Norway’s position on nuclear disarmament was described in detail in the Nordic statement and in our national statement in the General Debate. I will therefore only make a few additional comments.
Norway is fully committed to the objective of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which can only be achieved through the balanced, mutual, irreversible and verifiable elimination of these weapons.
Norway is working for full implementation of the NPT.
Progress on nuclear disarmament will take place through re-enforcing building blocks. Even if the wider security environment will define the possibility for progress, it is our obligation to work towards substantive results in this area by taking concrete steps in the right direction. Although the nuclear weapon states have the main responsibility for making progress on nuclear disarmament, we as non-nuclear-weapon states cannot simply walk away from our own responsibility.
One of the key building blocks we have for making progress on the disarmament pillar of the NPT is nuclear disarmament verification. A verification regime that is trusted by nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states alike is crucial for building confidence and achieving future reductions in nuclear arsenals. Norway is pleased to be leading the work in the UN Group of Government Experts on nuclear disarmament verification, as described in Ambassador Langeland’s briefing of 18th October.
Norway has been working on multilateral disarmament verification for more than a decade. The 2007 UK-Norway Initiative demonstrated that it is possible for non-nuclear-weapon states to take part in nuclear disarmament verification without breaching their non-proliferation obligations. The partnership has now expanded to include Sweden and the US, and has become the Quad Nuclear Verification Partnership. The Quad conducted its first multilateral nuclear disarmament verification exercise last year. Norway also remains an active member of the International Partnership on Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV). The IPNDV plays a key role in developing capacity and knowledge, which is crucial for verification purposes.
Norway welcomes the report of the High-level Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) expert preparatory group. We are of the view that future FMCT negotiations should include the question of the phased inclusion of stocks, in order to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.
Transforming the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty from a politically binding norm into a legally binding instrument remains an urgent task. Norway calls on all States that have not yet done so to ratify the CTBT. We welcome Thailand’s recent ratification.
Non-proliferation is crucial for working towards and achieving global zero. The IAEA plays a key role in the international non-proliferation regime through the verification of States’ compliance with its NPT safeguards agreements. The comprehensive safeguards agreements and the Additional Protocol constitute the global standard for verification.
Much has been achieved in the field of nuclear security. We must ensure that the IAEA has the means to carry out its nuclear security mandate. We urge all Member States to accede to the relevant instruments, such as the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, as quickly as possible.
Norway is engaged in the efforts to minimise and eliminate stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and to reduce the use of HEU in civilian nuclear facilities. Low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel does not constitute a proliferation risk in the same way as HEU. In June this year, we hosted the third international symposium on HEU minimisation, in cooperation with the IAEA. We are pleased to note that significant progress has been made in terms of HEU reductions. Further minimisation will require sustained technical, financial and political commitments. We encourage more member states to subscribe to the Joint Statement in IAEA Information Circular 912 and commit themselves to minimising and eliminating the use of HEU in civilian applications.
There is no fast track to a world without nuclear weapons. We need to pursue a forward-looking and comprehensive agenda, which must include a number of mutually reinforcing building blocks.