This year we have commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It is widely recognised that the NPT has been a core pillar for global security and has served us well. Yet, this vital Treaty is becoming increasingly under pressure. This is highly unfortunate, given the fact that the threat of nuclear danger is still very real.
There can be no doubt that the NPT is challenged in several ways. We must address outstanding proliferation challenges. We welcome the very recent progress in efforts to solve the DPRK dossier. We urge Iran to comply with the demands set by the international community in order to facilitate negotiations with a view to reaching an outcome acceptable for all.
At the same time it has to be recognised that there is a wide-spread perception that the disarmament process is moving forward too slowly. The considerable reductions in arsenals taken by the nuclear weapons states since the end of the Cold War are highly welcome. Yet, it does not make sense that more than 20 000 nuclear weapons remains nearly 20 years after the Cold War ended.
Another complicating element is the fact that the use of nuclear energy is expected to grow in the years to come. Norway fully recognises the right to peaceful use in accordance with the NPT. At the same time it cannot be neglected that more use of the atom may pose challenges both with respect to our non-proliferation efforts, as well as the environment and human safety.
We are rapidly approaching the 2010 NPT Review Conference. While the preparations are well under way, we are not assured a successful and forward-looking outcome. There are too many differences among States Parties on how to further strengthen the NPT regime.
It is crucial that all States Parties mobilise the necessary political will to sustain the NPT, and work systematically to move closer towards our common goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. The NPT is not only a non-proliferation instrument. It is as much a disarmament treaty. Its overall objective is the full elimination of nuclear arms. The NPT also aspires to facilitate peaceful co-operation in nuclear energy and technologies. A number of countries would need sustained and even increased IAEA technical assistance in civilian nuclear applications.
We need to restore international consensus on key issues on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We must reaffirm the relevance of the three pillars of the NPT, and their close interlinkage.
In doing so we must work in innovative ways. We must reach out across regional groupings and we must be ready to engage civil society. Norway is trying to contribute through the Seven Nation Initiative. An expression of such a broad partnership was the Oslo Conference on Achieving a World Free of Nuclear Weapons held on 26 and 27 February this year. We appreciate the active participation by the UN High Commissioner for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte.
The Oslo Conference was not intended to produce a negotiated document, but to bring different ideas to the table. As organisers of the event we made some observations, which we believe reflect the very rich deliberations in Oslo. Five principles and ten actions were identified.
The outcome from the Oslo Conference has been widely circulated. Let me briefly highlight some major points.
1. Progress towards elimination of nuclear weapons demands leadership at the highest level. All relevant stakeholders must be engaged.
2. Reaching a world free of nuclear weapons is a joint enterprise by all states. In this respect Norway, UK and Vertic have developed cooperation in verification of nuclear disarmament.
3. We need to move forward in reducing existing nuclear arsenals. We encourage the US and the Russian Federation to take a lead.
4. We need to make progress in putting in place instruments to prevent any possible new nuclear arms races. Entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and early negotiations and conclusion of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty are crucial factors.
5. Nuclear weapons states should continue to make every effort to reduce their reliance of these weapons as a contribution towards their elimination.
6. Eliminating nuclear arms requires a robust and credible non-proliferation regime. Universalisation of the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol is essential.
7. We must move forward in developing non-discriminatory fuel cycle arrangements in close cooperation with the IAEA. As a first step, Norway has pledged USD 5 millions to a fuel bank under IAEA auspices.
We hope that the observations from the Oslo Conference may be useful in the preparations to the NPT Review Conference. We also welcome other efforts such as the Blix Commission in identifying recommendations which may mobilise broad support. We welcome in particular the recent Australian and Japanese High Level Commission on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.