H. H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Foreign Minister, today participated in the plenary meeting of the Sixth Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), a ministerial-level group initiated by Australia and Japan.
The first working session of this meeting was attended by Ambassador Hamad Al Ka'abi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Foreign Ministers of the Netherlands, of Germany, of Japan, and of Turkey (TBC) also participated in the conference, as well as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada.
The membership of the NPDI includes the UAE, the Netherlands, Canada, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Poland and Turkey. The group aims to build confidence measures among the nuclear countries through encouraging greater transparency surrounding nuclear disarmament and proliferation.
The NPDI is currently focused on the commencement of negotiations of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). In May and August 2012, NPDI members Germany and the Netherlands organised scientific experts' meetings in Geneva to support the commencement of negotiations.
In his opening remarks, Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, stressed the need for a balanced approach to disarmament and non-proliferation in the global context. He also established a clear link between the work in this NPDI Conference and the review cycle of the universal Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He furthermore welcomed the adoption of the The Hague Joint-Statement coming out of the conference.
On the sidelines of the meeting, the UAE Foreign Minister met Fumio Kishida, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The two sides discussed the bilateral relations and ways to enhance them. They also discussed the resolutions of the NPDI meeting.
After the NPDI Conference, the UAE Foreign Minister held a series of talks with representatives from the Netherlands. He met Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen. The two sides discussed the bilateral relations, especially in the area of trade and boosting the investment between the two countries, as well as the humanitarian situation in Syria and the Syrian refugees.
Sheikh Abdullah also met Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The two ministers reviewed the issues tackled by the NPDI meeting as well as the resolutions. They also discussed the relations between the two countries, especially in the areas of investment, trade, culture and politics. In addition, they exchanged views on important regional issues, most notably Iran, Syria, and the Middle East Peace Process.
The UAE minister stressed that there is joint interest to further strengthen the bilateral relations, encourage mutual investments, and open new markets.
He said that the UAE market is open to Dutch business, as the UAE is an exemplary partner for the Netherlands in the Gulf region.
Sheikh Abdullah said that the Netherlands pledged to remove all obstacles that hamper growth in trade, and the movement of people and capital between the two countries.
After the meetings, the banquet was hosted in honour of the participants. Followed by the press conference attended by the UAE Foreign Minister, Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherland, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, and Bob Dechert, parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs of Canada.
Below is the statement issued by the Non -Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI): 1. We, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates reaffirm our shared commitment to take forward the consensus outcome of the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and jointly advance the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agendas as mutually reinforcing processes.
2. We reaffirm our shared commitment to the NPT as the essential foundation for the achievement of nuclear disarmament, as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and as the basis for the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear technology for those who choose to do so. We stress the importance of universal adherence to the NPT and call on all States not party to the Treaty to accede to it immediately as non-nuclear weapon States.
3. We convened at ministerial level in The Hague with the aim of giving further impetus to our contribution to the NPT Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) to be held in Geneva from April 22nd to May 3rd 2013. We reaffirm our deep commitment to actively implement the Action Plan agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. As individual State Parties and collectively as the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), we will actively contribute to the work of the PrepCom including by sumitting, for further elaboration by all State Parties, working papers on reducing the role of nuclear weapons, non-strategic nuclear weapons, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT), the wider application of safeguards, nuclear weapons-free zones and export controls as well as an update of last year's working paper on disarmament and non-proliferation education.
4. We reaffirm that the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is their total elimination. In this regard, we stress the need for systematic and continued reduction of all nuclear weapons, including non-strategic nuclear weapons, by all nuclear weapon States, in a pragmatic and step by step approach aiming at their total elimination. While we welcome the ongoing implementation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) by the United States and the Russian Federation, we call upon all nuclear weapon States to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, in an irreversible, transparent and verifiable way. In particular, we urge the inclusion of non-strategic nuclear weapons in any future nuclear disarmament processes.
