By Senator Douglas Roche, O.C.
Chairman, Middle Powers Initiative
April 8-19, 2002
An exercise in frustration, the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty dashed the hopes raised at the 2000 Review for serious progress on nuclear disarmament. Not only did the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) step back from their "unequivocal undertaking" to negotiate the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, the PrepComm could not even agree on how implementation reports will be made. Extensive wrangling over a timetable for the PrepComm meetings signaled the deep divisions persisting in the international community on the future of nuclear weapons. With the United States openly admitting that its new approach consists of nuclear and non-nuclear offensive systems and stating that it "no longer supports" some of the 13 Practical Steps agreed to in 2000 (e.g., ABM Treaty, CTBT), the NPT has been severely wounded.
The New Agenda countries played a strong role, protesting that there had been few advances in the 13 Steps since 2000, warning that, despite bilateral and unilateral reductions, the total number of nuclear weapons deployed and stockpiled still amounts to thousands, and promising to pursue, with continued vigour, the full and effective implementation of the 2000 agreements.
The subjects of nuclear terrorism, compliance by Iraq and North Korea to their NPT commitments, and the continuing refusal of India, Pakistan and Israel to join the NPT were all given prominent attention. The IAEA pointed to its $12 million voluntarily funded 8-point plan of action to improve protection against acts of terrorism involving nuclear material and other radioactive materials.
The PrepComm took up the subject of reporting on the implementation of Article VI and the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East, but could not agree on the scope, frequency or format of such reporting.
Fourteen statements by non-governmental organizations to the PrepComm were praised by several delegates for substance and insights.
The PrepComm ended with a seven-page "Chairman's Factual Summary" annexed to the Report of the PrepComm. The Factual Summary reflected points made at the meeting, including concern about existing nuclear arsenals, new approaches to the future role of nuclear weapons and development of new generations of nuclear weapons; and concern that the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and the development of missile defence systems could lead to a new arms race. This document goes forward to the Second PrepComm (2003 in Geneva), but its status was immediately challenged; though the Report (with the Annex) was adopted without a vote, the U.S., the U.K. and France made a point of insisting that the Factual Summary was only the Chairman's "personal" statement.
1.1 Following the Indefinite Extension of the NPT in 1995, annual
Preparatory Committee meetings were established for each subsequent five-year review. The 2000 Review strengthened the process by providing continuity from one PrepComm to the next. The PrepComm was instructed to factually summarize the discussions at its first and second sessions and transmit it forward. Only at the third (and fourth, if held) sessions, would the PrepComm attempt to produce a consensus report containing recommendations to the 2005 Review Conference.
1.2 Each session of the PrepComm was instructed to consider principles,
objectives and ways to promote the full implementation of the Treaty as well as its universality. To this end, each session is to consider specific matters of substance, with particular reference to the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Disarmament agreed to in 1995, including this central passage:
"The determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapons States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goals of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."
1.3 The PrepComm was also instructed to take into account the Resolution on
the Middle East adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. This resolution, aimed at Israel, calls upon all states of the Middle East that have not yet done so, without exception, to accede to the NPT as soon as possible and to place their nuclear facilities under full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
1.4 The PrepComm was further instructed to consider outcomes of Review
Conferences, including developments affecting the operation and purpose of the Treaty. At the 2000 Review, a big step forward was taken through securing from the NWS "an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals." This commitment was embodied in a program of 13 Practical Steps which all States Parties agreed to to manifest their systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI of the NPT.
1.5 The first session of the PrepComm met at the United Nations in New York
April 8-19, 2002 under the chairmanship of Ambassador Henrik Salander of Sweden; 137 States Parties (of the 187 total) attended. The second session will be held April 28-May 9, 2003 in Geneva (the Chairman will be Ambassador Laszlo Molnar of Hungary); the third April 26-May 7, 2004 in New York; the Seventh Review will be held May 2-27, 2005 in New York.
2. Under-Secretary-General Dhanapala: 'A Shadow'
2.1 Jayantha Dhanapala, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs
opened the meeting by underscoring the urgency, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, of effective measures to eliminate the risk of weapons of mass destruction proliferation and falling into the hands of terrorists. He recalled the words of Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
".we must now strengthen the global norm against the use or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This means, among other actions, redoubling the efforts to ensure universality, verification and full implementation of key treaties related to weapons of mass destruction."
Despite these calls, Mr. Dhanapala said that a "shadow" was cast over prospects
for progress; and this had caused the advance of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" - a barometer of nuclear danger for the past 55 years - to seven minutes to midnight, two minutes closer to the midnight hour symbolizing nuclear conflict.
