Statement by H.E.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
The Seventh Review Conference of the States
Parties to the Treaty
on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
New York, 4 May 2005
The Holy See adhered to the Treaty
on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on 25 February 1971,
convinced that it was an important step forward in the creation of a system of
general and complete disarmament under effective international control,
something that would be possible only if it were completely observed both in
detail and in its entirety.
After 35 years, the Treaty has
become a cornerstone in the global security framework since it has, to some
extent, helped slow the arms race. The fact that it has received an extremely
high number of adhesions, with 188 States Parties, shows the importance it has
for the international community. This is so by means of three
pillars: preventing the spread and proliferation of nuclear arms, promoting
cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and pursuing the objective of
nuclear disarmament which implicitly leads to general and complete disarmament.
In essence, the NPT promised a world in
which nuclear weapons would be eliminated and technological cooperation for
development would be widespread.
Conference of the NPT is therefore a time to measure the progress of the
international community in achieving the goals of the Treaty. When the NPT was
indefinitely extended in 1995, the nuclear weapons States joined all other
parties to the Treaty in making three promises: a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
would be achieved by 1996; negotiations on a treaty to ban the production of
fissile material for nuclear weapons would come to an “early conclusion”; and
“systematic and progressive efforts globally” to eliminate nuclear weapons would
be made. In 2000, all parties gave an “unequivocal undertaking” to the
elimination of nuclear weapons through a programme of 13 Practical Steps.
Nevertheless, the Preparatory Committee for the current Review Conference failed
to achieve consensus on the document
to be adopted now, which leads to concern for the outcome of the Conference.
regard to the 1970s, when the NPT entered into force, there took place at the
same time profound social and geopolitical changes. An awareness began to grow
of the close correlation and interdependence between national and international
security, while new challenges sprang up, like transnational terrorism and the
illegal spread of materials for making weapons of mass destruction. These are
two phenomena which, among others, directly question the capacity of the NPT to
respond to new international challenges. In this regard, the Holy See considers
the General Assembly’s adoption of the
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism as an
important step forward.
time has come to underline again the importance of observing the NPT in detail
and in its entirety.
Since the Treaty is the only multilateral legal
instrument currently available, intended
to bring about a nuclear
weapons free world, it must not be allowed to be weakened. Humanity deserves no
less than the full cooperation of all States on this grave matter. The Holy See
makes an appeal that the difficult and complex issues of the Review Conference
be addressed in an even-handed way. Measures taken at this Review Conference,
even if they are small steps forward, must be framed by the overall goals of the
Treaty. The Review Conference must not go backwards by forgetting past
commitments; it must advance the effectiveness of the NPT.
The world is rightly concerned about the proliferation of
nuclear weapons and attempt
to redirect nuclear technologies
and fuels away from their peaceful
use and towards nuclear weapons
instead. The non-proliferation side of
the NPT must be strengthened through increasing the capacity of the
International Atomic Energy Agency to detect any misuse of nuclear fuels. The
compliance measures of the Treaty must also be strengthened.
concentrating only on non-proliferation measures distorts the meaning of the
Compliance with its nuclear disarmament provisions is also required:
non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament are interdependent and mutually
reinforcing. The Holy See therefore calls upon
the nuclear weapons
States to take a role of courageous leadership and political responsibility in
safeguarding the very integrity of the NPT and in creating a climate
of trust, transparency and true
cooperation, with a view to the concrete realisation of a culture of life and
peace which will promote the integral development of the world’s peoples.
Thus, in an effort to put
priorities and hierarchies of values
in their proper
common effort must be made
resources toward moral, cultural
and economic development so that
humanity may turn its back on the arms race.
has gone for finding ways to a “balance in terror”; the
time has come to re-examine the whole strategy of nuclear deterrence.
the Holy See expressed its limited acceptance of nuclear deterrence during the
Cold War, it was with the clearly stated condition that deterrence was only a
step on the way towards progressive nuclear
disarmament. The Holy See has never countenanced
nuclear deterrence as a permanent measure, nor does it
today when it
that nuclear deterrence drives the development of eve
newer nuclear arms, thus
preventing genuine nuclear disarmament.
See again emphasizes that the peace we seek in the 21st century cannot be
attained by relying on nuclear weapons. The century opened with a burst
of global terrorism, but this threat must
not be allowed to undermine the precepts of international humanitarian law,
which is founded on the key principles of limitation and proportionality. We
must always remember that the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders
graver than the evil to be eliminated. Nuclear weapons, even so-called “low
yield” weapons, endanger the processes of life and can lead to extended nuclear
weapons assault life on the planet, they assault the planet itself, and in so
doing they assault the process of the continuing development of the planet. The
preservation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty demands an unequivocal commitment
to genuine nuclear disarmament.
Therefore, the Holy See looks to all States Parties
to the NPT to uphold the integrity of the Treaty. All Parties
should contribute to the success of the Review Conference in preserving and
strengthening the credibility of the Treaty,
so that it can be effective and lasting. In this way the culture of peace can be
advanced and the culture of war diminished,
for the enduring
benefit of all humanity.
Thank you, Mr