5. We attach great importance to transparency as a vital confidence-building measure on disarmament. In accordance with Actions 5 and 21 of the Action Plan, we proposed to the Nuclear Weapon States a draft reporting form that aims to provide details regarding their efforts to fulfill their disarmament commitments under NPT Article VI. We will, individually and as a group, continue to encourage the Nuclear Weapon States to take practical steps on transparency concerning their nuclear weapons. We take note of the continuing discussions among the Nuclear Weapon States about the issue of transparency, verification and mutual confidence, in support of their undertaking to report to the 2014 NPT PrepCom. We look forward to the outcomes of the fourth meeting of the Nuclear Weapon States in Geneva, in April 2013, in particular on accelerated implementation of and greater transparency on these issues.
6. The NPDI emphasizes the importance of reducing the role and significance of nuclear weapons in military and nuclear doctrines. To stimulate the debate on this subject, the NPDI has submitted a working paper to the 2013 PrepCom on this topic and will organize a seminar in the margins of the meeting. Steps towards reducing the role and significance of nuclear weapons are important contributions towards the goal of complete nuclear disarmament and will be mutually reinforcing with further quantitative reductions.
7. We reiterate our deep concern and frustration with the continued stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament (CD). The CD must agree on and implement a comprehensive Program of Work that will start substantive work on the CD's four core issues. We welcome the outcome of last year's session of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly that could contribute to advance the cause of nuclear disarmament, especially in the view of the continued stalemate in the disarmament machinery as a whole.
Three important resolutions were adopted at the 67th session of the General Assembly in December last year, on the establishment of a group of governmental experts to make recommendations on aspects contributing to a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (67/53); on the establishment of an open-ended working group to develop proposals for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons (67/56); and on the establishment of a High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament (67/39). We hope these new developments give a much needed impetus to the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation agendas.
8. The immediate commencement of negotiations on a verifiable treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices remains a priority for disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. Such a treaty remains an essential step towards a world without nuclear weapons. Pending such negotiations, all States possessing nuclear weapons should declare and maintain a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
9. We also firmly believe that universalization and early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) are essential steps to achieve nuclear disarmament. We welcome the ratification of the Treaty this year by Brunei Darussalam and Chad, bringing the total of ratifications to 159. The recent nuclear test by Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) once again underscores the importance of the ratification and entry into force of the Treaty. We appeal urgently to all countries that have not yet become Parties, in particular to the remaining eight States listed in Annex II of the Treaty, to sign and ratify the CTBT without further delay. The Nuclear Weapon States have a particular responsibility to encourage ratification of the CTBT and we call on them to take the initiative in this regard. Pending the entry into force of the Treaty, we call upon all States to refrain from nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.
10. Strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of the IAEA safeguards system has been a priority of the NPDI since its creation. We strongly promote universal adherence to key non-proliferation instruments. We consider the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, in combination with an Additional Protocol, to be the international verification standard. We call upon all States that have not yet concluded an Additional Protocol to do so without delay. We stand ready to share our experience and best practices, as well as legal and practical assistance, in concert with the IAEA, in the conclusion and implementation of Additional Protocols. Furthermore we will continue our outreach to call on States, where appropriate, to rescind or amend the Small Quantities Protocol, and to sign and ratify the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
11. Furthermore, we underscore the crucial role of export controls in achieving nuclear non-proliferation obligations under paragraph 2 of Article III of the NPT. We urge all States to establish, develop, and maintain appropriate effective national export controls for nuclear and related dual-use goods and technology, including as required by United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1540. As mentioned in the NPDI working paper for the 2013 NPT PrepCom, the NPDI members stand ready to share their individual experiences in the field of export controls with other State Parties.
12. Recognizing the serious threat of nuclear terrorism, we reaffirm our commitment to work together to strengthen nuclear security including by fully implementing relevant international requirements. We welcome the third Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) which will be held in The Hague, the Netherlands, in less than a year. The members of the NPDI fully support the objectives of the NSS on strengthening nuclear security and reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism. We are participating in the preparations for the 2014 Summit and are working towards its successful conclusion. We also welcome the International Conference on Nuclear Security to be convened by the IAEA in Vienna from July 1st -5th, 2013.
