Statement at the final session of the 2018 NPT PrepCom
4 May, Geneva
Thank you Mr Chairman
Australia joins others in thanking you for your patient, wise, and skilful leadership of this Preparatory Committee.
At all times, you have lead with a steady hand. You have made yourself available to all participants and you have listened carefully.
A terrific team – both from the Secretariat, interpreters and your national colleagues, has supported you. We thank them for their work.
We appreciate your regional outreach, your efforts to encourage more interactive discussions, and diversity. On the Chair’s separate paper on reflections – we will take it away and consider it closely.
If there is one clarion call from this PrepCom, it is that the NPT is strong, effective and essential to global security.
We all have an interest in finding common ground to implement and strengthen the NPT across its three pillars.
The draft Chair’s factual summary reflects the significant differences of views on a range of issues, but also areas of convergence.
Without going into detail, I flag a few areas Australia was pleased to see reflected.
Importantly, the summary reflects that the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a serious challenge to the NPT, global and regional security.
It was vital for this PrepCom to send a clear message about the importance of maintaining pressure, implementing existing sanctions, and to articulate our expectations of the DPRK with respect to the NPT.
We were pleased to see references to a progressive and pragmatic approach to disarmament, with many practical examples referenced in the document, including confidence-building, risk reduction, a fissile material cut-off treaty, transparency, reporting, and entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.
It is important to maintain existing testing moratoriums pending entry-into-force of the CTBT – we would have wanted to see that reflected in the summary.
Sustainable disarmament must be inclusive, and take account of the security environment. Your document reflects this.
We welcome the language endorsing gender parity in participation and leadership across all three NPT pillars. We look forward to building on the important work on gender, diversity, and inclusion during this review cycle.
We commend the practical suggestions for further work to improve transparency, including by NPDI and the idea of future dedicated interactive sessions to discuss national reports.
The session on strengthening the review process was one of the most interactive, and we were pleased to see several practical ideas reflected in your summary, including NPDI’s suggestion for a dedicated working group.
There is no need to delay taking forward good ideas until 2020.
You have set us up well for the rest of the review process.
We look forward to working with Malaysia, Ambassador Yaakob and his team, to take forward our work next year, and to the early appointment of the Chair of the 2020 Review Conference.
Thank you for the many conversations we have had in the margins.
Thanks to all those who contributed by organising side-events – which have helped us to understand the issues better.
Thank you to all the civil society representatives, and particularly the youth delegates – who have invested time and effort to enrich this process.
NPT review is an organic, dynamic process – not limited to our yearly meetings.
Australia will continue to be active and pragmatic in looking for creative ways forward, finding common ground, and building trust.