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Abdullah bin Zayed: UAE supports the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy as a right of every state party to NPT

posted on 05/05/2010: 1065 views



New York - Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed stressed yesterday that UAE supports the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy as a right of every state party to the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty.

However he emphasised that the development of peaceful nuclear energy should be conducted in a responsible manner.

Sheikh Abdullah, who heads the UAE delegation to New York, was addressing The General Debate of the 2010 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty.

"States with nuclear capabilities are obligated to assist non-nuclear states in developing peaceful uses of nuclear energy", he said.

He also stressed that the Non-nuclear states should adhere to comprehensive safeguard measures; should cooperate fully with the IAEA in their verification mandate; and should take steps to address any concerns of the international community.



The following is the full text of his Statement".

Mr, President, At the outset, I would like to congratulate you on your election to chair the 2010 NPT Review Conference. I am confident that your leadership and diplomatic skills will result in a positive outcome from the conference. I would also like to associate myself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Alignment Movement by the representative of Indonesia. .

40 years ago, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) put into place one of the most important international treaties: states without nuclear weapons pledged not to acquire them, while nuclear-armed states committed to disarmament and the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. At the same time, the NPT promised cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology under verifiable control. The founding principles of the NPT are clear in this regard. These principles should be honoured and strengthened without exception.

Mr. President, Since its inception, the NPT has helped to limit the number of states that possess nuclear weapons to those recognised by the treaty and few others outside the treaty. Dozens of other states might have had nuclear weapons today had it not been for the NPT and associated measures. Over the years the NPT framework, along with effective diplomacy, has also led some states to abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions while others have given up their nuclear weapons and joined the NPT.

Notwithstanding this positive outcome, the implementation of the NPT still faces major challenges. Lack of concrete steps to disarmament; the existence of states outside the treaty; issues of non-compliance, and nuclear proliferation threats are some of the major challenges the NPT regime faces today. We meet here today with the hope of reaching a mutual understanding on how to address these challenges, building on the consensus that was reached in upon NPT entry in force, and on the steps outlined in previous review conferences.

Mr. President, At the root of its commitment to ensure global security and prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons lies the UAE decision to join the NPT in 1995. This was followed by the ratification of the CTBT in 2000 and the conclusion of Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement (CSA) in 2003. The UAE also signed the additional protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement (CSA) in 2009, with the ratification process being in its final stages.

Today, the UAE government is taking further tangible steps to support the non-proliferation efforts of the international community.

These steps include the development of an innovative model for adopting peaceful nuclear energy; a model that should help to reduce global non-proliferation concerns by demonstrating that nuclear energy can be adopted in a manner that is completely transparent, safe, secure, and peaceful. As such, and in exercising its right under the NPT, UAE is pursuing the development of a peaceful nuclear energy program to meet growing domestic energy demand.

The UAE's awareness of its rights and obligations under the treaty, and its understanding of the unique circumstances surrounding the use of nuclear materials, led to the development and subsequent announcement of its "Policy on the Evaluation and Potential Development of Peaceful Nuclear Energy" in April 2008. This policy defines a series of strategies and commitments undertaken by the UAE Government to develop its nuclear energy programme in a responsible manner. Commitments to the highest standards of nuclear security and non-proliferation represent major pillars of this policy. In an effort to transform these aspirations into reality, the UAE has taken a number of groundbreaking steps, including the decision to renounce the development of domestic enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.

The UAE supports the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy as a right of every state party to the treaty. We also believe that the development of peaceful nuclear energy should be conducted in a responsible manner. States with nuclear capabilities are obligated to assist non-nuclear states in developing peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Non-nuclear states should adhere to comprehensive safeguard measures; should cooperate fully with the IAEA in their verification mandate; and should take steps to address any concerns of the international community.

