Statement by H. E. Stafford Neil
Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations
to the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty
on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
New York, May 5, 2005
Jamaica congratulates you on your election as President of the Conference. You can be assured of our support and cooperation in the discharge of your responsibilities.
Jamaica associates itself with the statements made earlier by the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Permanent Representative of the Bahamas who spoke on behalf of the Caribbean Community. We wish, now, to make a few additional remarks from a national perspective.
This Conference has the responsibility of reviewing the NPT thirty-five years after its adoption. This review also provides an opportunity to assess the validity and integrity of the treaty and to examine objectively what action has been taken by States Parties to implement obligations since its indefinite extension in 1995.
Many statements which have been made from this podium over the course of the week, have expressed disappointment at the continuing lack of any real progress in the multilateral disarmament agenda. We fully share these concerns.
Since we last met in 2000, there has been a strong feeling that the NPT regime is in crisis. Reports of the developments of new nuclear weapons and improvements in weapons capability among nuclear weapons-states, the possibility of non-state actors gaining access to nuclear weapons, an instance of one withdrawal from the treaty and reports of clandestine networks which may have assisted the proliferation of nuclear weapons have all been troubling. Equally troubling have been the negative attitude of the nuclear powers towards their obligations and the accusations made against certain countries as being part of a network of instability. All of this has contributed to a heightened sense of insecurity. Additionally, in the face of perceived threats against their security, some states may have begun to consider the nuclear option in order to bolster their right to self defense. All of this has put at risk the delicate balance of disarmament and non-proliferation objectives envisaged by the NPT, objectives which are essential for the achievement of international peace and security.
A review of the last five years has nonetheless shown a few positive developments. Further steps towards universality of the NPT have been taken with the accession of Cuba and Timor-Leste; there have been additional signatories and ratifications of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty including by annex II countries; and agreement has been reached among the Central Asian States to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in their region. Jamaica continues to place importance on the role that nuclear- weapon- free zones play in widening and deepening the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regimes. We take this opportunity to commend the Government of Mexico for the hosting of the first conference of states parties and signatories of Nuclear Weapon Free Zones which was held in Mexico City last week. The outcome of that meeting should be given due importance by this review conference.
Yet much remains to be done. The CTBT is still to enter into force, a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone is still to be established for the Middle East and a significant number of states still remain outside the NPT framework. It may be time for the review process of the NPT to consider alternative and pragmatic ways in which to encourage the universal adherence to the treaty by recognizing the valid concerns faced by countries in terms of their own security. An assessment should be made as to how those states remaining outside of the treaty could be encouraged to accede.
My delegation is also concerned that the three pillars of the NPT namely disarmament, non-proliferation and guarantees to peaceful uses of nuclear energy are not being given equal attention. The so called “grand bargain” which allowed for the coming into being of the NPT has to be implemented in both letter and spirit. The progress towards nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament anticipated by previous review conferences has not been realized. Jamaica continues to subscribe to the view that the continued development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons by a few serves only to incite others to challenge that superiority, thereby undermining the goals of non-proliferation and disarmament.
The main burden of responsibility for this situation must be borne by the nuclear-weapon states. These states have so far failed to live up to their Article VI obligations to pursue negotiations in “good faith” for nuclear disarmament and to commence discussions on a treaty to achieve general and complete disarmament.
The predominance of non-proliferation concerns, in relation to horizontal rather than vertical proliferation at the expense of disarmament commitments needs to be addressed by this conference. Similarly, this conference should consider ways to strengthen the disarmament regime through implementation of obligations under the NPT. Additionally, special group arrangements to support non-proliferation should be subject to universal, inter-governmental discussion before being integrated as part of the NPT regime.
The preservation of Article IV obligations continue to be of paramount importance. In a time of diminishing resources and increased costs of energy, the benefits to be gained through the peaceful application of nuclear energy remain of value to developing countries. Such access should not be denied based on a selective and limited interpretation of events. The role of the IAEA in providing the necessary monitoring and verification should be strengthened and respected. For its part, Jamaica has fully adhered to the IAEA Safeguards system and signed the Additional Protocol with the Agency in 2003.
These are but some of the many issues which will occupy our attention during this review conference. In this regard, my delegation expresses its support for the approach to these and other issues contained in the working paper submitted to this meeting by the Non-Aligned Movement.
The tasks ahead of us in this review conference to strengthen the NPT are urgent. The recent report by the Secretary-General has pointed to the importance of security concerns in a world faced with numerous threats. The NPT provides the best multilateral framework in which to address the security concerns of the international community and we should continue to consider ways in which to strengthen it on the basis of broadening cooperation and promoting understanding and confidence in the NPT. This will happen only if there is genuine commitment to realize its objectives.