From April 28 to May 9, states-parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will meet in New York for the third and final meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference. It is unlikely that states-parties will use the meeting to negotiate substantive recommendations for the review conference itself but the preparatory meeting is nevertheless an important opportunity to assess the condition of the regime as the NPT approaches the 45th anniversary of its entry into force.
At this stage, the prospects for the 2015 Review Conference do not look good. A number of initiatives relevant to success are either stalled or deeply contentious. In particular:
- Despite recent meetings in Glion between Egypt, several other Arab states and Israel, no date for a conference on establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery in the Middle East has been set, despite a commitment at the 2010 Review Conference of the NPT to hold such a conference by 2012;
- An ongoing process of dialogue among the P-5 states recognised as Nuclear Weapons States under the NPT has been conducted with minimal transparency and has produced few tangible results with regard to disarmament;
- A new initiative on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons has grown enormously in popularity since the 2012 NPT Preparatory Committee but P-5 states have refused to participate in it. It has since become a deeply divisive issue among NPT states-parties and this division is damaging the diplomatic atmosphere;
- Although we recognise and welcome the energy and commitment of Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, there has been little or no new progress in recent years on ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;
- Possible talks on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty remain stalled in the Conference on Disarmament;
- Western countries’ desire to see the Additional Protocol become a requirement for all NPT non-nuclear weapon states remains unfulfilled. This is unlikely to change and will continue to be resisted by states such as Egypt and Brazil until greater progress is made on both disarmament and the WMD Free Zone in the Middle East;
- All of the world’s nuclear armed states are continuing to modernise their arsenals and to signal their reliance on nuclear weapons for security for decades to come.
- Although an interim deal has been reached with Iran on its nuclear programme and this deal is welcome, a number of major obstacles stand in the way of a comprehensive settlement. If the talks eventually break down, the result may be a further weakening of confidence in the NPT as the most effective tool for preventing proliferation;
- North Korea continues with its break-out from the disciplines of the non-proliferation regime;
- And the ongoing crisis in Ukraine presents challenges that may poison the atmosphere at the Preparatory Committee meeting in New York, rendering it ineffective. Increased tension in Europe may also strengthen the hand of those on the continent who wish to argue that nuclear weapons are essential to national security. As a result, the prospects for changes in NATO nuclear policy and for national security doctrines around the world to rely less on nuclear weapons are reducing, at least in the short term.
In this context, we believe a number of steps are necessary and urgent. As signatories of this statement, we call for states-parties to the NPT to progress all elements of the agreed 2010 Action Plan and for all to use the PrepCom meeting in New York to re-commit to the actions necessary to ensure a successful review conference in 2015. More specifically, we call for:
- Russia, the United States and the U.K., as the three NPT depositary states, to issue a statement jointly with the U.N Secretary-General, confirming that all will work energetically, and together for a conference on a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East to take place ahead of the 2015 review conference;
- The P-5 to agree to be progressively more transparent about the contents of the ongoing dialogue within the group and to use the next 12 months to demonstrate a greater individual and collective commitment to the goal of disarmament;
- The P-5 to agree to participate in and help shape the agenda for the third planned conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, scheduled to take place in Austria later this year. This initiative rightly understands that any nuclear weapons use would affect nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states alike and that the effort to manage, reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear risks must be a joint enterprise;
- All states that have not signed or ratified the CTBT to do so immediately, especially the eight Annex 2 States whose signature or ratification is required to bring the Treaty into force, namely the US, China, Egypt, Iran, India, Pakistan, Israel and the DPRK;
- All states-parties to welcome the work of the UN General Assembly-mandated working group on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty; to urge Pakistan to allow substantive work on that treaty to begin in the Conference on Disarmament; and to make clear an intention to work for such a treaty outside of the Conference on Disarmament if consensus in the latter cannot be agreed soon.
In addition, we urge:
- The P-5 +1 group to continue working together on Iran, despite the tensions within the group which exist as a result of the crisis in Ukraine;
- Iran itself to continue to negotiate in good faith and to take the necessary steps to re-assure the international community on the nature of its nuclear activities;
- The United States and Russia, as the world’s leading nuclear weapons states, to reiterate their willingness to maintain a nuclear arms control and disarmament dialogue despite the current tensions in their relationship. This dialogue should include a focus on reducing the role of nuclear weapons in security arrangements in the Euro-Atlantic area.
While this may seem idealistic in current circumstances, we remind everyone that arms control agreements were reached and implemented even during the Cold War and the pursuit of such agreements, building on the success of New START, remains essential today.
Without measures such as those called for above, there is a significant chance that the 2015 Review Conference of the NPT will fail and efforts at both disarmament and more effective non-proliferation will be seriously damaged as a result. The world must act to avoid that outcome.
