Co-chairs' briefing to IAEA member states, Vienna, 5 July 2010 

International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

Transcript, E&OE


Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Would you kindly take your seats please. A number of you, many of you I think were in this board room three months ago when Professor Evans briefed you on the contents of the International Commission's report. Today we marked another stage in the work of the Commission, namely, its final session. And we have both co-chairs with us today. And so I'd like to invite, first of all, Ms Yoriko Kawaguchi, the Japanese co-chair to speak first, then followed by Professor Evans.


Thank you Michael. My name is Yoriko Kawaguchi. I am one of the two Co-chairs from Japan. Thank you very much for coming here this afternoon when you are very busy with your own schedule. We are very happy that we have this opportunity to talk with you and discuss with you our report and also the way that we were able to influence the outcome of the NPT Review Conference, and also we are very happy to discuss with you how we could carry things forward in the future.

We had our last meeting in Vienna, Saturday and Sunday 3-4 July. We have had, since we started, in October 2008, five main meetings including this one, and four regional meetings. We are very pleased that we were able to mark the end of our meetings of our project by having a meeting in Vienna, because Vienna, is in our mind, the city associated with all the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament activities — and you are the experts in this field. So we feel very honoured that we are able to discuss with you the outcome of our meeting in Vienna.

Of course, as you know -and I am not repeating how we started — but just very briefly, two countries, Australia and Japan, jointly initiated this project, the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, and we presented our Report to our Prime Ministers in December last year. And after that we embarked on a program of outreach and advocacy, because we felt it important that we get our views known to the international community before the NPT Revcon in May.

Many things have happened since we presented our report to the Prime Ministers in December last year: the NPR was announced by the United States; a similar report was announced by Russia; The Nuclear Security Summit; and, of course, United States and Russia came to an agreement on the follow-up of the START treaty.

So all these things worked as a good momentum along with our Report and we were very pleased that the NPT, thanks to the efforts of many governments, and representatives like you produced a successful result.

Now in Vienna we came up with a Communique which Gareth will talk about now, and we would like your views on the Communique, as well as on our Report, later on.


Well, thank you very much, Yoriko, and thank you all for the opportunity to talk to you again, as I've had the pleasure of doing in the not so distant past.

The point of this particular briefing today, I guess, is very simply to give you the Commission's assessment of where we've come from, but where we still need to go, in terms of the broad disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful uses agenda. Our meeting here in Vienna was our final meeting. The Commission is to be now wound up, after two years, this month. So none of us will continue to exist in our official Commission role, but I think all the Commissioners will continue to play an intensely committed role, personally, for the tasks ahead.

The task that we set ourselves, as a Commission, was, of course, to not just talk about the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and what needed to be done there, but to articulate a very full agenda for the short term to 2012, the medium term to 2025, and the longer term beyond that. And all of those action agendas, as we articulated them in our report remain highly relevant.

The last year has seen a rather exciting period of a number of occasions when the momentum that we had all so dreamed of redeveloping seemed to be hanging in the balance, but, with the Russia-US negotiations successfully concluded, the Washington Summit on Nuclear Security successfully concluded, doctrinal statements being made by the United States and Russia, which didn't go backwards, and in some respects went forward, being concluded: in that sense, the momentum has pretty well been sustained. But an awful lot, of course, was hanging on the outcome of the NPT review process. Had that been a serious failure again, as in 2005, I think all of us know that that painfully constructed momentum was going to collapse rather rapidly.

So, against that background, and against the fear of failure, I think we are all entitled to breathe a huge sigh of relief that the NPT Review Conference was a success. A modest success; I don't think we should get too excited about it, but a success nonetheless. For two reasons, I think: one, because it did not go backwards in any way, against the agreements that had been reached in the past, particularly in 2000. And it did go forwards in a number of at least small respects, even though it was disappointing in others.

