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Updated: May 8, 2011
Nonproliferation and NWFZs: Day Five of the NPT PrepCom 2012
The second week of the NPT PrepCom kicked off with discussions on Cluster 2 issues, including nonproliferation, nuclear-weapon-free zones, and safeguards.
The second week of the NPT PrepCom kicked off with discussions on Cluster 2 issues, including nonproliferation, nuclear-weapon-free zones, and safeguards. Many delegations also addressed the matter of compliance with the treaty, in some cases calling on specific countries to return to or demonstrate their compliance. Twenty-nine states, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the European Union gave statements to the plenary during the course of the morning and afternoon sessions, with many of the WEOG states speaking in the morning and others delaying their statements until later in the day.
Additional Protocol and Safeguards
One major point of discussion for the Cluster 2 agenda item was the issue of Additional Protocols, which are legal documents granting the IAEA complementary inspection authority to that provided in safeguards agreements between the IAEA and States Parties. Many delegations took the view that the verification standard for the IAEA should consist of comprehensive safeguards agreements plus an Additional Protocol, and emphasized the importance of such Additional Protocols as a confidence-building measure, particularly for countries with advanced nuclear programs. Others, however, noted that the Additional Protocol remains a voluntary measure, and argued that the review process should not conflate such voluntary undertakings with mandatory obligations under the treaty. The representative for Brazil, in particular, pointed out that states sign on to the treaty with an understanding of the obligations and consequences incurred by doing so, and that it is problematic if those requirements and consequences change after they have already signed on. However, he also noted that the security regime created by the NPT will be undermined if there are undeclared facilities not under safeguards, a problem that the Additional Protocol was designed to address. The representative from Switzerland also argued that, while States Parties can work to make the Additional Protocol more acceptable to NAM members and others, we cannot expect to see much progress on the Additional Protocol until the P5 have made further progress on disarmament. This has been an ongoing topic of discussion for many years, and it seems unlikely that there will be a resolution at this PrepCom.
The NAM statement noted that IAEA comprehensive safeguards must be a condition of supply, and criticized both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states for sharing nuclear materials and technologies with states without these safeguards in place. Many noted that fourteen NPT States Parties have yet to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements, and called on these Parties to do so without delay. Some delegations pointed out that it is important to ensure that the IAEA is provided with adequate and predictable funding so that it can continue to assist states to develop such agreements.
Many states spoke about the importance of nuclear-weapon-free zones for nonproliferation; they argued that such zones can help to achieve the goals of the NPT. Mongolia noted that it is working to institutionalize its status as the only State that is also a nuclear-weapon-free zone; it pointed out that it already has the support of many non-nuclear weapon states and that it is engaging with the P5 on the margins of the PrepCom to gain recognition. The United States noted that it plans to submit the protocols to the Senate for ratification, and several delegations praised this step. However, few delegations commented on the issue of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East, probably because they plan to comment in greater detail on this matter during tomorrow's session on regional issues.
Many delegations commented, with varying degrees of intensity, on compliance issues surrounding the Treaty. In particular, many statements called on Iran, Syria, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to return to or demonstrate compliance. The EU, for example, noted its worry about Iran's heavy water projects and possible military dimensions and noted that the DPRK is still bound by its international obligations and its IAEA safeguards agreements. The United States expressed satisfaction with how the E3+3 talks with Iran were proceeding, but pointed out that this engagement was separate from the equally urgent need for Iran's cooperation with the IAEA. France was harsher, stating that the situation in Iran continues to deteriorate as uranium enrichment activities continue. In its response, Iran criticized the "baseless allegations against peaceful programs" made by some States Parties and the dissemination of "false information"; it requested that the Conference consider establishing a framework for compensation for damages inflicted through false allegations (presumably through the application of safeguards). Syria, meanwhile, argued that it has cooperated with the IAEA, even exceeding its obligations pursuant to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, and that the IAEA had not provided a copy of its report on the Dair Azzour findings to Syria. In October 2011, Syria agreed to hold a meeting in Damascus to agree on work plan to resolve pending issues; it reiterated its commitment to this work plan, which awaits implementation, in its statement.
During the morning plenary session, the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms held a side event, titled "Nuclear Weapons and Climate Change", with the World Future Council (WFC). Speakers argued that solutions to two of the most serious challenges facing our world today, global warming and disarmament, can be mutually reinforcing and that progress in one area can lead to progress in the other. Presenters from the WFC discussed commonalities between the two challenges based on the WFC's publication titled "Climate Change: Nuclear Risks and Nuclear Disarmament: From Security Threats to Sustainable Peace" by Jürgen Scheffran.
The IAEA's Department of Safguards hosted a side event during lunch this afternoon. The talk was essentially "Safeguards 101" — what they are, what their goals are, what the different types of agreements are, and how they are carried out. The safeguards process uses a variety of measures and is centered on the production of State Evaluations — pictures of states' nuclear & nuclear-related activities, used to check for inconsistencies and identify issues requiring follow-up. As was to be expected, the event also emphasized the IAEA's position that under Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements alone, there is insufficient access to determine the absence of undeclared nuclear activity and that the Additional Protocol is therefore necessary. The speaker concluded by going through a number of services that the IAEA provides to member states to implement safeguards agreements, including general, legislative, and implementation assistance. During the question-and-answer session, the state-level approach generated a lot of discussion in the room as a rather contentious means of verifying compliance with safeguards agreements. The speaker responded that the state-level approach is tagged as "differentiation without discrimination," and one of the ways in which the IAEA is working to make its verification activities more efficient.
The Global Security Institute also hosted a side event, during which scientific and technical experts gave briefings on nuclear weapons practices and policies. Ambassador Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, spoke about the CTBT verification regime, discussing the relative verification regime and demonstrating real-time performance reports. Dr. Frank von Hippel, co-chair of the International Panel of Fissile Materials, outlined the current fissile materials stockpiles and gave recommendations for steps towards a global clean-out of nuclear-weapon materials. Tariq Rauf also discussed methods and technical measures for transparency and monitoring in the verification of dismantlement of nuclear weapons.
Also at lunchtime, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs hosted an event entitled "Nuclear Famine: Unacceptable Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons." Panelists highlighted the findings of a report on the impact on agriculture, food production, health, and nutrition of a hypothetical nuclear war in South Asia. The side event — one of the few during the PrepCom that had a significant number of attendees from national delegations — also touched on the issue of international humanitarian law and on the ability of states to deal with the consequences to society of a nuclear detonation.
Finally, in the afternoon, group of Korean and Japanese NGOs hosted a side event this afternoon titled "Towards Cooperative Security in Northeast Asia." The panelists and attendees highlighted a number of things that will have to take place for cooperative security in northeast Asia to be effective, including the establishment of a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (NEANWFZ) and ratification of the relevant protocols on security assurances by NWS, an official end to the war on the Korean peninsula, and denuclearization of the DPRK. Panelists also discussed Morton Halperin's proposal which, in addition to the previous items listed, also includes the creation of a permanent Council on Security, mutual declarations of no hostile intent, provisions of assistance on nuclear and other energy, and termination of sanctions and other responses to NPT violations.
More 2012 PrepCom Reports
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