2.2 A week after his opening address, Mr. Dhanapala stepped up his warning
when he addressed a noon-hour meeting convened by the Global Security Institute in the same conference room used by the NPT PrepComm. The Under-Secretary-General received the first Alan Cranston Peace Award and gave a major address (text, Appendix "A")
More than a decade after the end of the Cold War, there are 30,000 nuclear
weapons still in existence he said, many of them on alert launch-on-warning status. As well as a blocked CTBT process, the world is facing:
. the prospect of the demise of the Anti-Ballistic Missile
. the fear that nuclear tests may be conducted in the future;
. plans for the use of nuclear weapons even against non-nuclear
. the development of improved nuclear weapons.
He excoriated the maintenance of nuclear weapons. In his personal view, he
said, they are "totally illegitimate and immoral."
"No one seriously expects total disarmament or unilateral disarmament overnight. Incremental progress in nuclear disarmament with verification is a pragmatic necessity so that nations can be assured of their security. But there has been no serious implementation of the nuclear disarmament commitments made in the NPT, the Preamble of the CTBT, the Final Declaration of the 2000 NPT Review Conference and the Millennium Declaration. The disarmament community must therefore rekindle the public campaign for nuclear disarmament."
3. The New Agenda vs. NWS
3.1 While the PrepComm generally operated in a low-key atmosphere, the
tension between the New Agenda countries (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden) and the NWS (the U.S., Russia, the U.K., France and China) surfaced early. The N.A., coordinated at this time by Egypt, held out for a timetable that would focus on reviewing progress made in the implementation of the 13 Practical Steps. The U.S. in particular resisted such a concentrated approach. The dispute, revolving around whether actual "reports" would be considered, overflowed into the 1995 Middle East resolution, which itself was stepped up in the 2000 Final Document, which named Israel (as well as Iraq and North Korea). Egypt wanted a concentrated debate on the Middle East problem. In the end, the PrepComm agreed to a timetable that allowed, without particular concentration, a debate on all these topics. Chairman Salander inserted into the PrepComm Report this statement to ensure there would be no backsliding from 2000: "Nothing in the indicative timetable of which we have just taken note alters the status of the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference." However, while the status of the Final Document is not in doubt, the continuing agreement to it by the NWS is.
3.2 Of the 66 statements made in the general debate, the sharpest counter-
pointing was between the N.A. and the U.S.
3.3 The N.A. speeches, given by Ambassador Mahmoud Mubarak, Assistant
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egypt, expressed disappointment at the lack of advance in implementing the 13 Steps.
"This lack of progress is inconsistent with the unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapons States to achieve the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned about emerging approaches to the future role of nuclear weapons as a part of new security strategies.
Moreover, there is no sign of efforts involving all the five nuclear-weapons States in the process leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. On the contrary, there are worrying signs of the development of new generations of nuclear weapons.
We reaffirm that any presumption of the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons by the nuclear-weapon States is incompatible with the integrity and sustainability of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and with the broader goal of the maintenance of international peace and security."
3.4 The N.A. focused sharply on the reporting it seeks concerning the
implementation of Article VI:
"These reports should be submitted to each session of the Preparatory Committee. The reports on Article VI should cover issues and principles addressed by the thirteen steps and include specific and complete information on each of these steps (inter alia, the number and specifications of warheads and delivery systems in service and number and specifications of reductions, dealerting measures, existing holdings of fissile materials as well as reduction and control of such materials, achievements in the areas of irreversibility, transparency and verifiability). These reports should address current policies and intentions, as well as developments in these areas."
3.5 The N.A. submitted a detailed Working paper, which pointed to a number of
areas for "The Way Ahead."
. "We remain determined to pursue, with continued vigour, the full and effective implementation of the substantial agreements reached at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. That outcome provides the requisite blueprint to achieve nuclear disarmament.
. Multilaterally negotiated legally binding security assurances must be given by the nuclear-weapon States to all non-nuclear weapon States parties. The Preparatory Committee should make recommendations to the 2005 Review Conference on the modalities for immediate negotiations on this issue. Pending the conclusion of such negotiations, the nuclear-weapon States should fully respect their existing commitment in this regard.
. The nuclear-weapon States must increase their transparency and
accountability with regard to their nuclear weapons arsenals and their implementation of disarmament measures.
. Further efforts by nuclear-weapons States to effectively reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally are required. Formalization by nuclear-weapon States of their unilateral declaration in a legally binding agreement including provisions ensuring transparency, verification and irreversibility is essential. Nuclear-weapon States should bear in mind that reductions of deployments are a positive signal but no replacement for the actual elimination of nuclear weapons.
