Statement by H. E. Ambassador Jānis Mažeiks to the UN at the General Debate of the Review Conference of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

21.11.2015. 12:27

Madame President,

First of all, let me express Latvia’s sincere condolences to Nepal over the devastating earthquake. The Latvian Government extends its deepest sympathies to the relatives of the victims and wishes a rapid recovery to those injured in the catastrophe.

Madame President,

Let me also congratulate you on your appointment. Let me reassure you, Madame President, that you may count on the co-operation and full support of my delegation during this Review Conference. We recognize that a difficult task lies ahead of us. We are confident that under your able leadership the Review Conference will successfully achieve its objectives.

Latvia associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Ms Federica Mogherini. I would like to add the following points of particular importance to Latvia.

For Latvia the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation and disarmament regimes. Nuclear weapons have not been used since the end of the Second World War. We believe there is nothing more important than giving our best effort to upholding this. It is also imperative to note the progress of nuclear disarmament as well as to recognise that the process is ongoing.

A large number of countries and civil society members have highlighted through their deliberations and analysis that the international community would not be able to deal in any sufficient manner with the consequences of a nuclear weapons detonation.

This is an absolute truth that we agree on. It is also the precise reason why we must continue the complex and incremental work towards our common goal – a world free of nuclear weapons. Here I would like to underline that Latvia supports the goal of global zero. This goal is distant, however, the Latin phrase notes “Labor omnia vincit”, that is - steady work overcomes all things. The complexity of the road ahead lies in maintaining balance between working towards multiple steps that strengthen the NPT and preserving the strategic balance in the turbulent world.

Madame President,

We have been assured that nuclear weapon states will uphold their commitment to the fundamental goal of the NPT – move towards nuclear disarmament. However, both non-nuclear weapon states and nuclear weapon states must safeguard and leave no doubts about the peaceful nature of nuclear programmes, strengthen global non-proliferation initiatives and work towards the entry into force of treaties complementary to the NPT.

In this regard, Latvia places particular importance on the prompt entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). We believe that no linkages should be made between ratifications of the remaining Annex 2 countries. This Treaty is of great added value to global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It is the individual responsibility of each state to contribute in this respect. We appreciate the great effort by a number of actors, including the EU, in promoting the ratifications of the Treaty.

Another Treaty with great potential to contribute to the goals of the NPT is the Treaty Banning Production of Fissile Material. Latvia supports the commencement of negotiations on the Treaty Banning Production of Fissile Material. In this respect it is crucial to add that we are concerned with the lack of progress and stalemate for more than a decade in the Conference on Disarmament.

Madame President,

Another equally important aspect of the NPT is that the benefits of peaceful applications of nuclear technology should be available for peaceful purposes to all Parties to the Treaty. As in the disarmament aspect, this too comes with great responsibility. The responsibility is to find balance between peaceful and safe application of nuclear energy, on the one hand, and enforcing measures to minimize nuclear proliferation and the threat of malicious use of nuclear and other radioactive materials, on the other hand.

We must continue our efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the acquisition of nuclear weapons by more States, as well as non-State actors.

Here I would like to highlight the progress in the ongoing negotiations on Iran’s nuclear issue. The initial agreement reached on 2 April in Lausanne between Iran and the E3+3 acknowledges once again the vitality of the global non-proliferation regime, based on the NPT.

Recognizing that substantial effort of the involved parties to finalize this agreement is still required, Latvia stresses the historic importance of a long-term solution to Iran’s nuclear issue.  It would not only respond to concerns of international community and outline Iran’s rights to peaceful nuclear energy, but also help reinvigorate the efforts towards establishment of a WMD free zone in the Middle East.

Madame President,

We underline the irreplaceable role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the safeguards system. We support the adoption and implementation of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement together with an Additional Protocol in order to strengthen the safeguards system.

Today there is a rapidly growing worldwide necessity to provide for the highest possible level of security, safety and accountability of the existing nuclear and radioactive materials and their associated facilities. Latvia strongly supports and encourages every intention and effort aiming to deal with this challenge. This should include the search for the most effective, inclusive and balanced measures for the world-wide governance of nuclear and radioactive materials, and respective facilities. Here I would like to note the Vienna declaration adopted in the Diplomatic Conference of the State Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Security. The commitment of States to work on the continuous improvement of nuclear facilities is encouraging.

Latvia employs strict exportand transitcontrols.  Every transaction with states under international sanction regimes and arms embargoes is subject to scrutiny. Our aim is to make sure that nuclear, radiological, chemical or biological materials and their delivery systems will not fall into the wrong hands and be used for malicious purposes.

We support and advocate existing operational tools like the framework for nuclear-related export control, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), as well as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).

Finally, Latvia is deeply worried that one party has violated a number of the provisions of the Budapest memorandum on security assurances to Ukraine. We believe such actions significantly erode the level of trust and undermine nuclear non-proliferation efforts. Thus, a robust implementation of the NPT is particularly important.

I wish every success in our efforts to achieve best results out of this Review Conference.

Thank you!