World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


US Approach to the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty

U.S Government Approach to the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT)

Ambassador Jackie Sanders, Head of the U.S. Delegation
Remarks during a United Nations First Committee Plenary Session of Debate
New York, New York
October 16, 2004

Mr. Chairman:

Fundamentally, the United States supports the negotiation in the CD of a ban--in the form of a legally binding FMCT--on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

As many of you know, I announced the results of the United States, FMCT review in a CD plenary speech on July 29. Our experts in Washington put a considerable amount of thought into this review. As a result of our review, the United States believes that an FMCT cannot be verified effectively.

The U.S. sent a team of verification experts to Geneva last month to brief on how we reached this conclusion.

The nature of an FMCT imposes significant practical limits on its verification. An FMCT would ban the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, while allowing production for other activities not subject to an FMCT.

Under the IAEA,s safeguards system, finding undeclared fissile material in a state under safeguards is sufficient to make a judgment of noncompliance. However, simply finding fissile material not declared under an FMCT would be insufficient to make a judgment of noncompliance--it would be only the starting point, really--given that both date of production and purpose of production then would have to be proven.

The United States has maintained a moratorium on the production of fissile material for weapons purposes for more than 15 years. While other governments have announced their own suspension of production, the moratorium is far from universal.

The U.S. believes that fruitlessly negotiating verification procedures would delay unnecessarily the creation of a ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear explosive devices. It is imperative for an FMCT to be negotiated while it could still be relevant. The objective of an FMCT is not its verification, but the creation of an observed norm against the production of fissile material intended for weapons.

Faced with these issues, and other problems that our experts detailed in Geneva, we must rethink how to approach an FMCT in the CD.

In considering this year's First Committee FMCT resolution, we must all ask whether the overall result will promote prospects for getting an FMCT in place, or damage them.


Released on October 21, 2004

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news