Action plan adopted to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation treaty

Bern, Press release, 29.05.2010

The final document, agreed by consensus, of the 8th Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will strengthen the credibility of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime. From Switzerland’s point of view, progress is to be seen in particular in the adoption of an action plan, recognition of the humanitarian dimension and the applicability of international humanitarian law, as well as in the agreement to take concrete steps to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

The 8th NPT Review Conference adopted a final document by consensus on 28 May 2010, following four weeks of negotiations.  

Switzerland welcomes this agreement. After the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference, this outcome demonstrates the ability of the Parties to the Treaty to compromise and their willingness to engage in discussion in one of the most sensitive areas of international relations. In comparison with the results of previous NPT Review Conferences, in particular those of 2000 and 1995, the 2010 final document contains progress of a relatively modest nature. However, the agreement on a comprehensive action plan covering all three areas of the Treaty underpins the entire nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. In addition, concrete successes are to be seen in new elements in the action plan for nuclear disarmament and concrete steps towards the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.     

Switzerland took an active part in the negotiations. In particular, it was involved in efforts to strengthen the three pillars of the Treaty, achieve progress in forging an action plan on nuclear disarmament, improve the system of safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the field of nuclear non-proliferation, as well as to reaffirm the right to the use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes. At the same time, Switzerland succeeded in extending the debate to include the humanitarian dimension of the possible use of nuclear weapons and the applicability of international humanitarian law.   

In the margins of the conference, Switzerland contributed to further broadening the debate on disarmament. In particular, it presented a study on delegitimizing nuclear weapons, which critically calls into question the doctrine of deterrence. Switzerland also supports the idea of a new convention to ban nuclear weapons - a proposal made by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

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