2005-07: Continued challenges for nuclear arms control

2005-07: Continued challenges for
nuclear arms control

2005: The 2005 NPT Review Conference

The five years following the 2000 NPT Review Conference had seen several challenges to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, including the announced withdrawal from the NPT by the DPRK, increasingly divergent views among States over the right to master all phases of the nuclear fuel cycle, increasingly divergent views between NWS and NNWS on nuclear disarmament obligations, and increasingly conflicting views among States on how to pursue nuclear non-proliferation. All this contributed to a climate not conducive to reaching a consensus agreement at the 2005 NPT Review Conference.

At the 2005 NPT Review Conference, the
overwhelming majority of States wished to
include a strong endorsement for the CTBT
in the Conference’s Final Document.

Although adopted by the Conference on the last day of the sessions, the 2005 NPT Review Conference Final Document contained little more than a list of participants, officials and documents from the Conference. With regard to the CTBT, the overwhelming majority of States Parties wished to include a strong endorsement for the CTBT in the Final Document. Delegates addressing the Conference noted the promise of a nuclear test ban in the Preamble of the NPT, as well as the decisions adopted at previous Conferences related to the CTBT.

2005: The Fourth Article XIV Conference

With diplomats from a record 120 countries in attendance, the fourth Article XIV Conference was held from 21-23 September in New York, nearly a decade after the Treaty opened for signature in 1996. International support for the CTBT had increased at a steady pace. 176 countries had signed and 126 had ratified the Treaty. However, delegates expressed concern over the remaining 11 Annex 2 States, including two nuclear weapon States China and the United States, who had yet to ratify the Treaty, preventing its entry into force.

The failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference as well as the 2005 United Nations World Summit to produce any significant progress towards global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, affected the atmosphere. Delivering his opening address to the Article XIV Conference, Kofi Annan stated, “For the second time in four months, States could not agree on the way forward on disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This was a significant failure."

“For the second time in four months, States could not
agree on the way forward on disarmament,
nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
This was a significant failure."UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan September 2005 at the Article XIV Conference

Several states, including the Russian Federation, Japan, Austria, Germany and Ukraine, made appeals to India to reconsider its position and sign and ratify the Treaty. India maintained its position; although it opposed the Treaty, it would not be the last of the 44 Annex 2 States to ratify the Treaty.

Remaining Annex 2 State Egypt stressed the need for universality with respect to both the NPT and the CTBT together, asserting, “We cannot regard the treaty as a secluded legal instrument apart from our common objectives to achieve nuclear disarmament and the universality of non-proliferation”.

Israel reasserted its commitment to the CTBT, but stated that its ratification of the Treaty hinged upon concerns about the procedures for on-site inspections and the readiness of the verification regime and adherence to the CTBT by States in the Middle East.

At the time of the Conference, construction of the global verification regime being built to monitor compliance with the Treaty was two-thirds complete. Nearly 150 IMS stations had been certified, and approximately 700 institutions from 89 countries received data and data products from the IDC.

To learn more about this Conference please click here.

2006: The Third Joint Ministerial Declaration

72 foreign ministers associated themselves with the Joint Ministerial Statement (PDF) in 2006, including all the Member States of the European Union, as well as the Russian Federation. This time, Canada joined Australia, Finland, Japan and the Netherlands, in convening the Foreign Ministers’ meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Besides calling on countries to sign and ratify the Treaty and committing themselves to making the Treaty the focus of attention at the highest political level, the Ministers welcomed the progress made in building up all elements of the verification regime. They would continue to provide the support required to complete and operate the verification regime in the most efficient and cost-effective way. The verification system would also bring scientific and civil benefits, including for tsunami warning and other disaster alert systems. The Ministers would “continue to seek ways to ensure that those benefits will be broadly shared by the international community.”

The 72 Ministers welcomed the progress made in
building up all elements of the verification regime.

2006: The DPRK breaks the de facto testing moratorium

The announcement by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK on 9 October 2006 that it had conducted a nuclear test broke the eight-year long de facto moratorium. As in 1998, when India and Pakistan had tested, the announcement was met with practically unanimous global expressions of concern. The UN Security Council’s Resolution 1718 strongly condemned the act as a clear threat to international peace and security. The Chairman and the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, as well as States Signatories, expressed grave concern at the declared test and characterized the event as an action against the letter and the spirit of the CTBT.

To read more about CTBTO’s findings in regards to the announced test, see DPRK announced test on 9 October 2006 click here.

2007: The Fifth Article XIV Conference

At the 2007 Article XIV Conference, States welcomed the progress made by securing 15 ratifications and one signature since the last Conference in 2005. The Treaty had achieved near universal adherence with 177 signatures and 140 ratifications.

With regard to the build-up of the verification regime, the number of certified monitoring facilities had increased by 60% since 2005, to 211 out of the 337 planned facilities. The data volume sent to State Signatories had doubled, while the overall data volume had tripled.

With regard to the build-up of the verification
regime, the number of certified monitoring facilities
had increased by 60% since 2005, to all together
211 out of the 337 planned ones.

Many speakers emphasized that the announced test by the DPRK in October 2006 had been a regrettable and disquieting event. At the same time, it had constituted a validation of the CTBT verification regime which had proved its value to State Signatories.

The Final Declaration, adopted by consensus, contained strong language supporting the Treaty and elaborating on its significance for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects. Six of the ten remaining Annex 2 States who had yet to ratify the Treaty, joined ratifying States in signing the Final Declaration. This contributed to its significance: A consensus document was a rare commodity in the current nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament world. The six States were China, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran and Israel.

The Final Declaration, adopted by consensus,
contained strong language supporting the Treaty
and elaborating on its significance for nuclear
disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects.

Non-signatory, Annex 2 State, Pakistan, spoke for the first time since 1999 at the Conference. The three Annex 2 States that did not participate in the Conference were the DPRK, India and the United States.

To learn more about this Conference, click here.