UK: The Non-Proliferation Treaty remains essential to maintain peace and security

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Ambassador Jonathan Allen, UK Chargé d’Affaires to the UN

LONDON, England –  The following is a statement by ambassador Jonathan Allen, UK deputy permanent representative to the UN, at the security council briefing on the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Over the last 50 years, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, has minimised the proliferation of nuclear weapons, provided the framework to enable significant levels of nuclear disarmament and allowed states to develop secure and safe, peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It has played a crucial role in providing the basis for our discussions on Iran and DPRK. And the UK is committed to the NPT review process and will work with all partners for a positive outcome.

We want to ensure that the upcoming 2020 Review Conference allows us to hold full and frank discussions with the widest number of state parties about all pillars of the NPT; reflects on the successes so far, and; sets collective direction for the future. Our ambition is that state parties agree a consensus outcome.

Let me highlight four of the United Kingdom’s contributions to a successful RevCon.

Firstly, we will be submitting a final national report, setting out how we’ve implemented the NPT across all three pillars during this cycle. We tabled a draft version during the NPT Preparatory Committee last year and have hosted a series of feedback sessions with a wide range of states, civil society and academics.

Secondly, we have coordinated the P5 process since Prep-Com, continuing the excellent work that took place under Chinese leadership. The United Kingdom hosted a P5 Directors General conference in London on the 12th and 13th of February this year and welcomed there Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen and other members of the bureau for a fruitful exchange of views. P5 discussions at that conference covered all three pillars of the NPT and included improving transparency and P5 cooperation on a range of initiatives.

Thirdly, in light of our focus on transparency, the conference included a day for civil society and think tanks to engage with P5 officials and discuss these important issues.

And fourthly, on peaceful uses, P5 states have been working together to enhance peaceful uses of nuclear technology. We all fully support the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme to ensure the benefits of nuclear technology are accessible to those who need it most.

Nevertheless, [madam president], we do not underestimate the challenges around the Review Conference. We know that some states feel progress on nuclear disarmament has been slow. The United Kingdom continuously engages with a wide range of states and it takes these concerns seriously. The UK’s view is that any meaningful discussion on disarmament must take into account the wider security environment, which is increasingly difficult. We all have a responsibility to work towards a safer, more stable world in which those states with nuclear weapons feel able to relinquish them.

On the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, which others have raised, the United Kingdom has been clear we will not sign or ratify the treaty. Instead, the United Kingdom will continue to promote the step by step approach and work for universalisation of the NPT; early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and; promote the early commencements and conclusions of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament.

We must also ensure the NPT RevCon gives proper regard to the achievements that it is made possible under pillars 2 and 3. On pillar 2 the NPT has played an unparalleled role in curtailing the nuclear arms race. Historic predictions were made of tens or even 20 nuclear arms states. Today, there remain fewer than ten.

On pillar 3, the global, peaceful use of nuclear energy allows us to address some of the biggest challenges, from climate change to economic growth. As a direct result of the NPT, we’ve been able to harness nuclear power to improve the lives of our citizens – for example, in the fields of food and agriculture, health care and, as I mentioned, climate change.

For these reasons and more, the United Kingdom continues to believe that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, approaching its 50th anniversary, remains essential to the maintenance of a safe and secure world. We look forward to engaging with all Security Council members and all state parties to achieve a successful outcome at this year’s review conference and help to ensure the Non-Proliferation Treaty remains effective and central to our collective security for many years to come.”

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