Before delving into the elaboration of our comments on the issue of verification of a future treaty dealing with fissile materials, let me emphasize that our views on the specific treaty elements such as verification should be seen in the context of a Fissile material Treaty (FMT) that covers existing stocks, and not on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) that is envisaged to ban the future production only.
We are of the view that in order to be effective and credible, a Fissile Material treaty should provide for a robust verification mechanism overseen by an independent treaty body that is capable of detecting any non-compliance in a timely manner, without any discrimination between States.
Pakistan would favour a comprehensive approach to verification, whereby all nuclear material and facilities covering the entire fuel cycle would be subject to verification, and not just the so-called ‘choke points’ facilities like enrichment and reprocessing plants.
There is neither any insurmountable technical barrier nor any prohibitive financial requirement that would prevent us from pursuing such a comprehensive approach. We should not be distracted or misled by self-serving arguments relying on technical and financial pretexts. Choosing a verification approach is a political decision first and foremost.
The treaty’s verification regime should also be capable of verifying both the quantities of declared stocks, as well as the verification of the reduction of fissile material stocks as agreed between the states parties on a regional or global basis.
The verification system should provide timely detection of any diversion or non-compliance. It should also provide credible assurance regarding the absence of any undeclared or clandestine activity involving the production of fissile material for prohibited purposes, including any stocks that are unaccounted for. Where applicable, the shut-down and dismantlement of facilities such as reprocessing and enrichment plants as well as dedicated plutonium production reactors should also be verified.
The verification obligations under an FMT would mostly apply to the nuclear weapons possessing states. For non-nuclear weapon states parties to the NPT, the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol already provide the desired level of assurance.
The verification tasks under the treaty should be performed by an independent and dedicated treaty body – an FMTO – without excluding the use of IAEA resources. The responsibility to verify and oversee the treaty’s implementation cannot be assigned exclusively to the IAEA. Besides the problems arising from differences between the membership of the IAEA and the states parties to the treaty, the Agency’s decision making organs and procedures are not inclusive and transparent enough to effectively perform the oversight function. The FMTO would need an executive governing body that includes all the major stakeholders on a permanent basis – which is not the case with the IAEA Board of Governors.
Issues of verification as well as other elements of the treaty such as definitions and legal and institutional arrangements are closely linked to the treaty’s objective and scope. Without developing full clarity and a common vision on the treaty’s objective and its scope, discussion on these other inter-linked elements like verification is premature.
I thank you, Mr. Coordinator.