must ensure that the Review Conference deals effectively with the today’s most urgent challenges.
Thirdly, the Review Conference should strengthen the Treaty, comprehensively and ambitiously, while remaining realistic. We would like the Review Conference to adopt a balanced and concrete short-term action plan, balancing rights, responsibilities and actions on all three pillars of the Treaty, thereby allowing us to make progress on all aspects in the next few years. France, together with its partners from the European Union, has made several proposals to this end. France is ready to work actively with any country interested in ensuring the success of the Review Conference and making real progress along the road to a safer world.
France is strongly committed to seeking a safer world for all and to creating with all States the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the goals of the NPT. It would like the Review Conference to uphold this commitment officially.
France has paved the way in this area. It has always kept its nuclear arsenal at the lowest possible level, in keeping with the principle of strict sufficiency, and it has done more than any other nuclear weapon state: France was the first country to ratify the CTBT, together with the United Kingdom, back in 1998; it ended the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons in 1996; it dismantled all of its nuclear testing and production sites; it has eliminated half of its nuclear arsenal since the end of the Cold War, with a further reduction in 2008; it has dismantled it ground-to-ground missile system, it is the only country in the world to have made public the total size of its nuclear arsenal (less than 300 nuclear warheads); its doctrine strictly limits the role of nuclear weapons, restricting their use to deterrence and extreme circumstances of self-defence. Thus, France has demonstrated its attachment to implementation of its disarmament obligations under Article VI of the Treaty and of the guidelines from the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences (including the 2000 13 practical steps).
Convinced that similar practical steps by all Nuclear Weapon States will increase international security and its own security, France has come up with ambitious proposals for the pursuit of disarmament, which were also adopted by the European Union.
We are seeking real disarmament, in word and deed. It is important for the Review Conference to agree on practical steps that can be taken in the short term, taking into account previous efforts, the objectively different situations of the Nuclear Weapon States, as well as the strategic context. This is necessary not to disappoint the expectations being expressed today, but to turn them into concrete steps towards a safer world instead.
More specifically, the Review Conference should promote continuing reductions in the total nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia, which are generally estimated to account for 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons. France welcomes the signature of the new START treaty as an important step in this direction. The Review Conference should also promote an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and the dismantling of nuclear testing sites and fissile material production facilities, which is a key measure for building confidence and ensuring sustainable disarmament.
The Review Conference should also support efforts to enhance transparency and confidence-building measures by all Nuclear Weapon States. France welcomed the first meeting with the other Nuclear Weapon States held on this topic in September 2009.
But, as stressed by Article VI of the NPT, and as recalled by the 13 Steps, disarmament is not solely the responsibility of Nuclear Weapon States.
We need to strengthen the multilateral framework, by having all of the States that have yet to do so ratify the CTBT, especially the Annex 2 States, which need to ratify the Treaty so that it can enter into force, and by immediately negotiating a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament.
The Review Conference should also state that all States need to contribute to disarmament by creating the appropriate security environment, by easing regional tensions, acting to promote collective security and making progress on all aspects of disarmament, so that nuclear disarmament does not lead to an arms race in other areas. France has made several proposals for this purpose, such as a ban on an entire category of weapons (short- and intermediate-range ground-to-ground missiles).
We must take prompt action to meet the challenges of nuclear proliferation. Non-proliferation is a critical and unconditional security objective. Furthermore, proliferation threatens to hamper progress on the other Treaty objectives of disarmament and promoting nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The fight against proliferation is a security imperative for everyone.
We are facing two major nuclear proliferation crises with Iran and North Korea, which threaten not only their regional environments, but international security and the nuclear non-proliferation regime as well, jeopardising the authority of the Security Council and the IAEA. France, together with its partners in the Six, sought dialogue tirelessly and made several ambitious proposals to Iran. It is imperative for the Review Conference to address the cases of these two countries, which are violating their nuclear non-proliferation commitments, and to agree on the need to make a firm response to them. The credibility of the NPT is at stake.
The Review Conference should also allow States Party to the Treaty to agree on means to reinforce the international architecture for preventing proliferation. It is critical to provide active support for the IAEA and to give it the authority and resources that it needs to perform its critical verification tasks, under the Additional Protocol in particular. The Review Conference should support universal implementation of this instrument, which the IAEA deems to be critical for the performance of its tasks. The Additional Protocol has already been signed by 126 States. Those that have yet to sign should do so, since civil nuclear energy can only be built on confidence.