13. The NPDI strongly condemns the nuclear test by the DPRK on February 12th 2013, which is a serious violation of UNSCRs 1718, 1874 and 2087, and which constitutes a grave challenge to the NPT. While deploring this third nuclear test, which undermines peace and security in the region and beyond, we welcome the unanimous adoption of UNSCR 2094 on March 7th. We strongly urge the DPRK to sincerely heed the strong warning and condemnation repeatedly expressed by the international community and to comply faithfully and fully with all of the obligations included in all relevant UNSCRs, the NPT and its IAEA safeguards agreement. We also strongly urge the DPRK to refrain from further escalatory actions and provocations including nuclear testing and missile launches or the threat of nuclear weapons' use.
14. [In relation to Iran's nuclear program, we deeply regret the lack of progress in resolving the outstanding issues with the IAEA. We urge Iran to seriously engage with the IAEA. We also deeply regret that no progress was achieved the lack of advancement at the latest meeting with the E3+3 in Almaty. To address the immediate concerns of the international community, we urge Iran to engage with the E3+3 on the proposal tabled in Almaty in February and further elucidated by experts in Istanbul last month in order to reach an agreement on first concrete confidence building steps. We strongly urge Iran to fully comply with its international obligations including IAEA and UNSC resolutions without delay in order to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program. We support the IAEA's essential role in establishing this confidence.
We further support the E3+3 seeking a comprehensive, negotiated, long-term settlement to the Iranian nuclear issue, while respecting Iran's legitimate rights to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in conformity with the NPT and its obligations under IAEA and UNSC resolutions.] 15. As an important cooperation and confidence-building measure, we encourage and support the establishment of internationally recognized and effectively verifiable nuclear-weapon-free-zones, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among States of the regions concerned. We also call for genuine and constructive engagement of all States, especially the Nuclear Weapon States in support of this objective.
16. We regret that the Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, which is an essential and integral part of the final outcome of the 1995, 2000 and 2010 NPT Review Conferences outcomes, could not be held in 2012. We call for the earliest possible convening of a successful conference with the participation of all States of the region on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at. We support the facilitator in his efforts to realise this and we call upon the States in the region to engage in a spirit of constructive cooperation that will lead to an inclusive, substantive and goal-oriented conference and follow-on steps eventually leading to the establishment of an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
17. The members of the NPDI participated in the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons that took place in Oslo, Norway on March 4th and 5th 2013. We remain deeply concerned by the risk for humanity represented by the possibility that nuclear weapons could be used and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from their use. The discussions at the Oslo Conference illustrated once more the devastating immediate and long-term humanitarian effects of a nuclear weapon detonation. We welcome the offer of Mexico to convene a follow-up conference on this issue.
18. We recognize the significant role that civil society can play in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The NPDI is ready to intensify its engagement with civil society organizations in order to attain our common objectives.
The members of the NPDI are further resolved to empowering members of our societies with the necessary awareness, knowledge and skills to make their own contribution, as national and world citizens, to the realization of the global disarmament and non-proliferation objectives. We, therefore, recognize the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation education as an integral part of our joint work. The NPDI welcomes Japan's announcement of launching the "Youth Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons" program and the UAE initiative to support convening workshops for journalists on the subject of disarmament and non-proliferation.
19. We recall the positive atmosphere of the 2012 NPT PrepCom that took place in Vienna from April 30th to May 10th 2012, as reflected in the Chairman's Summary. The NPDI calls on all State Parties to take part in the deliberations of the 2013 NPT PrepCom in Geneva in that same spirit of cooperation and good faith. We are convinced that a successful result at the NPT PrepComs and the Review Conference in 2015 is within reach if the overall goal of the NPT, a world without nuclear weapons, guides the State Parties that will participate in the meeting. It is this goal that brought us together in The Hague this year and that in 2014 will bring us together in Hiroshima.