WikiLeaks cable: Ambassador discusses RevCon 2005 with NZ officials

This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

21 March, 2005
SUBJECT: NPT: AMBASSADOR SANDERS DISCUSSES REVCON 2005 WITH NZ OFFICIALS

This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.

Classified By: POLITICAL-ECONOMIC COUNSELOR KATHERINE HADDA, FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).

1. (C) Summary: Special Representative of President for the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Ambassador Jackie Sanders, told New Zealand officials that the May 2005 Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons must focus on the greatest threats to global security: noncompliance by non-nuclear-weapon states with their nonproliferation obligations and non-state actors interested in nuclear weapons or involved in clandestine networks to supply nuclear technology or materials. She cited as unconstructive efforts by New Zealand and other New Agenda Coalition members to place equal emphasis on disarmament by nuclear states.

New Zealand officials strongly support nonproliferation efforts, but they continued to insist that "balance" between the three NPT "pillars" (nonproliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses) is essential.

But after Ambassador Sanders and her team outlined the many steps the United States has taken towards disarmament in recent years, the officials admitted that the United States has a good case to make and encouraged Sanders to make similar presentations to other NPT parties. End Summary.

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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: DISARMAMENT KEY TO NPT PROGRESS
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2. (C) Ambassador Jackie Wolcott Sanders, Special Representative of the President for the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, met on February 11 with John McKinnon, Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs at New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), to discuss preparations for the May 2005 Review Conference (RevCon) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Sanders was accompanied by John Mentz, Special Assistant for Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Elizabeth Murphy, Foreign Affairs Specialist, NP/MNA; the Ambassador's Special Assistant Renick Smith; and Katherine Hadda, Political-Economic Counselor at Embassy Wellington (notetaker). McKinnon was joined by Deborah Pankhurst and Charlotte Darlow, Deputy Director and Policy Officer in MFAT's Disarmament Division.

3. (C) McKinnon said he appreciated that Sanders had come to New Zealand, and said he hoped her visit would enable the two sides to identify areas of agreement and difference about what the RevCon should accomplish. Sanders said this was exactly the reason for traveling to the region. She said that she had made the decision to visit even before New Zealand had decided to assume the chair of the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) in the run-up to and at the RevCon because she was interested in hearing New Zealand's views. She also wanted to lay out for her NPT counterparts what the United States believes are the real threats that NPT parties must address at the May RevCon.

4. (C) The United States intends to address all aspects of the NPT in the run-up to and at the RevCon, but the chief
U.S. focus will be on noncompliance, Sanders told McKinnon.
The United States was proud of its progress toward the goals
of NPT Article VI. However, the real threat to global
security does not come from the nuclear-weapon states (NWS),
it comes from non-nuclear-weapon state (NNWS) noncompliance
with their nonproliferation obligations and non-state actor
involvement in clandestine networks to supply nuclear
equipment and material. Disarmament will not occur in a
vacuum; proliferation of WMD will necessarily impact
disarmament. All signatories have obligations under the
treaty, and all should comply. Sanders noted U.S.
expectations that the RevCon will debate the issue of the
need to control nuclear fuel cycle technology. She
reiterated that Article IV rights to the peaceful uses of
nuclear energy are clearly tied to compliance with the
nonproliferation obligations outlined in Articles II and III.
Sanders said that she hoped parties would not try to focus
the RevCon solely on disarmament, as it was in all parties'
interest to keep the Treaty together and strengthen
compliance with its nonproliferation objectives. Mentz added
that all parties' security is at risk when parties do not
honor their obligations.