If one does a balance sheet overall, I think it looks something like this. Among the successes, first of all, was the basic presentation of the final document. Now the fact that the agreed part of the document, the consensual part, was expressed in the form of action points, and articulated in a reasonably concise and focused way, was itself an achievement, because it, in itself, creates a momentum for keeping up to the mark in the future, and giving us a set of benchmarks. Not very ambitious ones, but a set of benchmarks that we can test in the future ongoing processes. I think, also to be counted a modest success were some of the agreements that were reached, specifically in the area of disarmament. The reaffirmation of the unequivocal undertaking to disarm of 2000, despite several nuclear weapons states dragging their feet on that, all the way up to the crucial conclusion.

Good language on the relevance of international humanitarian law to the disarmament objective. Good language on transparency, including some of the accompanying declarations from the US and UK in particular. And a number of action commitments, not all that specific, but nonetheless in helpful language. The language of rapidly moving toward an overall reduction in the global stockpile, and a reference to that being for all types of nuclear weapons, without discrimination. A distinction between strategic and tactical.

The establishment of a subsidiary body in the CD in Geneva on nuclear disarmament as a possible basis for serious multilateral negotiation in the future. All of those things were positives, as was the general presentation of the disarmament action plan. The big negative, so far as disarmament was concerned from the point of view of the Commission, and I know many delegations here, was that there was simply no timeframe language of any kind, agreed by the weapon states -not even the very modest formulation proposed by our Commission in terms of a minimisation period followed by an elimination period. There are lots of ways of articulating that without being very specific, but agreement on that was not achievable.

The Middle East issue, which is, of course, so critically related to the disarmament objective was, I think, on any view, a very successful outcome and, probably, the single biggest achievement of the NPT Conference. Hard fought as an issue, in balance to the end, but a major achievement to have everybody committed to the conference in 2012, convened by the UN, and the other three key states, with the appointment of a facilitator and the objective to discuss ways of moving forward on the weapons of mass destruction pre-zone issue. All of which was very much the kind of strategy recommended by our Commission, and which was the subject of a very lively discussion at the regional meeting we ourselves convened, some of you will remember, in September last year, at which we did have around the same table Israel, Iran and the key Arab League states. So, I think, we can all feel reasonably pleased that there is this degree of new commitment to at least process there.

When we come to non-proliferation, the language of the outcome document is okay in terms of the larger principles that it articulates and the commitment that everybody still has to the treaty in its full majesty. But, I think, most of us would have to acknowledge that it really was rather disappointing that the Review Conference was unable to agree on some rather more specific, strengthening measures on the non-proliferation side.

In particular, not just giving rhetorical weight to the Additional Protocol, but agreeing to make it a condition of supply, making it, in effect, the new verification standard. Unfortunately, it was not possible to reach agreement of that kind. It was not possible to reach agreement, even on very weak language, about the difficulties that should be attached to any withdrawal from the treaty in other than good faith. And, I think, particularly important here in Vienna, the language on the IAEA was really rather weak when it came to specifics, certainly, in terms of strengthening the resources of the IAEA in terms of its budget and its capacity with personnel and other capital expenditure. We all understand the constraints that capitals have been imposing on so many delegations when it comes to negotiating away from zero growth, but it really was unfortunate, I think, for the IAEA to be left simply with rhetorical support and nothing much more substantial from the NPT Review Conference.

The work on the crucial building blocks for both disarmament and non-proliferation, again, I think, saw a mixture of results in the NPT Review Conference. Good language on Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty accession, and which we all hope can be brought into force, in effect sooner rather than later. Good language on moving forward on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, which most of us want to see now, but nothing really on a moratorium, voluntary or otherwise, on fissile material production for weapons purposes. Nothing much to suggest a way out of the impasse in Geneva on this treaty negotiation if that continues.

And, as to other issues, I think a situation where there was neither strength nor weakness in the NPT outcome document, but simply a kind of work-in-progress recognition. I think one can say that of the whole peaceful uses strategy. General support, of course, as one would have expected for peaceful uses, and support for countries developing that capability, but no movement either forward or backward on the critical issue of multilateralisation of the fuel cycle or fuel assurance options of the kind that have been so intensely debated here.

