Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council Meeting on Supporting the Non-proliferation Treaty
May I welcome you in the Chair of the Security Council. I would like to congratulate Germany on assuming Presidency in the Secutity council in April and wish you every success in this endeavor. We would also like to thank IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu for their briefings.
Russia is one of the three depositaries to the NPT, and we attach utmost importance to preserving and sustaining the Treaty. Its contribution to the protection of international peace and security can hardly be overestimated.
The Treaty played a crucial role in prevention of nuclear arms proliferation; it laid down the fundamentals of comprehensive disarmament – nuclear disarmament in the first place. It also fostered broad international cooperation in the area of peaceful use of atomic energy. This Treaty is rightly considered a role model of effective international diplomacy, and a benchmark of international cooperation in solving global problems.
To our regret, and despite undoubtable success of the NPT, we should admit that we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the Treaty and a regular Review Conference that should draw a line under a five-year review period, amidst challenging circumstances.
There are deepening contradictions and discords between groups of States in the NPT framework. Acknowledged norms and mechanisms of nuclear non-proliferation are subject to revision. Sometimes narrow specific interests are placed above the task to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.
Besides, recently there have emerged new dangerous trends that provoke exacerbation of the situation in the area of nuclear non-proliferation, which is already not particularly easy. What I am talking about is the attempts to use NPT review process as a podium to settle political scores, i.a. on the issues that have nothing to do with the Treaty.
There are remaining old disputes on separate issues on the NPT agenda, above all on the nuclear disarmament and on establishing a zone, free of nuclear weapons and other WMDs in the Middle East.
Russia shares a noble goal of building a world free of nuclear weapons. As a responsible and a comprehensive member of the nuclear disarmament, we provide a significant contribution to consecutive reduction of strategic offensive arms: last year we achieved progress and started dealing with delivery vehicles and warheads, as was stipulated by the New START. On the whole, the nuclear arsenal of Russia has been cut by over 85%.
We should consecutively build prerequisites that would help us move on in the direction of nuclear disarmament. Above all, I mean overall improvement of the strategic situation in certain regions and elsewhere in the world. This is only possible when we account for all the factors that define strategic stability and global security. Among such factors are: unlimited deployment by the US of a global missile defense system, development of high-precision strategic offensive arms in non-nuclear arsenal, prospects to deploy strike weapons in space, shattering the system of international treaties and agreements in the area of security, stability and arms control, attempts to weaken defense potential of other countries by illegitimate methods of unilateral sanction pressure, bypassing the Security Council.
Without solving these issues, it is hardly possible to ensure international security that would favor further nuclear disarmament.
Another acute topic related to the NPT is the WMD-free zone in the Middle East. In December 2018, the UN General Assembly by majority adopted a decision to convene a Conference on WMD-free zone, which would launch practical implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East and thus positively influence the situation with the NPT review process. This decision by the UNGA is logical and well-balanced; it does not run counter to the interests of States of the Middle East.
Russia plans to participate in this Conference, facilitate its success and support follow-up efforts on creating a WMD-free zone. It is crucial that other States from nuclear P-5, and most importantly all States of the Middle East joined efforts to launch and convene this Conference.
An extremely important role in limiting and reducing nuclear arsenals is assigned to the CTBT that was meant to serve as a barrier for proliferation and improvement of nuclear weapons.
We consider the IAEA safeguards to be the key element of the non-proliferation regime. Their task is to prevent nuclear energy from being used for development of nuclear arms. We are firmly committed to set forth our assistance to the IAEA in sustaining the system of safeguards.
At the same time, it is vital to preserve the objective, depoliticized and technically reasonable nature of the NPT control mechanism, as well as its intelligibility and transparency for the Treaty signees.
Russia advocates a universal nature of the Additional Protocol to the IAEA safeguards agreement. Prospectively, the Additional Protocol and the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement should build a universally accepted standard of countries’ compliance with non-proliferation obligations under the NPT. However, acceding the Protocol is voluntary.
The issue that is agreed by all the Member States of the NPT is the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. According to Article IV of the Treaty Member States have an inalienable right to use atomic energy for peace. The state-of-the-art level of technology makes it possible to achieve a balanced mix of atomic energy and energy from other sources, and outlines new prospects for more sophisticated, flexible and efficient energy systems. The use of nuclear technology is not limited to energy, but stretches to other areas of expertise, including industry, agriculture, medicine, environment, water management, etc.
We are convinced that the NPT significantly expands our opportunities to master nuclear energy systems in the interests of sustainable development and cancels risks for the non-proliferation regime.
In conclusion we would like to express our hope that the upcoming Review Conference will bring positive results, that all the NPT Member States will prove the Treaty to be effective and relevant, and will reiterate readiness to stick to their obligations under the NPT.
Thank you for the attention.