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Thursday, 27 October 2016 - Strasbourg
Nuclear security and non-proliferation

European Parliament resolution of 27 October 2016 on nuclear security and non-proliferation (2016/2936(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2013 on the Recommendations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference regarding the establishment of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2010 on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(2),

–  having regard to the EU seminars on non-proliferation and disarmament and to the regular meetings of the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium,

–  having regard to the EU Strategy against proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction , adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–  having regard to the failure of the 2015 NPT review conference to agree on a final document,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Ninth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (8079/15),

–  having regard to the documents adopted in spring 2016 at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 2310 (2016) on the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT),

–  having regard to the Tbilisi Declaration of 2016 adopted by consensus by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 66/61 of 13 December 2011 on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2012/422/CFSP of 23 July 2012 in support of a process leading to the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East(3),

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 70/33 of 7 December 2015 on taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament, and to the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) report to the UN General Assembly adopted on 19 August 2016 (A/71/371),

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the global security environment, and particularly that of the EU, has deteriorated considerably, becoming more fluid, more precarious and less predictable; notes that there are conventional, unconventional and hybrid threats, generated by both state and non-state regional and global actors;

B.  whereas international peace, security and stability are seriously challenged by various developments, including deteriorating relationships between nuclear-armed states such as the Russian Federation and the United States, and India and Pakistan, and the further development of nuclear capabilities by North Korea;

C.  whereas the proliferation of biological and chemical forms of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) is being minimised and progressively halted through effective international application of the prohibition and obligations contained in the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) of 1972 and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC); whereas, however, the proliferation of nuclear WMDs and their means of delivery remains one of the most serious concerns for the global community;

D.  whereas as of January 2016 nine states – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – possessed a total of approximately 15 395 nuclear weapons, compared with some 15 850 in 2015;

E.  whereas priorities include preventing terrorists or additional states from obtaining or using nuclear weapons, reducing and eliminating all nuclear arsenals, and moving towards a world without nuclear weapons;

F.  whereas a number of nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties already exist in certain regions of the world, namely Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, South-East Asia, Africa and Central Asia;

G.  whereas the 2010 NPT Review Conference placed a renewed focus on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which was brought forward by the governments of Norway, Mexico and Austria via successive conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and their respective reports, as well as the international Humanitarian Pledge initiated by Austria and delivered at the 2015 NPT Review Conference, which has been endorsed by 127 UN member states;

H.  whereas there is a need further to reinforce the core non-proliferation and disarmament objectives of the three pillars of the NPT, namely non-proliferation, disarmament and cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; whereas nuclear-weapon states that are signatories to the NPT are modernising and enhancing their nuclear-weapon arsenals and delaying action to reduce or eliminate their nuclear arsenals and to decrease their adherence to a military doctrine of nuclear deterrence;

I.  whereas progress was formally made in the securing of civilian fissile material by the Nuclear Security Summits, which have been conducted through a complementary process outside of the NPT and have contributed to strengthening the NPT by increasing the credibility of its non-proliferation component, but whereas the recent refusal of Russia to cooperate and the deterioration of its relations with the United States are jeopardising further efforts to secure and reduce fissile materials;

J.  whereas the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material is a legally binding international instrument in the area of physical protection of nuclear material which establishes measures related to the prevention, detection and punishment of offences related to nuclear material;

K.  whereas Russia and the United States continue to implement the New START Treaty, which will expire in 2021 unless extended by both parties; whereas US President Barack Obama, in his 2013 speech in Berlin, made a significant proposal on reducing nuclear warheads, which he repeated in 2016 in Washington; whereas these openings for the commencement of negotiations on a follow-on agreement after New START have not been reciprocated by the Russian Federation, and no follow-on to the New START Treaty has yet been negotiated to address reductions in non-strategic and strategic nuclear weapons with a view to their elimination;

L.  whereas nuclear-weapon test explosions and/or any other nuclear explosions represent a threat to international peace and security and undermine the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime; whereas the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the most effective way of prohibiting nuclear-weapon tests; whereas 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT on 24 September 1996;

M.  whereas despite all efforts to convene it, the Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction by December 2012, in accordance with consensus agreements of NPT States Parties at the 2010 Review Conference, has not taken place;

N.  whereas NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept and the 2012 Deterrence and Defence Posture Review commit NATO to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons; whereas under NATO nuclear sharing and bilateral arrangements, an estimated 150 to 200 US-owned short-range nuclear free-fall bombs, regarded as tactical or sub-strategic nuclear weapons, continue to be deployed in five NATO non-nuclear weapon states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey), and whereas the weapons are deployed in these countries in accordance with NATO’s current policies;

O.  whereas the safety and security of US nuclear weapons deployed in Turkey has come under increased attention as a result of the armed conflict in Syria taking place close to the Incirlik air base and as a consequence of the events at and around the Incirlik airbase during and after the failed coup on 15 July 2016;