Not much movement for or against either way on the issue of nuclear security and anti-terrorism. Picking up some of the basic themes of the Washington summit, but perhaps not as explicitly as might have been hoped, nothing much on institutional change to strengthen the secretariat and the preparatory process for the future, as the Canadians were particularly pushing for, but, nonetheless, keeping open the option of further work of that kind.

So, when you weigh it all up, I think, occasion for relief, occasion for a reasonable amount of self-congratulation, and occasion for a reasonable amount of satisfaction, so far as this Commission is concerned, because of the 68 recommendations we made in our Report that were relevant to the NPT process, when we do a calculation of how many of them were reflected in the final document, it was a clear majority of our recommendations that were accepted, either wholly or substantially or in part. So I think we can reasonably claim to have had some impact on those deliberations. But there's still a very big task ahead with the whole agenda that we tried to articulate in our Report, and it still really remains relevant.

On the disarmament side, it's obviously absolutely crucial that the US-Russia bilateral New START agreement be bedded down, formally ratified, and that a new round of serious deep reduction talks start. Notwithstanding all the difficulties, we know we'll be there with issues of conventional arms imbalance and ballistic missile defence, and so on. It's crucial that strategic dialogue on disarmament really seriously commence with other key nuclear armed state players, including, in particular, China. It's crucial that, in the years ahead, we do get something beginning to happen on multilateral disarmament process more generally, and, hopefully, Geneva can be a focus for that.

On the non-proliferation agenda, all the things that weren't done in the NPT Review Conference, really, still need to be done in the view of the Commission, and that includes strengthening further of the safeguards regime and the withdrawal provisions, or the kind of strategies and measures that should be associated with unreasonable withdrawal, and, of course, the particular problems of Iran and North Korea do remain with us needing resolution, hopefully, by negotiation in the near future.

The CTBT ratification issue remains a critical priority, and a very important confidence-building building block for the future and for the broader agenda if we can manage to move ahead quickly on that. Similarly, with the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, and that set of issues. On peaceful uses, it's critical, and the agenda still remains to do better than we have done on giving ourselves confidence that we won't be running into difficulties with an explosion of nuclear energy activity in the future with more fissile material being produced without being somehow subject to multilateral management or multilateral disciplines of one kind or another at the front and back ends of the fuel cycle. That agenda remains.

And then, above all, there's the agenda of political mobilisation, finding ways of stimulating ongoing serious commitment by the world's governments to the task of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and just keeping the energy flowing in that respect. And part of the strategy in that respect is, of course, also, to put in place some energising of civil society, and to try and get better coordination of the global civil society movement, such as it exists. It's in that context — let me just very briefly refer to the last part of our Communique — which does make some specific recommendations — page six onwards — for the future, so far as, essentially, sustaining the momentum of this agenda is concerned.

We have a number of general recommendations about the need to get serious about education and training on these issues worldwide in the future, at both the school and university level. We make a point about the need to have a substantial ongoing dialogue with industry about its role and responsibilities with this whole agenda. We express our support as a Commission for the creation of global leadership networks of key individuals, particularly political, diplomatic, military who can play a leadership role in countries, in regions and globally in stimulating continued political focus at the highest level on what needs to be done.

And then, finally, and much more specifically, we make this recommendation, which I think is of particular interest to the Vienna community – this is the proposal which we've now developed in more detail for a global centre for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament to be created. What we are talking about here is the creation of a non-governmental body to do two things, in particular: one, to prepare an annual or regular report card for the international community on progress on all the critical benchmarks, progress or lack of it in the years ahead, across the whole spectrum of disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use issues, the benchmarks, of course, being those in the NPT Review Conference outcome document itself but also the kind of benchmarks or agenda items that we identified in our own Commission Report and others have views about. It would be for the centre to identify the benchmarks against which it is reporting but the idea is to have some really tough, detailed analysis and associated with that a lot of high level advocacy urging that the momentum be sustained in meeting those benchmarks and targets and change agenda items. The second task we see for this centre, and we've articulated this now at our meeting this weekend much more clearly than we did in the past, in the Report itself, we do think there is a major role for such a centre to play in developing the concept and the content of a nuclear weapons convention for the future.

