(fa fede solo il testo effettivamente pronunciato)
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish to extend my warmest thanks to Secretary George Shultz for his most inspiring remarks. He mentioned all the crucial aspects of today’s challenges with respect to disarmament and non-proliferation –a field in which we are indeed standing at an important international juncture.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference: a new international awareness – The Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (RevCon) has just come to an end. After the stalemate in 2005, we are glad to note that the growing world awareness of non-proliferation issues has created fertile soil for the success of the conference. Italy has acted, together with its EU partners, to ensure that the RevCon results adequately reflect this new international priority in the global agenda. I therefore warmly welcome the consensus reached in New York last Friday by the Review Conference on the final document, which contains an action plan on the three pillars of the NPT. This shows that the multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament regime is indeed alive. It also shows that all states party are committed to strengthen this regime in order to meet the existing challenges. Moreover, the final document reflects a crucial agreement on a process leading to the full implementation of the 1995 NPT Resolution on the Middle East. The Review Conference has endorsed a number of practical steps, including a conference, to be convened in 2012, on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction.
The results achieved in New York are a very encouraging step forward, but much still remains to be done. The fact that efforts have been made to create clandestine programmes and networks is an unacceptable threat to the operation of the Treaty. Its lack of universality is a further weakness. Upholding the NPT is our ultimate aim, specifically on compliance matters, and bearing in mind the current major proliferation challenges. Most notably, those coming from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and from the Iranian nuclear programme.
“Le fil rouge” linking Prague, L’Aquila and New York – In this framework, President Obama’s vision of “a world without nuclear weapons” is a goal to which my country fully subscribes, as shown by the Italian G8 Presidency last year. The L’Aquila Statement on Non-Proliferation, adopted by the leaders in July 2009, contained most of the elements subsequently reflected in UN Security Council Resolution 1887. A Resolution which acknowledges, in its preamble, the resolve to seek a safer world for all and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the goals of the NPT.
During 2009, President Obama’s Prague Speech, the G8’s L’Aquila Declaration and Security Council Resolution 1887 were, therefore, the three landmarks that transformed the commitment for a world free of nuclear weapons into a common legacy. An objective, in other words, not only for America, not only for the G8, but a shared goal agreed by the entire international community.
The political logic of the “zero-nuclear” option – The “zero-nuclear” option is not, of course, something we will achieve tomorrow or, indeed, in the immediate future. We need to set this goal in a longer timeframe – but without allowing it to be viewed as an unrealistic aspiration, a political mirage. In other words, it would be a mistake to minimise the scope of this objective by interpreting the very real ideals inspiring it as a mere manifestation of good intentions, to be tested if and when the time comes to do so. It is true that many steps remain to be taken. But it is only by working step by step that we can build up to the ambitious goal we have set ourselves.
The vision of a world free of nuclear weapons also responds to a real and present need for security. With the end of the Cold War, the concept of deterrence and the type of threat from which we need to defend ourselves have changed profoundly. We find ourselves facing cross-cutting situations, asymmetrical challenges and destabilising factors. Of these, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction seems to pose the gravest threat to our security, as confirmed also by the new US National Security Strategy. Today, indeed, there is a widespread feeling that we could see a world emerge where the number of nuclear powers continues to grow and where a real risk exists that more and more nuclear material will be stored in unsafe conditions. Particularly high is the risk of “nuclear terrorism” – the possibility that extremists or fundamentalists might gain possession of nuclear weapons. In this new reality, maintaining massive arsenals has become not just economically unsustainable but also futile for the two principal nuclear powers, the United States and Russia. The directly proportional relationship between security and the size of the nuclear arsenals no longer applies.
The erosion of the non-proliferation regime: the need for a stronger response – In the face of these evermore insidious threats, we cannot fail to note that in recent years the non-proliferation regime has been slowly but progressively eroded. We need only remember that the international community failed to prevent North Korea from developing a nuclear weapon, while Iran continues to ignore the Security Council resolutions calling on it to suspend uranium enrichment. As all of this happens, we are witnessing a renewed interest in the development of civil nuclear programmes. A legitimate aspiration that is also nurtured, as you know, by Italy. But if it is not included in a more effective framework of international guarantees, this rush to build civil nuclear capability could increase, in some cases, the risks of proliferation and of diverting technologies and expertise to illegal ends.
In this context of growing threats and more fragile safeguards, the challenge of non-proliferation requires a stronger and more multi-faceted response. In general terms, what is needed is strong international cooperation, since no country can consider itself immune from the nuclear risk, or expect to tackle this risk on its own. As shown also by the NPT Review Conference in New York, from this perspective non-proliferation has become an important test bench for the system of effective and wider-ranging multilateralism we are seeking to define.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
in 2010 the international community has tried to articulate its response to the disarmament and non-proliferation challenge along at least 4 directions. I have already dealt with the first, the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Allow me now to consider the other three.
