Lanka calls for a balanced approach

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, has called for “a balanced approach” in addressing the objectives of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Noting that “Sri Lanka remains fully committed to the nuclear non-proliferation commitments of the NPT and have steadfastly and consistently supported the global initiatives on non-proliferation”, Ambassador Aryasinha noted that “nuclear non-proliferation however remains one of three pillars of the NPT, which requires equal attention along with the other two – promotion of safe and secure use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and nuclear disarmament”. He said “such an approach which includes the implementation of the 13 practical steps agreed on to meet the disarmament commitments during the 2000 Review Conference to advance progressively towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, is a necessary step on the road map to achieving the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he addressed the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on its opening day.

The Session on from 22 April–3 May 2013 in Geneva, is being chaired by Ambassador Cornel Feruta of Romania. The Committee seeks to asses the implementation of each of the articles of the Treaty and facilitates discussion among States with a view to making recommendations to the 2015 Review Conference.

The Session will discuss substantive issues pertaining to the 2010 Review Conference and First Preparatory Committee held in Austria in 2012. The Session will also discuss the failure of establishment of a Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East, the current tension environment in the Korean peninsula and the commencement of negotiations of a treaty banning the production of fissile material (FMCT) for use in nuclear weapons devices in the Conference on Disarmament.

“Sri Lanka continues to be concerned about the existence of nuclear weapons and of their possible use or threat of use, as it poses a menace to humanity. It is Sri Lanka’s belief, that a transparent, sustainable and credible plan for multilateral nuclear disarmament is required in order to achieve our ultimate goal. In this context, Sri Lanka is committed to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the early entry into force of this instrument. We also recognize that the Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT) is a means to addressing the proliferation of fissile material which amounts to nuclear weapon proliferation, and that it is imperative to begin negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and effectively verifiable treaty that bans the production of fissile material for manufacturing of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. We believe that these instruments would assist in controlling the proliferation of nuclear arsenals,” Ambassador Aryasinha said.

“The importance of strengthening the Nuclear Disarmament mechanism is evident in recent activities which have taken place contrary to International Law. The situation which prevails in the Korean Peninsula reminds us of the urgency of the call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons since we firmly believe that total elimination of nuclear weapons from the world is the only possible way for the survival of humanity. It is for this reason that we continue the stress that states should move forward towards total elimination and the absolute ban of the nuclear arsenal.”

Ambassador Aryasinha noted that Sri Lanka also “welcomes the establishment of nuclear weapons free zones in Latin America and the Caribbean (treaty of Tlatelolco), South Pacific (treaty of Rarotonga), Southeast Asia (Bangkok treaty) and Africa (Pelindaba treaty) in accordance with the guidelines of the United Nations Disarmament Commission. I recall that Sri Lanka supported the proposal of establishing a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East. We continue to extend that support. The early convening of the Conference on a Middle East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which was postponed in December 2012 is important. Sri Lanka appreciates the increased cooperation among States to establish nuclear weapons free zones, and considers this as an indication of the commitment of States towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Referring to the safeguards system established by the Treaty under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ambassador Aryasinha said “Sri Lanka believes it is the responsibility of States to cooperate with the IAEA by complying with its objectives. We strongly support nuclear capability verification under the framework of the IAEA Statute and the NPT. In this connection, the required safeguards should be implemented in a manner designed to comply with Article IV of the Treaty. While acknowledging the valuable contribution extended by the IAEA through its technical cooperation programme, in the areas of human heath, agriculture and rural development, advance water resource management, environmental protection, nuclear safety and nuclear energy, Sri Lanka particularly encourages the IAEA to strengthen the technical cooperation programme in assisting developing States parties in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”

Ambassador Aryasinha said Sri Lanka attaches great importance to the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee as this would lay a strong foundation for a successful Review Conference of NPT in 2015. Sri Lanka believed that the commitment and political will of all State parties are essential to achieving a positive and solid outcome in this new review cycle of NPT, and to accomplish the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.