President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This Review Conference takes place at a critical juncture.
The international atmosphere has never before been so conducive for moving forward towards a safer world without nuclear weapons.
So the question is whether we use this opportunity - at this conference to make sure we take the bold steps. Norway is ready to take these steps.
Norway welcomes the new START agreement, the new US Nuclear Posture Review, and not least the outcome of the Nuclear Security Summit.
It is encouraging that there is growing consensus that the best way to address the dangers posed by nuclear weapons is to abolish them.
But there are also worrying signs. Never has the NPT been under more strain than today.
The international community has not succeeded in resolving pressing proliferation concerns, such as the DPRK and Iran.
I agree with the Secretary General that it is up to Iran itself to restore its international credibility.
And even though we have seen great progress in the bilateral US–Russian arms control process, we are still held back by the impasse in multilateral bodies such as the Conference on Disarmament (CD), and the continued inability to achieve entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
It would be tempting to say that the failure of this review Conference is not an option. Yet, we know that the possibilities of repeating the failure of the 2005 Review Conference are more than real.
But – as already pointed out: We have a choice. It is up to us.
In my country, a broad-based NGO community has stated very clearly what it expects of this conference.
From their perspective, a failed Review Conference would seriously undermine the authority and credibility of the NPT. I agree with them.
Our ambitions should be far higher than merely agreeing on a final document. We need an outcome document that makes a real difference.
What exactly should it contain?
- We must reaffirm the underlying compact of the NPT, which was further clarified by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference and not least by the 2000 Review Conference.
- We should build on this consensus as we set a new forward-looking nuclear agenda. This agenda must reaffirm the overall political objective of a world without nuclear weapons.
- We should set up a programme for the next Review Cycle that significantly moves us closer to this objective, including clear commitments on the three pillars, so that we are all held accountable.
We should be able to agree on the following:
• The new START accord should be considered as a first step in a more intensified process of nuclear arms reduction, covering all categories of weapons, and not least involving all nuclear weapons states.
They must refrain from developing new types of weapons and pursue disarmament on the principles of transparency, verification and irreversibility.
• The process of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in security policy must be accelerated. An important step would be to further strengthen negative security assurances, as is the case with the new US Nuclear Posture Review.
• We must intensify efforts to sustain existing regional nuclear weapons free zones, and to create new ones. We should aim to move much closer to a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East.
• We must make real progress towards entry into force of the CTBT. We must start negotiating a treaty that bans production of fissile material for weapons purposes and start the process of reducing existing stocks. If the CD continues to fail in its task, we should negotiate the treaty elsewhere.
• We must empower the IAEA. We should reach a common understanding that the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols protect our collective security, while at the same time facilitating peaceful uses.
• We must develop international cooperation on nuclear fuel cycles. There are a number of interesting proposals on the table, which should be explored further in the coming Review Cycle.
• We must secure all sensitive nuclear materials. It is very encouraging that a growing number of civilian research reactors that have used highly enriched uranium are being converted to low enriched uranium.
• We must reaffirm the right to peaceful nuclear applications, which can bring great benefits in areas that are essential for economic and social development.
I believe all countries have a responsibility to do what they can to create conditions that will enable us to abolish nuclear weapons.
In recent years, Norway has worked on numerous projects to support disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use.
Within NATO, Norway has been at the forefront of the efforts to raise the disarmament profile of the Alliance.
Recently, Norway and Poland submitted a working paper on a step-wise and balanced approach to eliminating tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.
In cooperation with the UK, we have also explored modalities of nuclear disarmament verification. A working paper on this project will be available today.
We have supported the entry into force of the Pelindaba Treaty and the efforts to identify options for the Middle East zone.
In these and many other ways, we are working on a day-to-day basis towards the goals of the NPT.
In the weeks ahead, we have an opportunity to renew and strengthen the treaty which forms the basis of all these efforts. Let’s make sure that we do just that.