The most sensitive fuel-cycle technologies (enrichment and reprocessing), which could be used for both military and civilian purposes, warrant special attention. The Review Conference should recognise the sensitive nature of these technologies and institute tighter control of exports in this area.
It is also important to improve practical prevention of proliferation through closer operational corporation to stem proliferation trafficking and financing.
France also supports the development of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones, established in accordance with the 1999 UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) guidelines. France is party to the protocols of the Treaty of Tlatelolco (ratified in 1974 and 1992), the Treaty of Rarotonga (ratified in 1996) and the Treaty of Pelindaba (ratified in 1996). Within this framework, France has provided treaty-based security assurances to nearly one hundred States. France is willing to work on resolving the outstanding issues concerning certain treaties. In a unilateral statement made in 1995, France also provided security assurances to all States parties to the NPT, as noted by United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 984 (1995).
PEACEFUL USES OF NUCLEAR ENERGY
As stressed by the President of the French Republic, civil nuclear energy can be the cement for new forms of solidarity. The NPT is a collective security instrument, but it also enshrines a plan for shared peace and prosperity. One of the critical illustrations of this is Article IV and the right to peaceful use that it upholds.
We are seeing growth of demand for nuclear energy, especially in developing countries. This crucial energy source for the future may enable us to contribute to meeting the challenge of climate change and contribute to energy security and sustainable development. France is willing to cooperate in this area with any country that complies with its international obligations, especially its nuclear non-proliferation obligations. Accordingly, France has signed nine cooperation agreements since 2008.
The Review Conference must respond to this legitimate demand. It is critical for the Review Conference to encourage responsible and sustainable development of civil nuclear energy under the best safety, security and non-proliferation conditions. Supplier countries need to reaffirm their willingness to cooperate fully for this purpose.
More specifically, we need to ensure that all of the countries that live up to their non-proliferation obligations have full access to nuclear energy and are able to establish the legal, human, technological and financial frameworks required to develop it under the best conditions. With these issues in mind, France organised an International Conference on Access to Civil Nuclear Energy in Paris on 8 and 9 March 2010. Training is an especially important issue in this area. Therefore, the President of the French Republic spoke at the Conference and proposed setting up an international nuclear energy institute.
The IAEA’s role needs to be underpinned, especially in technical cooperation, where France provides major support.
The Review Conference is also an appropriate opportunity for reaffirming mutual agreement on the main principles guiding and facilitating the development of nuclear energy. France, together with several other partners wishing to work together beyond the conventional divisions, will make proposals in this regard in the form of a working paper submitted to the Review Conference.
The Review Conference should also promote new international cooperation mechanisms with regard to the nuclear fuel cycle, in the form of multilateral arrangements to ensure the reliability of nuclear fuel supplies.
We need to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime by promoting its universality. France continues to urge all States that are not parties to the NPT to sign the Treaty and, in the meantime, to apply its provisions and to adhere to the relevant disarmament and non-proliferation instruments.
More specifically, France is strongly committed to the implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East. France’s contribution has been its tireless action for peace, security and cooperation in the Middle East over the last fifteen years, its efforts to respond to proliferation crises, particularly the case of Iran, and its efforts to promote multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament instruments. These efforts should continue. Therefore, France proposes that the Review Conference take up implementation of the 1995 resolution with a specific, practical and realistic plan of action.
The NPT is our common asset. In view of the possible implications of a withdrawal from the NPT, we have a natural responsibility, in our capacity as States party to the NPT, to address the issues relating to withdrawal from the NPT. The precedent established by North Korea has demonstrated the risks of abusing the withdrawal procedure and the lack of a satisfactory response from the international community. The right of withdrawal is a sovereign right, which must not be questioned. Obviously, there can be no question of amending Article X of the NPT. However, the Review Conference could spell out in greater detail the procedures and consequences of withdrawal in order to prevent potential abuses. Together with our European partners, we would like this issue to be addressed within the framework of the third subsidiary body proposed by the President-designate of the Review Conference.