From 1st to 19th April 2013, the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) held its second substantive session of its triennial discussion cycle (2012-2014) on disarmament and non-proliferation issues and on practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons.
This year’s session was taking place a few days after the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty on conventional weapons and just before the Fourth Follow-up Committee on the Non-Proliferation Treaty on Nuclear weapons (18 and 19 April 2013 in Geneva). A formal document containing all proposals made by delegations was issued for further discussions in the final year of the cycle.
On 29 June 2012, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2055 increasing the number experts of the 1540 Committee to nine members.
On 19 April 2012, the Security Council heard the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon on the issues of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon welcomed the new commitments made during the Summit in Seoul in March 2012, strengthening the efforts against terrorism and in favor of non-proliferation. He reiterated his support to the work of the 1540 Committee, which mandate had been renewed for ten years. The Conference on Disarmament was still stalled, and the United Nations General Assembly had to take responsibility if it could not begin its work in 2012. He urged North Korea not to engage in any further attempts to launch ballistic missiles, while commending the start of talks with Iran concerning its nuclear program.
The representative of France commended again the success of the NPT Review Conference in May 2010 and the adoption by consensus of a concrete and balanced action plan. He recalled the measures of transparency and trust, quantitative reductions as well as irreversible actions taken by France. He wished for the positive momentum in Seoul to continue at the next summit on nuclear power in the Netherlands in 2014.
At the end of the debate, the Security Council adopted a Presidential statement on the matter.
On 27 July 2011, the General Assembly held a session on the follow-up to the High Level Meeting held on 24 September 2010 intitled: Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and Taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations. The Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations made a statement on behalf of the P5 and on a national capacity.
A high-level meeting convened on 24 September 2010 by the UN Secretary-General was held on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York, and was intended to "revitalize the work of the Conference on Disarmament and to advance the negotiations on multilateral disarmament”.
During the meeting, France announced it would hold in Paris in 2011 the first follow-up meeting of the Review Conference of the NPT in 2010 by the five nuclear powers recognized by the NPT, i.e France, China, Russia, United Kingdom, USA ("P5"). The Secretary-General welcomed this initiative, supported by the other four nuclear powers recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (China, USA, UK and Russia).
This P5 meeting took place in Paris on 30 June – 1 July 2011. They reaffirmed their unconditional support for the NPT, which remains the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, and for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. They also reaffirmed the recommendations set out in the balanced Action Plan agreed in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and called on all States Parties to the NPT to work together to advance its implementation (click here to learn more about the Paris meeting).
The States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which entered into force in 1970) have met every five years since 1975 to examine the functioning of the Treaty (in accordance with its article VIII para. 3).
The 8th NPT Review Conference took place in New York from 3 to 28 May 2010.
It ended with the adoption of a final document which included actions plans on the three pillars of the treaty: disarmament, non-proliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and on the implementation of resolution 1995 relating to the establishment of a Middle-East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The 2005 Review Conference ended without the adoption of a final document.
1. The stakes of the conference
The NPT Review Conference was held at a critical time for the nuclear non-proliferation regime and presented both:
Considerable challenges: persistent proliferation crises in Iran and North Korea; risk of nuclear or radiological weapons or material falling into the hands of terrorists; risk of a weak response from the international community to these challenges which undermine the non-proliferation regime and seriously threaten both international and regional security.
But also many opportunities: hope for substantial progress in the area of disarmament, with prospects for a new agreement between the United States and Russia to reduce strategic offensive arsenals and new ratifications of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); hope for the possible launch of negotiations for a new nuclear disarmament treaty, banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons (Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty); hope that civil nuclear energy would help us meet the considerable energy needs of developing countries and make vital contributions to sustainable development and energy security.
In order to make progress towards achieving the common objective of a safer world, the 2010 Conference focused on implementing the three main pillars of the NPT: non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
2. France’s goals at the eve of the Review Conference
France’s main objective was to consolidate the international community’s support for the NPT in this new “nuclear age” in which the treaty is both vulnerable and being put to the test. The Review Conference was also meant to be an opportunity to demonstrate the relevance of the NPT, i.e. its ability to meet today’s most pressing challenges through concrete measures.
France demonstrated that it was to ready to make ambitious, resolute and pragmatic progress in all areas. It wanted to see the adoption of an action plan that included a balance of concrete and realistic proposals in all areas covered by the Treaty. France put forward proposals with this goal in mind together with its European Union partners.