In a world where nuclear proliferation is a major concern, the process of developing nuclear energy programs should be transparent; based on logical requirements; and developed to the highest standards of safety security and non-proliferation. UAE also stresses on the important role of the IAEA in achieving the treaty goals. UAE's interest in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and as an active member of the IAEA has submitted its nomination for a seat at the IAEA Board of Governors for the period 2010-2012, and looking forward for States support for its candidacy.

Mr. President, We have seen many examples of the challenges facing the treaty today: examples of states leaving the treaty at will; cases of states utilising the treaty as a means to start up nuclear weapons programmes; multiple examples of the IAEA failure to verify the peaceful nature of state nuclear programs. This calls for measures to strengthen the treaty, such as strengthening IAEA Safeguards regime. The main objective of the safeguards regime is to prevent the non-peaceful use of nuclear material and to reinforce mutual trust and transparency as well as to allow all states parties to the NPT, under secure conditions and with mutual confidence, to exercise their right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy without discrimination.

In this context, the credibility and effectiveness of the IAEA Safeguards are main factors to the responsible expansion in nuclear energy uses. The adoption of the additional protocol to the comprehensive safeguards agreement is important to strengthen this system, and therefore export of nuclear technology should gives a priority for countries which has the additional protocol in force. Such measure is essential if the IAEA is to carry out its mandate effectively, along with other measures aimed to strengthen the safeguards verification process.

The NPT provisions should also be strengthened to ensure that it is not abused as a charter for covert nuclear weapons programmes: withdrawal provision by states which benefitted from the transfer of nuclear knowledge and technology under the treaty should be revisited accordingly. We support the establishment of a committee from the conferee to discuss matters related to withdrawal provision.

Furthermore, international efforts to facilitate the peaceful use of nuclear energy in a responsible manner need to be expanded. The international cooperation framework for assisting states embarking on nuclear energy programs should be strengthened under the treaty. The provision of fuel can be addressed under such a framework: multilateral fuel assurance mechanisms should be further developed to support expansion in the use of nuclear energy without putting the non-proliferation regime at risk. The UAE supports the development of such mechanisms under the auspices of the IAEA and has accordingly pledged US$10 million to support the establishment of an IAEA nuclear fuel bank.

Mr. President, On the issue of nuclear disarmament, the UAE considers that the only way to ensure the non-use or threat to use nuclear weapons is the total elimination of those weapons. The NPT sets out this goal clearly by the commitment of nuclear weapon states to total disarmament and to negotiate in a good faith to implement such obligation. We welcome the steps taken by the United States and the Russian Federation in the recent START 2 agreement. In this regard, the UAE calls on nuclear states to take serious further steps towards disarmament, with ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. We hope the NPT review process would result in steps to address the concerns of non-nuclear states regarding the lack of serious progress in disarmament obligations.

Further more, such goal of a world free of nuclear weapons is also associated with the universality of the treaty. The UAE reiterates its call for states that are not party to the treaty to join the treaty. In this prospective, we call on Israel to join the NPT and subject all its nuclear facilities to the IAEA Compressive Safeguards Agreement as called by UN resolutions and past NPT review conferences.

The establishment of nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East is a priority in order to demonstrate progress and effectiveness of the treaty. UAE encourages state parties to work constructively on taking urgent and practical steps to implement 1995 NPT review conference resolution on the establishment of such zone, and to the establishment of a special committee from the conference to discuss the process and the associated timeline .

In conclusion, we hope that this conference will focus on positive and realistic action plans that will genuinely reinforce the NPT.

UAE hopes, through the adoption and implementation of its policies and actions in developing a peaceful nuclear energy program, to establish a new model via which non-nuclear states may explore and deploy nuclear energy with the full support and confidence of the international community. We look forward for the support of states with advancement in nuclear technology to support this model where the commitment to transparency and highest standards of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation constitute a foundation for the support and the development of nuclear programs.

The review process comes with a lot of challenges, but given the importance of the NPT in ensuring global peace and security, the UAE hopes that the parties will work together constructively to achieve a positive outcome. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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