WikiLeak: Ambassador discusses RevCon 2005 with NZ officials
WikiLeaks cable: Ambassador discusses RevCon 2005 with NZ officials
This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.
21 March, 2005 SUBJECT: NPT: AMBASSADOR SANDERS DISCUSSES REVCON 2005 WITH NZ OFFICIALS
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
Classified By: POLITICAL-ECONOMIC COUNSELOR KATHERINE HADDA, FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).
1. (C) Summary: Special Representative of President for the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Ambassador Jackie Sanders, told New Zealand officials that the May 2005 Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons must focus on the greatest threats to global security: noncompliance by non-nuclear-weapon states with their nonproliferation obligations and non-state actors interested in nuclear weapons or involved in clandestine networks to supply nuclear technology or materials. She cited as unconstructive efforts by New Zealand and other New Agenda Coalition members to place equal emphasis on disarmament by nuclear states.
New Zealand officials strongly support nonproliferation efforts, but they continued to insist that "balance" between the three NPT "pillars" (nonproliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses) is essential. But after Ambassador Sanders and her team outlined the many steps the United States has taken towards disarmament in recent years, the officials admitted that the United States has a good case to make and encouraged Sanders to make similar presentations to other NPT parties. End Summary.
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2. (C) Ambassador Jackie Wolcott Sanders, Special Representative of the President for the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, met on February 11 with John McKinnon, Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs at New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), to discuss preparations for the May 2005 Review Conference (RevCon) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
Sanders was accompanied by John Mentz, Special Assistant for Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Elizabeth Murphy, Foreign Affairs Specialist, NP/MNA; the Ambassador's Special Assistant Renick Smith; and Katherine Hadda, Political-Economic Counselor at Embassy Wellington (notetaker). McKinnon was joined by Deborah Pankhurst and Charlotte Darlow, Deputy Director and Policy Officer in MFAT's Disarmament Division.
3. (C) McKinnon said he appreciated that Sanders had come to New Zealand, and said he hoped her visit would enable the two sides to identify areas of agreement and difference about what the RevCon should accomplish. Sanders said this was exactly the reason for traveling to the region. She said that she had made the decision to visit even before New Zealand had decided to assume the chair of the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) in the run-up to and at the RevCon because she was interested in hearing New Zealand's views. She also wanted to lay out for her NPT counterparts what the United States believes are the real threats that NPT parties must address at the May RevCon.
4. (C) The United States intends to address all aspects of the NPT in the run-up to and at the RevCon, but the chief U.S. focus will be on noncompliance, Sanders told McKinnon. The United States was proud of its progress toward the goals of NPT Article VI. However, the real threat to global security does not come from the nuclear-weapon states (NWS), it comes from non-nuclear-weapon state (NNWS) noncompliance with their nonproliferation obligations and non-state actor involvement in clandestine networks to supply nuclear equipment and material. Disarmament will not occur in a vacuum; proliferation of WMD will necessarily impact disarmament. All signatories have obligations under the treaty, and all should comply. Sanders noted U.S. expectations that the RevCon will debate the issue of the need to control nuclear fuel cycle technology. She reiterated that Article IV rights to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy are clearly tied to compliance with the nonproliferation obligations outlined in Articles II and III. Sanders said that she hoped parties would not try to focus the RevCon solely on disarmament, as it was in all parties' interest to keep the Treaty together and strengthen compliance with its nonproliferation objectives. Mentz added that all parties' security is at risk when parties do not honor their obligations.