5. (C) McKinnon noted that he was not an expert on the NPT,
which is normally handled at MFAT by Deputy Secretary
Rosemary Banks, who was on travel. But he stressed the
importance of the NPT and the nuclear nonproliferation regime
to New Zealand. New Zealand views the NPT as an underpinning
for security and a balance between competing interests. New
Zealand's goal is to see all aspects of the treaty
strengthened, although it realizes there are challenges to
the very foundation of the NPT, as made clear by that day's
claim by North Korea that it possessed nuclear weapons. All
elements of the treaty must be equally enforced. The NPT's
original purpose was to balance the interests of both NWS and
NNWS in order both to prevent proliferation and to allow for
the peaceful use of nuclear energy. If the three pillars get
"too out of kilter," said McKinnon, New Zealand feels the
overall thrust of the treaty will weaken. For this reason,
the NAC aim at the RevCon will be disarmament and its
promotion, but without blindness to the threat of
proliferation. According to McKinnon, noncompliance and the
possibility of "break-out" from the Treaty are key issues.
However, without recognition of NNWS interest in disarmament
concerns, the basis of the Treaty will weaken. In New
Zealand's view, disarmament benefits the integrity of the
system; counterproliferation is better off in an environment
of progress on disarmament. Perceptions are important, and a
degree of confidence on disarmament would facilitate progress
on proliferation. McKinnon noted that U.S. and New Zealand
positions on nonproliferation are similar, but urged a
balanced approach at the RevCon to get the nonproliferation
outcomes both the United States and New Zealand want. New
Zealand does not want the RevCon to fail or reach an
inadequate outcome. New Zealand wants a RevCon outcome that
preserves the regime and moves it forward on all fronts.

6. (C) Ambassador Sanders said that the United States would
explain in detail all the steps it has taken on Article VI at
the RevCon. She agreed that parties considered all three
pillars of the NPT when they signed on, but she countered
McKinnon's point by noting that ultimately states adhered to
the NPT to serve their own security interests by preventing
proliferation. She also reminded McKinnon that New Zealand
should look at other NWS progress on Article VI. Sanders
offered that the United States has done more, and in a more
transparent way, with regard to nuclear disarmament than any
other state. The United States has spent billions to
eliminate both U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons. Likewise,
the United States is the largest donor to international
cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, although
Congress could reconsider funding if it lacks confidence that
the nonproliferation regime can effectively ensure that the
NPT is not used as cover for the development of nuclear
weapons programs.


7. (C) McKinnon and Sanders agreed that this RevCon will be
a difficult one. Sanders noted that the United States is
committed to working toward a consensus outcome, but the
Treaty itself is more important than any possible RevCon
document. We should not raise expectations that the RevCon
will reach agreement. Parties should focus on the key
threats to the Treaty and international security, and conduct
a healthy debate. She noted that some NPT parties seem to
feel that only the NWS benefit from the NPT, when in reality
proliferation threatens the security of all. McKinnon
assured her that New Zealand conveys its concerns about
disarmament to all the NWS; Pankhurst agreed that the United
States was the most transparent of the P-5.

8. (C) Mentz related to McKinnon that some parties see
alleged NWS lack of progress on Article VI as an excuse for
NNWS noncompliance with NPT nonproliferation obligations.
Mentz strongly objected to this view, arguing that
assessments of their own security and regional tensions drive
these states; Article VI was not the driver. McKinnon agreed
that connections between noncompliance with nonproliferation
obligations and Article VI were "inchoate." Mentz and
Sanders told McKinnon that when parties talk about the need
for "balance" in the NPT Review process, they seem really to
mean there is a need to criticize the P-5 on disarmament
without addressing nonproliferation. This is a mistake in
2005 when there needs to be a united front against
proliferation. Pankhurst said that New Zealand and the
United States agree on many points, noting that New Zealand
was the first to sign the IAEA Additional Protocol (AP).
However, when countries first signed the NPT in 1970, they
thought the P-5 would completely disarm by 1995. Clearly
this has not happened. New Zealand recognizes how much the
U.S. has done to disarm, but New Zealand wants more on all
fronts. Pankhurst expressed concern about the atmosphere as
the RevCon approaches and asked why the U.S. is reluctant to
refer to the 2000 RevCon outcome in the provisional agenda
for the 2005 RevCon. Sanders said the United States does not
dismiss the 2000 RevCon, but the 2000 outcome should not be
the only reference point; the developments of the past five
years are important as well. She reminded Pankhurst that
some that want 2000 as the sole benchmark have their own
agenda. Iran, for example, wants to draw attention away from
its post-2000 activities. Sanders, Pankhurst, and Darlow all
agreed that the Chair at last year's third session of the
Preparatory Committee (PrepCom III) for the 2005 RevCon was
partly to blame for the PrepCom's failure to reach agreement
on a RevCon provisional agenda. Sanders offered that the
non-aligned movement also played a negative
role.

