Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
at the General Debate of the 2005 Review Conference of the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty
New York, May 2005
Allow me first to congratulate you on your election as the President of the Seventh Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). My tributes also go to the other members of the Bureau. I assure you of the full support of the Icelandic delegation for your efforts to make this a successful conference.
Since entering into force, little more than thirty-five years ago, the NPT has been a centrepiece of international security. It has served as the main pillar in global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear-weapons.
The NPT, however, and the broader nuclear non-proliferation system, is facing serious challenges within a context of the dramatically changed international security environment, where not only certain states but also non-state actors and terrorists pose a threat to international peace and security. The Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel warned that “we are approaching a point at which the erosion of the non-proliferation regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation”. The increasing threat of terrorism has furthermore added greater urgency to the questions of proliferation.
During the debate last month in the UN General Assembly on the Secretary-General’s report “In larger freedom” Iceland declared its support for the calls of the Secretary-General to reinvigorate and strengthen the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation structures with the aim of controlling and eventually eradicating weapons of mass destruction.
Iceland has for many years declared that credible and effective verification is a key component of the NPT-regime in order to prevent violations. The NPT compliance and verification mechanism needs to be strengthened. At the same time, the IAEA should be reinforced. It is vital that all states planning to use nuclear energy for peaceful means open themselves to effective monitoring by the IAEA.
The announcement of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that it possesses nuclear weapons is of utmost concern. We urge the DPRK to reconsider its policies and honour its NPT non-proliferation and disarmament obligations.
Another matter of concern is the nuclear programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian authorities must fully comply with the IAEA’s requirements for transparency in the development of their nuclear program.
Iceland stresses the importance of the universality of the NPT-Treaty. We urge all states not yet party to the NPT, to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon states promptly and without delay. We need to agree on measures in order to strongly discourage withdrawal by States Parties from the NPT.
We welcome practical initiatives which can serve as complements to the NPT and are aimed at strengthening the non-proliferation regime. In this regard we reiterate our support for the Proliferation Security Initiative. Another important measure is Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) which addresses the serious concerns about the risk of non-state actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction.
Thank you Mr. President.