WikiLeaks cable: NZ supports immediate FMCT negotiations, but...

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

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

July 5, 2006


Classified By: DCM David R. Burnett, for Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)

1. (C) New Zealand supports immediate negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT) and could accept the US-proposed mandate as the basis for talks, according to Caroline McDonald, Director of the Disarmament Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). McDonald told Pol-Econ Couns that GNZ believes we'd convince other CD partners to engage in talks if 1) we engage with other Conference on Disarmament (CD) partners on substantive discussions (as opposed to negotiations) on the other three core CD areas, and 2) if we reject an explicit Western Group endorsement of the US mandate in favor of informal, cross-regional outreach. McDonald stressed that NZ strongly
agrees with our objectives and differs only on tactics. PE Couns reminded McDonald that the U.S. supports all CD objectives but regard the potential for terrorist and rogue states to acquire nuclear weapons as the most urgent threat to world security.

2. (C) The following is a GNZ non-paper drafted by NZ's Geneva mission that summarizes GNZ's position. McDonald also shared notes from the recent presentation by NZ's Geneva rep, Don MacKay, at the UNIDIR seminar, in which he made clear that GNZ favors the destruction of all fissile materials, not just a moratorium on production.

3. (C) Begin non-paper text: New Zealand Non-Paper on FMCT

-- New Zealand strongly supports the immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT).

-- New Zealand could accept the US-proposed mandate as the basis for the commencement of those negotiations. During negotiations, New Zealand would expect to address all issues relevant to a FMCT, including scope and verification.

-- New Zealand does not believe that explicit joint Western Group endorsement of the US mandate at this stage would be helpful in achieving the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament (CD).

-- A strong Western Group push in support of the US mandate within the CD's current fragile negotiating environment could be interpreted as an isolationist (FMCT-only) approach and could further entrench regional group blockages in moving towards the adoption of a programme of work; a prerequisite for the commencement of negotiations.

-- We note that a large number of Western Group members share this concern, and are similarly opposed to group endorsement of the US mandate at this stage.

-- We see the best way to proceed as to work on a cross-regional outreach in informal bilateral and small group settings in order to get buy-in from all regional groups. It is clear that a solution to the CD's deadlock will require a mechanism that allows all four of the CD's core issues to be dealt with in a manner appropriate to each subject.

-- We sense that there is scope for a successful resolution of the programme of work stand-off in a formula which would comprise negotiations on a FMCT whilst continuing focused discussions on PAROS, nuclear disarmament, and negative security assurances.

-- We share the US assessment that there is increased flexibility and momentum amongst the CD's membership. We need to think laterally about how best to turn that flexibility onto concrete progress. As agreement which meets our objectives on FMCT negotiations whilst allowing other
countries to buy in to the process by encompassing other core issues within a discussion framework would preserve the national security concerns of all States and has the best potential to enable the CD to recommence substantive work.

End text of non-paper.

4. (C) Comment: GNZ's long-standing belief that we and other nuclear states should commit now to destroy our nuclear weapons is well known and has created some friction with us in the NPT. But we regard GNZ's offer of support for the FMCT and the non-paper as a genuine attempt to be constructive, not a back-door means to get us talking on the elimination of our nuclear stockpile and related materials.

End Comment.


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