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NZ shapes global agenda for nuclear disarmament

News release

21st May 2000 Immediate release

NZ shapes new global agenda for nuclear disarmament

A new global agenda to rid the world of nuclear weapons was agreed today in New York, with New Zealand's Disarmament Ambassador Clive Pearson in the Chair.

Minister of Disarmament Matt Robson attended the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference last month. The conference officially ended today.

The 187 member countries of the NPT include the five nuclear weapon states - the US, Russian Federation, France, the UK and China. All have agreed to the new commitments as the five yearly review conference came to a close.

"It's a defining moment for non-nuclear States like New Zealand. And I'm proud to say that New Zealand has a strong national stamp on the outcome," says Matt Robson.

"We didn't get everything we wanted. But we achieved our bottom line – a new and unequivocal undertaking to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

"There was a need for the non-nuclear weapon states like us, and the nuclear weapon states to adjust their demands so that a package of realisable steps could be agreed.

"We wanted to see a more defined time frame outlined in the resolution, to accelerate negotiations before the next NPT conference in five years. In the end we had to accept less. But I'm pleased to say, in exchange we've ended up with new commitments from the nuclear weapon states to better measure progress over the next few years.

"We have a commitment from them to be more open about their stockpiles and report more regularly on their weapon reductions. This is a big step forward.

"I want to pay tribute to New Zealand's partners in the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, South Africa and Sweden) who have worked with us for months to get this result.

Matt Robson also pointed to the other successes for New Zealand at the Conference.

"There is a global agreement on the role played by nuclear-weapon-free-zones to achieve disarmament. New Zealand helped achieve endorsement by the Conference to support the efforts by zone members in the Southern hemisphere to promote disarmament.

"New Zealand was also able to work with the island States of the South Pacific to project our concerns about the risks we face as coastal States with the transport of nuclear shipments through the region.

"Now we have these new global commitments there's no time to rest. The work is just beginning. We have to be vigilant. New Zealand will continue to be in the forefront of the movement to rid the world of nuclear weapons," says Matt Robson.

ENDS

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