Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – Review Conference on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Thematic Seminar on Pillar II: Non-proliferation

New York, 02/03/2020 - 17:12, UNIQUE ID: 200302_12
Statements on behalf of the EU

2 March 2020, New York – European Union Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, Towards the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Thematic Seminar on Pillar II: Non-proliferation

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Madam Under-Secretary-General

Mr. President

Your Excellences

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to this EU-funded seminar on Pillar II of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) ahead of the 2020 Review Conference in New York.

I would like to start by expressing our gratitude to Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen for his leadership in this process and assure him of the EU’s full support and cooperation.

I would like to welcome UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu and more generally, express our appreciation for her valuable contributions and for the support of the UN Secretary-General.

I would also like to thank the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs for organising today’s event and putting together such an impressive programme.

Mr. President,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU’s support for the NPT is unwavering. It is grounded in our conviction that a multilateral approach to security, including disarmament and non-proliferation, provides the best way to maintain international peace and security.

As we approach the 2020 Review Conference, we encourage all States Parties to focus on seeking common ground. The EU will play a constructive and active role in ensuring the implementation of the obligations and commitments assumed under the NPT and undertaken during the previous Review Conferences.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in accordance with Article VI of the NPT and an important element in the development of nuclear energy applications for peaceful purposes. Our priority is to uphold and preserve the NPT as a key multilateral instrument for reinforcing international peace, security and stability: to promote its universalisation and to strengthen its implementation.

The EU strongly supports all three pillars of the NPT and will continue to promote comprehensive, balanced and full implementation of the 2010 Review Conference Action Plan. Its concrete, equally important and mutually reinforcing steps on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy remain valid and provide a mutually acceptable basis to advance towards the ultimate objective of a world without nuclear weapons. We remain resolved to seek a safer world for all in accordance with the goals of the Treaty in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all.

The world continues to face major proliferation threats to international peace and security. They must be addressed in a resolute way in order to maintain the credibility and effectiveness of the NPT regime. In this context, we underline the primary responsibility of the UN Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

The EU regrets that the DPRK has so far failed to take the necessary credible steps towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation. We urge the DPRK: - to abandon all its nuclear weapons programmes as well as their delivery systems programmes- to comply with its obligations under multiple UNSC resolutions - to maintain its declared suspension of testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles - to return to compliance with the NPT and the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement including by signing and ratifying the Additional Protocol - and to sign and ratify the CTBT. Until the DPRK does take these concrete actions, we will continue to strictly enforce existing sanctions. We reaffirm that the DPRK cannot have the status of a nuclear-weapon State in accordance with the NPT. The EU continues to promote a concrete negotiation process permitting the IAEA to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of the DPRK's nuclear programme. The verification effort would also benefit from technical assistance by the CTBTO and would need to take due account of non-proliferation obligations.

Eight years ago the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution concluding that Syria is in non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement. Unfortunately, Syria has failed to respond adequately. The EU urges Syria to cooperate promptly and transparently with the Agency to resolve all outstanding issues.

The EU calls upon all States to become party to and strictly comply with the obligations of the NPT, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. In the context of the Middle East, this would be an important confidence- and security-building measure, which could constitute tangible steps in the direction of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East.

The EU continues to strongly support the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference on the Middle East and reaffirms its full support for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems in the Middle East.

Mr. President,

The European Union recognizes the importance of effective export controls, in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article III of the NPT, and in compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 2325. In this context, we invite all States to adhere to the guidelines of the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and support the full participation of all EU Member States therein.

The EU is seriously concerned by the proliferation of missile technology. The development, testing or use of ballistic missiles is clearly a destabilising factor in various regions of the world. In this regard, the EU strongly supports the MTCR. We are deeply concerned by the tests conducted in the past by the DPRK in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, especially in the context of the DPRK's military nuclear programme and the findings by the UN Panel of Experts that its ballistic missile programme has been strengthened. Moreover, as the only multilateral transparency and confidence-building instrument against ballistic missile proliferation, the EU continues to provide political and financial support to the Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) to promote its universality, full implementation, and enhanced and improved functioning. We also reaffirm our grave concern about Iran's ballistic missile activity, with an increase of launches and technical improvement of its ballistic missile capabilities and we call upon Iran to refrain from these activities, in particular ballistic missile launches that are inconsistent with UN Security Council resolution 2231.

The IAEA's system of safeguards is a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and plays an indispensable role in the implementation of the NPT. The EU considers the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements complemented by Additional Protocols to be the current IAEA verification standard based on Article III of the NPT. Without an Additional Protocol, the IAEA cannot draw conclusions on the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. The EU welcomes the fact that two more Additional Protocols came into force in 2019 and calls for the universalisation of CSAs and APs without delay

Further, the EU urges remaining States which have not yet amended their Small Quantities Protocol (SQP) to accelerate their efforts in this respect. The EU strongly supports the continued improvement of effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards through implementation of State-level Safeguards Approaches (SLA). A consistent and universal application of the SLAs strengthens global non-proliferation efforts.

