Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Mr. Igor Vishnevetskii, Deputy Head of the Russian Delegation at the 10th NPT Review Conference (Main Committee II)

Madam Chairperson,

We congratulate you with assuming your current role and assure you of our full support.

The effective functioning of the nuclear non-proliferation regime plays a key role in maintaining international peace and security.

One of the main elements of this regime is the IAEA safeguards system, which is important for maintaining the stability of the NPT and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It is essential that the safeguards system enjoys the confidence of all States parties to the Treaty. To this end, it should be impartial, politically unbiased, technically reliable, and sound. Failure to comply with these criteria would seriously damage not only the Treaty verification regime but also the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation as a whole.

The safeguards system is designed to verify the non-proliferation commitments of the NPT States parties. Safeguards must be implemented with due respect for the sovereignty of states. Attempts to use safeguards to settle political scores and exert political pressure undermine the credibility of the safeguards system and have a negative impact on the NPT.

The Russian Federation supports the universalization of the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement. At the same time, we believe that the conclusion of the Additional Protocol should be carried out only on a voluntary basis. 

Russia assists the IAEA Secretariat through financial and technical support by means of the national safeguards support program. Over four decades of its existence, extensive work has been carried out to reinforce the conceptual and technical framework of the Agency’s Department of Safeguards. 

In particular, as part of this program, we interact with the IAEA by examining in Russian analytical laboratories environmental samples collected by the Agency during inspections.  We place great emphasis on the training of inspectors, including in the conduct of inspections at uranium enrichment facilities. Russian institutions provide training in nuclear material accounting and control to the staff from IAEA Member States. We actively support IAEA efforts to develop innovative measurement technology necessary to more accurately monitor irradiated nuclear fuel, as well as to establish uniform, non-discriminatory approaches for safeguards implementation at decommissioning facilities. We implement joint projects to develop verification methods to be used at new types of facilities, such as mobile nuclear power plants with small modular reactors, and to study ways of taking potential safeguards implementation into account in nuclear facility design.

Challenges to nuclear non-proliferation must be addressed exclusively by political and diplomatic means on the basis of the NPT. In this regard, the early recovery and full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the Iranian nuclear program (JCPOA) is required. Together with the rest of the parties to the agreement, we are making determined efforts within the Vienna consultations and in other formats to bring the nuclear deal back to the initially agreed framework. During the time the nuclear deal was in force, Tehran never exceeded the established limits. For several years since the conclusion of the JCPOA, Iran has been the most verified state among the IAEA members. Strict adherence to the letter of the 2015 arrangements without any appendages or exemptions is the only right path. The JCPOA has no reasonable alternative. Its "relaunch" fully meets the interests of nuclear non-proliferation.

The Russian Federation takes an active part in finding a political and diplomatic settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. We follow closely the situation in this region. Everyone needs to show restraint in order to prevent an arms race there. We call on all parties concerned to honor their commitments to reduce military tension on the peninsula and normalize bilateral relations.

We believe that the process of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be phased and based on equality and mutual respect for interests. The negotiation process should find ways to address the legitimate concerns of all parties involved, including the provision of security guarantees.

If arrangements to dismantle the DPRK's nuclear-military program are reached, the work should be carried out under the supervision of experts from nuclear-weapon states only. In our view, the IAEA's role is to verify that nuclear material is not diverted to undeclared purposes once Pyongyang's military nuclear infrastructure is eliminated.

Madam Chairperson, 

NATO has openly declared itself a nuclear alliance. There are U.S. nuclear weapons on the territory of non-nuclear bloc allies. Its practical use is being exercised with the involvement of non-nuclear members of the bloc. Such actions, which are contrary to Articles I and II of the NPT, not only continue to be a significant negative factor for international and European security, but also increase the risk of nuclear conflict and generally hamper nuclear disarmament efforts. U.S. nuclear weapons must be withdrawn to the national territory, the infrastructure of their deployment in Europe must be eliminated, and the practice of NATO "joint nuclear missions" must be stopped.

