Minister Dermot Ahern addresses Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons at UN
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern, T.D., delivered a statement on behalf of Ireland at the 7th Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on Monday, 2 May, at the UN Headquarters, New York.
The Minister recalled that the original proposal for a non-proliferation treaty originated in 1958 with Frank Aiken, who left an enormous legacy to the United Nations, and that since the NPT's entry into force 35 years ago, “our highest priority in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation has been support for efforts to strengthen the Treaty and to ensure full respect for all its provisions”.
The Minister stressed the special importance that Ireland attaches to the Thirteen Practical Steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI, agreed at the last NPT Review Conference, particularly the unequivocal undertaking by the Nuclear Weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. He continued that “disarmament and non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing processes requiring irreversible progress on both fronts”.
He emphasised Ireland's support for “the multilateral regime of disarmament, and non-proliferation treaties and agreements which provide the legal and normative basis for all our efforts” and our commitment “to upholding, implementing and strengthening these instruments and to pursuing actively the universalisation of the norms which they set out”. Minister Ahern further added that “failure to abide by the obligations undertaken under these instruments poses a serious threat not only to present day peace and security, but to the very integrity and vitality of the entire system of arms control”.
Minister Ahern expressed concern at the revelations of an extensive clandestine black market in nuclear materials and technology and also pointed to the need to “spare no effort in tackling illicit trafficking and procurement networks, and in addressing the issue of non-State actor involvement in the proliferation of WMD technology”.
The full text of the Minister's statement is available on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
Note to editors:
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) came into force in 1970 and is the main international instrument for controlling the spread of nuclear weapons. Article VI of the Treaty contains the only multilateral commitment to nuclear disarmament on the part of the five recognized nuclear weapon states - the US, UK, France, Russian Federation and China.
The three pillars set out in the Treaty are: non-proliferation; nuclear disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The Treaty has been reviewed at five year intervals to assess progress towards its three goals. At the last Review Conference held in 2000, States Parties at the Review Conference agreed by consensus on a Final Document. Of particular significance was the agreement contained in the Final Document on 13 practical steps that would lead to nuclear disarmament, including the unequivocal undertaking by the Nuclear Weapons States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
The Seventh NPT Review Conference is taking place at the United Nations Headquarters on 2-27 May 2005 in New York. The aim of the Conference is to review the implementation of the purposes and provisions of the Treaty and to develop further agreed steps to achieve the goals of the Treaty in the coming five years.