5. (C) McKinnon noted that he was not an expert on the NPT, which is normally handled at MFAT by Deputy Secretary Rosemary Banks, who was on travel. But he stressed the importance of the NPT and the nuclear nonproliferation regime to New Zealand. New Zealand views the NPT as an underpinning for security and a balance between competing interests. New Zealand's goal is to see all aspects of the treaty strengthened, although it realizes there are challenges to the very foundation of the NPT, as made clear by that day's claim by North Korea that it possessed nuclear weapons. All elements of the treaty must be equally enforced. The NPT's original purpose was to balance the interests of both NWS and NNWS in order both to prevent proliferation and to allow for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. If the three pillars get "too out of kilter," said McKinnon, New Zealand feels the overall thrust of the treaty will weaken. For this reason, the NAC aim at the RevCon will be disarmament and its promotion, but without blindness to the threat of proliferation. According to McKinnon, noncompliance and the possibility of "break-out" from the Treaty are key issues. However, without recognition of NNWS interest in disarmament concerns, the basis of the Treaty will weaken. In New Zealand's view, disarmament benefits the integrity of the system; counterproliferation is better off in an environment of progress on disarmament. Perceptions are important, and a degree of confidence on disarmament would facilitate progress on proliferation. McKinnon noted that U.S. and New Zealand positions on nonproliferation are similar, but urged a balanced approach at the RevCon to get the nonproliferation outcomes both the United States and New Zealand want. New Zealand does not want the RevCon to fail or reach an inadequate outcome. New Zealand wants a RevCon outcome that preserves the regime and moves it forward on all fronts.
6. (C) Ambassador Sanders said that the United States would explain in detail all the steps it has taken on Article VI at the RevCon. She agreed that parties considered all three pillars of the NPT when they signed on, but she countered McKinnon's point by noting that ultimately states adhered to the NPT to serve their own security interests by preventing proliferation. She also reminded McKinnon that New Zealand should look at other NWS progress on Article VI. Sanders offered that the United States has done more, and in a more transparent way, with regard to nuclear disarmament than any other state. The United States has spent billions to eliminate both U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons. Likewise, the United States is the largest donor to international cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, although Congress could reconsider funding if it lacks confidence that the nonproliferation regime can effectively ensure that the NPT is not used as cover for the development of nuclear weapons programs.
7. (C) McKinnon and Sanders agreed that this RevCon will be a difficult one. Sanders noted that the United States is committed to working toward a consensus outcome, but the Treaty itself is more important than any possible RevCon document. We should not raise expectations that the RevCon will reach agreement. Parties should focus on the key threats to the Treaty and international security, and conduct a healthy debate. She noted that some NPT parties seem to feel that only the NWS benefit from the NPT, when in reality proliferation threatens the security of all. McKinnon assured her that New Zealand conveys its concerns about disarmament to all the NWS; Pankhurst agreed that the United States was the most transparent of the P-5.
8. (C) Mentz related to McKinnon that some parties see alleged NWS lack of progress on Article VI as an excuse for NNWS noncompliance with NPT nonproliferation obligations. Mentz strongly objected to this view, arguing that assessments of their own security and regional tensions drive these states; Article VI was not the driver. McKinnon agreed that connections between noncompliance with nonproliferation obligations and Article VI were "inchoate." Mentz and Sanders told McKinnon that when parties talk about the need for "balance" in the NPT Review process, they seem really to mean there is a need to criticize the P-5 on disarmament without addressing nonproliferation. This is a mistake in 2005 when there needs to be a united front against proliferation. Pankhurst said that New Zealand and the United States agree on many points, noting that New Zealand was the first to sign the IAEA Additional Protocol (AP). However, when countries first signed the NPT in 1970, they thought the P-5 would completely disarm by 1995. Clearly this has not happened. New Zealand recognizes how much the U.S. has done to disarm, but New Zealand wants more on all fronts. Pankhurst expressed concern about the atmosphere as the RevCon approaches and asked why the U.S. is reluctant to refer to the 2000 RevCon outcome in the provisional agenda for the 2005 RevCon. Sanders said the United States does not dismiss the 2000 RevCon, but the 2000 outcome should not be the only reference point; the developments of the past five years are important as well. She reminded Pankhurst that some that want 2000 as the sole benchmark have their own agenda. Iran, for example, wants to draw attention away from its post-2000 activities. Sanders, Pankhurst, and Darlow all agreed that the Chair at last year's third session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom III) for the 2005 RevCon was partly to blame for the PrepCom's failure to reach agreement on a RevCon provisional agenda. Sanders offered that the non-aligned movement also played a negative role.