- Javier Solana, former Foreign Minister, Secretary General of NATO and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Spain.
- Igor Ivanov, former Foreign Minister and Secretary of the Security Council, Russia.
- Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister, France.
- Des Browne, former Defence Minister, United Kingdom.
- Egon Bahr, State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery, Germany.
- Gro Brundtland, former Prime Minister, Norway.
- Ingvar Carlsson, former Prime Minister, Sweden.
- Paul Quilès, former Defence Minister, France.
- Ana Palacio, former Foreign Minister, Spain.
- Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, former State Secretary of the German MFA, former Ambassador to the United States and to the United Kingdom, Germany.
- Margaret Beckett, former Foreign Minister, , serving Member of Parliament, United Kingdom.
- Vyacheslav Trubnikov, former Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to India, Russia.
- Hikmet Çetin, former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Turkey.
- Tom King, former Secretary of State for Defence, United Kingdom.
- Volker Rühe, former Defence Minister, Germany.
- Michael Boyce, former First Sea Lord, former Chief of the Naval Staff and former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom.
- Pierre Lellouche, former Minister of European Affairs and Minister of International Trade, France.
- John McColl, former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), United Kingdom.
- Klaus Naumann, General (ret), GEAR, former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Germany.
- Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, former Undersecretary of state of Foreign Affairs and former Leader of the D66-group in the Second Chamber of the Parliament, Netherlands.
- David Hannay, serving Member of the House of Lords, former Ambassador to the EEC and the UN, United Kingdom.
- Özdem Sanberk, Director of the International Strategic Research Organisation, former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey.
- Katja Keul, serving Member of the Bundestag and the Defence Committee, Germany.
- Bernard Norlain, former Air Defense Commander and Air Combat Commander of the French Air Force, France.
- Kåre Willoch, former Prime Minister, Norway.
- Alexander Bessmertnykh, former Foreign Minister, Russia.
- Thorvald Stoltenberg, former Defence Minister and Foreign Minister, Norway.
- Hans Blix, former Foreign Minister, IAEA Director General and Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, Sweden.
- Elisabeth Rehn, former Defence Minister, Finland.
- Menzies Campbell, serving Member of Parliament and former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, United Kingdom.
- James Arbuthnot, serving Member of Parliament, Chair of the Defence Select Committee, United Kingdom.
- Juhani Kaskeala, former Chief of Defence, Finland.
- Stefano Silvestri, former Deputy Defence Minister and as Scientific Advisor and past President of the Italian Institute of International Affairs, Italy.
- Boris Pankin, former Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Russia.
- Tarja Cronberg, serving Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Iran, Finland.
- Eoghan Murphy, serving Member of the Dáil Éireann and Head of the Irish Parliament to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Republic of Ireland.
- Rolf Ekéus, former Ambassador to the United States and Director of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, Sweden.
- Vladimir Dvorkin, retired Major-General and former Director of the Fourth Central Research Institute in Moscow, Russia.
- Nick Harvey, serving Member of Parliament and former Minister of State for the Armed Forces, United Kingdom.
- Elizabeth Symons, former Minister of State for the Middle East, International Security, Consular and Personal Affairs and former Deputy Leader of the House of Lords.
- Tedo Japaridze, current Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Foreign Relations, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Georgia.
- Jan Kavan, former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Czech Republic.
- Douglas Hurd, former Foreign Secretary, United Kingdom.
- Jaakko Blomberg, former Ambassador to Canada, Ambassador to Estonia and Special Adviser on Cyprus to the European Commissioner for Enlargement, Finland.
- Budimir Lončar, President of the Foreign Affairs and International Relations Advisory Committee to the President of the Republic of Croatia, former Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia, Croatia.
- Henrik Salander, former Ambassador for disarmament, Secretary-General of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, Chair of the Middle Powers Initiative, Sweden.
- Carlo Trezza, Chairman of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), former Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation and Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Italy.
- Goran Svilanović, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council and former Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia, Serbia.
- Vahit Erdem, former Member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Chief Adviser to President Süleyman Demirel, Head of the Turkish Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Vice-President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Turkey.
- Jaakko Iloniemi, former Ambassador to the CSCE and Ambassador to the United States, Finland.
- David Ramsbotham, serving Member of the House of Lords, Retired General Army, Former Adjutant General, Former ADC General to HM the Queen, United Kingdom.
- Ivo Slaus, World Academy of Art and Science, member Pugwash Council and member of the Club of Rome, dean D. Hammarskjold University College for International Relations and Diplomacy, Croatia.
The statement is endorsed by all members of the Executive Committee of the World Academy of Arts and Science.
For the French version of the statement, please click here.
The Group Statement is available for download here.
The opinions articulated above represent the views of the signatories, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or any of its other members. The ELN’s aim is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security challenges of our time.