26 August 2008

NSG statement by the 'Gang of Six'

At the NSG meeting, six countries worked together to moot amendments to the draft waiver circulated by the United States. These were Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland. I recently obtained a copy of their opening statement. Here it is in full...

NSG Extraordinary Plenary meeting, Vienna, 21/22 August 2008

Agenda Item 3 “Questions of General Concern”

Statement on behalf of Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland

Mr. Chairman,

I take the floor on behalf of Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland.

For three years, since July 2005, our countries have been closely following discussions on NSG relations with India. We have raised many questions and concerns in this group, and in other fora, as well as with interested Governments. And we have consistently said that we wished to see all elements on the table before taking a final position.

We fully appreciate the enormous demands upon the Indian Government in seeking to alleviate poverty and promote development for its large country and vast population. We fully recognise India’s unique need for a secure and plentiful supply of energy in order to achieve those objectives. We also appreciate India’s recent commitments in relation to non-proliferation.

Mr. Chairman,

Our countries are particularly strong supporters and defenders of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), one of the most universal Treaties in the world today, and the most successful arms-control instrument the world has known. Our common goal is to uphold and strengthen that Treaty, which has served the world very well since 1970. We are also committed supporters of the work of the NSG, which seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear related exports.

Against this background, we have been examining the draft Statement before us today. Specific proposals will be made at this meeting, with a view to increasing the level of comfort with the proposed exemption. We have been guided in our consideration of these issues by the fundamental principles which underpin the NPT, the IAEA Safeguards system and the global security architecture.

Mr. Chairman,

The amendments to be proposed today are made in a constructive spirit. None of the amendments should impact in any way on the stated goal of peaceful civil nuclear cooperation with India. All of the substantive amendments are based on concepts already enshrined in UN Security Council Resolutions, in domestic legislation of NSG Participating Governments and in bilateral nuclear supply agreements which NSG Participating Governments have concluded over the years. We look forward to working with all NSG Participating Governments towards an exemption for India that meets our non-proliferation objectives, as well as the broader interests of the NSG and the nuclear non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament regime, as established by the NPT.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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