Statement by Mr. Andrei Belousov, Deputy Head of the Russian Delegation at Closing Meeting of the 10th NPT Review Conference
For four weeks our delegation has actively participated in the Conference in the spirit of cooperation. We have worked openly, honestly and with the utmost respect for the positions of other delegations.
However, our collective efforts, for various reasons, have not led to the desired result. Perhaps some who are present here see this as a failure of all our work over the past review cycle, which will have a negative effect both on our future work together and on the integrity and sustainability of the Treaty. We do not share this assessment.
We see that none of the participants of the Conference was satisfied with the content of the draft, and this is not a usual situation for forums like ours when a document is adopted which is far from perfect.
This leads us to believe that we have a document that is weak in terms of content. Of course, with so many fundamental differences, it would be wrong to expect a solid, ambitious, forward-looking report. However, it could at least reflect the general reaction of the States Parties to the Treaty to those events and factors that, over the past review cycle, have had a serious impact on all three pillars of the NPT.
There have been many such events in the past seven years. Moreover, many of them will have an impact on the Treaty regime, at least for the next review cycle. These include, above all, the termination of the INF Treaty and the development of increasingly close military and technical cooperation between non-nuclear-weapon States and their nuclear strategic partners, the participation of non-nuclear-weapon states in nuclear sharing, the collective consent of NATO members to use nuclear weapons, and the deployment of nuclear weapons on the territory of non-nuclear-weapon members of the alliance. All these issues relevant to the NPT and to international security, despite the concerns of a significant number of States, are not reflected in the draft report.
At the same time, we believe that no one could deny the fact that the review took place. Delegations, nationally and collectively, have made clear their priorities on its three pillars – disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Delegations held in-depth discussions in various formats on critical aspects of the NPT regime. A wide range of issues relevant to the implementation of the articles of the Treaty, as well as the commitments made by States during previous review cycles, were touched upon. We believe that this work as an invaluable contribution to providing a solid basis for our further joint activities following the Conference.
Of course, it would have been an achievement to adopt a final document that not only set out the priorities or reflect the specific positions of States, but also outlines areas for improving the Treaty regime and specifies the issues that require searching for ways to resolve them. These include: the entry into force of the CTBT, the establishment of a Middle East zone free of WMD and their means of delivery, and the avoidance of unjustified restrictions on cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to adopt a substantive report. However, we do have a very solid groundwork for the future in the form of an unprecedented number of working papers submitted by States to the Review Conference. The statements by delegations explaining their priorities are also part of the groundwork for the future. All of this forms the basis that I mentioned earlier.
As the reasons that prevented the adoption of the final document, we see the following.
The first and foremost of these is the enormous distance between the positions of the Parties, which they have not been able to overcome. The prevailing view was that the adoption of a final document was key to the NPT review process. We consider consensus for consensus's sake unreasonable. If a document that does not satisfy any of the participating States were adopted, it would have, in our view, greater negative consequences for the Treaty and its regime than its absence. In the future, none of the States Parties to the NPT would be able to rely on it.
The second reason is the weak willingness of States with opposing positions to take into account the opinions of their opponents. It gives the impression that the nuclear and non-nuclear Parties to the NPT live in different dimensions with regard to a number of issues, primarily those related to the disarmament framework of the NPT, and certainly think in drastically different terms. Both, however, have the same goal: to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. Here one could speak of conceptual ideological differences as to how, when, and by what means this goal might be achieved. This issue has been the subject of heated discussion for years.
The third reason is an impressive set of new issues and concepts presented by States in national and group working papers that has been voiced. They need to be considered and discussed more thoroughly, which requires more time than the four weeks of the Review Conference. The next review cycle will allow us to undertake this work and carry it out methodically with a view to reaching a common understanding. The lack of a final document will not become an obstacle to this.
We cannot but mention some weaknesses in the process of preparing documents of the Main Committees and the subsidiary bodies. A number of proposals of principle to delegations were not included in these documents (even in parentheses, or as alternatives), and therefore did not go through detailed discussion. These proposals were simply put aside and have not been reflected, at least in the initial draft of the documents. At the stage of discussing the final reports of the Main Committees and their subsidiary bodies, when interested delegations tried to voice their proposals for additional paragraphs, it was for some reason strongly objected to by certain delegations under the pretext that these proposals were not consensual in nature. This is a dual approach. It is obvious that in the document, even in the version which many States were ready to support, there are many provisions that are clearly unacceptable for individual delegations.
The last and perhaps the most important issue is the behavior of some delegations that came to the Conference to promote their political attitudes no matter what. Their declared concern for strengthening the NPT regime is only a cover for that.
Having pushed their priorities into the draft of the final document, these States did everything they could to ensure that issues important to other delegations were left out. In fact, throughout the Conference there was a one-sided game. By subjugating the process of preparation of documents, these delegations took a privileged position, placing other countries in a discriminatory one. Such a situation is unacceptable and will not further enhance the effectiveness of the review process.
The Conference has become a political hostage to those States that over the last four weeks have been poisoning discussions with their politicized, biased, groundless and false statements with regard to Ukraine. Thus, they did everything they could to prevent a constructive, effective and result-oriented work of the Conference and as a whole of the NPT States Parties during the entire review process. Their desire to impose unacceptable political language on Ukrainian issues is a pure provocation by those who are ready to sacrifice the results of the years-long NPT review process and use the Conference to settle scores with Russia by raising issues that are not directly related to the Treaty.
Such an approach of these States runs counter to the NPT's priorities of creating an international environment conducive to progress toward nuclear disarmament, which requires the joint efforts of nuclear and non-nuclear-weapon States.
These States, namely Ukraine and the backers of the Kiev regime, bear full responsibility for the absence of a final positive result of this review.
Anti-Russian statements were heard throughout the Conference. They have been particularly cynical in recent days. Their background was the barbaric shelling of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant by Ukrainian forces, which bought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster. We have heard them even today.
The reasons mentioned, taken together, prevented us from supporting the draft report you presented, Mr. President. We do not think that this will do more harm to the next review cycle.
Thank you for attention.