(fa fede solo il testo effettivamente pronunciato)
Distinguished President, Secretary General, Permanent Representatives and delegates to the Conference,
I am honoured to address this assembly bearing in mind its noble statutory aim: banning or limiting war most deadly instruments.
Nuclear disarmament is a priority for the international community. Italy, as current President of the G-8, is looking forward to address, together with its partners, this important issue. We are heeding the calls of many political leaders and outstanding persons in favour of a world free of nuclear weapons. The appeal of the four American “wise men”: Dr Kissinger, Mr Nunn, Mr Shultz and Mr Perry, has been echoed eloquently by many other high ranking personalities around the world. In my own Country, Mr Fini, - currently Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies – Mr D’Alema, Mr Parisi, Mr La Malfa and Mr Calogero also subscribed to a call for nuclear disarmament.
Therefore, we welcome recent statements on the resumption of nuclear weapons reduction talks between the United States and the Russian Federation, that own about 90% of all existing nuclear warheads. We encourage both the US and Russia to continue along this road and to set forth an example for others to follow.
Let us turn our attention to the multilateral arena, where the role of the Conference on Disarmament is paramount. We need to focus on two main agreements. The first is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, signed in 1996 and not yet entered into force due to the lack of key signatures and ratifications from a limited number of States. Italy is a party to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and is eager to see its formal entry into force as soon as possible. We urge those States that have not acceded to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or that have not yet ratified it, to reassess their position. We appreciate recent statements by authoritative representatives of the new US Administration showing assurances in this regard.
The second agreement we should focus on, is the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We can’t allow the upcoming PrepCom in New York in May and the Review Conference next year to fail.
We all know that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is based on three pillars: disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear power. To be politically successful, the PrepCom and the Review Conference must deal with these three issues in a structured and balanced way. Each of them includes topics crucial for the national interest of its State parties. Otherwise, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the cornerstone of all our nuclear non proliferation and disarmament endeavours, will increasingly be perceived as having been concluded in the prevailing interest of Nuclear Weapons States. Our efforts will thus be thwarted.
A further consequence of any strongly perceived imbalance in the enforcement of the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s provisions will be the encouragement of proliferation.
Let me mention two among the most useful tools existing today to help the Non-Proliferation Treaty meet its objectives. The first is a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty. There is a general consensus on these negotiations being long overdue; no objection has been registered against the conclusion of an Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty. As an EU member State, Italy would also like to recall the Common Position adopted by the EU on the eve of the 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Just a few days ago, a statement in this direction has also been made by the Czech Presidency in this same Conference hall.
By stopping, through appropriate safeguards, all production of weapons-grade fissile materials and encouraging the conversion of their manufacturing plants to civil use, an Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty would drain away the supply of the main components of nuclear warheads. Moreover, such a Treaty would make nuclear disarmament irreversible t and non-proliferation are obvious. A Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty would make nuclear disarmament irreversible. However, a viable Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty needs reliable safeguards to prevent illegal diversions of fissile materials, or use of civil installations for military purposes.
As Your Excellencies are aware, the President of the Conference on Disarmament decided, last January, to appoint the Italian Permanent Representative as coordinator for nuclear disarmament with a special focus on Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty. To ascertain the existence of an effective political will to embark on serious negotiations on an Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty, within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament, is a task Italy takes upon very seriously.
Italy’s view is that such a Treaty needs credible provisions on verification. Such a judgement is widely shared within this Conference. Experience has shown, time and again, that no Treaty on disarmament can endure without a credible and workable verification mechanism. This is the only tool we have to remove the lurking temptations of cheating. We consider the latest statements by the new US Administration extremely helpful.
My Government is well aware that other serious matters must be tackled with before concluding a successful Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty. Not least among them, is the issue of stockpiles. We believe it should be dealt with during negotiations. In any case, however, any State should feel free to raise questions it considers priority national security concerns.
The other useful tools in order to give renewed relevance the cause of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, are the Negative Security Assurances. The topic was discussed and appeared in the final documents of the 1995 and 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conferences. Regrettably Negative Security Assurances do not appear in the final document of the 2005 Review Conference.
Italy, therefore, considers the attention given by the Conference on Disarmament to Negative Security Assurances both topical and timely.
I cannot conclude my intervention today, Mr. President, without mentioning the sterling work carried out by the Conference on Disarmament in the field of conventional weapons. The fundamental right of countries to ensure their self-defence, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter, is not open to debate. What the Conference on Disarmament is called upon is to reinforce rules on the safety of non-combatants and on the rescue and treatment of civilian victims of warfare.
The task has not always been easy. Italy will actively support in every way current efforts to reach a wider-ranging, legally binding agreement on cluster munitions in the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, acceptable to those countries not able to sign the Oslo Treaty.
Mr. President, though several other topics would have been worth to be mentioned, the passage of time is unforgiving and I feel obliged to thank you very much for the privilege of addressing the Conference on Disarmament. Your work is silent and far from media spotlights, but the successes you have achieved have brought hope to millions, and of this you ought be proud.