The NPT makes an essential contribution to international peace and security (04/28/2015) [fr]
2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (New York, 27 April - 22 May 2015) "General debate" -
Statement by Mr Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament - 28 April 2015
I would like to offer you my warmest congratulations on your election as President of this Review Conference and assure you of France’s full support.
Allow me first of all to address to our Nepalese colleagues and to the authorities and the people of Nepal our sincere condolences and the emotion and solidarity of the people of France for the loss and the suffering caused by the earthquake in their country.
France aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The NPT makes an essential contribution to international peace and security. This is what France sincerely believes and this is why France hopes that all States Parties will forcefully reaffirm their support for the Treaty. We remain fully convinced of the need to build on the success of 2010. The Action Plan adopted by consensus in 2010 contains a long-term collective ambition to move forward in all areas of the Treaty. We must maintain this ambition.
I would like to highlight some recent developments:
— In the field of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the preliminary understanding on the parameters of an agreement with Iran, reached in Lausanne on 2 April by France and its E3+3 partners, is an important step forward. This step must now become a robust, sustainable and verifiable agreement with Iran by 30 June. France will be very vigilant on this point. Unfortunately, other crises have worsened, particularly in North Korea which has carried out another nuclear test since the last Review Conference and which is continuing its nuclear and ballistic programmes in violation of the Security Council resolutions. Finally, the Syrian nuclear programme remains to be clarified.
We hope that this Conference will enable to make progress and it will draw on the lessons from the regional crises to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, as well as to respond to the abuse of the right to withdraw from the Treaty, which has been a threat to our community for over 10 years.
— I believe that it is important to welcome here the successful discussions of the Group of Governmental Experts on an FMCT(1), which report was adopted by consensus at the beginning of this month. This issue is one of the priorities of my country, as well as the entry into force of the CTBT as soon as possible(2). I would like to acknowledge the work accomplished by the provisional technical Secretariat of the OTICE.
— In the field of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, progress is made at every Review Conference. After Fukushima, the responsible development of civilian nuclear energy relies on the strengthening of nuclear safety and on the development of accident-response capabilities, but also on training "civilian nuclear elites".
France is fully committed to implementing its commitments under the Treaty and under the 2010 Action Plan, which remains our roadmap. I would like to highlight a few actions which show France’s sincere, constant and ambitious commitment:
— In the area of non-proliferation, as I said, France takes an active part in negotiations with Iran.
— As regards disarmament, France shares the long-term objective of eliminating nuclear weapons, when the circumstances so allow. It has consistently demonstrated this objective over the past 15 years by halving its total weapons stockpile and dismantling its nuclear test site and fissile-material production facilities for weapons. These are not mere words - these are actions with irreversible consequences for France. But the ultimate objective of elimination cannot be declared abstractly, without taking into account the international strategic context. It can only be reached through a series of concrete measures, step by step. To do this, since disarmament requires trust and reciprocity, the President of the French Republic announced new transparency measures in February and solemnly reaffirmed our negative security assurances to non-nuclear weapons States in compliance with their non-proliferation obligations.
— France is fully aware of the severe effects of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons cannot be used as battlefield weapons. French nuclear deterrence is purely defensive and strictly limited to defending its vital interests under extreme circumstances of self-defence. French nuclear deterrence It is in full compliance with international law.
— To maintain the momentum of the remarkable GGE discussions on the FMCT, we have submitted a draft treaty to the Conference on Disarmament. It is an ambitious project which sets out a framework to allow irreversible measures to be taken. We must begin this negotiation without delay to prohibit access to the basic material needed for nuclear weapons. This is the next logical step in multilateral disarmament.
Finally, we have acted together, with our P5 partners. We have set up a regular consultation process to build trust. We have together drawn up a form for our national reports. We have compiled a joint glossary.
France has ratified the Treaty establishing a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia. Naturally, France supports the objective of a Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East.
— As regards civilian nuclear energy, a few weeks ago, France set out a new initiative on a priority issue, i.e. increasing international training, mainly for countries accessing to nuclear energy.
Ladies and gentlemen,
At a time of serious threats to world stability, the NPT is an indispensable tool to protect our security interests. At a time when all of us are in a crucial fight against climate change, the Treaty also lays the foundations for mutually-beneficial cooperation offering access to a significant source of decarbonated energy, i.e. civilian nuclear energy. It is essential for our future that we strengthen the Treaty. We look forward to working on that goal with all of you during this Conference, in a spirit of consensus.
(1) Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty
(2) Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty