TPNW: 2nd Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Statement as observer delivered by Minister Counsellor Tor Henrik Andersen

Mr President,

Let me first congratulate you on assuming the presidency of the 2nd States Parties meeting of the TPNW.

Mr President,

Russia’s ongoing illegal and unprovoked war on Ukraine has made disarmament efforts even more arduous. It has also fundamentally altered the European security landscape. Russia’s rhetoric on nuclear weapons is reckless and dangerous.

The recent re-vocation of their CTBT ratification is deeply worrying, and Russia’s so-called suspensions of its implementation of the New START treaty only adds to the fact that Russia is taking steps away from nuclear disarmament. It is worth recalling that just a few weeks before the full-scale invasion, Russia signed a joint statement of the P5 countries affirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

Mr President,

Norway is attending this conference as an observer. This is not a step towards signing nor ratifying the TPNW, which would be incompatible with our NATO obligations. Norway stands fully behind NATO’s nuclear deterrence and posture, including the established nuclear sharing arrangements.

However, we acknowledge that the TPNW has entered into force, and we recognise that 93 countries have signed it. We seek a constructive dialogue between all states to advance nuclear disarmament and counter polarisation in this area, even though we may have chosen different paths and tools to move towards zero.

Mr President,

Norway has actively promoted nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation for decades. The Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the cornerstone of our efforts. It is through the full implementation of the NPT, including article VI, that we can achieve our goal of a world without nuclear weapons. 

The current challenges to nuclear disarmament are numerous. We must nevertheless persist in our efforts. We must continue to prepare the ground for future binding arms control and disarmament agreements. The agreements must be mutual and balanced, verifiable and irreversible, and include possessor states.

Dialogue on arms control is as important as ever for global security and stability, and we call upon major powers to seek such dialogues in a constructive manner. We encourage Russia to respond positively to the USA’s invitation for substantial dialogue on nuclear arms control, strategic stability and risk reduction measures. We welcome the recent dialogue between the USA and China and encourage its continuation.

There are a number of important steps that can be taken by all countries to move nuclear disarmament forward. Norway, together with Panama, is currently chairing the CTBT article XIV-conference, calling for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and we urge all remaining states to ratify it. Again, we very much regret Russia withdrawing its ratification. Progress must also be made on the negotiation and conclusion of a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). The IAEA plays an instrumental role in overseeing the non-proliferation of nuclear materials. The conclusion of comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols is key to enabling the IAEA to carry out its work effectively. We call on all states to sign and implement these instruments.

Norway will continue to play a leading role in promoting nuclear disarmament verification. We are pleased that the Group of Governmental Experts agreed on a substantial report in May this year, and appreciate the overwhelming support of the UNGA for this work. We have also initiated work on irreversibility in nuclear disarmament and were pleased to have a  joint statement  with Austria, Mexico and the UK at the NPT PrepCom in August on this topic. We encourage more states to engage in this dialogue, and to join future joint statements.  

Work to draw attention to humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons is important for nuclear disarmament, as highlighted by the final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. This moves the focus from the strategic domain to the catastrophic consequences that any use of nuclear weapons would entail for people and the environment. Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and people living in the vicinity of the test sites, can testify to this.

We need to update our insights and are seeking to establish a fact-based understanding of the effects of a nuclear detonation. This includes both immediate and long-term effects on human health, critical infrastructure, the environment, soil, and air. The conferences on Humanitarian Impact have given crucial contribution to public awareness in this respect.

Norway will also continue its efforts to promote gender equality and diverse participation in disarmament processes, and support initiatives to involve the younger generation in this work.

We look forward to observing deliberations of this meeting over the next days.

Thank you.