9. (C) Sanders reminded Pankhurst how significantly the
world has changed since 1970; there are different threats and
many assumptions no longer hold. She asked about the NAC's
goals and what parties could cooperate on. Pankhurst noted
that she was not speaking on behalf of the NAC, but NAC plans
were still a work in progress. The NAC had yet to meet to
prepare for the RevCon, as New Zealand had only recently
taken over the Chair after South Africa bowed out. At the
moment, the NAC is using as its basis its PrepCom II working
paper. Darlow posited that the NAC would likely build on its
2004 UN First Committee resolution. She also said that New
Zealand plans to work with the G-10 in Vienna on
nonproliferation initiatives and provide papers to the RevCon
president on them.

10. (C) Pankhurst said that the P-5 could help shape
perceptions and the RevCon atmosphere by facilitating
agreement on an agenda beforehand; acknowledging the 13 steps
agreed to at the 2000 RevCon; providing leadership on nuclear
disarmament and a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) in
the Conference on Disarmament (CD); improving the Moscow
Treaty by destroying weapons rather than just stockpiling
them; making plans to destroy weapons not covered by the
Moscow Treaty; putting in place confidence building measures
on de-alerting weapons; and continuing contacts to improve
the pre-RevCon atmosphere. Darlow added that reporting was
another area in which the NWS could facilitate agreement. In
response, Sanders said the United States is working actively
on the conference agenda with the RevCon President-designate.
The United States has taken leadership in the CD, for
example by putting forward proposals on FMCT and landmines.
On nuclear disarmament, the United States has never held that
an international treaty was a good idea. As for the 13
steps, parties should consider what the United States has
done in relation to Article VI, not focus on artificial
yardsticks. Mentz added that there was great misperception
about what the Moscow Treaty does. Most stored weapons are
in the pipeline for destruction, which is difficult and
expensive. However, the United States needs a credible
deterrent; those weapons that remain must be safe and
reliable. This requires continual monitoring and occasional
refurbishing.

11. (C) Pankhurst said that she and her colleagues had read
A/S Rademaker's recent speech to the Arms Control
Association, and said that it was very useful. She suggested
that more U.S. reporting on its Article VI activities would
improve the environment at the RevCon. For instance, she
said that many do not know how many weapons have been
destroyed or what the destruction process entails. Sanders
said that the U.S. will voluntarily provide details of its
Article VI activities, but the U.S. does not believe formal
reporting would be productive. Smith said that countries
should pay more attention to what the U.S. and Russia have
done to make arms reductions possible. Arms reductions under
the Moscow Treaty were the products of improved security, not
the cause. Amb. Sanders assured Pankhurst that she plans
extensive consultations with NPT partners to ensure a solid
outcome to the RevCon. Pankhurst said this would be useful,
and asked what the United States will look for vis-a-vis
compliance. The Ambassador outlined U.S. priorities and
turned over ref non-paper.

12. (C) Mentz said that the NAC and others seem to have
misperceptions about the U.S. nuclear posture review (NPR).
He noted that the NPR found that the United States needed
fewer nuclear weapons given current threats. Ultimately, the
United States will have fewer weapons of higher quality.
Sanders pointed out that the non-paper she had given them
includes a discussion of misperceptions of the NPR. Mentz
noted that some parties treated the NWS as an
undifferentiated group, when some NWS are increasing their
nuclear stocks and are far less transparent than the United
States. Pankhurst reiterated that New Zealand engages with
all the NWS individually, but did not respond when Ambassador
Sanders asked if all the individual criticisms were made
publicly. (Comment: They aren't. End Comment.)

