Cluster 2: Nuclear Disarmament and Security Assurances

U.S. Statement
Cluster 2: Nuclear Disarmament and Security Assurances

Second Session of the Preparatory Committee
2015 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

Geneva,
April 26, 2013

As Delivered
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I welcome the opportunity to highlight steps underway to reinforce the NPT’s nonproliferation pillar and associated elements of the Action Plan.  This includes support for IAEA safeguards and nuclear weapon-free zones, as well as significant developments that continue to challenge the Treaty’s authority.

More detail can be found in the U.S. working paper on this issue.

U.S. Support for IAEA Safeguards

Mr. Chairman, IAEA safeguards as required under Article III of the NPT are fundamental to the effective functioning of the international nonproliferation regime.  This is reflected in the Action Plan and its calls for universality of comprehensive safeguards agreements; support for the IAEA safeguards system; and compliance with nonproliferation obligations.

The United States recognizes the role of strong, effective safeguards in preserving the NPT bargain.  In Prague in 2009, President Obama affirmed the importance of ensuring that the IAEA has the resources and authorities needed for its vital nonproliferation mission.

As it has for many years, the United States is providing significant voluntary support to IAEA safeguards, above and beyond our assessed contribution to the IAEA budget.  This assistance is helping the Agency to enhance its abilities in areas such as environmental sampling, remote monitoring, information technology, and related areas.  We have also provided over $14 million in extra-budgetary contributions for the new Safeguards Analytical Laboratory and nuclear material laboratory.  This major project will equip the Agency with the world-class technology it needs to conduct independent safeguards analysis.

U.S. Support for IAEA Safeguards and the Additional Protocol

Mr. Chairman, IAEA safeguards are only effective if the relevant agreements are in force and fully implemented.  We are encouraged that four NPT Parties brought into force comprehensive safeguards agreements since the 2010 Review Conference.  This leaves only 13 Parties without such an agreement in force.

The IAEA has made clear that it requires full implementation not only of comprehensive safeguards agreements, but also the Additional Protocol in order to provide credible assurances of the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in a state.  A comprehensive safeguards agreement, together with an Additional Protocol, should properly be viewed as the international standard for IAEA safeguards.

We welcome the fact that 119 states, including eighteen since 2010, now have an Additional Protocol in force.  Twenty four others have concluded negotiations on the Additional Protocol.  This sends a clear signal that the Additional Protocol is a recognized norm for the international safeguards regime.  We urge all Parties to bring this instrument into force as soon as possible.

In this regard, the United States welcomes the steps taken by the Government of Burma to conclude an Additional Protocol and modify its outdated Small Quantities Protocol.  We look forward to the implementation of these decisions and stand ready to offer any assistance requested.

Mr. Chairman, I remind the delegations that the United States is doing its part on safeguards.  We have made over 290 nuclear facilities eligible for IAEA safeguards under our Voluntary Offer safeguards agreement, and under our Additional Protocol declared over 330 nuclear-related activities and hosted complementary access visits by IAEA inspectors.  We take these steps to demonstrate our readiness to accept safeguards procedures similar to those required of NPT non-nuclear-weapon states.

The Additional Protocol is an essential tool for safeguards.  But as called for in the Action Plan the safeguards system should be “assessed and evaluated regularly to strengthen its effectiveness and improve its efficiency.”  In this regard, we wish to register our support for ongoing work by the IAEA Secretariat under the State Level Concept to optimize the Agency’s capabilities and to implement safeguards in a manner that provides it with the best possible opportunity to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear activities.

U.S. Support for NWFZs

Mr. Chairman, the United States believes that nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties can provide a valuable regional reinforcement to the NPT and the global nonproliferation regime.  This is an active element of U.S. nonproliferation policy.

The United States is a party to Protocols I and II of the Latin American Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty.  We have also signed and are pursuing ratification of the relevant Protocols to the South Pacific and African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone treaties.  We stand ready to sign the Protocol of the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone as soon any remaining concerns are addressed, and we are actively consulting the other nuclear weapon states and Parties to the Central Asia zone in order to be in a position to sign that Treaty’s Protocol.

The United States will address the important issue of a Middle East WMD free zone in a later statement.

Nonproliferation Challenges

Mr. Chairman, compliance with the Treaty’s nonproliferation obligations is of paramount importance.  The Action Plan calls for “addressing all compliance matters in order to uphold the Treaty’s integrity and the authority of the safeguards system” and “resolving all cases of non-compliance with safeguards obligations.”  The vast majority of NPT Parties have upheld their commitments.   Unfortunately, there remain a few exceptions that we wish to highlight and will describe in greater detail in a later statement.

In particular, Iran has persistently failed to comply with its NPT safeguards obligations and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.  We take note of the most recent round of talks between the P5+1 and Iran held in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  It is clear from these talks that significant differences remain.  But the absence of progress on this track does not excuse Iran from its international obligations.

Rather than cooperate with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding concerns, including those relating to possible military dimensions, Iran continues to expand its program in violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions to suspend enrichment and other sensitive nuclear activities.

In the case of Syria, more than two years have passed since the Board of Governors found it in noncompliance with its safeguards agreement for the clandestine construction of a nuclear reactor.  As reported by the IAEA Director General, the facility destroyed in 2007 should have been reported to the Agency pursuant to Syria’s safeguards agreement.  We call on Syria to fully cooperate with the IAEA and remedy this matter without delay.

North Korea also remains a serious concern.  The United States strongly condemns the nuclear test conducted by North Korea in February 2013 and its continued development of nuclear and ballistic missile programs in direct violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.  We urge North Korea to refrain from further provocations, and to comply with its commitments and obligations to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, and to return to the NPT and IAEA safeguards.

Conclusion

Mr. Chairman, all NPT parties must stand together to meet the Treaty’s legal obligations, and respond without hesitation to violations.  Treaty violations are not to be tolerated as inconvenient facts.  We should recognize them for what they are: challenges to the integrity of an international regime that has served us so well over many decades, and deal with them accordingly.

As President Obama said at Prague in 2009, “[R]ules must be binding.  Violations must be punished.  Words must mean something.  The world must stand together to prevent the spread of [nuclear] weapons.”

An NPT with a robust nonproliferation pillar benefits all NPT Parties.  It provides essential confidence that states are meeting their nonproliferation obligations.  And confidence facilitates the broadest possible access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and will help create conditions for achieving the peace and security of a world without of nuclear weapons.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.