It also wanted to strengthen the Treaty by clearly defining the conditions for withdrawal and addressing regional situations, particularly in the Near and Middle East, by making progress with respect to the implementation of the resolution on the Middle East adopted at the Review and Extension Conference in 1995.
Resolution 1887, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council on 24 September 2009, at the level of Heads of State and Government, represented a major step in the preparation of the Review Conference (see below).
For more information, see:
- the brochure on the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs’ website on France’s concrete commitment to disarmament
- the working papers submitted by France to the NPT Review Conference
- the French Foreign Ministry’s website France TNP 2010 outlining the French position on the NPT Review Conference
3. Results of the NPT Review Conference
The NPT Review Conference ended on 28 May 2010, with the adoption by consensus of a final document
This final document consists of two sections:
The President of the Conference, Mr. Libran Cabactulan of the Philippines, was solely responsible for the first section of the document which relates to the review of the implementation of the Treaty over the last five years. It examines the implementation of the Treaty article by article, taking into consideration the final document of the 2000 Review Conference.
The second section, adopted by consensus, includes conclusions and recommendations for actions with respect to nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, civil nuclear energy, as well as the Middle East.
In contrast to the final conclusions of the 2000 Review Conference, of which the operational section related only to nuclear disarmament, the final document thus includes, in accordance with France’s wishes, realistic and concrete action plans with respect to the three major pillars of the Treaty.
— The action plan on nuclear disarmament consists of 6 sections (with 24 actions in total): principles and objectives, nuclear disarmament, security assurances, nuclear testing, fissile materials, other measures in support of nuclear disarmament. It contains much of the language used in the 2000 final document. It includes the priorities of the Cherbourg action plan put forward by President Sarkozy in 2008 and the European action plan for disarmament: continuation of the American-Russian disarmament process, negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons (Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty), the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). It stresses the importance of the CTBT as a cornerstone of the non-proliferation nuclear disarmament regime and encourages the signatory States to continue the ratification process.
— The action plan on nuclear non-proliferation contains 24 actions. It reaffirms the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in terms of strengthening the non-proliferation regime, notably urging States to provide the organization with the necessary political, technical and financial support. It expresses strong support for the IAEA’s Additional Protocol by paying tribute to the efforts of the States that have concluded such protocols, thus strengthening the climate of trust needed to implement the objectives of the Treaty, and encouraging the States that have not already taken such measures to do so. It also underlines the need for compliance with the non-proliferation obligations, calling for the resolution of cases of non-compliance with the safeguards agreements, and for cooperation with the Agency.
— The action plan on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy consists of 18 actions. Half of these relate to the inalienable rights in accordance with article IV of the treaty, as well as to technical cooperation; the other half relate to the responsible development of nuclear energy. The action plan promotes the responsible development of nuclear energy within the framework of the NPT, by adopting the strict criteria of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for the export of enrichment and reprocessing technology and by making progress with respect to the multilateral fuel supply mechanisms.
A specific text relating to the “Middle East, particularly the implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East.” This underlines the importance of a “process leading to the full implementation of the 1995 Resolution” and outlines the practical steps to achieve this. It makes provision in particular for: the organization by the UN Secretary-General and the co-sponsors of the 1995 Resolution (Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom), “in consultation with the States of the region,” of a conference in 2012; the appointment of a “facilitator” by the UN Secretary-General and the co-sponsor States, tasked with conducting consultations with the States of the region and preparing for the 2012 conference. The text underlines the need to continue making progress at the same time with regard to the process to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction in the region and stipulates that the States Parties, in particular the nuclear weapon States and the States of the region, should continue to report progress on the implementation of the resolution.
This conference offers a positive perspective. France will work to ensure its success and to make sure that it deals effectively with all of the problems associated with the implementation of the 1995 Resolution: regional security, the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, the response to cases of non-compliance with the non-proliferation obligations, and in particular the Iranian nuclear crisis.
France believes that these texts could have been more incisive with respect to the proliferation crises or more ambitious, particularly with respect to withdrawal from the NPT or reaffirming the efforts required by all States in all areas of disarmament. The texts are however the result of a compromise and, overall, represent a positive result which reflects the support of the international community for the Treaty, an essential instrument for strengthening peace and international security.
Statement made by Mr. Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, on 29 May 2010, following the adoption of the final document:
"The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference has just completed its work in New York.
France welcomes the Conference’s adoption of a final document that includes an ambitious road map designed to revive the dynamic of this treaty, which is so essential.
It is indeed a noteworthy result following our efforts on non-proliferation, disarmament, and the development of civilian nuclear energy. It is a positive result with respect to our collective security. It testifies to the international community’s attachment to the Treaty.