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MINISTER FOR DISARMAMENT HOBBS
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13. (C) Amb. Sander's group also met with Marian Hobbs,
Minister for Disarmament. Hobbs said that U.S. and New
Zealand objectives are the same: a world free of nuclear
weapons. She reiterated that for this reason all three
pillars of the NPT are important, and all members must take
verifiable steps to reach their goals. "This is the same
thing I tell Iran," she said. Sanders noted her appreciation
at being compared with Iran, and the Minister beat a hasty
retreat from the comparison. Sanders said that the United
States does see all aspects of the NPT as important, but
noncompliance is the key threat. Parties must focus on
strengthening compliance with Articles II and III; parties in
noncompliance with these obligations should not have access
to nuclear cooperation. Hobbs said she had recently attended
a seminar on the NPT RevCon in Atlanta, where participants
noted that were it not for the NPT, there might be 20 states
with nuclear weapons. This is why New Zealand signed the
NPT. New Zealand is interested in compliance, but compliance
with both Article VI and the nonproliferation articles.
Parties need to build trust; there should be reporting and
verification of both sets of obligations. Sanders assured
Hobbs that the United States also believes in verification,
but that frankly parties do not recognize all the United
States has done to meet its obligations under Article VI.
The United States realizes that many feel the NWS are not
moving fast enough to disarm, but the NWS are not the true
threat today. The NWS are no longer targeting each other or
any other state. The real threat is North Korea, Iran, and
non-state actors like the A.Q. Khan network, and until
recently Libya and Iraq.

14. (C) As had McKinnon, Hobbs said New Zealand completely
agrees that noncompliance is a key issue, which is why for
example the country participates in the Proliferation
Security Initiative. But New Zealand does not believe that
nonproliferation is more important than disarmament. Both
are important, and parties need to build trust in both by
taking transparent steps on both. There is also no mechanism
to measure compliance. Sanders said that this was one reason
why the U.S. has recommended a special committee on
safeguards and verification at the IAEA. Moreover, it is the
role of all parties to consider others' compliance on a
case-by-case basis. Hobbs asked for the U.S. view of
Canadian proposals for new institutions such as reporting and
a permanent NPT secretariat. Sanders said the United States
does not see the need for new institutions. The United
States does report voluntarily. Another institution is not
needed; what is needed is for states to ensure that the
current institutions -- the IAEA and the UN Security Council
-- work. Hobbs noted that the PrepComs have been stymied;
they failed to make progress or even to produce a RevCon
provisional agenda. Sanders offered that an effective
PrepCom III Chair could have produced a RevCon provisional
agenda and predicted the RevCon President-designate was
likely to be far more effective.

15. (C) Amb. Sanders said the important thing was that while
there are issues on which the United States and New Zealand
do not agree, there are also many issues on which we do
agree. We need to stick together and cooperate for a good
result, and must address real world threats at the RevCon.
Disarmament is important, but addressing the threat of
proliferation and the possibility of nuclear terrorism is far
more pressing. Hobbs acknowledged the threat of nuclear
terrorism and the tragedy of 9/11, but said that New Zealand
and the Pacific had faced the specter of nuclear testing in
the region, even as the U.S. faces threats that New Zealand
does not. Sanders noted that New Zealand like all countries
is not immune from the threat of terrorism. Hobbs agreed,
but reiterated that New Zealand sees both disarmament and
nonproliferation as important.

16. (C) With regard to disarmament, Ambassador Sanders told
Hobbs she hoped New Zealand would hold other NWS to account
on disarmament -- China, for example. Hobbs assured Sanders
that New Zealand was very aware of all NWS activities; its
interest in disarmament is not anti-American. Sanders asked
whether New Zealand has made any efforts to influence North
Korea. Hobbs said they try, but it is extremely difficult
and she does not think New Zealand's efforts have any effect.
She called North Korea "unstable and scary," and said in
addition to sending messages to the regime via New Zealand's
Ambassador to Pyongyang, she herself had rejected the
arguments of a visiting North Korean official and called him
a liar. Sanders said that the quickest way to encourage
disarmament is to get the proliferation problem under
control. Hobbs disagreed, noting a parallel to trade: New
Zealand had unilaterally reduced tariffs to encourage others
to liberalize Hobbs said she intended to attend the
nuclear-weapon-free zone conference that Mexico will host
immediately prior to the RevCon and then to participate in
the first few days of the RevCon.

Swindells

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