Historisk arkiv

Utenriksministerens tale på nedrustingskonferanse

Historisk arkiv

Publisert under: Regjeringen Stoltenberg II

Utgiver: Utenriksdepartementet

Innlegg på 2009 Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference, Washington, D.C., 7. april 2009

- It is only by advancing non-proliferation and disarmament together, and by working together on reliable verification tools and collective security arrangements, that our vision will be achievable, sa utenriksministeren under sitt innlegg under avslutningssesjonen på konferansen "2009 Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference".

“The Nuclear Order – Build or Break”
Plenary Session on disarmament: “Beyond 2010”

Check against delivery

Thank you, Mr Perkovich (Vice-President, Carnegie), for your introduction.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour to be able to moderate such a distinguished panel of speakers and to address such an impressive gathering of expert policymakers, scholars and diplomats. Let me also, at the outset, express my gratitude to Dr Jessica Mathieus and the Carnegie Endowment for being invited to this important conference. 

Let me first share with you a personal reflection.

Now, I sense that the topic for this conference is again moving onto the international agenda. The agreement between Presidents Obama and Medvedev to restart negotiations on START was one telling sign. And President Obama’s speech in Prague last Sunday yet another clear signal.

Norway welcomes the concrete steps outlined by President Obama. The speech indicates US leadership and much needed determination to advance nuclear disarmament and to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. Now, it is up to all of us to have these concrete steps implemented.

We are one year ahead of the NPT Review Conference. The last one failed – in 2005. Since then we have had every reason to fear that the 2010 Conference would be a repetition of failure. And that the NPT as such would sail into the sunset.

Now we have reason to hope that change is coming. That political energy will be mobilised. That ambitious and at the same time realistic agendas will be defined.

When I was a student, in the early 1980s, the nuclear issue was high on the global agenda – between the two superpowers – and was a forceful mobiliser of public opinion. Then we had Reykjavik in 1986 – the vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the successive agreements and efforts to reduce the stocks.

Then the Cold War came to an end. And the nuclear disarmament issue left the global agenda. As my generation moved into political positions, new issues emerged: the environment, climate change, the fight against extreme poverty, terrorism. And so forth.

But we cannot fool ourselves. The problem of thousands of warheads will not go away. As the years go by, their challenge to all of us continues to increase. As President Obama said in Prague yesterday, “The threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.”

So, finally, nuclear disarmament is reemerging, challenging us – obliging us – to engage again. A new generation will have to take charge, find new ways, draw on existing expertise and experience – but pave a new road. This conference is an important contribution to that end.

Norway – a non-nuclear weapon state – will do its part in setting this new agenda. Since 2005, we have been working through the Seven Nation Initiative. The initiative consists of both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states. We are happy to work together with the United Kingdom, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Chile and Romania. 

Over the last years, Norway has also been cooperating with a number of important think-thanks, in particular in the United States, with the aim of strengthening the agenda for non-proliferation and disarmament. We will continue this cooperation. Engaging with these institutes gives us new ideas on how to move the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda forward.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In addition to the new dynamic in the US-Russian relationship and President Obama’s ambitious and concrete speech in Prague, we had the release last week of the report of the US Strategic Posture Commission. Now, we await with keen interest the report of the international commission chaired by Gareth Evans and Yoriko Kawaguchi – and again we are entering the last leg of the preparations for the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.  

I see is how a common understanding is taking hold: we cannot consolidate and sustain non-proliferation efforts while neglecting disarmament steps toward a world free of nuclear weapons, and, consequently, we will delay or undermine nuclear disarmament unless we demand robust and credible non-proliferation.

It is becoming clear that abolitionists can be realists – and that realists can be abolitionists. And confronted with 21st century threats, we are finally dispensing with the mistaken assumption that the status quo is less risky than change. 

But as is often the case at moments of great opportunity, we are confronted not only with the possibility of progress, but simultaneously with the prospect of peril and regress.

Time is of the essence. Many states today face a critical choice about their nuclear future. They already have, or could rapidly accumulate, the technology, know-how and infrastructure to develop a weapons-usable domestic nuclear fuel cycle capability.

Whether those states choose to take part in multilateral fuel arrangements, or whether they feel they must “hedge their bets”, will depend on how we use this moment of opportunity.

My government decided, as one of the first countries, to offer financial support to a planned fuel bank of low-enriched uranium under the auspices of the IAEA. We are pleased that the fuel bank now will become a reality. This fuel bank could be the first step towards establishing an equitable multilateral framework for the fuel cycle.
So this is the fundamental question: Are we facing a future security environment in which nuclear weapons will persist, or even expand, or one in which their role is steadily and foreseeable diminishing?