The action plans that were agreed upon enable the parties to the NPT to take an ambitious, concrete, balanced approach in the years to come. The texts could certainly, in our opinion, have been more incisive with respect to proliferation crises, particularly the Iranian crisis which is at the heart of the international community’s concerns. However they are the result of a compromise between the positions of the various delegations, and overall, they represent a positive result, which reaffirms the international community’s strong political will—that of seeking a more secure world.
Now it is time to act. By firmly responding to proliferation crises and by supporting the efforts of the IAEA and the Security Council to fight proliferation; by pursing concrete nuclear disarmament efforts; but also, as the Treaty invites us to do, in all other areas of disarmament; by cooperating on the responsible development of civilian nuclear energy.
With its European Union partners, France will continue working actively in all of these areas in the months and years to come."
A meeting of the Security Council at the level of heads of State and government took place on 24 September 2009 (the fifth such meeting in UN history), on the theme of non-proliferation and disarmament. All members of the Security Council were represented at the level of heads of State or government with the exception of Libya. The Secretary General of the United Nations and the IAEA Director General also participated in the meeting. The Council adopted unanimously resolution 1887. It was the first time the Security Council adopted at the level of Heads of State and Government a resolution on the subject of disarmament and non-proliferation.
Resolution 1887 recognizes the prominent role of the Security Council on non-proliferation. In particular, it emphasizes that a situation of non-compliance with non-proliferation obligations shall be brought to the attention of the Security Council, which will determine if that situation constitutes a threat to international peace and security. It stresses the importance of the Nuclear Non-proliferation, including by calling upon States Parties to the NPT to comply fully with all their obligations, and States that are not Parties to accede.
It also stresses the importance of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), calling on all States to sign and ratify it, so as to bring it into force at an early date. It encourages the negotiation as soon as possible of a treaty banning production of fissile material ("Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty") within the Conference on Disarmament. It encourages the development of nuclear energy; in particular, it notes with interest the initiative to convene an international conference on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It invites IAEA to report to the Security Council on its capacity to accomplish its mission. It discusses the possible withdrawal from the NPT, stating that a State remains responsible for treaty violations committed prior to its withdrawal.
It reaffirms the criteria for export and controls, encouraging the establishment of strict national criteria, the importance of the Additional Protocol, the maintenance of safeguards for equipment provided to a state that does not respect its obligations under IAEA safeguards, even the return of such equipment. It also addresses the issue of access by non-state actors to weapons of mass destruction, with a call for the establishment of a voluntary fund to assist States, and a call for states to improve their capacity to detect and disrupt illicit trafficking, to take action against countries that provide assistance to non-state actors, and to secure all vulnerable nuclear material from the risk of nuclear terrorism within four years. It urges States to take measures to prevent proliferation financing and shipment, to secure sensitive material, to strengthen export controls, and to control access to intangible transfers of technology.
During the debate that followed the adoption of the resolution, French President Nicolas Sarkozy insisted on the blatant violations by Iran and North Korea of their obligations, threatening the nuclear non proliferation regime. He stressed that if we wanted to move towards a world free of nuclear weapons, we could not accept violations of international rules. "By having the courage to strengthen sanctions, together, against countries that violate Security Council resolutions, we will give credibility to our commitment to a world whose future holds fewer nuclear weapons and perhaps, one day, no nuclear weapons", he concluded.
Resolution 1887 provided an important benchmark for the five-year Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference which took place in May 2010 at the UN headquarters in New York.
A. Recent developments in New York
A ministerial meeting in support of the CTBT was held in New York on 23 September 2010 on the sidelines of the General Assembly, organized by the "Friends of the Treaty" (Australia, Canada, Finland, Japan, Netherlands) as well as France and Morocco in their capacity as coordinators of the Article XIV process for the entry into force of the CTBT (see below). The meeting was chaired by Australian Foreign Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd with the participation of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Foreign Minister of Morocco spoke on behalf of his country and France. A ministerial declaration was adopted after debate.
The sixth Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Article XIV Conference was held at the United Nations Headquarters from 24 to 25 September 2009, under the co-presidency of the French and Moroccan Foreign Ministers, Bernard Kouchner and Taieb Fassi-Fihri. The two countries, which took over the presidency from Austria and Costa Rica, are leading the process aimed at promoting the entry into force of the Treaty until the next conference in 2011. The broad participation (103 delegations including 53 which made statements) and the high-level representation were evidence of the conference’s success.
See “Final Declaration and measures to promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.”
