UN Secretary-General António Guterres has highlighted the need for dialogue to reduce the nuclear threat after countries failed to reach consensus at a conference to review the landmark Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Following four weeks of intense discussions at UN Headquarters in New York, the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT ended without an outcome document because Russia objected to text about its control over Ukrainian nuclear facilities. The SecretaryGeneral expressed disappointment that countries were unable to reach consensus on a “substantive outcome”, and to capitalise on the opportunity to strengthen the 52-year-old treaty and advance its goals, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.
While the UN chief welcomed the sincere and meaningful engagement by the parties, and the fact that the Conference recognised the NPT as the “cornerstone” of the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime, he regretted that it was unable to address the pressing challenges threatening global collective security. The NPT, which entered into force in March 1970, is the only binding commitment to the goal of disarmament by States which officially stockpile nuclear weapons. It is organised around three pillars – disarmament, non-proliferation, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy – and 191 countries have joined the treaty. Review conferences are held every five years. The 2015 session also ended without an outcome document while the 2020 conference was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen of Argentina, President of the Review Conference, told journalists he was “frustrated” that parties did not adopt an outcome document by consensus. Zlauvinen said he knew prospects were “very slim” even before proceedings started, given the divergent views over issues such as past commitments on security assurances.