February 09, 2010

Speech by Sergei Ivanov at the 46th Munich Security Conference

by Sergueï Ivanov *

Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Excellencies,

Speaking today at the 46th Munich Conference on Security Policy is for me a matter of emotional value at least for two reasons. First, this is the tenth time I have the honour to be invited to the Conference and address the audience.

Second, although I have not yet decided in what form to claim Veteran benefits, I have already been rewarded by the possibility to cast a retrospective glance at how the political climate change has been reflected in Munich Conference findings.

Dear colleagues,

I must admit that recent years have proved specifically productive for Munich Conference activity because it has coincided with the end of inter-bloc confrontation and creation of the atmosphere of confidence and partnership. This refers also to the prospects of comprehensive and complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

Accordingly, more and more disarmament initiatives, such as the Hoover Initiative and the Global Zero Initiative, are being launched. Prominent public figures and politicians around the world are joining their effort under auspices of such organisations as the Luxembourg Forum and the Evans-Kawaguchi Commission.

Symptomatic shifts are also observed in the positions of certain states possessing nuclear weapons, including the USA, where plans are being developed to deploy strategic offensive arms in non-nuclear set-up. Russia‘s strategic thinking is also being stepped up. Our point of departure is the assumption that nuclear weapons, while remaining the core element of strategic deterrence, cannot be regarded as a cure-all for the whole range of real threats and challenges. We believe that in future under certain conditions nuclear weapons may and should be eliminated. Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, has on several occasions referred to that both in his written address to the Conference on Disarmament in March, 2009 and speaking at the 64th session of the UN General Assembly in September same year.

Security and stability in the context of nuclear disarmament require establishment of relationship between strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms. One cannot seriously talk about reduction in nuclear capabilities if a nuclear state consistently develops and deploys Systems aimed at providing its invulnerability to means of deterrence possessed by other states. lt is like a theory about a sword and a shield. Both are developing and one has to keep in mind the advantages of each of them. Therefore, Russia supports a broader international dialogue on AMD (antimissile defense) issues and has made a considerable contribution to global efforts aimed at reducing nuclear weapons in the context of its commitments under INF Treaty (1987), START 1 (1991) and Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (SORT, 2002).

Along with the Strategic offensive arms limitation, Russia has reduced by three quarters its tactical nuclear arsenals and concentrated them in central storage bases exclusively within its national territory.

Russia is committed to achieving nuclear disarmament by means of negotiations resulting in binding accords. We believe this to bring about meaningful, verifiable and, most importantly, irreversible arrangements taking due account of political, economic and military factors influencing international security and stability.

From this angle we view our strategic relations with the United States, too. For decades Moscow and Washington have been building a tight network of treaties and agreements related to Strategic offensive arms‘ reduction and limitation. This activity continues. As you know, Russian and American delegations have been instructed to finalize in the nearest future all technical work to be able to submit a new full scale and legally binding agreement for signing by the presidents of Russia and the United States.

lt is clear, that Russia and the United States bear special responsibility for the disarmament process. At the same time, it would be an obvious simplification to boil it all down only to Russian-American relations. Nuclear disarmament is a common objective for all NPT parties without exception. We call on them to contribute to the efforts taken bilaterally and expect that generally all nuclear countries will get involved in this process. In other words, isn‘t it absurd if nuclear countries — parties to NPT will disarm, whereas other nuclear countries, staying outside the Treaty, will continue to run and increase their arsenals.

Various international forums and specifically the UN Security Council, have recently renewed their appeal to strengthen the regime of non-proliferation of WMD (Weapons of mass destruction) and reduce nuclear forces in order to build a nuclear-free world in the future.

Russia‘s contribution to curbing WMD is facilitated by the activity of the national inter-departmental Commission for Export Control, which 1 chair since 2005. Commission‘s main task is to secure a sufficient level of coordination between various Russian departments involved non-proliferation, export control and international cooperation. This is my pleasure to observe that in recent years Commission has received no reprimands from our foreign counterparts, which is a good indication both of export control efficiency and this Commission‘s competence.

The UN Security Council summit held on September, 24 2009 has highlighted current concerns of the world community and its aspirations to give an adequate response to the existing global challenges of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. lt should be regarded as our responsibility to make sure that the disarmament process, or rather discussions about the future of disarmament, will not finally turn into a tool of political leverage overshadowing the true goals of the NPT.

As never before it is now imperative that nuclear disarmament initiatives arc not left on paper but translated into practical arrangements. The earliest possible entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) should become an essential step towards nuclear disarmament. Consequently we hope that negotiations on a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty will be launched at the Conference on Disarmament.

I would like specifically to emphasize the need to strengthen the non-proliferation regime in the Middle East.

Russia has suggested distinctive measures in that direction including implementation of the 1995 resolutions; appointment of a special coordinator; ratification of the CTBT by all Middle East countries; their voluntary refusal to develop sensitive elements of nuclear fuel cycle; and placement of all nuclear facilities in the region under comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guarantees.

Progressing towards “global Zero“ is impossible without building a modern, proliferation-resistant architecture of international cooperation in what concerns nuclear power utilization for peaceful purposes, based, in particular, on strict compliance with NPT verification mechanisms. Stating that, we seek to prevent the duplication of sensitive technologies directly associated with the production of weapon grade nuclear materials while providing opportunities for the legitimate interest of many countries to develop nuclear energy. Approval by the IAEA Board of Governors of the Russian proposal to establish under the Agency auspices a security stock of low enriched uranium has become an important step in this direction.

As far as the Iranian nuclear program is concerned, Russia has consistently advocated settlement of this issue by diplomatic and political means. Nobody questions Iran‘s legitimate right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes but on the other hand Tehran has to dispel the international community‘s concerns regarding the nature of its nuclear program.

In our opinion, Iran has to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear efforts. The steps to be made in this direction have been formulated in the decisions taken by the IAEA Board of Governors and the U.N. Security Council Resolutions. We expect Tehran‘s full cooperation on these matters.

As a participant in the P5+1 activities addressing the problem, Russia remains committed to a dual track approach. Our point of departure is that sanctions should not be regarded as a cure-all. Resort to this instrument has to be carefully weighed and be proportional to the level of Iran‘s cooperation. If sanctions are to be used at all, they have to be aimed exclusively at resolving non-proliferation matters.

Russia views the NPT as an effective and relevant instrument, which has prevented spread of nuclear weapons and created conditions for consistent and irreversible progress towards nuclear disarmament. A party to the Treaty and one of its depositaries, Russia wastes no effort to strengthen it as the basic mechanism of collective security.

Despite variety of opinions and views regarding the situation in disarmament, there is practically no doubt that nowadays risks substantially differ from those of twenty years ago. This explains the need for new approaches and vigorous efforts towards resolving emerging problems.

This is my sincere hope that today‘s discussion would contribute to a profound reassessment of the situation in non-proliferation and disarmament process as weil as of the role and responsibility of each state concerned in moving towards a nuclear-free world.

Now in Munich we have an opportunity to give mankind a much awaited signal that the “global zero“ idea is not just an empty phrase. Let us meet the challenge.

Thank you.

Sergueï Ivanov
Sergueï Ivanov est ministre de la Défense russe

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