We, as a Commission, still think it would be completely premature to try and set in train an Oslo or Ottawa type treaty campaign process around such a convention. That's years and years away because of the degree of complexity and difficulty and sensitivity of the issues we're dealing with here but if we are to be serious in the not-too-distant future about a serious multilateral disarmament process we really do need to conceptually and intellectually wrestle with all the dimensions of an ultimate legal framework for such a negotiation, including the many very difficult issues associated with verification and enforcement and so on. We have drafts out there, what such a convention might look like, but there's a huge amount more work that needs to be done worldwide to shape and focus that debate and to get agreement about the parameters of such a convention might look like and we think this proposed centre could be the central focal point for that intellectual research effort over the period ahead.

So that's essentially the concept. The idea is to have maybe a dozen or so professional experts, researchers, drawn from all around the world as the core membership, core professional staff for such a centre and the idea is also to have sitting above it a governing board or an advisory board of senior influential distinguished figures worldwide who would give their weight, their imprimatur, to the findings, the product of such a centre and also engage in advocacy for its proposed recommendations. It would have a strong outreach role with all the other 20, 30 or more research institutes, think tanks, which already exist in many parts of the world working on these issues and would not seek to duplicate work being done elsewhere. It would focus very much just on these two main objectives of a report card and all the analysis that went with it and the work for the long term on a nuclear weapons convention.

I have been in discussion on behalf of the Commission with several interested governments. We identify three in the Communique that have expressed interest — the Australian Government, the Swiss Government and the Austrian Government here in Vienna — in hosting or making some sort of provision for significant support for such a centre. That's all work in progress but my hope and the commission's hope is that one way or another we might be able to put all this together and have such a centre in existence and operating by the commencement of next year to take forward this whole agenda.

So I think Chairman Potts and Chairman Nakane, that's really all I want to say at this stage about what we are proposing, what we talk about in our Communique, both looking back and looking forward and we very much welcome input from you as to what we may have right, what we may have wrong and what we can do together to advance this agenda which I know that we are all very strongly committed to.


Thank you, Co-chairs. We now move to the interactive part of this afternoon's briefing and the floor is open for individuals or delegations to raise questions or to make observations.

AMBASSADOR GUERRERO, Ambassador of Brazil:

Thank you very much, Michael. I would thank the co-chairs, Mrs Kawaguchi and Mr Gareth Evans, for all the effort they put into the work of the commission and I'd also like to thank all the commissioners and not only for the report but also for the Vienna Communique which kind of summarises their work during the past week. One of the concrete recommendations you make is, as you said, Mr Gareth Evans, is the establishment of a global centre for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament which would have basically two functions.

One of them is to establish a report card, as you said, to make it clear what countries and doing and what countries are failing to do. And the other one would be to work out the basis of what a nuclear weapons convention could look like in the future.

Now, on this latter point, there are reams of papers already in place about what a nuclear weapons convention might look like, including, as you said, the different options on the verification, when you move from very low numbers to totally elimination of nuclear weapons. I'd say who would be in charge of the verification, whether there would be a kind of verification which now applies to non-nuclear weapon states or whether the nuclear weapon states would be responsible for a certain time at least, for verifying among themselves this move toward a zero option.

Now, just a question. What kind of issues are in your mind which people have not thought of until now would you expect this centre to think about? That's it. Thank you.


Well, there's nothing new under the sun in terms of the identification of the problems and you're right in saying that there already exists a vast literature addressing with varying degrees of ideology or technical enthusiasm, ways through these various dilemmas. My hope would be that just as our own Commission Report is widely seen as adding some value to the debate because, notwithstanding the thousands of volumes that existed and papers and working papers that were in front, because we had a sharply structured and focused and realistic approach, my hope is that a centre with the kind of resources we have in mind could draw the best of all the thinking, all the research that's been done already and has yet to be done on these issues, and come up with articulated proposals that would have a greater degree of credibility and acceptability than anything that is out there at the moment.

