NPT PrepCom 2003 – Canadian Interventions on Proliferation Issues

Tasneem Jamal

Authors Ernie Regehr and Sarah Estabrooks

Second Prepcom for the 2005 NPT Review Conference

Reporting to NGOs on the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference, April 28 – May 9, 2003.

Ernie Regehr and Sarah Estabrooks from Project Ploughshares attended the Second Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference as members of the official Canadian delegation.  Sarah was present as the NGO representative on the delegation and Ernie as Advisor to the delegation.  They have submitted the following report on Canadian interventions at the PrepCom:

The United States has argued at the current PrepCom that while the primary emphasis at NPT meetings is on the disarmament performance of the nuclear weapon states (NWS), the real nuclear weapons crisis confronting the world is their threatened spread or horizontal proliferation. Disarmament appropriately continues to be a prominent focus, but this year the proliferation problem has received increased attention, due in part to the US focus on it, but also due to reactions to the announced withdrawal of the DPRK from the Treaty. The following reports on Canadian interventions on proliferation.

DPRK

In its general statement, Canada said that it “profoundly regrets” the decision of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to withdraw from Treaty. The statement called the DPRK situation one of “global importance and multilateral concern which all NPT States parties have clear responsibility to address.” Canada then “deplore[d] the violation by the DPRK of solemn Treaty obligations assumed of its own volition as a sovereign state.” In a more detailed intervention in the discussion of regional issues, Canada called the DPRK to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the NPT, fulfil its obligations under the NPT, refrain from reprocessing spent fuel, and cooperate to verifiably and irreversibly disarm its nuclear weapons program. Commending China for convening trilateral talks with the DPRK and the US, Canada expressed the hope that diplomatic efforts would be successful in resolving the crisis, adding that these issues “should when necessary be addressed by the world’s highest multilateral organs.” Canada is also assisting the PrepCom chair in following the issue and preparing for the final report of the meeting.

Middle East

Amb. Chris Westdal told the PrepCom that Canada “is convinced that Israel’s stance is not in its own interests, and diminishes both regional and global security.” Canada thus called on Israel to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon State. Canada also expressed concern that six countries in the region have not yet completed comprehensive nuclear safeguards agreements, citing the need for “openness and transparency by all states to demonstrate their full and equivocal commitment to their safeguards and other nuclear non-proliferation obligations…”

Canada also expressed concern about Iran’s nuclear program, noting “the fact that certain facilities of proliferation significance were developed to an advanced operational state in secret and appear to have no clear economic purpose or justification, particularly in view of existing supply arrangements.” Iran was called on to conclude the IAEA Additional Protocol to facilitate more conclusive verification of its nuclear program.

Canada also called for a return of IAEA inspectors to Iraq, to verify the termination of its nuclear weapons program, to ensure that remaining Iraqi nuclear facilities remain subject to safeguards, and to verify that nuclear materials were not tampered with following the breaking of seals on nuclear facilities during the recent war.

South Asia

India and Pakistan were also called on to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states. Canada told the PrepCom that both states “continue to pursue a proliferation path that runs entirely counter to global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.”

Safeguards

Canada noted that 48 states have not yet fulfilled the fundamental requirement, outlined in Article III, of completing a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA, and it called on these states to do so immediately. Further, States were urged to adopt the IAEA Additional Protocol as the norm for effective verification. Only 32 States have done so. In addition to emphasizing the importance of safeguards, Canada called export controls essential measures that also build confidence, thus allowing the exchange of nuclear materials and technologies for peaceful uses, while preventing proliferation.

NWFZ

Canada called nuclear-weapons-free zones important regional contributions to international efforts to prevent proliferation and bring about the total elimination of nuclear weapons. It welcomed Cuba’s ratification of the Treaty of Tlatelolco and encouraged efforts to complete nuclear-weapons-free zones in Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia.

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