The Future of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones Maintaining their
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The Future of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones: Maintaining their Relevance and Expanding their Scope By Sergio Duarte High Representative for Disarmament Affairs United Nations Preparing for 2010: Striking a Balance between Nuclear Disarmament and Nuclear Nonproliferation Hosted by James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies Monterey Institute of International Studies L’Impérial Palace Hotel Annecy, France 7 March 2008 This is a happy occasion for me, for many reasons – having the pleasure of visiting Annecy, having the privilege of meeting with close friends and colleagues in the field of disarmament, and having the opportunity to discuss the future of nuclear-weapon-free zones. I am proud that the world’s first zone in a populated area was established in the region of my birth. For his efforts in the field of disarmament, particularly in concluding the Tlatelolco Treaty – which marked its 40th anniversary last year – Alfonso García Robles received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. Regional arrangements to strengthen international peace and security are, of course, not at all new. They are explicitly recognized in Article 52 of the UN Charter, as well as Article VII of the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT), signed in 1968. A decade later, the General Assembly’s first Special Session on Disarmament recognized the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones as “an important disarmament measure” – its Final Document described their overall goal as “a world entirely free of nuclear weapons”. Obviously, the point of such zones is not simply to regulate nuclear weapons – that is, to make them more secure, or to limit their risk of theft or use, etc. – but instead to advance the goal of eliminating them outright, and this logically also implies: non-proliferation. What do these regimes seek to do? Together they seek nothing less than the strengthening of the emerging global norm against nuclear weapons per se. Since my task today is to look ahead, I will not address many of the important achievements of these zones since Tlatelolco – including their establishment in the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central Asia. I will also not elaborate on other related developments, including Mongolia’s nuclear- weapon-free status, as well as the exclusion of nuclear weapons from deployment on the seabed, in Antarctica, in orbit, and on the moon and other celestial objects. It is gratifying indeed that 112 states have signed treaties establishing the regional zones, and that virtually all the states in the southern hemisphere are parties to such treaties. Such progress speaks for itself. Suffice it to say that nuclear-weapon-free zones are one of the true success stories in the field of disarmament. So, are we at the end of the road of their possible accomplishments? No, not by any means. In the words of the great American poet, Robert Frost, we have miles to go before we sleep. The zones are facing many challenges. These include the lack of more substantial progress in global nuclear disarmament, the dangers from the illicit nuclear market, the risk of nuclear terrorism, the challenge of reliably safeguarding and physically protecting ever-increasing amounts of fissile material, issues concerning nuclear cooperation with non-NPT states, the development of missiles and other delivery vehicles that are nuclear-capable, and the challenge of maintaining or strengthening export controls. These challenges pertain not only to preventing dangers, however, but also to providing common benefits, including the promotion of the many diverse peaceful uses of nuclear energy. I would like to recall here that Article 1 of the Tlatelolco Treaty begins with the words, “The Contracting Parties hereby undertake to use exclusively for peaceful purposes the nuclear material and facilities which are under their 2 jurisdiction”. Similar provisions exist in other such treaties, along with various institutions to ensure or promote such peaceful uses, in cooperation with the IAEA. So these zones feature the same three pillars that support the NPT: disarmament, non- proliferation, and peaceful uses. Unfortunately, this means that the zones also face the same challenges facing the NPT and that can be summarised in the existence of a serious credibility gap. This has to do with the slow pace of nuclear disarmament; the lack of clear commitment coupled with the ever-increasing restrictions being demanded of non-nuclear-weapon states; and the difficult challenges of preventing violations of non-proliferation standards and enforcing such standards if they are violated. For the immediate future, several steps would help these regimes. One such step would include movement toward full universal regional membership in the various zonal treaty regimes – and this applies particularly to Africa, whose Pelindaba Treaty has still not entered into force though it was signed over a decade ago. There are many non-parties to this treaty who vigorously support nuclear disarmament, and the world community would warmly welcome their accession to the treaty. There is also a need for the nuclear-weapon states to complete the process of ratifying the various protocols to these treaties – and this applies specifically to the treaties creating such zones in Africa, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia. It is most regrettable that states which freely agree to create such zones, and relinquish their rights and capabilities to produce nuclear weapons, would still face various potential threats of the use of nuclear weapons. Members of the zones have repeatedly asked the nuclear-weapon signatories to revise the statements they made when they signed the protocols attached to the treaties establishing the zones. These protocols are quite clear with respect to negative security assurances. Nonetheless, some nuclear-weapon states still maintain nuclear doctrines that contain provisos or conditions that allow for the possibility of the use of such against non-nuclear-weapon states – even members of nuclear-weapon- free zones. Persisting concerns over such doctrines have led many states to seek to establish legally-binding and unambiguous nuclear security assurances, which have long been a goal in the Conference on Disarmament, in the UN General Assembly, and also of states participating in the NPT review process. In May 2003, the states comprising the New Agenda Coalition, circulated a Working Paper at the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Process, which contained a proposal for an agreement or protocol to the NPT that would contain such assurances. There is little doubt that efforts to achieve such assurances will continue in the years ahead, as indeed I believe they should. I recall that in 1999, the UN Disarmament Commission adopted a set of guidelines for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. These guidelines included the need for the nuclear-weapon states to “undertake legally binding commitments to the status of the zone and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against States parties to the treaty”. That language was straightforward in intent, adopted by consensus, and remains a worthy goal to pursue. 