I mean, what the answer is to the dilemma of verification that you articulate is not something on which I feel I could confidently give an answer at the moment. I think we're probably years away from having an understanding of the combination of technical and legal measures that will be necessary to meet the necessary confidence levels. Work is being done on this, good work is being done on this, in particular by the UK and Norway but we're still, as I understand it, a long way away and I'm not trying to anticipate it.

The issue of enforcement that you also mentioned, I think these are the two issues between them which are just huge in their degree of difficulty. Are we to talk about the assumption of a continuing Security Council enforcement role or some version of that with some states having a veto? Is that going to be meaningful in this context or is it simply not going to be credible in this context? If not, what? And we're a long, long way, I think, from answering that.

All of this, of course, is one of the reasons why, in our own Report, we did not specify a date for actually getting to zero. We said we can specify a date for getting to a minimum level, 10 per cent of the stockpile that exists now. We think we can get there by 2025 but we can't just assume further continuity in getting from there down to zero because there are these big qualitative issues of enforcement, verification and so on.

All I want to say is that our perception as a Commission is that it would be useful not to postpone further detailed consideration of this until it might be more in the realm of practical possibility. It's important to start now the ongoing process of trying to craft and create conceptual consensus on this, a practical consensus, so that's really what the object of it is.


I just would like to add some more points to what Gareth just said, and what Gareth said, I completely agree. So many things have been said already.

In our report, we say that 2025 is the end of the minimisation stage, when we have reduced the number of nuclear weapons to 2000. Fifteen years between now and 2025, and who knows what sort of technology we will have by then. Technology makes progress, and when it makes progress, sometimes it jumps. So, when we talk about verification, there are things that we don't know at this point, which will be possible in the years to come.

We may put resources so that, for instance, people talk about forensics. So there are other issues that could come into the picture which we don't know, which the present discussions on convention have not looked at. So we will be including all of these in our discussion at the centre. Thank you.


The next question, or observation, is from our colleagues from Iran.


Thank you, Ambassador. And I appreciate your briefing provided to us by Excellencies, Evans and Kawaguchi. I have noticed in your book, and your oral explanation, in some part there are some references to Iran nuclear issues. I refrain to comment on these references, because I think here is not the appropriate place for discussion on these matters. And I just refer your colleague and participants to an official statement of our delegation in various occasions, including a recent meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors. Thank you, Mr Ambassador.


I did not say this because I was sure that it is known to everyone. This Commission is composed of 15 Commissioners, and this is a Track 2 undertaking, so whatever is written in our Report does not represent the views of the governments of our 15 Commissioners. Thank you.


Any other questions or observations. Please, our colleague from Korea.


Thank very much Mr Co-chair, and also I'd like to join other colleagues in welcoming you to Vienna for the second time, I believe, and also congratulate you on the successful outcome of the NPT Review Conference. As you said, and as other colleagues here all agree, that ICNND's Report has greatly contributed to the successful outcome of the recent Conference, and also my government, in our preparation for participating in the Conference [indistinct] to the recommendations you have in your Report.

And I have one question regarding the universalisation of the NPT. I believe that the most crucial element of the NPT regime is the credibility and the liberty of the regime itself. However, as long as we have these countries — three, or four, or five, or some more, which are outside of the NPT Treaty, then it seems to me that all the other measures you recommended may come to an end, of you know, basic failure.

So in your final Communique, I found that those measures on how to engage those countries outside of the NPT seems to be somewhat missing, and I'd like to ask you your opinion what is the Commission's plan in the future to have those countries outside the NPT regime inside the regime band. Thank you.


