Statement by H.E. Dr. Palitha Kohona
Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka
2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
6th May, 2010
My delegation wishes to extend its congratulations to you, Ambassador Libran Nuevas Cabactulan, on your election as President of this Conference. We are confident that under your able leadership you will guide our work to a successful conclusion. As a Vice President of this Conference, Sri Lanka assures you of its fullest cooperation.
This Conference opens amidst encouraging developments. The faint prospects for nuclear disarmament are in the air. The recent Washington Summit and the bilateral agreements among nuclear weapon States are welcome signs. The apparent political will needs to be augmented with action to make a difference. We believe that the time is opportune for us to be united in purpose and in action to move towards a nuclear weapons free world. The complete elimination of nuclear weapons can hopefully be a reality.
Sri Lanka believes that the NPT is the cornerstone of the nuclear non proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Sri Lanka is fully committed to its nuclear non proliferation commitments.
My delegation, however, calls for a balanced approach in addressing the 3 pillars of the NPT and hopes this conference will strive to attain this objective. We support the 13 practical steps agreed during the 2000 NPT Review Conference and encourage implementation of these steps. In this context, Sri Lanka is also committed to the CTBT and the early entry into force of this instrument. We also recognize that the Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty (FMCT) is a means to addressing the proliferation of fissile material which amounts to nuclear weapon proliferation. We believe that these instruments would assist in controlling the proliferation of nuclear arsenals. We strongly support nuclear capability verification under the framework of the IAEA Statute and the NPT. We believe that it is the responsibility of States to cooperate with the IAEA by complying with its obligations.
We believe that nuclear disarmament requires comprehensive and verifiable steps, as well as a precise and realistic time table, we recognize the valuable role of the IAEA in this regard.
My delegation agrees with Japan that comprehensive safeguards measures together with an Additional Protocol should be today’s IAEA safeguards standard. We agree that in order to universalize the Additional Protocol, it is necessary to assist developing countries that are willing to accept such a safeguard standard, so that they can improve their legal and technical infrastructure.
Whilst we support non discriminatory efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non proliferation, Sri Lanka recognizes, as stipulated in Article IV of the NPT, the fundamental right of the parties to the NPT to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I & II of the treaty. We also agree with the Secretary General that, the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes should not have unintended consequences. In this regard, Sri Lanka attaches importance to the technical cooperation rendered by the IAEA to developing countries. We fully support any international initiative to enhance and strengthen nuclear energy development related technical cooperation activity within and out of the IAEA framework. We hope that advancements in technology will include new safety measures in the generation of nuclear energy and the disposal of waste material.
My delegation is convinced that the establishment of internationally recognized nuclear weapon free zones on the basis of agreements entered into freely among the States of the zone concerned, strengthens world and regional peace and security, reinforces the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and contributes to the achievement of nuclear disarmament.
Nuclear security is a matter of concern to us all. There is a real danger of nuclear materials falling into the hands of non-State actors and terrorists. Nuclear materials must not be acquired by terrorists. Stringent controls and greater cooperation is urgently required in this regard. We have the Convention on Nuclear Terrorism to assist us in this quest.
Sri Lanka believes that there is a need to have an institutional mechanism with a standing bureau to guide the NPT process and we believe it is necessary to consider the views of all delegations regarding the structure of a permanent bureau and the duties of the Secretariat.
We wish to underline that all States, particularly, nuclear weapon States, need to recognize that we can aspire to and realize a holistic concept of security only if there is a serious commitment to and practical steps towards eventual nuclear disarmament while pursuing nuclear non proliferation measures. It would be relevant to evaluate the implementation of decisions taken at the 1995 and 2000 NPT Review Conferences and to streamline the NPT review process. The 2010 Review Conference will be successful only if we adopt decisions that are duly implemented.
In conclusion, my delegation believes that we can ensure a genuine commitment to non-proliferation only if we can instill confidence where there is insecurity. The international community must respect and accommodate the legitimate and reasonable security concerns of all countries. A climate of security induced by nuclear fear will not help to achieve our desired goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. This is particularly relevant to the situation in the Middle East. We need to move forward with the NPT process by taking into consideration this broader context of global peace and security.
I thank you Mr. President.