Statement by the Foreign Minister of Estonia, Mr. Urmas Paet, at the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
At the outset I would like to congratulate you on your election as the President of this Review Conference. I assure you of the full support of Estonian delegation in leading this conference to a successful conclusion.
Fully associating with the statement of the European Union, I would like to use the opportunity to emphasize some issues Estonia attaches particular importance to.
Firstly, I would like to pledge Estonia’s full support to all international arms control agreements, including the NPT, that help pave the way towards a more peaceful and less armed world. For over sixty years, the mankind has been learning to live with nuclear weapons, now we have to learn to live without them.
The recent statements made by world leaders have been encouraging, but our confidence has grown even greater as we have witnessed the actual steps taken on our path towards our ultimate goal. Having said this, we welcome the conclusion of a new agreement between the U.S. and Russia on a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. We consider it to be an important milestone that makes the reaching of our common goal more realistic.
Estonia also emphasizes the need to further strengthen nuclear security. In this respect we give credit to the renewed engagement by the participants of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit, especially the commitment to secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years.
We also acknowledge the efforts of the countries seeking early ratification of the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) as the progress in this area is imperative for preventing the development of new weapons. We urge the States, particularly those whose adherence is required for the CTBT to enter into force, to sign and ratify the Treaty without delay and without conditions.
Another constructive step would be the ban on the production of fissile material for weapons purposes. Recognizing that the negotiations for an effectively verifiable treaty take time, it is encouraging to witness certain countries declaring a unilateral moratorium on the production of fissile material.
I expect that here in New York we will be able to identify the priority areas where further progress can and should be made. The key to success in this endeavour lies in our effective cooperation in promoting the objectives of all three pillars of this core Treaty.
Evidently, we expect all State Parties to ensure strict compliance with their NPT obligations. However, in recent years, we have seen some worrying nuclear proliferation challenges arising. It requires our joint action as to effectively encounter the breaches of the NPT and to agree on measures that would discourage the State Parties withdrawal from the Treaty. As long as there are nations in the world that have not joined the NPT, we strongly urge them to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon states.
Hand-in-hand with reducing the spread of nuclear arms we must pursue verifiability, transparency and other confidence-building measures. In this respect Estonia recognises the indispensable role of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards system for verification. We support the adoption and implementation of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement together with an Additional Protocol to further strengthen the safeguards system and to ensure greater detectability of violations of non-proliferation obligations.
Taking into account the explosively growing interest towards peaceful uses of nuclear energy, we consider it crucial to facilitate lasting multilateral solutions in this field, including the establishing of a Low Enriched Uranium bank under the control of the IAEA. I hope that all the countries that exercise their right to develop civil nuclear programmes are willing to engage in consultations and discussions in order to endorse the necessary conditions and modalities of the abovementioned bank. While developing multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle, it is also essential to avoid market distortions as well as the limitations on the right of peaceful uses of nuclear fuel cycle.
Looking at the peaceful uses of nuclear energy we see the tremendous potential for the future. They involve diversified possibilities for the energy sector that will have a positive effect in regard to other global challenges – energy security and climate change. In short, we have to make the nuclear fuel cycle work completely and irreversibly for us – this will be a win-win situation for everyone.
Mr. President, the bottom line is that in the armament race or in nuclear attacks, there are no winners. Therefore we reiterate our call for all countries, including the ones that have not yet acceded to the NPT to fully cooperate. Only then can the outcome of the 2010 Review Conference be a success.