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Minister Frattini’s concluding remarks to the NTI Conference “Overcoming Nuclear Dangers” (original version)

Rome 17 April 2009

Ladies and gentlemen,

After such an intense and fruitful brainstorming allow me to give you the gist of our debate, being aware that I will do no justice to anybody. I wish to underline the following 6 points:

1. First: the  paramount value of international cooperation to be successful  in our “joint enterprise”. On this point, I am of the opinion that the US, the European Union and the Russian Federation may well take the initiative for a “Global Alliance for International Security”, as a means to foster the widest involvement of nuclear and non nuclear States in this endeavor.

The European Union, which encompasses both nuclear and non nuclear weapons States, is a model for reaching understanding on a clear non proliferation and disarmament agenda. The  Union, after adopting, in 2003, its own Strategy against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction is now a key actor in all disarmament and non proliferation fora and is going to play a meaningful role at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

The role played by the G8 and the meaningful cooperation on non proliferation issues among its members is also a crucial element.

However, not just Governments should be involved in our efforts but parliaments and civil society should be mobilized  and made aware of the nuclear dangers as well as of the realistic steps needed to get rid of them.
2. Second: consensus has emerged on the importance that Nuclear Weapons States deeply reduce their stockpiles in order to fulfill their obligations under Art VI of the Treaty on Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. I would like to stress that full compliance with disarmament and non proliferation Treaties, first and foremost the NPT, is an essential condition   for  real progress towards  the achievement of our stated goals.  The announcement made in London by President Obama and President Medvedev on their willingness to replace START with a new Treaty is of crucial relevance. It will give new impetus to disarmament and arms control and certainly strengthen our common efforts for a successful outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Other nuclear powers should follow the lead of the US and Russia.

3. Third: renewed emphasis must be placed on crisis management and conflict resolution. We should consider as a priority a reinforced commitment to an “agenda for peace”, to address the causes of insecurity and to decrease tension in crisis areas where nuclear proliferation has already taken place or where risks are higher.

 4. Forth: there are at least 3 steps to be taken to  bolster nuclear disarmament: (a) the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: (b)  the early beginning of negotiations on an internationally  verifiable Treaty banning the production of fissile materials; (c) the universalisation of the IAEA Additional Protocol is another particularly urgent step to stem further proliferation.

5. Fifth: we also explored extensively the potential challenges to the non proliferation regime posed by the growing expansion of civil nuclear energy programmes. We expressed our support for a revived, strengthened global nuclear order where the growing resort to nuclear power may be reconciled with the overarching political imperative of non proliferation.

Significant progress has been made in addressing the  proliferating risks of the nuclear fuel cycle, notably with the incoming establishment of a nuclear fuel bank under the control of the IAEA.

We pay tribute to NTI for launching this initiative which has received the financial support, among others, of the European Union. We cannot underestimate the key role played by the IAEA in promoting the highest possible standards of safety and security and in assisting countries in developing civil nuclear programmes in full compliance with their non proliferation commitments. Further enhancement of the Agency’s safeguards system, therefore, is a goal we all share.

6. Sixth: last but not least, the key challenges to securing global nuclear materials and facilities was widely debated.  In this regard we were inspired by the pioneer role played by Senator Nunn, co-initiator of Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Programme, to recall the recent foundation of the World Institute for Nuclear Security whose complementary role to the activities of the IAEA was welcomed by its Director General. Securing nuclear materials to prevent their acquisition by terrorists is one of the goals of the G-8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, launched at Kananaskis Summit in 2002.

The Italian Presidency is going to confirm G-8 engagement in this matter, as well as in promoting nuclear security as a key component of the commitment to the so called 3S (safety, security and safeguards) taken at the Hokkaido Summit. In this respect, President Obama’s announcement in Prague of a new international effort to secure, within four years, all vulnerable nuclear material around the world is a very encouraging development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The list of suggestions is very long but I can see an emerging consensus on  the most urgent ones.  The key factor is the willingness expressed by many political leaders to take join efforts  to realize the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. Now is time to act.

At the end of these two days of intensive and productive debate, let me congratulate with all of you for your  outstanding contributions to our discussion. I  also wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all our staff involved in the organization of this event. Without their unreserved dedication, commitment and hard work, this Conference could never have taken place.

Thank you very much.

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