3 Another forward-looking issue concerns relations between the various regional zones, the focus of the world’s first Conference of States Parties to Nuclear Weapon Free Zones, hosted by the Government of Mexico in April 2005 just before the last NPT Review Conference. Representatives of some 108 states parties attended that event, which succeeded in producing a common Declaration identifying many forward-looking initiatives. Longstanding efforts by Brazil and other states to promote the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere have also sought to deepen the scope of cooperation between the zones. The Mexico City Declaration identified many future initiatives, including – the promotion of universal membership in the NPT, the removal of various reservations or provisos from nuclear security assurances to zone members, the advancement of the norm of full-scope IAEA safeguards, the expansion of cooperation among members of the zones, and the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy – along with strengthened standards for protecting the environment and the transportation of radioactive material. In addition, the Declaration also registered commitments to encourage disarmament and non- proliferation education, and to the establishment of new zones in other regions – in particular, the Middle East and South Asia. In terms of the NPT, I believe that steps toward establishing such a zone in the Middle East will be especially important, given the importance of the Middle East Resolution, adopted at the NPT Review and Extension Conference in 1995, not to mention the strong support this initiative has in the General Assembly, which has adopted over thirty resolutions promoting this goal – and virtually all of these were adopted without a vote. As suggested by the broad scope of the initiatives in the Mexico City Declaration, the challenge facing members of these zones is clearly not to overcome any lack of ambition. Even if only a few of these goals can be achieved in the years ahead, the gains for international peace and security would be impressive and well worth the effort. They would underscore not just the abiding relevance of the regimes, but their very indispensability to the future of the NPT and, arguably, international peace and security as a whole. Yet I have been asked to offer only three specific, practical recommendations for action with respect to the future of these zones. It is a difficult choice among the many options available, but I would offer the following suggestions. First, I would address the issue of cooperation among the zones. I would urge all the states parties to the relevant treaties to share information and periodically meet to adopt common positions and approaches at relevant multilateral meetings, including the various sessions of the NPT Preparatory Committees and Review Conferences, the annual meetings of the First Committee of the General Assembly, and the deliberations within the UN Disarmament Commission. At high-profile forums like regional summits and in statements at the opening of annual sessions of the General Assembly, leaders of these states should proudly point to the successes of the zones to which their nations belong and the need to expand this cooperation to include additional states. The members of these zones are increasingly forming their own common constituency, and strengthening their own sense of ownership of their accomplishments. They can also discuss ways and means to strengthen the effectiveness of the zones. This is something solid upon which to build. 4 Second, I would promote regional solutions to problems associated with the nuclear fuel cycle, especially uranium enrichment and the long-term, secure storage of spent nuclear fuel. I believe that it is necessary to avoid , with respect to the fuel cycle, the same discriminatory division between “haves” and “have-nots” that exists regarding nuclear weapons.. Neither is desirable. I can see the day when regional zones will, with the benefit of IAEA and regional safeguards arrangements, be able to handle their own enrichment and spent-fuel management responsibilities within their own region consistent with their international obligations. Third, I would promote the evolution of existing zones into WMD-free zones that include delivery vehicles. We have to recall that all states are already committed – including through the preambles of the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties – to the goal of “general and complete disarmament”, which encompasses the elimination of all WMD and their respective delivery vehicles, as well as the limitation of conventional arms. In my own region, the Declaration on Security in the Americas – adopted by the states attending the third plenary session of the Organization of American Atates – agreed in 2003 “to make the Americas a region free of biological and chemical weapons”. This is the kind of step in the right direction that I had in mind. This is the type of “cascade” we need to pursue in this world: more states, in more regions, repudiating weapons of mass destruction exactly because they are what they are. I will now to conclude by returning to Alfonso García Robles. The Nobel Committee awarded the 1982 Peace Prize both to him and to Alva Myrdal. The Committee recognized the work of both individuals for the “central role” they have played in “United Nations’ disarmament negotiations”. The Committee also praised both Laureates for having helped "to open the eyes of the world to the threat mankind faces in continued nuclear armament". As we meet today, let us consider not just the contributions these great people have made in describing common threats, but also the positive inspiration they have left behind for the pursuit of a more peaceful and secure world for all. Their’s is truly a legacy upon which to build. Let us begin today.