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Marian Hobbs leads off NPT debate in New York

3 May 2005

Marian Hobbs leads off NPT debate in New York

Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Marian Hobbs has led off the general debate on the review of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty following the official opening by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan at the United Nations in New York.

Speaking on behalf of the seven member New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden), formed in 1998 to pursue nuclear disarmament and seek a nuclear weapons free world, Marian Hobbs said the New Agenda would pursue measures to obtain real commitments from the nuclear-weapon states towards totally eliminating nuclear weapons.

"The New Agenda at this Review Conference will address the increasing concerns about the lack of compliance and implementation of all commitments made in the context of the NPT regime (both non-proliferation and disarmament of nuclear weapons)," Marian Hobbs said.

"In particular, we will address the troubling development that some nuclear-weapon States are researching or even planning to develop new or significantly modify existing nuclear weapons. These actions have the potential to create the conditions for a new nuclear arms race and would be contrary to the Treaty."

Marian Hobbs added that the New Agenda Coalition would be calling for a subsidiary body on nuclear disarmament "to take forward the past commitments to nuclear disarmament and the promise made by the nuclear-weapon States through the 'unequivocal undertaking' to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons in the 2000 Final Document."

“While the New Agenda States were 'greatly disappointed' at the lack of progress following the last two Review conferences, we believe that a climate of nuclear disarmament, where effective measures are pursued in good faith to that end, would be more conducive to international peace and security than one in which nuclear weapons are aspired to," Marian Hobbs said.

"The strength of this Treaty depends on the will of States Parties to engage in dialogue, listen to each other's concerns and take the necessary action to move forward together. If the Treaty's obligations are not met, it is not the Treaty’s provisions that have failed, but it is rather a failure of collective will and leadership to implement them effectively."

Marian Hobbs will be meeting representatives from a number of countries over the next three days to discuss New Zealand's objectives for systematic and progressive steps towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

ENDS

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