Fissile Material Production Cutoff Treaty [FMCT] Excerpts


13 February 1997

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on
Thursday, 13 February 1997, at 10 a.m.
President: Mr. Sun (Republic of Korea)


Mr. LAFER (Brazil):


We have noted the importance many States attach to the early commencement of negotiations on a fissile materials production ban ("cut-off") treaty, an objective Brazil shares and supports. Should the Shannon mandate remain the basis for the establishment of an ad hoc committee, it is our expectation that the question of stocks will be dealt with within committee discussions on the scope of the future treaty. The reasons for this are twofold: first, how can a ban on fissile material production be effective without adequate knowledge and accountability of the amounts of such materials already in existence? Second, as was the case for the CTBT, the FMCT would be negotiated in a context where many nuclear-weapon States already have unilaterally stopped the activity intended for prohibition. If the future treaty is to have real impact beyond non-proliferation, and we hope it will, it would therefore also have to go beyond the narrow scope that some currently envisage for it. Another important issue from our point of view is to make sure that the costs of verification of such a treaty are carefully considered from the outset of the negotiation, as these should not unduly burden those States whose current international obligations in practice already subject them to the same prohibition envisaged under the future treaty.

Although Brazil has been doing its part to support and would welcome the start of negotiations in the CD on this subject, we cannot agree with views that seek to equate the eventual establishment of an FMCT ad hoc committee with actual CD work on nuclear disarmament, particularly given the current uncertainties regarding the scope of such a treaty.

We are also intrigued by assertions that conclusion of a fissile materials "cut-off" treaty should now take precedence over any multilateral nuclear disarmament discussion. In support of this, the "Principles and objectives" document approved during the NPT 1995 Review and Extension Conference is frequently cited. Reference is made to the sequential listing therein of three objectives under a "Nuclear disarmament" heading: the CTBT, the fissile materials convention, and "the determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.


Mrs. KUROKOCHI (Japan): I would like to make a brief statement today on the subject of nuclear disarmament. As I have already explained Japan's views on how the Conference on Disarmament should address this issue, both in the plenary on 30 January and in the informal open-ended Presidential consultations, I will not go into detail, but I would like to introduce Japan's proposal for a special coordinator on nuclear disarmament. As I have stated before, my delegation is of the view that, in addition to the fissile material cut-off treaty, the Conference should identify the issues of nuclear disarmament to be negotiated in the future.


The meeting rose at 6.15 p.m.