The European Commission and EU Member States through their Support Programmes continue to provide expert and technical support to IAEA safeguards. The close cooperation between the Euratom Safeguards System and the IAEA contributes to the effective and efficient implementation of safeguards and allows the EU Member States to demonstrate continuing respect for their international non-proliferation obligations. The EU has also provided the Agency with technology and expertise from the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and its Directorates, designed to meet IAEA specific requirements in a wide range of fields.

The European Union expresses its resolute commitment to and continued support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This was affirmed in the EU Council Conclusions adopted on 4 February 2019; but also in several statements of the High Representative who is also the Coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission. The EU continues to work with the international community to preserve the JCPOA, an important multilateral achievement, unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015). The JCPOA remains a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture crucial for regional, European and international security.

The  EU  has been clear about its deep regret towards the withdrawal  of  the  United  States from  the  JCPOA  and  the re-imposition of  sanctions that were previously lifted under the agreement.

We have also repeatedly expressed our  grave  concern  over the  different  steps  taken  by  Iran in reducing its  nuclear  commitments  under  the  JCPOA. We urge Iran to  reverse  all steps inconsistent with the JCPOA, including exceeding the maximum allowed low enriched uranium stockpile and the enrichment limit, not respecting the limits set by the JCPOA on nuclear R&D activities, and the resumption of enrichment in Fordow. We believe these activities have potentially severe proliferation implications.

The EU collectively supports the efforts of the JCPOA   participants, including the High Representative, in   addressing these issues within the JCPOA framework. Last week, on 26 February, the JCPOA Joint Commission met in Vienna. The meeting addressed both Iran's steps in reducing its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA including its announcement of 5 January 2020, as well as longstanding concerns, recognised by all participants, regarding the impact of the US withdrawal from the agreement and the re-imposition of sanctions by it. As a follow up to the statement of the High Representative of 24 January 2020 participants reviewed expert-level discussions which have taken place in different formats in past weeks. Experts were tasked to take these discussions forward

Mr. President,

The EU and its Member States recognise the fundamental importance of nuclear security. We remain greatly concerned by the threat of nuclear or other radiological material falling into the wrong hands. While recognising that nuclear security remains the responsibility of each State, international cooperation contributes to strengthening nuclear security. The IAEA has a central role in coordinating global nuclear security efforts and in strengthening the international nuclear security architecture for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy including through provision of assistance to Member States using innovative approaches and lessons learned from other Major Programmes. We welcome the latest achievements with the implementation of the IAEA 2018-2021 Nuclear Security Plan and we also welcome the International Conference on Nuclear Security's (ICONS) ministerial declaration adopted last month.

The entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), to which all EU Member States, as well as the Euratom Community, are Parties, is a milestone in strengthening nuclear security. The EU reached out to numerous countries to promote the universalisation of the A/CPPNM and is looking forward to the 2021 Conference to review the A/CPPNM. The EU will continue to help States in their efforts to fully implement the provisions of the Amended CPPNM. We call on all States to accede to the amended CPPNM as well as to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT), another key legal instrument the universalisation of which the EU continues to advocate.

Together with the bilateral contributions from its Member States, the EU is among the largest donors to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. The total EU financial contribution to the Fund, based on seven successive Council Joint Actions/Decisions has reached nearly €50 million for the period of 2009-2019. EU funding to the IAEA has helped the Agency to assist in particular developing countries to upgrade and ensure the physical protection of selected facilities, improve their national regulatory infrastructure concerning physical protection and the safety and security of radioactive material and to enact the necessary legislation. Achieving and maintaining a solid national nuclear security regime based on IAEA recommendations and guidance, including through TC projects that utilise nuclear or radioactive material, is in the interest of all countries.

In the past decade, the EU made significant progress with regard to globally enhancing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security through the implementation of an EU plan. Furthermore, the CBRN Centres of Excellence (CoE) initiative provides a platform for voluntary regional cooperation with 61 partner countries on all CBRN-related hazard issues with a budget of €155 million for the period 2014-2020. The EU encourages the preparation of national action plans to identify needs for capacity-building on the basis of a risk assessment.

Mr. President,

In the framework of its strategy against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the EU is actively supporting UN Security Council Resolutions 1540, 1887 and 2325. The EU and its Member States have actively contributed to international initiatives that strengthen nuclear security, such as the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the former Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process. The EU also participates in the Nuclear Security Contact Group (NSCG).

Promoting universal adherence to and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a top priority for the EU. All EU Member States have ratified the CTBT and are abiding by its obligations. Furthermore the International Monitoring System of the CTBTO, with a completion rate of above 90%, along with the International Data Centre, offers a unique international tool that no single country could alone develop. The CTBTO responded immediately and effectively to the nuclear tests of the DPRK, demonstrating its ability to provide independent and reliable data and that this ensures that no State carries out a clandestine nuclear test to develop an illegal nuclear weapons programme. The CTBTO has also developed and maintained a range of verification capabilities designed for site characterisation. The European Union is one of the largest providers of voluntary funds to the CTBTO, with contributions totalling over €23 million since 2006.


I thank you for your attention and wish you a very productive and fruitful meeting.

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