Minister Cannon Welcomes Successful Result of Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference

(No. 178 - May 29, 2010 - 7:45 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement welcoming the adoption of a Final Document at the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT):

“Canada played an important role in building consensus toward the successful result and has achieved its objectives for the Review Conference.

“The Final Document is realistic and gives partners concrete measures for action on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

“I am particularly pleased that, through Canada’s 2010 G8 presidency, we have been able to rally broad support to strengthen this vital treaty and bring us closer to our common goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

“Canada welcomes the reiteration at the Conference of the importance of complying with nuclear non-proliferation obligations and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Canada has consistently expressed its grave concern about the threat posed by Iran to global peace and security. Iran’s continued disregard for international obligations and failure to cooperate with the IAEA is unacceptable.

“Canada fully endorses the Conference’s call for North Korea to return to the NPT and abandon its nuclear weapons program.

“Canada played an important role in ensuring that the Final Document includes concrete actions to make sure that the IAEA verification system remains effective and is efficiently implemented to address the threat that nuclear weapons proliferation poses to global security.”

The 2010 Final Document is the first agreed outcome at an NPT Review Conference since 2000.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder – Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which came into force in 1970, is the most subscribed international security instrument, with 189 states parties. Under the Treaty, non-nuclear weapons states parties undertake not to acquire nuclear weapons; nuclear weapons states parties commit to pursuing negotiations toward nuclear disarmament; and all states parties undertake to facilitate cooperation in developing peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Review conferences are held every five years to assess and advance the implementation of the Treaty.

The 2010 Final Document is the first agreed outcome at an NPT Review Conference since 2000.

The Final Document includes conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions for each of the three pillars of the NPT: nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Among the Final Document’s key points are a commitment by the five nuclear weapons states—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States—to accelerate progress on nuclear disarmament, and a reiteration of the importance of complying with nuclear non-proliferation obligations and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

The Final Document also addresses two key regional issues. First, it includes concrete steps to implement the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East, particularly the convening in 2012 of a conference on creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Second, it calls on North Korea to return to the NPT and abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Minister Cannon led Canada’s delegation at the opening of the month-long 2010 NPT Review Conference, which concluded on May 28. From March 29 to 30, Minister Cannon hosted his counterparts, as well as the Review Conference President, Libran Cabactulan, at the G8 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Gatineau, Quebec. The ministers released a statement entitled G8 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Disarmament and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy: A Contribution to the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The statement and outreach efforts helped to set the framework for discussions and build bridges among NPT states parties, both G8 and non-G8 members, toward a clear renewed commitment to the Treaty.