– The NPT does not provide any type of security assurances to non-nuclear weapon states. The fact that the NPT framework has failed to provide the desired level of assurance to non-nuclear weapon states, is evident from the call of non-nuclear weapon states to pursue the issue of NSAs in the CD. For us, the CD is not just the right, but the only forum where such negotiations can take place.
– Action 7 of the 2010 NPT Action Plan stated that “All States agree that the Conference on Disarmament should, within the context of an agreed, comprehensive and balanced programme of work, immediately begin discussion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, to discuss substantively, without limitation, with a view to elaborating recommendations dealing with all aspects of this issue, not excluding an internationally legally binding instrument.”
– The UNGA resolutions on NSAs, most recently resolution 71/30, operative paragraph-5, recommends that the CD should “actively continue intensive negotiations with a view to reaching early agreement and concluding effective international agreements to assure the non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, taking into account the widespread support for the conclusion of an international convention”.
– In our view, the CD is the right forum for the long overdue negotiations on a legally binding treaty on NSAs. A treaty concluded through the NPT framework, unlikely as it is, would not have universal coverage because of the absence of certain key states that possess nuclear weapons and are not party to the NPT.
Inadequacy of the Unilateral Declarations, UNSC resolutions and NWFZ Protocols
– We heard some nuclear-weapon states argue that the assurances provided through their unilateral declarations and UNSC resolutions, as well as legally binding Protocols to the NWFZ treaties are sufficient, and States interested in receiving further assurances should establish new NWFZs.
– As we have heard from those states that are meant to be assured by these unilateral declarations and NWFZ Protocols, they do not find them adequate because of the attached conditionalties and interpretative statements.
– Moreover, those states that are outside existing nuclear weapon free zones, especially those non-nuclear weapon states that belong to regions where the establishment of such zones is extremely problematic, should not be denied their entitlement to receive legally binding NSAs. Renouncing the right to acquire nuclear weapons is enough for receiving NSAs. Subjecting the grant of NSAs to another layer of non-proliferation commitment, such as a NWFZ, is not fair to those states especially in areas where such zones are not possible.
Feasibility of negotiating a politically-binding regime on NSA
– A politically binding regime would be insufficient, and fall short of the long-standing demand of the non-nuclear weapon states to receive unconditional and legally binding negative security assurances.
– The SSOD-I Final Document and the UN General Assembly have called for the conclusion of a legally binding treaty on NSAs in the CD.
– Nevertheless, we are ready, in the spirit of accommodation, to consider negotiating a politically binding regime on NSAs in the CD, if that helps in breaking the CD’s deadlock and is acceptable to all the member states especially the non-nuclear weapon states.
Linkage with NPT, CTBT and FMCT
– The prime/sole beneficiary of NSAs is NNWS. The creation of onerous and unrealistic conditions for NWS to be able to extend NSAs to NNWS, would deprive the NNWS from benefiting from NSAs. Such conditions would not hurt the NWS, but would rather affect the NNWS for no fault of their own.
– NWS are not likely to adhere to certain treaties (like NPT, CTBT or an FMT in the future) simply because it is a requirement for extending NSAs. Such conditions would make the coverage of NSAs non-universal and non-comprehensive, thereby defeating their purpose.
– NNWS should be able to unconditionally benefit from assurances that any nuclear weapons will not be used against them. The only acceptable condition for NNWS should that: (i) they are complying with their non-proliferation obligations; and (ii) they are not allied with a NWS.
– Linkages with other treaties, especially those that do not have a realistic prospect of universal adherence, was never envisaged as a condition for
NSAs. The NNWS’s demand for NSAs precedes all of these 3 treaties. The introduction of these conditions now would amount to shifting the goalposts and complicating the matter, creating doubts about the good faith of NWS.
– A treaty on NSAs is an interim step, pending complete nuclear disarmament. NSAs treaty is not meant to be an instrument for resolving all the other issues related to the global non-proliferation regime. In fact, creating linkages between an NSA treaty and NWS’s adherence to NPT/CTBT/FMT/fissile material moratoriums could imply that the NSA treaty is being pursued as a final instrument and there would be no follow-up in terms of nuclear disarmament.
– If one was to go down the path of establishing treaty-based preconditions for NWS, it might not stop at these three treaties, and other legal instruments might also be introduced. It would further delay and complicate the issue to the detriment of NNWS’s justified demand for receiving NSAs.