The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Statement in the High-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, held by H.E. Mr. Geir O. Pedersen, 26 September 2016.

| General Assembly

Mr. President,

Thank you for convening this timely high-level meeting.

Knowing the humanitarian impact of any nuclear detonation, we urgently need to move forward on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and security. The only insurance against any such detonation is through the total elimination of these weapons.

Norway fully subscribes to this objective. The nuclear weapons states are key to reaching this goal. They have to be present and participate when we are to identify, elaborate and recommend effective measures on nuclear disarmament, including legal provisions and other arrangements that contribute to a world without nuclear weapons. 

This spring, the Norwegian Parliament requested the Government: 

‘To actively work for a world free of nuclear arms and to promote the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to be a driving force for non-proliferation and disarmament with a view to the balanced, mutual, irreversible and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons, and on these grounds to take a long-term perspective in working for a legally binding framework to achieve this goal.’

From a Norwegian perspective, the long-term objective is the total elimination of all nuclear weapons. We must engage all the nuclear weapons states in a constructive dialogue, formal or informal, on how to move the disarmament agenda forward. We need to explore all avenues, to facilitate for future cuts in existing arsenals and stocks of fissile material. We need to work with them in developing credible multilateral options for nuclear disarmament verification. In this vein, let me highlight the relevance of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.

Norway considers the NPT a corner stone for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This Treaty contains through Article VI, a clear legal obligation on nuclear disarmament. In its 1996 Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, The International Court of Justice (ICJ) confirmed this obligation.

At the NPT review conferences, the nuclear weapons states have reaffirmed their unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament, to which all States parties are committed under article VI.

Norway has consistently advocated for the full implementation of the disarmament obligations of the NPT. As State Parties, we have made substantial contributions to this end. At the same time, Norway is concerned that the pace in quantitative reductions of arsenals is too slow. We share the frustration of the lack of entry into force of essential supporting legally binding instruments on a comprehensive test ban as well on fissile material.

We need to continue to work for full adherence to the NPT-obligations, including the outcome documents of the Treaty’s review conferences. We need to put in place effective measures, which will foster confidence and facilitate new and deeper reductions in existing arsenals. We must continue our efforts to reduce the role of nuclear weapons. We must further engage in getting needed legal instruments in place, such as the CTBT as well as commencing on negotiations of a Fissile Material Treaty. We must secure all nuclear materials. We must consolidate existing regional nuclear weapons free zones and explore ways to move forwards on negative security assurances.

The upcoming review cycle of the NPT provides us with an opportunity to make genuine progress on our nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agenda. If we forge common grounds, we can overcome some of our differences and move forward.

Let us seize this opportunity to make genuine progress towards a world without nuclear weapons.

Thank you.