Statement of the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative

Media release

New York

21 September 2011

A year ago, ten countries — Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates — established an initiative, now known as the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), to take forward the outcomes of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

Over the past twelve months, we have worked to promote transparency in nuclear disarmament reporting and highlighted the need to resolve the prolonged stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament (CD).

At our second meeting, in Berlin on 30 April 2011, we undertook, in accordance with Action 21 of the NPT Review Conference Final Document, to develop a draft standard nuclear disarmament reporting form as a contribution to discussions among the nuclear weapon states. We have now shared our proposed reporting form with the P5. We look forward to contributing further on nuclear disarmament transparency, as part of our efforts to encourage progress on this issue.

At our meeting in Berlin, we expressed profound concern at the CD's repeated failure to begin negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) in accordance with Action 15 of the NPT Review Conference Final Document. We stated that, if the CD could not agree to FMCT negotiations during its 2011 session, we would ask the UN General Assembly to "consider ways to proceed with the aim of beginning negotiations". The CD's 2011 session concluded last week without agreement. In considering its next steps, the NPDI is mindful that Canada has for many years led on a General Assembly resolution urging the immediate commencement of FMCT negotiations. Canada will again introduce such a resolution in the General Assembly this year. A resolution that takes stock of the current situation, supports ongoing efforts to break the impasse in the CD, and proposes ways forward will be strongly supported by us and we will encourage others to do likewise.

Each of us will continue to press for the CD to commence work on its core issues.

We regard a safeguards agreement and an Additional Protocol as the standard for effective verification of states' safeguards commitments. In accordance with Actions 28 and 29 of the NPT Review Conference Final Document, we are writing to the Director-General of the IAEA, and to IAEA members who do not yet have an Additional Protocol in force, offering to share our collective experience in concluding and implementing Additional Protocols. We continue to urge all states which have yet to do so to conclude an Additional Protocol with the IAEA as soon as possible.

The NPT Review Conference noted the important non-proliferation role played by national export controls and endorsed specific actions aimed at strengthening and reinforcing states' export control systems. We have decided to work on practical proposals in support of these actions.

We firmly support efforts to promote the establishment of nuclear weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the states of the region concerned, taking into consideration that such zones are not an end in themselves but rather a means to reinforce the global non-proliferation regime and contribute to nuclear disarmament. Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, internationally recognized nuclear weapon-free zones also provide an important practical means of extending legally binding negative security assurances to non-nuclear weapon states in the zones. We support efforts made by the UN Secretary General and other relevant actors for the convening next year of a conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, and we urge all states in the Middle East region to cooperate constructively to this end.

We will actively promote disarmament and non-proliferation education to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, recognising the particular importance of passing on to younger generations the first-hand experience of survivors (Hibakushas) of the tragic consequences of nuclear weapons use, so as to ensure that such memories do not fade away.

Finally, we reiterate our commitment to universalizing the CTBT and promoting its early entry-into-force. While striving towards this goal, we recognize the security and civil benefits of the CTBT verification system, including the International Monitoring System. Members of the NPDI will continue to utilize diplomatic opportunities to urge states that have not done so to sign and ratify the Treaty.

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