P.  whereas 5 December 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Budapest Memorandum; whereas Ukraine has respected all of its provisions and has taken proactive positions on the issues of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, unlike the Russian Federation, which has violated its commitments by occupying part of Ukraine’s territory (Crimea) and by launching armed aggression in the east of Ukraine; whereas this has created a dangerous precedent, since a state which had guaranteed Ukraine’s security as a response to that country’s decision to join the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and undermined the credibility of, and heavily damaged in general, the instrument of negative security assurances provided by the nuclear weapon state, as well as damaging the NPT and the idea of advancing global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation on the basis of international law and multilateral treaties; deeply concerned by the statements made in a threatening manner by high-ranking Russian officials that Russia has the right to deploy and host nuclear weapons in Crimea, which would have global consequences; concerned by the new Russian military doctrine of December 2014 which permits the use of nuclear weapons against a state that does not have such weapons;

Q.  whereas Russia has deployed nuclear-capable Iskander short-range missiles to Kaliningrad and is conducting exercises and overflights involving nuclear-capable systems, and whereas statements by the Russian leadership on the importance of nuclear deterrence and Russia’s decision to suspend the Plutonium Disposition and Management Agreement concluded with the US in 2000 have aggravated concerns about increased reliance on nuclear weapons by Russia;

R.  whereas the EU plays an important role as a party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed with Iran, including its role as a full member of the Joint Commission overseeing implementation of the agreement;

S.  whereas on 9 September 2016, the DPRK conducted its fifth nuclear test, only months after the test of 6 January 2016; whereas this test, which the DPRK claimed was a ‘successful hydrogen bomb test’, clearly violates its international obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions and the 1992 inter-Korean denuclearisation declaration, which states that the two Koreas will not develop or hold any nuclear weapons; whereas the proliferation of any WMD, but in particular nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, represents a threat to international peace and security; whereas the DPRK announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003, has been conducting nuclear tests since 2006 and officially declared in 2009 that it had developed a nuclear weapon for deterrence, which means that the threat posed by the DPRK to its neighbours in North-East Asia, and to regional and international peace and security, has been amplified;

T.  whereas the 2003 European Security Strategy stated that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is potentially the greatest threat to our security, including the possibility of a WMD arms race, and that the EU is committed to achieving universal adherence to multilateral treaty regimes, and to strengthening the treaties and their verification provisions; whereas the 2016 EU Global Strategy omits any language on WMDs, non-proliferation and arms control;

U.  whereas, regrettably, the EU, in the run-up to the 2015 NPT Review Conference, was unable to agree on a joint position on nuclear disarmament, acknowledging for the first time that ‘different views’ were being expressed on the consequences of nuclear weapons; whereas that conference was unable to adopt a final document owing to disagreements on pursuing regional efforts to create a WMD-free zone in the Middle East;

V.  whereas the EU has committed itself to making use of all adequate instruments at its disposal to prevent, deter, halt and, if possible, eliminate proliferation programmes causing concern at global level, as clearly expressed in the EU strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003, and whereas it ensured the deeper cooperation of European non-proliferation think tanks as part of the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium;

W.  whereas it is important to support and reinforce civil society engagement in this international process in a transparent manner;

1.  Expresses deep concern about the deterioration of the security environment around the European Union and beyond its neighbourhood, which could lead to the re-emergence of nuclear weapons as an active deterrent and possible proliferation among state and non-state actors, and about the lack of implementation of effective disarmament and non-proliferation steps;

2.  Calls on all nuclear-weapon states to take concrete interim measures to reduce the risk of nuclear-weapon detonations, including reducing the operational status of nuclear weapons and moving nuclear weapons away from deployment into storage, diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in military doctrines and rapidly reducing all types of nuclear weapons;

3.  Expresses deep concern at the potential violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty;

4.  Expresses its deep concern at the increased nuclear threats arising from the Russian attitude, with implications for security, stability and predictability at global level, and at the deteriorating relationship with NATO, including potential violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, statements indicating an increased readiness to use nuclear weapons, and statements indicating consideration of the potential deployment of nuclear weapons to additional territories in Europe; draws attention to Russian military exercises simulating the use of nuclear weapons against Poland, and expresses deep concern regarding the deployment of nuclear-capable Iskander missile systems to the Kaliningrad oblast which neighbours EU Member States Poland and Lithuania; recalls that the International Court of Justice ruled in its 1996 advisory opinion that under current international law, it could not ‘reach a definitive conclusion as to the legality or illegality of the use of nuclear weapons by a State in an extreme circumstance of self-defence’;

5.  Supports the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, recognising that the unauthorised trade in and use of nuclear materials is an immediate and serious threat to global security, and looks forward to achieving the complete tracking and physical securing of all weapons-grade materials;

6.  Welcomes the completion of the work of the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, pursuant to UN General Assembly resolution 70/33; welcomes the recommendation to the UN General Assembly, contained in the final report of the OEWG (A/71/371) and adopted with widespread support on 19 August 2016, to convene a conference in 2017, open to all states, to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination; recognises that this will reinforce the non-proliferation and disarmament objectives and obligations contained in the NPT and help to create the conditions for global security and a world without nuclear weapons;

