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28 MAY 2010
RP PUTS DISARMAMENT AGENDA BACK ON TRACK AS IT LEADS
PHOTOS TO ACCOMPANY STORY COULD BE DOWNLOADED FROM http://www.flickr.com/photos/philippine_mission/
NEW YORK—The Philippines scored a historic diplomatic feat at the United Nations on Friday when it convinced States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to set aside their differences and throw their support behind a compromise formula that Manila put together to move the stalled nuclear disarmament process forward.
The Philippine Mission to the United Nations said Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan, President of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, was able to bring the nuclear disarmament agenda back on track after States Parties adopted by consensus the last-minute action plan he presented to avoid what could have been a repeat of the failed 2005 Review Conference.
In Manila, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo welcomed the successful outcome of the New York conference, saying the consensus agreement is historic and unprecedented as never has the world come together before to firmly put in place a coherent and comprehensive plan to work closely together to eliminate nuclear weapons.
“Today, the world took one bold and determined step towards being rid of nuclear weapons. That step was taken under the firm leadership and guidance of the Philippines,” said Secretary Romulo, who was also the head of the Philippine Delegation to the 2010 Review Conference.
“Because of the leadership of the Philippines, the world will be a much safer place, there is more hope for peace, and there is good reason to dream of a world free from nuclear weapons,” he said.
“The success of the Philippines is the success of the world. It is a success for all Filipinos, particularly those in areas of tension and potential conflict. The global Filipino is safer from these weapons because of the successful conclusion today of the Review Conference.”
In its report to Secretary Romulo, the Philippine Mission said Ambassador Cabactulan, who is also the Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, was given a standing ovation after sealing the first agreement in 10 years for the treaty.
“This is a major victory not only for the Philippines but also for the entire world,” Ambassador Cabactulan said after the 189 States Parties approved the 28-page final document that includes 64 so-called action items related to the three pillars of the NPT—disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
“We have agreed on a final document. Over the past four weeks, the States Parties achieved a better understanding of each other’s positions and a clearer appreciation of the need to strengthen the main pillars of the NPT,” Ambassador Cabactulan said.
“I have listened very carefully to all views presented by States Parties and this document is the very best that can be offered given the complexities of the issues and the diverging and sometimes even diametrically opposed positions taken on some issues,” he said.
Saying the adoption of the final document was a significant step forward, Ambassador Cabactulan expressed his appreciation to States Parties for their flexibility and cooperation. He said the success of the 2010 Review Conference would not have been possible without their support.
“I would like to point out that there was agreement on the vast majority of issues facing the Review Conference. We agreed on many of the issues, both procedural and substantive,” Ambassador Cabactulan told the media shortly after closing the month-long conference that started on 3 May.
“The common desire to push nuclear disarmament forward fueled many of the understandings and helped to resolve any remaining differences of opinion on a small number of issues and differences on certain details,” he said.
The Cabactulan proposal called for, among others, the convening of a conference in 2012 on the establishment of “a Middle East zone free of nuclear-weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction” to be held under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General and to be attended by all states of the Middle East.
The document also called on China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States to commit to accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament; take steps to further diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons; and report back on progress by 2014—a year before the next Review Conference.
The conference, which takes place every five years, seeks to review and advance the objectives of the NPT. Under the treaty, which took effect in 1970, so-called Non-Nuclear Weapons States vowed not to acquire such weapons while so-called Nuclear Weapons States made commitments to move toward their elimination. The treaty also endorsed the right of States Parties to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses. ###
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