9. (C) Sanders reminded Pankhurst how significantly the world has changed since 1970; there are different threats and many assumptions no longer hold. She asked about the NAC's goals and what parties could cooperate on. Pankhurst noted that she was not speaking on behalf of the NAC, but NAC plans were still a work in progress. The NAC had yet to meet to prepare for the RevCon, as New Zealand had only recently taken over the Chair after South Africa bowed out. At the moment, the NAC is using as its basis its PrepCom II working paper. Darlow posited that the NAC would likely build on its 2004 UN First Committee resolution. She also said that New Zealand plans to work with the G-10 in Vienna on nonproliferation initiatives and provide papers to the RevCon president on them.
10. (C) Pankhurst said that the P-5 could help shape perceptions and the RevCon atmosphere by facilitating agreement on an agenda beforehand; acknowledging the 13 steps agreed to at the 2000 RevCon; providing leadership on nuclear disarmament and a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) in the Conference on Disarmament (CD); improving the Moscow Treaty by destroying weapons rather than just stockpiling them; making plans to destroy weapons not covered by the Moscow Treaty; putting in place confidence building measures on de-alerting weapons; and continuing contacts to improve the pre-RevCon atmosphere. Darlow added that reporting was another area in which the NWS could facilitate agreement. In response, Sanders said the United States is working actively on the conference agenda with the RevCon President-designate. The United States has taken leadership in the CD, for example by putting forward proposals on FMCT and landmines. On nuclear disarmament, the United States has never held that an international treaty was a good idea. As for the 13 steps, parties should consider what the United States has done in relation to Article VI, not focus on artificial yardsticks. Mentz added that there was great misperception about what the Moscow Treaty does. Most stored weapons are in the pipeline for destruction, which is difficult and expensive. However, the United States needs a credible deterrent; those weapons that remain must be safe and reliable. This requires continual monitoring and occasional refurbishing.
11. (C) Pankhurst said that she and her colleagues had read A/S Rademaker's recent speech to the Arms Control Association, and said that it was very useful. She suggested that more U.S. reporting on its Article VI activities would improve the environment at the RevCon. For instance, she said that many do not know how many weapons have been destroyed or what the destruction process entails. Sanders said that the U.S. will voluntarily provide details of its Article VI activities, but the U.S. does not believe formal reporting would be productive. Smith said that countries should pay more attention to what the U.S. and Russia have done to make arms reductions possible. Arms reductions under the Moscow Treaty were the products of improved security, not the cause. Amb. Sanders assured Pankhurst that she plans extensive consultations with NPT partners to ensure a solid outcome to the RevCon. Pankhurst said this would be useful, and asked what the United States will look for vis-a-vis compliance. The Ambassador outlined U.S. priorities and turned over ref non-paper.
12. (C) Mentz said that the NAC and others seem to have misperceptions about the U.S. nuclear posture review (NPR). He noted that the NPR found that the United States needed fewer nuclear weapons given current threats. Ultimately, the United States will have fewer weapons of higher quality. Sanders pointed out that the non-paper she had given them includes a discussion of misperceptions of the NPR. Mentz noted that some parties treated the NWS as an undifferentiated group, when some NWS are increasing their nuclear stocks and are far less transparent than the United States. Pankhurst reiterated that New Zealand engages with all the NWS individually, but did not respond when Ambassador Sanders asked if all the individual criticisms were made publicly. (Comment: They aren't. End Comment.)
