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Statement by the United States on Nuclear Disarmament and Security Assurances
As Delivered by Ambassador Bruce Turner
August 4, 2023

Statement by the United States

Cluster I – Specific Issue (Nuclear Disarmament and Security Assurances)

The 11th Preparatory Commission of the Parties to the

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

Statement by Ambassador Bruce Turner

Vienna, Austria

Chair and colleagues,

I would like to recall three points that are relevant to security assurances and have been long-standing elements of U.S. policy on nuclear weapons. These policies respond to the interest of non-nuclear-weapon states for all nuclear-weapon states to provide such assurances, and they strengthen the NPT by reinforcing the security benefits of states’ adherence to and full compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

  • First, as reaffirmed in our Nuclear Posture Review, the United States maintains a “negative security assurance” that it will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
  • Second, recognizing interest in making such assurances legally-binding, the United States views the signature and ratification of relevant protocols to existing nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties as the appropriate vehicle through which to extend legally-binding negative security assurances to the treaty parties.
  • Third, the United States recalls its positive security assurance as noted in UN Security Council resolution 984.

Mr. Chair,

I would also like to call to your attention to the P3 Joint Statement on Security Assurances issued at the Tenth NPT Review Conference on August 4, 2022. In this statement, the governments of France, the United Kingdom and the United States recognized the legitimate interest of non-nuclear-weapon States Parties to the NPT in receiving certain assurances to safeguard their security. Accordingly, the three states reaffirmed the following:

  • First, their existing security assurances regarding the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against NNWS Parties to the NPT.
  • Second, their national positive security assurances referenced in UN Security Council Resolutions 255 and 984.
  • Third, the necessity of providing or supporting immediate assistance to any non-nuclear weapon State Party to the NPT that is an object of a threat or act of aggression involving the use of nuclear weapons.
  • Fourth, their commitment to continue working on such appropriate measures to safeguard the security of NPT non-nuclear weapon States Parties in compliance with their relevant nonproliferation obligations.

Mr. Chair,

Security assurances played an important role at the end of the Cold War. At that time, the United States and other nuclear-weapon states reaffirmed to certain newly independent states our obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of those states. While the United States has upheld these assurances, we deeply regret that others have not.

The international community cannot, and should not, ignore Russia’s repeated and flagrant disregard for its international obligations and commitments, including obligations under the UN Charter. Russia’s horrific war against Ukraine has betrayed the very security assurances Russia gave to Ukraine through the Budapest Memorandum when Ukraine joined the NPT.  Russia’s irresponsible rhetoric regarding nuclear weapons, disinformation about possible WMD use, and past use of chemical weapons further undermine efforts to make progress on disarmament and increase the risk of miscalculation. The United States will not engage in such irresponsible and dangerous behavior, and we will continue to uphold the assurances hawse have provided on our own part.

Thank you.

For more information on U.S. participation in the 2023 NPT Preparatory Committee, please go to 2023 NPT Preparatory Committee – United States Department of State.