(1) US Nuclear Posture Review: shaping a new principle of nuclear deterrence – Conceptually, the Review – which came out on April 6, only two days before the START agreement was signed – represents a true turning point, the dawn of a new era. It recognises, clearly and for the first time, that the principal danger to our security no longer lies in wholesale nuclear conflict between states, but in proliferation and nuclear terrorism.
At the same time, the principle of nuclear deterrence clearly remains valid, but must be circumscribed and adapted to the new, more complex international reality. In this context, a debate on the very sensitive issue of the current NATO nuclear forces in Europe has also been opened. But we must be cautious, and avoid giving the impression that we are hastening to act under external pressure. All NATO allies should contribute to the debate before any joint decision is taken. Sub-strategic nuclear forces in Europe are a political tool and a concrete symbol of the transatlantic collective defence. We must treat this matter with care.
We believe, however, that a limited, agreed and balanced reduction of sub-strategic weapons in Europe would not harm our deterrence capacity and security or undermine the principle of fair nuclear sharing. It would send out a signal of NATO’s continuing policy of adapting its deterrence capability to the evolving security environment. But we should consider any new steps in this direction within a reinvigorated negotiating process with Moscow on new confidence-building measures.
(2) Signing of the START 2 Treaty: taking forward the disarmament agenda – By signing the START 2 agreement in Prague, the United States and Russia displayed their serious commitment to nuclear disarmament and gave us an example of “responsible leadership”. We hope this will contribute to a more stable relationship between Moscow and the West as a whole, NATO included. We encourage all States to take action to create the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons. In this respect, the main nuclear powers, the emerging powers (both nuclear and otherwise) and, obviously, Europe, have a special role to play in raising the awareness of governments and public opinion everywhere. Security is not just in the interests of the West. It is a precious asset for each and every one of us.
(3) Summit in Washington: fostering a new nuclear security culture – Over the years, nuclear security has become an important part of the broader issue of non-proliferation. We therefore particularly commend the President of the United States for launching and hosting the first global Nuclear Security Summit on 12-13 April. The Summit was a very real success. For the first time, many countries – from different regions and with different positions – gathered to discuss and agree upon a common understanding of the challenges and principles of nuclear security and to devise a joint course of action and concrete measures to adopt in this regard. Italy strongly supports both the Communiqué and the Work Plan adopted at the Washington Summit. Both documents are clear proof of international consensus on the dangers to which we are exposed and the urgency of tracing out a “road map” for confronting them.
Among the concrete initiatives that Italy intends to put forward in this field, I would like to point out one in particular. Together with the IAEA and the Trieste International Centre for Theoretical Physics, we have launched an initiative to establish a School of Nuclear Security for the training of personnel from emerging nations. This will be a concrete contribution that fully responds to the Summit’s aim of fostering an international security culture.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Strengthening the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime requires, in Italy’s view, additional – but very important – steps. The first is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Once again, we urge those States that have not yet signed the CTBT, or that have not yet ratified it, to reassess their position. The second is an effectively verifiable Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty. We hope that in the Conference on Disarmament the current deadlock can be broken and negotiations on such a Treaty be started as soon as possible. And third, IAEA safeguards must be strengthened. That is why we call on all countries that have not yet done so to promptly adopt the IAEA Additional Protocol.
In the coming weeks a strengthening of the non-proliferation regime will also bring into play the international community’s ability to adopt a coherent and compact approach to the two most sensitive regional questions facing us today: Iran and North Korea.
We firmly hope that the recent events in Korea, and in particular the sinking of the Cheonan, will not translate into new and dangerous tensions. But our line is clear: North Korea should return to the “Six Party Talks” immediately, without preconditions and in full compliance with NPT obligations and UNSC Resolutions. Strict implementation of the sanctions envisaged by UNSCR 1874 is a means of bringing the North Korean leadership back to the Six-Party negotiating table.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, we have taken note of the Joint Declaration adopted by Iran, Turkey and Brazil on 17 May in Teheran on the issue of the Teheran Research Reactor. However, the undertaking unfortunately does not address the issue of Teheran’s compliance with the UNSC resolutions. Nor does it provide concrete responses to Iran’s past and ongoing nuclear activities. We do not intend to show any flexibility on these matters.
We therefore believe that – while waiting for the assessment that the IAEA will be making on the Joint Declaration by Iran, Turkey and Brazil – work should continue in New York to adopt a new UNSC Resolution with a new set of restrictive measures. The EU will certainly play its role in implementing any new UNSC Resolution. And Italy too is ready to play its part. The dual-track approach, combining both openness to dialogue and increasing pressure if Teheran keeps violating its international obligations, remains the only means at our disposal.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
the Iranian issue, and non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament more generally, represent a key item in the new transatlantic agenda. A vital area for dialogue if Europe and the United States are to continue to agree on their evaluation of international risks and threats and if the transatlantic bond is to remain solid and fruitful. We are therefore working together to help create – day by day and step by step – a world free of nuclear weapons. Italy, which has a rich store of both ideas and credibility, stands ready to play its part.