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13. (C) Amb. Sander's group also met with Marian Hobbs, Minister for Disarmament. Hobbs said that U.S. and New Zealand objectives are the same: a world free of nuclear weapons. She reiterated that for this reason all three pillars of the NPT are important, and all members must take verifiable steps to reach their goals. "This is the same thing I tell Iran," she said. Sanders noted her appreciation at being compared with Iran, and the Minister beat a hasty retreat from the comparison. Sanders said that the United States does see all aspects of the NPT as important, but noncompliance is the key threat. Parties must focus on strengthening compliance with Articles II and III; parties in noncompliance with these obligations should not have access to nuclear cooperation. Hobbs said she had recently attended a seminar on the NPT RevCon in Atlanta, where participants noted that were it not for the NPT, there might be 20 states with nuclear weapons. This is why New Zealand signed the NPT. New Zealand is interested in compliance, but compliance with both Article VI and the nonproliferation articles. Parties need to build trust; there should be reporting and verification of both sets of obligations. Sanders assured Hobbs that the United States also believes in verification, but that frankly parties do not recognize all the United States has done to meet its obligations under Article VI. The United States realizes that many feel the NWS are not moving fast enough to disarm, but the NWS are not the true threat today. The NWS are no longer targeting each other or any other state. The real threat is North Korea, Iran, and non-state actors like the A.Q. Khan network, and until recently Libya and Iraq.
14. (C) As had McKinnon, Hobbs said New Zealand completely agrees that noncompliance is a key issue, which is why for example the country participates in the Proliferation Security Initiative. But New Zealand does not believe that nonproliferation is more important than disarmament. Both are important, and parties need to build trust in both by taking transparent steps on both. There is also no mechanism to measure compliance. Sanders said that this was one reason why the U.S. has recommended a special committee on safeguards and verification at the IAEA. Moreover, it is the role of all parties to consider others' compliance on a case-by-case basis. Hobbs asked for the U.S. view of Canadian proposals for new institutions such as reporting and a permanent NPT secretariat. Sanders said the United States does not see the need for new institutions. The United States does report voluntarily. Another institution is not needed; what is needed is for states to ensure that the current institutions -- the IAEA and the UN Security Council -- work. Hobbs noted that the PrepComs have been stymied; they failed to make progress or even to produce a RevCon provisional agenda. Sanders offered that an effective PrepCom III Chair could have produced a RevCon provisional agenda and predicted the RevCon President-designate was likely to be far more effective.
15. (C) Amb. Sanders said the important thing was that while there are issues on which the United States and New Zealand do not agree, there are also many issues on which we do agree. We need to stick together and cooperate for a good result, and must address real world threats at the RevCon. Disarmament is important, but addressing the threat of proliferation and the possibility of nuclear terrorism is far more pressing. Hobbs acknowledged the threat of nuclear terrorism and the tragedy of 9/11, but said that New Zealand and the Pacific had faced the specter of nuclear testing in the region, even as the U.S. faces threats that New Zealand does not. Sanders noted that New Zealand like all countries is not immune from the threat of terrorism. Hobbs agreed, but reiterated that New Zealand sees both disarmament and nonproliferation as important.
16. (C) With regard to disarmament, Ambassador Sanders told Hobbs she hoped New Zealand would hold other NWS to account on disarmament -- China, for example. Hobbs assured Sanders that New Zealand was very aware of all NWS activities; its interest in disarmament is not anti-American. Sanders asked whether New Zealand has made any efforts to influence North Korea. Hobbs said they try, but it is extremely difficult and she does not think New Zealand's efforts have any effect. She called North Korea "unstable and scary," and said in addition to sending messages to the regime via New Zealand's Ambassador to Pyongyang, she herself had rejected the arguments of a visiting North Korean official and called him a liar. Sanders said that the quickest way to encourage disarmament is to get the proliferation problem under control. Hobbs disagreed, noting a parallel to trade: New Zealand had unilaterally reduced tariffs to encourage others to liberalize Hobbs said she intended to attend the nuclear-weapon-free zone conference that Mexico will host immediately prior to the RevCon and then to participate in the first few days of the RevCon.