Disarmament and Nonproliferation Malaysian Working
2005 Review Conference of the Parties to
the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
New York, 2-27 May 2005
Follow-up to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: Legal, technical and political elements required for the establishment and maintenance of a nuclear weapon-free world
Working Paper submitted by Malaysia, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Nicaragua, and Yemen
1. The purpose of this paper is to:-
2. Obligation to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons:-
3. Proposal for a nuclear weapons convention or framework of mutually reinforcing instruments:-
4. The Non-Aligned Movement, at its XIII Summit from 20-25 February 2003, “emphasized the necessity to start negotiations on a phased program for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time, including a Nuclear Weapons Convention.”
Model Nuclear Weapons Convention
5. In 1997 Costa Rica submitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations a Model Nuclear Weapons Convention drafted by an international consortium of lawyers, scientists and disarmament experts, setting forth the legal, technical and political issues that should be considered in order to obtain an actual nuclear weapons convention.
6. The Model Nuclear Weapons Convention was circulated as UN document A/C.1/52/7, along with the recommendation of Costa Rica that this be used to assist the deliberative process for the implementation of UN General Assembly resolutions entitled “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons”.
2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT
7. At the 2000 NPT Review Conference Malaysia and Costa Rica submitted a Working paper on “Follow-Up to the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons” (NPT/CONF.2000/MC.I/SB.I/WP.4).
8. The Working paper:-
9. The practical steps agreed by States Parties in 2000 for systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI of the Treaty included a number of legal, technical and political steps which could provide a basis for some of the elements required for a nuclear weapons free world.
10. These include steps 1: entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, 3: negotiations culminating in a fissile-material cut-off treaty, 5: application of the principle of irreversibility to nuclear arms control and disarmament measures, 9: steps by all the nuclear weapon States leading to nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all, including unilateral reductions, transparency, reducing operational status and a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security doctrines, 12: regular reports on implementation of Article VI, and 13: development of the verification capabilities that will be required to provide assurance of compliance with nuclear disarmament agreements for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear weapon free world.
11. In addition, a number of working papers submitted to Preparatory Committee Meetings for the 2005 Review Conference provide a deeper exploration of specific steps agreed in 2000 and other steps relevant to the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear weapons free world. These include, inter alia, papers submitted on security assurances reductions of nonategic nuclear weapons, compliance mechanisms, overcoming the institutional deficit of the NPT, verification, and comprehensive programs for nuclear disarmament.
12. A comprehensive overview of the legal, technical and political requirements for a nuclear weapons free world would be able to affirm such elements which already exist, assess those which are currently being developed, evaluate and link those which have been proposed, and identify additional elements which would also be required.
The path towards nuclear disarmament: step-by-step, comprehensive or incremental-comprehensive
13. There are three general approaches towards achieving nuclear disarmament. The first step, a step-by-step approach, entails negotiations on a limited number of initial steps towards nuclear disarmament, with additional steps being considered once the first steps are achieved. The step-by-step approach has achieved a number of concrete disarmament agreements. However, these have been limited in scope, have failed to illuminate the requirements necessary for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, and have not brought the world much closer to the final goal of nuclear disarmament than when the NPT was adopted in 1970.
14. A divergent perspective calls for comprehensive negotiations on the complete prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons. Most States are ready for such comprehensive negotiations, as evidenced by strong support for United Nations resolutions calling on the Conference on Disarmament to “commence negotiations on a phased program of nuclear disarmament leading to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.” (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 58/56 adopted 3 December 2003). However, there is some opinion that a comprehensive approach could prevent progress due to the myriad of issues and disarmament requirements that would have to be addressed before any agreement could be reached. In addition, the fact that some of the States possessing nuclear weapons do not yet accept comprehensive negotiations precludes the possibility of such an approach in the near future.
15. An alternative path forward, which combines the advantages of the first two approaches, has been described as incremental-comprehensive. Such an approach incorporates step-by-step measures within a comprehensive framework. This is an approach suggested – but not fully developed – by the program of action agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference.
16. While it is important to concentrate international attention on concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament which are achievable in the short term, it is also important to simultaneously consider the requirements for a comprehensive nuclear disarmament regime in order to develop an international understanding of the final destination of nuclear disarmament steps. It can be difficult to construct a path to nuclear disarmament if we do not know more precisely what will be the end goal. Considering the elements of a nuclear disarmament regime at this stage could help give direction to intermediate steps and to overcome some of the roadblocks in the current disarmament fora.
17. Thus, the further development of an incremental-comprehensive approach would assist in the implementation of the program of action agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, and lead more quickly to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. This can be best done by further exploration of the legal, technical and political elements required for the establishment and maintenance of a nuclear weapons-free world, and by the commencement of negotiations towards that end.
Consideration of the legal, technical and political elements
required for a nuclear weapons convention or framework of instruments
18.6 An international organization to coordinate verification, implementation and enforcement under strict and effective international control; and
18.7 Disarmament and non-proliferation education to ensure that key sectors of society understand the importance of achieving and maintaining a nuclear weapons free world and how they can contribute to this goal.
19. As noted above, some of these elements may already be in existence, albeit in an under-developed form or with limited application. This includes, for example, disarmament measures applied to a limited number of weapons, or fissile material controls and delivery system controls applied only to certain countries. Examples include mechanisms and controls established by the nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Other elements have been proposed or are being developed, but again mostly on a limited basis relating more to non-proliferation and disarmament steps but not to complete abolition. Consideration of the elements required for the complete prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons would enable gaps to be identified, preparatory work undertaken and further steps completed.
Negotiations towards a Nuclear Weapons Convention or a framework of instruments for the complete abolition and elimination of nuclear weapons
20. For nuclear disarmament to occur, security for all will need to be maintained and enhanced. Thus, there are a number of political issues, in addition to those outlined above, that will need to be addressed. These include, inter alia, building confidence in each of the phased disarmament steps in order to proceed to the next steps, how to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines pending nuclear abolition, building regional and international security without nuclear deterrence, development of security assurances, achieving a balance between transparency and protection of sensitive information, the role of societal verification, how to build individual responsibility and protection into the disarmament process while respecting State sovereignty, and how to deal with delivery systems and dual use materials – particularly plutonium and highly enriched uranium.
21. In addition there are a number of economic and environmental issues which will need to be addressed including the possible need for financial assistance for disarmament and the harmonizing of environmental standards for destroying weapons systems and disposing of fissile materials.
22. The best way to address these issues and to make progress towards complete nuclear disarmament is to commence negotiations within an incremental-comprehensive framework. Such an approach would allow for all relevant issues to be raised and addressed, and would also facilitate the completion of disarmament steps in areas where agreement can be reached within a short to medium time-frame. More difficult issues requiring more complex arrangements would be resolved through continuing negotiations and achieved in subsequent steps. This is what is envisaged in the call for the commencement of negotiations leading to the conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention or a framework of instruments for the complete abolition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
23. States Parties meeting at the NPT 2005 Review Conference are encouraged to develop programs of action based on the program agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference and the legal, technical and political elements outlined in this paper required for the establishment and maintenance of a nuclear weapons free world.
(a) States Parties agree to give further consideration to the legal, technical and political elements required for a nuclear weapons convention or a framework of instruments; and
(b) States Parties agree to commence multilateral negotiations leading to the conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention and invite those States that have not acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to join in such negotiations.
New York, 16 May 2005