Well, I think the whole question of dealing with those countries outside the NPT, which occupied a chapter of the Report, and just one paragraph of our final Communique, paragraph 20, reflects sort of a strongly realistic view by the Commission. As much as we all would love to see India, Pakistan, Israel inside the NPT, and as non-nuclear weapon states, as much as we would like to see DPRK squarely back in without this ambiguous twilight zone position that it's in at the moment, it's particularly difficult to see that happening, at least for India, Pakistan, Israel in the immediately foreseeable future. So, the strategy that the Report describes is to try, by all available means, to put in place parallel disciplines that would get these countries signed up to serious commitments on both disarmament and non-proliferation, which are equivalent to or accompanying the kind of commitments that are made by NPT member states, and demonstrates seriousness of purpose by them towards those objectives. And that, we say, would be advancing the cause.

Of course, the whole idea of a nuclear weapons convention is also to have an all-embracing treaty which would, in a sense, start again with its universal coverage with a different intellectual frame of reference than haves versus have nots and in that way would accommodate some of these conceptual concerns. The problem, of course, is translating that ideal, that objective, that interim objective of parallel process, of translating it into reality. And the Commission was very clear that we thought that the India-US deal, the India-NSG deal was a lost opportunity in that respect, and in many ways created an unfortunate precedent, not because the agreement took place, but because there was insufficient conditionality attached to it — in particular on two issues: commitment to the test-ban treaty, and second, the commitment to a moratorium on fissile material production for weapons purposes.

If those conditions had been satisfied, then I think we would have a very very different atmosphere than the one that we have now, one that is creating new difficulties for China, Pakistan, and so on, of a kind that could easily have been anticipated. So it's quite difficult to move away from where we've got to, but what we say in our Communique and what we mean is that any future supply to non-NPT countries be on condition at least that the receiving state not conduct any nuclear test. That means you would stop immediately such supply if it did, and implement a moratorium on the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, pending the entry into force of an FMCT type treaty. And I think if we could go down that particular path we would restore some momentum to that idea of parallel processes and parallel disciplines. It won't be for the Commission to be in a position to take this further. It's for others picking up these themes. But I hope that we will get some serious debate along these lines, and people will accept that broad frame of reference in the way in which governments handle this rather delicate policy issue in the future. But it's not an easy one.


I would like to draw your attention to paragraph 20 of our Communique. We do talk about the countries not party to the NPT, and in the second half of the paragraph we talk about what sort of things countries could be doing to these countries outside the NPT to put them under a similar regime as the countries in NPT. Thank you.


I now, hand over the chairing to Ambassador Nakane to draw proceedings to a close. Thank you.


Thank you Michael. Excellencies and distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, the fifth meeting of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament has drawn to a close, and it is my great honour to deliver some concluding remarks.

The work on the activities undertaken by the Commission in addition to the Commission's Report is in my opinion particularly pertinent and influential. The Commission has given every effort and succeeded to fulfil its aim to reinvigorate international efforts on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, in the context of both the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and beyond.

Furthermore, they have worked to achieve this goal in a way that has been tailored to suit the realities of today's world, and the developments already achieved, and the goals of the international community. This final meeting of the Commission has allowed us to come together to discuss matters which not only affect but are in fact of crucial significance to the international community in its entirety. Together we have reviewed past developments, discussed and analysed current trends and approaches, and tried to paint a picture of what the future will hold.

Among other key topics, discussions were held on the Vienna Communique, which details the recommendations of the Commission and the current state of progress in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The establishment of a Global Centre on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament was also actively considered during the meeting.

We can all agree that international cooperation and efforts already made, including the work of the ICNND paved the way for further positive developments in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Indeed, the report states maintaining the status quo is not an option. Every opportunity to obtain the goals that have been set in the areas of non-proliferation and disarmament, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, must be ceased by the international community following recent developments, including, among other things, the successes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and bearing in mind the more far-reaching and transparent approaches being taken, at present, to obtain these goals, I am pleased to see that we are making steps in the right direction.

On that note I would like to express, once again, our gratitude to the Co-chairs, Professor Evans and Mrs Kawaguchi, the Commission and the meeting participants, and look forward to witnessing over the coming years the realisation of the personal developments we have envisaged for the future in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Thank you.


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