Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference Ends Unsuccessfully
The 191 countries that are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for the 10th Review Conference of the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The conference began on August 1st and ended on August 26th. According to reports, Russia prevented the adoption of a joint declaration of the treaty. The Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, Igor Vishnevetsky, said the final document lacked balance. “Our delegation has one key objection on some paragraphs which are blatantly political in nature,” he said.
The final draft explored a number of concerns that included military activity around Zaporizhzhia, which is a nuclear power plant in Ukraine, as well as the country’s loss of control over such sites. The conference also discussed North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and Iran’s nuclear program.
“Russia is the reason we do not have consensus today,” said Adam Scheinman, the US special representative for nuclear non-proliferation. “The last-minute changes that Russia sought were not of a minor character. They were intended to shield Russia’s obvious intent to wipe Ukraine off the map.”
Rebecca Johnson, the founding president of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, expressed her disappointment with the final result. “It’s very disappointing but it should not be surprising,” she said.
“The NPT has been failing for a long time because it is essentially used by nuclear-armed states to reinforce the validity that they attach to nuclear weapons. Here it’s taking place at a time when Russia has launched an invasion against Ukraine but also threatened the use of nuclear weapons, in which deterrence has clearly failed.”
Still on Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty…
While the conference was taking place, a meeting of the UN Security Council was held and a number of the countries decided to publish and sign a statement that expressed their support for Ukraine. The statement, which was released on Wednesday, August 24th, was signed by 58 United Nations members, less than a third of UN member states.
The statement was read out by Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Sergey Kislitsa, who also read out all the countries in support of it. The statement criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called for an immediate stop to its military operations.
The parties to the statement include members of the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Georgia, Turkey, and several Asian and Latin American countries. Chad and Niger appear to be the only African countries that signed the statement.
The statement was not well received by Russia’s representatives at the UN. “The ‘usual suspects’ from collective West and some of their dependents (now they boiled down to 56 countries) sacrificed serious professional discussion at the #NPTRevCon for biased Russophobic attacks.
Irresponsible and reckless behavior,” tweeted First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, along with a picture that showed the countries that signed and agreed with the statement.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference is held every five years. The purpose of the conference is to discuss all matters relating to nuclear weapons, this includes preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, promoting total nuclear disarmament, and promoting the peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy.
The previous conference was held in 2015, where it was also unsuccessful as the signatories failed to agree on significant matters.