Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
22 May 2000
Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Regime Reinforced
I am delighted that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which concluded in New York on 20 May, and which I addressed on Anzac Day, has agreed on a program to advance global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
As one of the strongest supporters of the NPT, Australia worked hard in the lead-up to the Conference and at the Conference itself to achieve this positive outcome.
Proposals developed by Australia and Japan on further measures to implement the NPT have been reflected in the Conference's forward looking program.
This very important outcome sends a clear message that all states parties to the NPT remain strongly committed to the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world. For the first time since 1985, states parties to the Treaty - of which there are now 187 - were able to agree on both a review of the Treaty and a series of next steps for the Treaty's implementation.
That all countries represented at this conference were able to reach such a consensus underlines international acceptance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the best vehicle for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and working towards nuclear disarmament.
The NPT is the instrument through which the Nuclear Weapon States have committed themselves to the elimination of their nuclear arsenals, and through which almost every other country in the world has agreed not to acquire nuclear weapons. The Treaty therefore makes a vital contribution to global, regional and national security.
At this conference, NPT members have committed themselves to goals for which Australia has long worked, such as early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), continuing a moratorium on explosive nuclear testing, negotiation of a treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, universal adherence to the International Atomic Energy Agency's strengthened safeguards system and universal membership of the NPT.
I particularly welcome the unequivocal commitment of the Nuclear Weapon States to the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. It is also a measure of the the NPT's strength that a common approach was agreed on regional issues, including the Middle East and South Asia.