PH frustrated over unproductive nuclear treaty talks

The Philippine government has expressed frustration over the  outcome of the four-week 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York which ended without a signed agreement.

The Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York said in a statement the lack of consensus on a final document was a “missed opportunity” to affirm that the NPT and multilateralism are on sound ground.

“We regret that we conclude this Conference without even a flicker of hope to give the world and the communities that place the highest demands for diplomacy, dialogue and negotiations to flourish in resilience, through the stresses of war, conflict, and differences among nations that are complex and deep,” it added.

“We need this hope and the Philippines actively engaged with States Parties during this Review Cycle in good faith, like all others who believed that even a small margin of movement takes us forward, closer to meeting the aspirations and expressing the will of Parties and our publics to see in the near future the elimination of the nuclear weapons,” it further stressed.

The Permanent Mission said countries must “stop ignoring the logic of a world that is free of nuclear weapons in the 21st century” as it cited the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons use.

The Mission pointed out “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use which render all arguments for their existence untenable; nukes do not make us more secure; they put us all in peril.”

The conference to review the progress under the 1970 pact was held August 1 to 26 at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations headquarters. Based on reports, Russia opposed the final draft of an outcome document over its wording.

In a subsequent briefing, Conference President Gustavo Zlauvinen confirmed that no consensus was reached “due to the opposition of one delegation.”

The Philippine Mission lamented that “despite disappointment” with the watered-down final draft, the Non-Aligned Movement, of which Manila is a part, “was prepared to join a consensus.”

The outcome document, had agreement been made, would have recognized the following:

1) That the business-as-usual approach to nuclear disarmament is no longer acceptable;

2) The need for transparency and accountability among nuclear weapons states (NWS) on their implementation of nuclear disarmament obligations;

3) The urgency of nuclear risk reductions and productive conversations between NWS and non-NWS that acknowledge shared interest in reducing risks that never in any way justifies the existence of nuclear weapons;

4) Clear and robust vision for the role of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the development agenda; and

5) Seeing clearly the individuals and communities bearing the impact of nuclear tests, including advocates and experts whose work and voices matter in the present and future of the NPT.

“Even if we would have wanted action points that would decisively take Article VI forward, the Philippines was convinced that these elements signaling the new age of inclusion in the work of States Parties were good steps towards achieving the aims and objectives of this Treaty,” the Permanent Mission said.

“These would have enriched our work in keeping it not only credible and effective, but sound and fit-for-purpose for the 21st-century realities,” it added. 

The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology; promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy; and further the goals of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

The NPT represents the only binding commitment to the goal of nuclear disarmament by the NWS in a multilateral treaty.

(File photo courtesy of UN)