. Nuclear-weapon States should implement the NPT commitments to apply the principles of irreversibility by destroying the nuclear warheads in the context of strategic nuclear reductions and avoid keeping them in a state that lends itself to their possible redeployment. While deployment reduction, and reduction of operational status, give a positive signal, it cannot be a substitute for irreversible cuts and the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
. Further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons should be a priority.
Nuclear-weapons States must live up to their commitments. Reductions of non-strategic nuclear weapons should be carried out in a transparent and irreversible manner to include reduction and elimination of non-strategic nuclear weapons in the overall arms reductions negotiations. In this context, urgent action should be taken to achieve:
Further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives and as an integral part of the nuclear arms reductions and disarmament process;
a) further confidence-building and transparency measures to
reduce the threats posed by non-strategic nuclear weapons;
b) concrete agreed measures to reduce further the operational
status of nuclear weapons systems, and to
c) formalizing existing informal bilateral arrangements regarding
non-strategic nuclear reductions, such as the Bush-Gorbachev declarations of 1991, into legally binding agreements."
4. The United States: 'Nuclear Offensive Systems'
4.1 Through several interventions by Ambassador Norman Wulf, the chief U.S.
representative at the PrepComm, Ambassador Eric M. Javits, U.S. representative at the Conference on Disarmament, and an Information Paper on Article VI, the United States tried to reassure the PrepComm that it is proceeding down the nuclear disarmament path. The U.S. pointed to its dismantling of more than 13,000 nuclear weapons since 1988, and further reductions of operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads to a level between 1,800 and 2,200 warheads over the next decade.
"President Bush is committed to cooperation with Russia and the other states of the former Soviet Union to reduce the threat from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. The United States has allocated $6.5 billion for all nonproliferation and threat reduction assistance to former Soviet states since 1992, with about $1 billion requested for FY 2003. These programs have helped to rid nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. They also have assisted in the elimination of strategic offensive delivery vehicles and enhanced the safety and security of nuclear materials and nuclear weapons.
The United States is not developing new nuclear weapons. President Bush has not directed the U.S. Departments of Defense or Energy to undertake such action. The United States has not produced new nuclear warheads in a decade. While the Bush Administration has no plans to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, it continues to observe the moratorium on nuclear explosive testing and has no plans to resume such testing. Secretary of State Powell and Secretary of Energy Abraham recently confirmed these policies in Congressional testimony. We also encourage other states to honor this moratorium. The U.S. stockpile stewardship program is designed to provide the tools necessary to ensure safety, security, and reliability without nuclear explosive testing. We also continue to participate in and fund activities related to establishment of the international monitoring system to detect nuclear explosive testing."
4.2 Ambassador Wulf said that the U.S. "generally agrees" with what he
termed "the conclusions" of the 2000 NPT Review Conference. Ambassador Javits elaborated this point, insisting that "engaging in technical or legal interpretation of the steps individually or collectively would not, in our judgment, be a useful exercise." The proper question, he said, was not whether any given measure was being fulfilled but whether a nuclear weapon state is moving forward the overall goal. "For the United States, the answer is an emphatic yes."
4.3 He went on to say that the U.S. "no longer supports" two of the 13 Steps: the ABM Treaty and the CTBT. Regarding the ABM Treaty, he said:
"The ABM Treaty is from an era when different assumptions guided the strategic relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. Today, Presidents Bush and Putin are embarked on a new relationship. Moreover, we find it anomalous that those who profess the greatest interest in nuclear disarmament would criticize the United States for seeking to develop missile defenses that would in part reduce U.S. dependence on nuclear weapons."
4.4 Regarding the CTBT, he said:
"We continue to maintain a moratorium on nuclear testing. And last month, several senior Administration officials made clear that the United States is committed to this moratorium. The Stockpile Stewardship Program is designed to ensure the continued safety and reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons. The United States has no plans for a resumption of nuclear testing."
4.5 The pull-back from two of the 13 Steps is the tip of an iceberg now in the way of the nuclear disarmament course. The iceberg was revealed in Ambassador Javit's comment, stemming from the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, which reemphasized the continuing importance of nuclear weapons. Whatever the precise political status of the Nuclear Posture Review, Ambassador Javits made plain U.S. policy when he said:
"The new U.S. approach will consist of nuclear and non-nuclear offensive systems, active and passive defenses, and a revitalized defense infrastructure. These elements are interrelated, but have one thread in common - a reduced reliance on nuclear weapons."
4.6 Reduced reliance on nuclear weapons goes forward hand-in-hand with the threat to use nuclear weapons for offensive purposes. It is clear, Ambassador Javits said, "that no timetable can be set for the ultimate fulfillment of Article VI or for the achievement of whatever steps may be involved in reaching that goal."
