Dáil Éireann - Volume 544 - 22 November, 2001
Written Answers. - Nuclear Disarmament.
Mr. Callely Mr. Callely
19. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress of the United Nations General Assembly objective put forward by Ireland of the total elimination of nuclear weapons; the Bush administration views on missile defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29123/01]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): The Government continues to work in all appropriate fora to achieve the objectives of its disarmament policy in relation to weapons of mass destruction, most significantly within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty process. The Sixth Review Conference of the States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty concluded on 19 May 2000 with the adoption of a final document, in which  concrete steps toward the achievement of the elimination of nuclear weapons were agreed. Ireland, together with its partners in the New Agenda Coalition, was to the forefront in the difficult negotiations which made agreement on this final document possible. In particular, the final document included an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals in fulfillment of their commitments under Article VI of the Treaty.
The results of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference subsequently received a major endorsement when a huge majority in the fifty-fifth United Nations General Assembly voted in favour of the so-called New Agenda Resolution. Ireland remains firmly committed to the objectives of the new agenda and the final document of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and is determined to build on the considerable achievements of the 2000 Review Conference. New agenda members and other parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are focusing attention on the renewed non-proliferation cycle which begins with a Preparatory Committee in New York in April 2002. The next full review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will take place in 2005. The Non-Proliferation Treaty remains the most successful multilateral disarmament instrument with over 180 States Parties.
On 8 October this year, the New Agenda Coalition issued a ministerial communiqué which was delivered to the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. This stressed the importance of, inter alia, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in the promotion and maintenance of international stability and as a basis for further reductions of offensive strategic weapons. Related to the question of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is the prospect of the US deployment of a missile defense system since a missile defense program would necessitate at least significant amendments to the Treaty.
Although the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is a bilateral one, its abrogation could have wide-ranging consequences. It has been the basis for continued reductions of offensive strategic weapons which are crucial if total nuclear disarmament is to be achieved within the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. As I have previously stated in this House I would be very concerned if any missile defense initiative led to the unilateral abandonment of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Our views and concerns on this matter have been and continue to be communicated to the US administration.
Dáil Éireann 544 Written Answers. Nuclear Disarmament.