7.  Invites the EU Member States to support the convening of such a conference in 2017 and to participate constructively in its proceedings, and invites Vice-President/High Representative Federica Mogherini and the European External Action Service to contribute constructively to the proceedings of the 2017 negotiating conference;

8.  Recalls the 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT on 24 September 1996, and underlines that a universal, internationally and effectively verifiable test-ban treaty is the most effective way of banning nuclear-weapon test explosions and any other nuclear explosions;

9.  Urges the remaining states listed in Annex II to the CTBT, ratification by which is required for its entry into force, to sign and/or ratify the Treaty with a renewed sense of urgency, in order to bring this crucial international instrument into full legal effect without further delay; welcomes in this regard the adoption by the UN Security Council of Resolution 2310 (2016);

10.  Expresses its appreciation for the significant progress that has been achieved by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) in completing and operating its effective International Monitoring System, which, even without the entry into force of the Treaty, contributes to regional stability as a significant confidence-building measure, strengthens the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime and brings additional scientific and civil benefits to states; expresses its conviction that for the continued operation of the monitoring system, the CTBTO Preparatory Commission will continue to rely on states’ funding contributions;

11.  Deplores the fact that, despite hopes to the contrary, nuclear weapons are returning to the strategic planning of nuclear-armed states; calls for a deepening of the dialogue with all nuclear-armed states with a view to pursuing a common agenda aimed at progressive reductions of nuclear warhead stockpiles; supports, in particular, the steps taken by the US and Russia to reduce their deployed nuclear weapons as agreed in the New START Treaty;

12.  Deplores the absence since the entry into force of New START in 2011 of further negotiations on an urgently needed reduction of the deployed and non-deployed nuclear warheads, including, as formerly agreed by the US and Russia, measures to reduce and eliminate short-range and theatre nuclear weapons regarded as sub-strategic or non-strategic nuclear weapons;

13.  Recognises that mutual and simultaneous removal of short-range, theatre and designated sub-strategic nuclear-weapon warheads from European territory could contribute positively to creating the conditions for the construction of further nuclear-weapon-free zones, thereby contributing to the fulfilment of the non-proliferation and disarmament obligations contained in the NPT and, in the meantime, setting a precedent for further nuclear disarmament;

14.  Commends the establishment of nuclear-free zones as a positive step towards a nuclear-free world; takes the view, in this regard, that a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, based on arrangements freely arrived at, would be of fundamental importance for the achievement of lasting and comprehensive peace in the region; in this context, expresses grave disappointment at the failure to hold the NPT-mandated 2012 conference on the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East;

15.  Supports further efforts to strengthen the mandate of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including the generalisation of the Additional Protocols to the IAEA Safeguard Agreements and other steps designed to develop confidence-building measures; seeks to ensure that sufficient resources are made available to that organisation to enable it to fulfil its vital mandate in making nuclear activities secure; calls for progress in the upcoming 2017 NPT preparatory committee and the 2018 High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament;

16.  Welcomes the agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran on the latter’s nuclear ambitions and encourages continued cooperation between both sides in order to ensure full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); believes that the JCPOA, otherwise known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, was a notable achievement for multilateral diplomacy, and for European diplomacy in particular, which should not only make a substantial improvement in EU-Iran relations possible but also help to promote stability across the whole region; believes all sides are now responsible for ensuring its strict and full implementation; welcomes the establishment of the Joint Commission composed of representatives of Iran and the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States), with the VP/HR; fully supports the VP/HR in her role as coordinator of the Joint Commission established under the JCPOA, and believes that strict and full implementation of the JCPOA continues to be of utmost importance;

17.  Condemns the latest nuclear tests conducted by the DPRK and the rejection by that country of the various UN Security Council resolutions, including the most recent of 2 March 2016 (2070); urges the DPRK to refrain from further provocative actions by abandoning its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, to cease all related activities and to comply immediately with all its international obligations, including the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors, as well as other international disarmament and non-proliferation norms and to return to the negotiating table; calls on the DPRK to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty without delay; affirms its desire for a diplomatic and political solution to the DPRK nuclear issue and supports the resumption of the Six-Party Talks; urges China to exert more pressure on the DPRK;

18.  Welcomes the inclusion of non-proliferation of WMD clauses in the EU’s agreements with third countries and action plans; points out that such measures must be implemented by all the EU’s partner countries without exception;

19.  Welcomes the presentation of the EU Global Strategy and urges the EEAS, as a follow-up measure, to update and expand the 2003 EU Strategy against proliferation of WMD and the 2009 New Lines of Action, taking into account the issues and problems described above, with a view to making the EU a driving force in strengthening and taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agreements;

20.  Welcomes regular engagements with these topics via the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium and other civil society organisations and think tanks, and invites the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium, steered by the EU Principal Adviser and Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, to broaden its agenda and include disarmament;

21.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Member States, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Disarmament Affairs, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation and the Director-General of the IAEA and the parliaments of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

(1) OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 97.
(2) OJ C 349 E, 22.12.2010, p. 77.
(3) OJ L 196, 24.7.2012, p. 67.

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