Statement by Ambassador Peter Woolcott
Australian Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament
and Ambassador for Disarmament
Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Geneva
12 June 2012
Australia supports the provision of negative security assurances by the nuclear-weapon States to non-nuclear weapon States parties to the NPT. Australia would welcome stronger and more effective assurances from the nuclear-weapon States with fewer caveats. Australia considers that negative security assurances should support the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.
As a State party to the Treaty of Rarotonga, which established the South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in 1985, Australia is a strong supporter of nuclear-weapon-free zones, freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned. Australia sees such zones as important means by which negative security assurances can be provided to non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT.
Australia is pleased that all five nuclear-weapon States have signed – and four have ratified – the second and third Protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga. These Protocols respectively provide negative security assurances and a commitment not to test nuclear weapons within the zone. Australia welcomes the Obama Administration’s submission of the relevant Protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga, as well as to the Pelindaba Treaty, for the US Senate’s advice and consent to ratification.
Australia is also pleased that the ASEAN States and the nuclear-weapon States have made significant progress toward the latters’ signing of the Protocol to the Bangkok Treaty in the coming months.
Australia encourages the development of further zones, including in such regions as the Middle East. In this regard, Australia welcomes continuing efforts and strongly encourages further efforts by all relevant stakeholders to implement and support the conclusions and recommendations for follow-on action in respect of the Middle East agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
Australia recalls the important responsibility which the 2010 NPT Review Conference placed on the Conference on Disarmament to take forward substantive work on negative security assurances through Action 7. Australia stands ready to work in the Conference on the basis of Action 7, as well as Action 6 and Action 15.
I thank you, Mr President.