Remarks on Non-Proliferation by Jaakko Blomberg on 1 April 2000

Non-Proliferation Treaty Weekend Symposium in Lapland, Finland 1-2 April 2000 Remarks by Jaakko Blomberg, Under-Secretary of State, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland

When the Review and Extension Conference ended in 1995, the NPT was stronger than ever.

The extension decision adopted without a vote by the Conference removed any uncertainty over the future of the non-proliferation regime. Even in retrospect, that was the right decision both for the non-proliferation regime as well as for the maintenance of international peace and stability. There were no other viable alternatives.

Besides the extension decision, the 1995 Conference took other decisions of major importance. The decisions on Principles and Objectives as well as on Strengthened Review provided new tools for the NPT review process. It also agreed on a resolution on the Middle East, reflecting the need to address particular regional concerns in the framework of the NPT process.

We are much indebted to USG, Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala for guiding that difficult and unprecedented Conference into a successful end. Where would we stand had the Conference ended differently?

Where do we stand today ? At this point in time, many nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation initiatives are faced with difficulties:

· The START process has not moved forward as expected.

· There are deep differences on missile defences.

· The comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty was achieved, but the entry into force is facing serious challenges.

· The fissile material cut-off negotiations are stalled.

· There is a threat of a regional arms race, incl. a nuclear arms race in South Asia. Despite strong reactions by the international community to the nuclear test explosions conducted in May 1998, there are signs that nuclear weapon programmes as well as efforts to develop related missile capabilities are being continued both in India and Pakistan.

· The efforts to ensure that the DPRK is not developing nuclear weapons have not produced a satisfactory result.

· International community has to continue the verification and monitoring process in Iraq to provide assurance that Iraq does not develop weapons of mass destruction.

None of these difficulties can be attributed to the extension decision.

Following the end of the Cold War, there were high expectations of rapid progress in nuclear disarmament. Today this picture is somewhat gloomy. It has also affected the run-up to the 2000 Review Conference. Perhaps some of the expectations were overly optimistic.

The achievements recorded during the past decade clearly testify that there are no simple and cheap solutions in disarmament.

· The implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention is well under way but it is a difficult task requiring a lot of effort.

· Same applies to the CTBT, even at the current preparatory phase.

· The negotiations on a verification protocol for the BWC are perhaps even more challenging from technical point of view than those relating to the CWC.

· The information available on the implementation of the START treaty suggests that the same may be true for that process.

There have been different approaches on disarmament among the States Parties from the early days of the NP-Treaty. Those differences were voiced also in 1995. Nevertheless, the States Parties were able to find a shared approach. The result was a complex and broad set of decisions, reflecting the political will of States Parties to pursue nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation further.

During the preparatory process to the 2000 Review Conference, the variety of views on how to continue the process has again become evident. Nevertheless, important groundwork was done by the Preparatory Committee both with regard to the substantive as well as procedural preparations for the Review Conference.

Together with the outcome of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, the NPT regime has been strengthened during the past decade through the accession of a number of countries with the Treaty. A major step towards the universality of the non-proliferation regime has been taken. During the 1990 Review Conference, there was just 141 States Parties to the NPT. Today, there are 187 States Parties.

Many hurdles related to the change of international situation have been overcome. South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and the new countries that emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union all joined the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states. Now we should focus our efforts in convincing those four countries that still remain outside the NPT to join the regime.

It is against this background that we work together for having a successful NPT Review Conference aiming at further strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament process.

The first five year period of the strengthened review demonstrates that there is a qualitative difference in comparison with the earlier NPT review process. However, this first five year period may not be sufficient to draw definite conclusions on the Strengthened Review process or on the Principles and Objectives.

The Principles and Objectives remain valid. They provide agreed direction for pursuing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. On several areas of the Principles and Objectives, important progress has already been recorded. It was inherent in the Principles and Objectives decision that the objectives outlined would be pursued further:

· That the conclusion of the CTBT would be followed with efforts to bring the Treaty into force and to set up the necessary verification regime with a view to early entry into force.

· That the Additional Protocol on Strengthened Safeguards, once completed, would be adhered to and fully implemented.

These are only a few examples.

Therefore, none of the objectives that were included in the 1995 decision have lost their relevance. Further efforts are needed and we should prepare in a pragmatic way to continue the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation process.

During the Preparatory Committee work, various ideas have been floated to advance the objectives established, and they will have to be considered further during the Review Conference. Finland, for example, has proposed that the Review Conference should give its support for increased transparency regarding withdrawal from operational use and dismantlement of short-range nuclear weapons.