I believe that in seizing this moment of opportunity, we should be guided by four principles:

The first principle is that we begin taking concrete steps to sustain our vision and build momentum behind it. This principle has been referred to in the “base camp” and “vantage point” discussions over these last two days. While the content might be contested, the principle should not. 

In order to begin addressing the thorniest questions about a world free of nuclear weapons, we need to demonstrate that we can muster the trust and cooperation to address more intermediate obstacles.

Even small demonstrations of our willingness to move forward towards abolition could make many of the intermediate obstacles more surmountable. 

The general terrain of a “base camp” or “vantage point” has been clear for some years now: significant cuts in nuclear arsenals, probably in proportion to current holdings; reducing the role of nuclear weapons in doctrines and in operational status; ratifying the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty and reaching agreement on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT); and making good on the commitments made in 1995 and 2000.

I note that several of these elements were covered in President Obama’s address in Prague and I warmly welcome this.

A second principle is this: although a prime responsibility for moving forward resides with the two states that own 95% of the warheads – Russia and the United States – achieving a world free of nuclear weapons must be a joint enterprise among all states, nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states alike.

It is only by advancing non-proliferation and disarmament together, and by working together on reliable verification tools and collective security arrangements, that our vision will be achievable.

Non-nuclear weapon states, for instance, should cooperate with nuclear weapon states to develop the technology needed for verifying disarmament. In this spirit, Norway has established a partnership with the United Kingdom and Vertic. The aim is to develop systems by which we can verify that actual disarmament takes place, while at the same time protecting sensitive information.   

We – non-nuclear weapon states, in particular – must engage in an earnest, even soul-searching, discussion about the future of security guarantees and alliances in a world with far fewer, and even zero, nuclear weapons. Within NATO, Norway and Germany have initiated a new discussion on enhancing the Alliance’s role regarding non-proliferation and disarmament. That ambition was confirmed in the NATO Summit declaration last Saturday. Now, we have a solid platform to move forward.

Non-nuclear weapon states can also make a crucial contribution by supporting and sustaining a water-tight non-proliferation regime. We must close existing loopholes and empower the IAEA.  

The establishment of regional nuclear-weapons-free zones is another important contribution by non-nuclear weapons states to achieving the zero option. The entry into force of the African zone is imminent. Norway is financially supporting a project by a South African institute to secure the last accessions needed for the Treaty of Pelindaba to enter into force. Establishing this nuclear-weapons-free zone would be an important deliverable to the NPT Review Conference.

As the third principle, we must try to uphold two key elements of effective multilateral cooperation: non-discrimination and transparency.

Nuclear weapons impose, above all, collective dangers.

We must confront proliferation with unity and resolve, no matter where it occurs.

We must demonstrate that our motivation to enforce the rules of the game is principled, not prejudiced.

We must move forward with disarmament agreements that include all states.

We should acknowledge that nuclear fuel assurances will succeed only on the basis of a non-discriminatory approach that recognises rights to peaceful use and energy security, qualified only by even-handed rules of responsibility and verification. Norway recognises the right of peaceful use of nuclear energy according to Article IV of the NPT, while at the same time underlining the safety aspect.

Transparency, meanwhile, is required from both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states as a means of building the vital elements of trust and confidence. Adoption of the IAEA Additional Protocol is essential. Nuclear weapon states must demonstrate enhanced transparency on their holdings of nuclear weapons, fissile material, operational status and doctrines.

To be sure, in the long term, the challenges to transparency could eventually grow as reductions in nuclear arsenals grow deeper. But in the short term, transparency is indispensable.   

Finally, as a fourth principle, achieving the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons will demand committed leadership at the highest level. Prerequisites for reaching the goal of nuclear abolition are courage, determination and competence. Only with these qualities can we drive the process of transformation and change the course of history.

The discussions at this conference have revealed that getting to a “base camp” or “vantage point”, let alone nuclear abolition, will require a fundamental re-thinking of our international security architecture. Such an enterprise demands the personal commitment of national leaders. 

National leaders will have to engage with all key domestic stakeholders, ranging from defence establishments to energy companies to the scientific community. 

Above all, direct engagement with the public will be critical. Altering entrenched assumptions, creating new priorities, and marshalling the combined energy of Governments and civil society will require extraordinary courage and conviction on the part of national leaders. This can only be sustained by broad public support for a world free of nuclear weapons. 

I hope that these four principles can inform our preparations for the 2010 Review Conference, and our ascent far beyond it as well. I look forward to our discussion.

Thank you