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General Statement of Iceland by Þórður Ægir Óskarsson to the 3rd Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference

Mr Chairman

I join others in congratulating you on assuming the chairmanship of this final preparatory committee meeting of the 2020 Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and wish you every success in your leadership of this important gathering.

Iceland fully aligns itself with the statement made by Norway on behalf of the Nordic countries and the statement made by Belgium on behalf of the Group of States.

I will use this opportunity to make few comments in my national capacity.

 

Mr. Chair,

It is no exaggeration that we are meeting at a critical juncture when some of the key agreements that have underpinned the global disarmament efforts since the end of the Cold War are being put test by glaring examples of non-compliance and new security challenges.

At this stage we should be preparing the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the most successful treaty in this history of nuclear arms control and disarmament in general along with the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Instead we face the critical challenge of preserving the integrity and the global validity of this major treaty.    

Iceland is strongly committed to work towards the objective of eliminating nuclear weapons and the Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of our policy when it comes to nuclear disarmament.  A demise or weakening of this important treaty is wholly unacceptable to Iceland.

The rogue behaviour of the DPRK is the single most immediate threat to the non-proliferation regime and in that undermines the security of the global community.  We harbour the hope that the DPRK will return to compliance to its international obligations, including return to the NPT and IAEA Safeguards Arrangements and welcome the strong diplomatic efforts by the United States in that regard.

Another threat to the non-proliferation efforts is the looming demise of the INF treaty, due to expire in three months.  Iceland reiterates its call to Russia to return to full compliance as the treaty is an important part of the rule-based order in global arms control.  It is also important for global security that Russia and The United States extend the New Start Treaty.    

Iceland supports the continuation of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), an important contribution to the rule-based non-proliferation regime. 

In referring to these three immediate challenges to global non-proliferations it is important to note the special responsibility of the nuclear states when it comes to the disarmament aspects of the Treaty.  There, a solid movement is needed in order to preserve the relevance of the NPT.

This slow progress in the disarmament pillar should; however, not discourage us from seeking to strengthen other supporting mechanism such as the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and in particular the successful Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which success would be carved in stone with joining and ratification of all Annex II states.  To begin negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty would be another important factor in underpinning the non- proliferation arrangements

However, apart from disarmament aspect and the difficulties regarding the proliferation pillar, there are positive stories to take from the implementation of the Treaty.  The success in the peaceful application of nuclear technology and the increasing acceptance of the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and the Additional Protocol are stand outs.

In the face adversity it is important to bring out how the Non-Proliferation Treaty is serving our publics everyday through the peaceful uses and the safeguards.  This is a treaty truly serving the global community.  More needs to be done!

Iceland believes that one very important step in this regard would be much stronger effort to ensure that women have an active and equal role in this disarmament efforts in line with Security Council Resolution 1325.  Hopefully that will be realised when it comes to the 2020 NPT Revie Conference.

Iceland is not alone in the view that there is an urgent need to apply more energy, more creative thinking and even more resources to the disarmament and arms control efforts, not only when it comes to weapons of mass destruction but also on conventional weapons, emerging technologies and hybrid threat.  There the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention are there absolutely first in line.

On that note I implore all of us to make this preparatory committee meeting constructive and successful.

 

 

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