4.7 There the issue is joined. Does the U.S. believe it has made an "unequivocal undertaking" to the total elimination of nuclear weapons? Is the U.S. operating in the "good faith" requirement of Article VI?
5. Other NWS: 'Reductions and Criticism'
5.1 The following are excerpts from the speeches by the other NWS, dealing with
"We are convinced that under present conditions it is necessary to conclude a new legally binding treaty regarding further SOW reductions, where not only a new level of reduction down to 1700-2200 reentry vehicles will be specified, to which Russia and the United States will come during 10 year period. I will remind here that Russia has been prepared to agree to a lower level of reductions - down to 1500 reentry vehicles. It will also be necessary to underscore there an interrelation between strategic offensive weapons and defensive weapons. We think it is important that such reductions were real and reliably monitored. At present Russia and the United States are engaged in intensive negotiations on the elaboration of such a treaty, as well as declaration on new strategic relations between both nations.
All are very well familiar with the fact that Russia qualified unilateral U.S. decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty as a wrong step. Besides anything else, it is not in line with either recommendations of the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, or the opinion of the world community, reflected in U.N. General Assembly resolutions, which have been adopted during previous three years in a row on preservation and compliance with the ABM Treaty. We are also concerned because of the fact that the withdrawal from the ABM Treaty may bring along such a dangerous development of events as "weaponization" of space."
b) China (Ambassador Huxiaodi)
"We note not without regret that the provisions of the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference have not been fully materialized and that new negative developments which have an impact on the NPT review process and detriment to international security environment have occurred. The ABM Treaty, which is widely recognized by the international community as a cornerstone of strategic stability, is becoming history. The BWC Protocol, which had been under negotiation for seven years, was rejected. The CTBT is seeing a grimmer prospect of entry into force due to a negative attitude towards it. The bloodshed in the Middle East is continuing. And more recently, even more disturbing developments have been observed in the nuclear field. All of these have added to the uncertain and destabilizing factors in the international security field. Their adverse effects on the NPT review and implementation process must not be neglected..
As a nuclear weapons State, China has never shied away from her responsibility in nuclear disarmament. China has, with her own action, made unique contributions to international nuclear disarmament. China consistently advocates a complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China has, ever since coming into possession of nuclear weapons, undertaken unconditionally not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China has never been in any nuclear arms race, nor has it deployed any nuclear weapons outside of China. China firmly believes that comprehensively banning nuclear test explosions is an important step in the process towards the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China supports an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, is committed to its ratification at an early date, and supports and participates in the preparatory work for the CTBT with concrete actions. China supports the Conference on Disarmament in reaching a program of work agreed by all parties and begin to negotiate, according to the mandate of the "Shannon Report," a multilateral, non-discriminative and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons."
c) United Kingdom (Ambassador Peter Jenkins)
"The U.K. has led the way in taking measures to reduce is reliance on nuclear weapons to the minimum level necessary consistent with national security. In the last few years:
. we have unilaterally reduced our operationally available stockpile to few than 200 warheads, which represents a reduction of more than 70% in the potential explosive power of our deterrent since the end of the Cold War.
. We have reduced the readiness of our nuclear forces. Only a single Trident submarine is now on deterrent patrol, carrying 48 warheads. The submarine on patrol is normally on several days "notice to fire" and its missiles are de-targeted.
. And we have withdrawn from UK's freefall nuclear bomb, leaving Trident as our only nuclear system.
I am pleased to be able to announce today that the UK's last Chevaline warhead will be dismantled by the end of this month - part of our commitment to irreversibility in reductions in the UK's nuclear weapons.
We have ratified the CTBT and have not carried out a nuclear explosion since 1991.
In 1995 we announced that we had stopped the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. We call upon those who have not yet done so to follow our example.
Having reduced our nuclear weapons to a single system at the minimum level necessary for the UK's national security, further unilateral steps we can take now without compromising that security are limited. We continue to encourage mutual, balanced and verifiable reductions in the numbers of nuclear weapons world-wide. When we are satisfied that sufficient progress has been made to allow us to include British nuclear weapons in multilateral negotiations without endangering our security interests, we will do so."
d) France (Ambassador Hubert de la Fortelle)
"France has agreed, under Article VI, to pursue good-faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament measures. What it undertook to do it has in fact done, and continues to do, in particular by basing its policy of nuclear deterrence on the principle of strict sufficiency and by reducing its nuclear arsenal in an exemplary manner, despite an international strategic context now marked by increasing uncertainties in the area of security..
