Saturday, May 1, 2010

United Nations NPT moot starts tomorrow

The United Nations opens a month-long conference on Monday to discuss issues such as nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy in a bid to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.The 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from May 3-28. The President-elect of the Review Conference is the Philippines U.N. Ambassador, Libran Cabactulan.

Conferences to review the operation of the Treaty have been held at five-year intervals since the Treaty went into effect in 1970. Each conference has sought to find agreement on a final declaration that would assess the implementation of the Treaty’s provisions and make recommendations on measures to further strengthen it.

The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The NPT represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.

The last NPT Review Conference in 2005 was largely considered a failure because members were unable to agree on all frontiers and became quagmires in lengthy quarrels about procedural issues.

“We all know that 2005 was an acknowledged failure,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a group of UN-based correspondents on Wednesday. “We should not unrealistically (have) raised expectations this time.”

A total of 107 countries are inscribed to speak at the general debate of the Review Conference, which runs from Monday through Thursday, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be the second to speak on the first day of the general debate, according to a preliminary list of speakers. The first speaker will be the Indonesian foreign minister, who is to take the floor on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Iran can use the upcoming global gathering on disarmament to reassure other states of its peaceful nuclear intentions, Cabactulan told reporters here Thursday, saying that the meeting offers an opportunity to really explore the limits of what is possible on disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The Review Conference is taking place amid international concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme.

The Iranian authorities hold that its activities are for peaceful purposes, while some Western nations contend they are driven by military ambitions. In 2003 it was discovered that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the NPT. Iran is a party to the NPT.

“All the state parties are equally important to bring their views to the table” and “find ways and means that can provide” a safer world for all, Cabactulan said, adding that it may be incumbent upon Iran to “really come up with concrete, definitive ideas” to convince nations of its peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Ban told reporters Wednesday that if Ahmadinejad “brings some good constructive proposal in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, that would be helpful.”

The secretary-general stated in an opinion column in Wednesday’ s International Herald Tribune that he hopes the forum will build on recent international momentum on disarmament, including the Russian-United States agreement earlier this month on slashing nuclear arsenals.

“If ever there were a time for the world’s people to demand change, to demand action beyond the cautious half measures of the past, it is now,” he said.

The president-elect said that consultations he has held with States parties indicate that the treaty’s universality and the lack of institutional support for the NPT compared to other pacts will be among the key priorities for discussion at the forum.

The forum should serve as “a marketplace of ideas,” he said.

“ The best ideas or the right ideas must prevail.”

On the issue of universal adherence to the NPT, he said that it is not enough to have non-parties to the pact, including India, Pakistan and Israel, sign on. Countries such as the United States and Russia, must take further measures beyond their recent agreement on stockpiles, he said.

“If we are true to the real objective” of eliminating nuclear weapons, “something concrete must be done in this regard,” he said.

The last review conference, held in 2005, has been characterized by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as “disappointing.”

At the end of that meeting, Sergio Duarte, the President of that gathering and now the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said the gathering ended having accomplished “very little “ amid widely diverging views on nuclear arms and their spread.....................Source


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