We note that the AUKUS partnership provokes tensions in the sphere of international security, lays foundations for a new arms race in the Asia-Pacific region.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) play an important role in ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Russia has ratified the protocols it has signed on negative security assurances to the NWFZ treaties and is strictly fulfilling its obligations. In total, Russia provides such guarantees to more than a hundred states. Our reservations to these protocols are clarifying in nature and do not affect the interests of states that faithfully abide by the "letter and spirit" of the NWFZ agreements.

We are open to joint consultations between the P-5 and the states parties to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone with a view to signing the Protocol to the Bangkok Treaty as soon as possible. We are ready to sign such a Protocol at any time.

Russia is a consistent supporter of the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other types of WMD (WMD-free zone) in the Middle East. We are convinced that its establishment will contribute to the stability of the Middle East region and the world as a whole.

As a co-sponsor of the 1995 resolution adopted at the NPT Review and Extension Conference, our country took specific practical steps to find a compromise between proponents of the zone and those skeptical about it.

A landmark event was the UN General Assembly's decision in December 2018 to convene the Conference on the Establishment of a WMD-free zone, under which two sessions of this forum have already been held. Russia participated in them as an observer.

We appreciate the outcomes of these two sessions. We call on Israel, as well as the United States, which is a co-sponsor of the 1995 resolution, to join the process and participate in these sessions.

We hope that the states of the region will, in the foreseeable future, be able to reach an agreement on the establishment of a WMD-free zone. For our part, we will provide all possible assistance.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) plays an important role in international efforts to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime. In fact, the Treaty should become a link between non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. The opening of the Treaty for signature in 1996 was a step comparable in scale to the conclusion of the NPT. Russia is fully committed to the CTBT. Since ratifying it in 2000 it has strictly fulfilled its obligations under this important treaty for the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Since the early 1990s our country has strictly observed a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing.

We are consistently pursuing a policy of completing the construction of facilities for the Russian segment of the International Monitoring System within the CTBT. We are in the final stretch, as the total number of certified facilities has reached 30 of the 32 planned.

We are seriously concerned about the continued uncertainty surrounding the CTBT. Despite intensive international efforts, the Treaty has not yet entered into force. Eight Annex 2 states of the CTBT have not completed ratification procedures. The situation has been further complicated by the officially announced refusal of the United States to ratify the Treaty. We believe that Washington should reconsider its destructive approach to the CTBT. The pause with the entry into force of the Treaty has clearly been protracted.

Russia is in favor of negotiating a universal, non-discriminatory and effectively verifiable Treaty Banning the Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices on the basis of the Shannon mandate of 1995 set out in document CD/1299 within the framework of the comprehensive and balanced program of work of the Conference on Disarmament. It is imperative that all countries with the potential to produce weapons-grade fissile material take part in them without exception.

As we see it, the main objective of a future FMCT is to provide a reliable guarantee against the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices on a global scale.

One of the challenges to international security remains the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of non-state actors. In this context, we stand for the consistent implementation by all countries of Security Council resolution 1540, aimed at strengthening national legislation and enforcement mechanisms for the non-proliferation of WMD, their means of delivery, and related materials. Russia takes an active part in the work of the UNSC Committee 1540, tasked with monitoring the implementation of the resolution and coordinating efforts to provide technical assistance to states that need it at their request.

The Zangger Committee (ZC) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) continue to play a prominent role in the context of Article III of the NPT. For decades, these multilateral export control regimes have been providing in practice the necessary conditions for the development of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in a non-discriminatory manner while strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We look forward to strengthening these control mechanisms and expanding their membership.

Madam Chairperson, 

We are convinced that only a systematic and balanced approach to nuclear non-proliferation and the strengthening of the NPT regime will eventually make it possible to achieve the vital goal of preventing the nuclear threat and making our world more stable and predictable.

Thank you.