France has made clear its determination to contribute to systematically and progressively moving to reduce globally the level of nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal of eliminating them altogether. France is aware of the importance of taking a pro-active stance to maintain momentum. The "practical steps" included in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference indicate the direction in which we must go. There is, we must realize, not one single path, but there is a general direction to which these concrete measures point.
True to its commitments, France has resolutely implemented Article VI and the relevant provisions of Decision 2 of 1995. It has put these commitments into practice, in particular through exemplary unilateral measures..
If it is to have a profound effect, the pro-active stance must be based on a principle of reality. In this instance, the objective of general and complete disarmament illustrates this principle. It is enshrined in the Treaty and in the 1995 Decision on Principles and Objectives. It is one of the concrete measures in the 2000 Final Document, which it helps to clarify. It is in fact inseparable from nuclear disarmament. Far from constituting an obstacle to achieving a world without nuclear weapons, the prospect of general and complete disarmament must underpin the nuclear disarmament process to ensure that the latter is carried out in compliance with the principle of undiminished security for all..
The measures taken by France over the last ten years are milestones in the process of effective and thorough nuclear disarmament in accordance with the Final Document of 2000. France calls for a systematic and progressive process to ensure that what has been done will not be undone."
6. The European Union: More Eastern Countries
6.1 The European Union (E.U.), originally composed of the States of Western
Europe, is increasingly speaking at international gatherings for more nations. The E.U. speeches at the PrepComm, given by Spain, spoke also for the Central and Eastern European countries associated with the E.U., Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, as well as new associated countries, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey. Also, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, aligned themselves with the statements.
On Article VI issues, the E.U. said:
"We welcome the ongoing bilateral negotiations between the Russian Federation and the U.S.A. on strategic nuclear arms reduction. These negotiations constitute a very important step and any disarmament measures agreed should be swiftly embodied into a legally binding instrument with provisions ensuring irreversibility, verification and transparency.
For the first time in the NPT process, the issue of non-strategic nuclear weapons was included in a final document. We deem it an integral part of the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament process and look forward to the fulfillment of the commitments taken by the relevant states during the VI Review Conference. We encourage them swiftly to start negotiations on an effectively verifiable agreement on drastic reductions of these weapons.
The EU is convinced that the application of the principle of irreversibility to nuclear disarmament, nuclear and other related arms control and reduction measure, contributes to the maintenance and reinforcement of international peace, security and stability.
Furthermore, the EU fully endorses the NPT 2000 Final Document call for increased transparency by the nuclear weapon states with regard to the nuclear weapon capabilities and the implementation of agreements pursuant to Article VI and, as a voluntary confidence building measures, to support further progress in disarmament. Regular reporting, in the framework of the strengthened review process, by all States Parties will further promote international stability.
The EU takes note of the US decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty and welcomes the ensuing bilateral negotiations with the Russian Federation to create a new strategic framework. We also expect that the above mentioned negotiations will further promote international stability."
7. The Non-Aligned Movement: 'An International Conference'
7.1 Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the 115-member Non-Aligned Movement,
reiterated the NAM's long-standing call for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
7.2 The NAM expressed its concern about:
. "The continued inflexible postures of the Nuclear Weapon States that continue to prevent the Conference on Disarmament, the sole multilateral negotiating body on disarmament, from establishing an Ad Hoc Committee on nuclear disarmament. We continue to believe in the need for negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time, including a Nuclear Weapons Convention, and in this regard reiterate our call for the establishment as soon as possible and as the highest priority of an Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament. In this context, we underline once again the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control. We regret that no progress has been made in the fulfillment of this obligation despite the lapse of five years;
. The continued inability of the Conference on Disarmament to resume its negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices taking into account both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation objectives; and
. The lack of progress in diminishing the role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that these weapons will ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.
We reiterate once again our support for the convening of the Fourth Special
Session of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to Disarmament. We continue to call for further steps leading to the Convening of the Fourth Special Session with the participation of all Member States of the United Nations as well as the need for SSOD-IV to review and assess the implementation of SSOD-1, while reaffirming its principles and priorities.
Furthermore, we are concerned that no progress has been achieved towards the realization of the United Nations Millennium Declaration in which Heads of State and Government resolved to strive for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, and to keep all options open for achieving this aim, including the possibility of convening an international conference to identify ways and means of eliminating nuclear dangers. We again call for an international conference, at the earliest possible date, with the objective of arriving at an agreement on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time to eliminate all nuclear weapons, to prohibit their development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpile, transfer, or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction. We are also deeply concerned about the progressive erosion of multilateralism, and emphasize the importance of collective international efforts to enhance and maintain international peace and security."