Minister Kouchner welcomed President Obama’s confirmation of his intention to work with Congress to achieve ratification of the CTBT by the United States and expressed the hope that the 8 other States whose ratification is required “will be able to become part of this new dynamic in order to take a decisive step towards disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.”
The primary goal of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, adopted by the United Nations on 10 September, 1996, is to “serve as an effective measure against the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects” and “contribute towards the process of nuclear disarmament.”
To enter into force, the Treaty must by ratified by 44 States listed in its appendix 2. Of these 44 States, nine have not yet ratified the Treaty: China, the United States, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea (the last three countries have not signed the Treaty). During the NPT Review Conference of May 2010, Indonesia announced that it will ratifiy the CTBT. France was the first State, together with the United Kingdom, to have signed (1996) and ratified (1998) the Treaty.
According to article XIV of the treaty, if the Treaty does not enter into force three years after the date of the anniversary of its opening for signature (thus 1999) then a conference can be convened (the “Article XIV Conference”) to decide on the measures to be taken in order to accelerate the ratification process. The conference takes place every two years, alternating between Vienna and New York.
(|From left to right: Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament, Taieb Fassi-Fihri, Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister; Michael Douglas, United Nations Messenger of Peace, Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, Michael Spindelegger, Austrian Foreign Minister; Bernard Kouchner, France’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, and Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO -24 September 2009 – UN Photo/ Sophie Paris|]
2 November 2012 - 1st Committee - Statement by Ambassador Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva
22 October 2012 - 1st Committee - Other weapons of mass destruction - Statement by Mr. Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva
11 October 2012 - 1st Committee - General Debate - Statement by Mr. Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva
19 April 2012 - Security Council - Nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and security - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
24 October 2011 - General Assembly - 1st Committee - Disarmament machinery - Statement by Mr. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
18 October 2011 - General Assembly - 1st Committee - Conventional weapons - Statement by Mr. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
18 October 2011 - General Assembly - 1st Committee - Other weapons of mass destruction - Statement by Mr. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
14 October 2011 - General Assembly - 1st Committee - Nuclear weapons - Statement by Mr. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
5 October 2011 - General Assembly - 1st Committee - General debate - Statement by Mr. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
23 September 2011 - Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Article XIV Conference – Statement by Mr. Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
1 July 2011 - Joint statement regarding the first P5 Follow-up Meeting to the NPT Review Conference (PARIS, June 30th- July 1st, 2011)
15 October 2010 - 65th UNGA - First Committee- Statement by M. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
5 October 2010 - 65th UNGA - First Committee- Statement by M. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
23 September 2010 - Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the CTBT - Statement by Mr. Taib Fassi Fihri, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, on behalf of France and Morocco
28 May 2010 - NPT review Conference - Adoption of the Final Document - Remarks to the press by Mr. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament (In English and in French)
13 May 2010 - Subsidiary Body II: “Regional issues, particularly those relating to the Middle East and the implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East” - Statement by Mr. Frédéric Mondoloni, France’s governor on the International Atomic Energy Agency board
10 May 2010 - Main Committee III: peaceful uses of nuclear energy - Statement by Mrs Florence Mangin, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna
10 May 2010 - Main Committee II: non-proliferation - Statement by Mr. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
7 May 2010 - Main Committee I : disarmament - Statement by Mr. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
4 May 2010 - NPT Review Conference - Statement by Mr. Eric Danon, Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament
24 September 2009 - Security Council Summit on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament - Speech by Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic
6 May 2009 - Non-proliferation - Statement by H.E. Eric Danon Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
4 May 2009 - Non-proliferation - Statement by H.E. Eric Danon Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
19 April 2012 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
23 September 2010 - Ministerial declaration on the CTBT
Final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference
5 May 2010 - Statement by the People’s Republic of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America to the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference
1 July 1968 - Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Working papers presented by France
Implementation by France of the “13 Practical Steps” of the 2000 Review Conference: download the Working Paper
France’s action against proliferation: download the Working Paper
Nuclear disarmament: France’s concrete commitment: download the Working Paper
Dismantling the fissile material production facilities for nuclear weapons: download the Working Paper
The responsible development of nuclear energy: France’s action download the Working Paper
Middle-East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons: download the Working Paper
Visit the French Foreign Ministry’s website France TNP 2010 outlining the french position on the NPT Review Conference
Visit the UN website on the 2010 NPT Review Conference
Visit the website of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs
Visit the UN website on the First Committee (in charge of Disarmament and International Security questions)
Website of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission
"Cessation of nuclear testing" on the French Foreign Ministry’s website France TNP2010