A path to the total elimination of nuclear weapons
(58th General Assembly UN (2003))

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 49/75 H of 15 December 1994, 50/70 C of 12 December 1995, 51/45 G of 10 December 1996, 52/38 K of 9 December 1997, 53/77 U of 4 December 1998, 54/54 D of 1 December 1999, 55/33 R of 20 November 2000, 56/24 N of 29 November 2001 and 57/78 of 29 November 2002,

Recognizing that the enhancement of international peace and security and the promotion of nuclear disarmament mutually complement and strengthen each other,

Expressing deep concern regarding the growing dangers posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,

Convinced that every effort should be made to avoid nuclear devastation,

Reaffirming the crucial importance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international regime for nuclear non-proliferation and as an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, and welcoming the accession to the Treaty of Timor-Leste,

Bearing in mind that challenges to the Treaty and to the nuclear non-proliferation regime have further increased the necessity of full compliance and that the Treaty can fulfill its role only if there is confidence in compliance by all States parties,

Recognizing the progress made by the nuclear-weapon States on reduction of their nuclear weapons unilaterally or through their negotiations, including the recent entry into force of the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions between Russia and the United States, which should serve as a step for further nuclear disarmament and the efforts for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by the international community,

Also reaffirming the conviction that further advancement in nuclear disarmament will contribute to consolidating the international regime for nuclear non-proliferation, ensuring international peace and security,

Welcoming continuation of a moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions since the last nuclear tests,

Welcoming the successful adoption of the Final Document at the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and stressing the importance of implementing its conclusions,

Welcoming constructive discussions at the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee in April-May 2003 for the NPT Review Conference to be held in 2005,

Also welcoming the successful convening of a series of seminars and conferences aiming at further reinforcement of IAEA safeguards, including the International Conference on Wider Adherence to Strengthened IAEA Safeguards, held in Tokyo last December, and sharing the hope that by making utmost use of the outcomes from the foregoing seminars and conferences, the IAEA safeguards system will be further strengthened by means of universalization of safeguards agreements and their additional protocols,

Encouraging Russia and the United States to continue their intensive consultations in accordance with the Joint Declaration on the New Strategic Relationship between both States,

Also welcoming the Final Declaration of the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty convened in September 2003 in accordance with Article XIV of the Treaty,

Recognizing the importance of preventing terrorists from acquiring or developing nuclear weapons or related materials, radioactive materials, equipment and technology and underlining the role of the IAEA in this regard,

Stressing the importance of education on disarmament and non-proliferation for future generations, and welcoming recommendations in the report of the United Nations Secretary-General on disarmament and non-proliferation education, submitted by the Secretary General to the General Assembly at its 57th session,

  1. Reaffirms the importance of achieving the universality of the NPT, and calls upon States not parties to the NPT to accede to it as non-nuclear-weapon States without delay and without conditions;
  2. Also reaffirms the importance for all States parties to the NPT to fulfil their obligations under the Treaty;
  3. Stresses the central importance of the following practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI of the NPT and paragraphs 3 and 4 (c) of the 1995 Decision on "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament":

    (a) the importance and urgency of signatures and ratifications, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with constitutional processes, to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as well as a moratorium on nuclear-weapon-test explosions or any other nuclear explosions pending entry into force of that Treaty;

    (b) the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee in the Conference on Disarmament as early as possible during its 2004 session to negotiate a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, in accordance with the statement of the Special Coordinator in 1995 and the mandate contained therein, taking into consideration both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation objectives, with a view to the conclusion within five years and, pending its entry into force, a moratorium of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons;

    (c) the establishment of an appropriate subsidiary body with a mandate to deal with nuclear disarmament in the Conference on Disarmament as early as possible during its 2004 session in the context of establishing a programme of work;

    (d) the inclusion of the principle of irreversibility to apply to nuclear disarmament, nuclear and other related arms control and reduction measures;

    (e) an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States, as agreed in the 2000 NPT Review Conference, to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament, to which all States parties to the NPT are committed under Article VI;

    (f) deep reductions by Russia and the United States in their strategic offensive arsenals, while placing great importance on the existing multilateral treaties, with a view to maintaining and strengthening strategic stability and international security;

    (g) steps by all the nuclear-weapon States leading to nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all:

    • further efforts by all the nuclear-weapon States to continue to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally;
    • increased transparency by the nuclear-weapon States with regard to the nuclear weapons capabilities and the implementation of agreements pursuant to Article VI of the NPT and as a voluntary confidence-building measures to support further progress on nuclear disarmament;
    • the further reduction of non-strategic nuclear weapons, based on unilateral initiatives and as an integral part of the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament process;
    • concrete agreed measures to further reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons systems;
    • a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that these weapons will ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination;
    • the engagement as soon as appropriate of all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear weapons;

    (h) reaffirmation that the ultimate objective of the efforts of States in the disarmament process is general and complete disarmament under effective international control;

  4. Recognizes also that the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons will require further steps including deeper reductions by all the nuclear-weapon States in the process of working towards achieving their elimination;
  5. Invites the nuclear-weapon States to keep the Members of the United Nations duly informed of the progress or efforts made towards nuclear disarmament;
  6. Emphasizes the importance of a successful Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 2005 as the third Preparatory Committee will be convened in 2004;
  7. Welcomes the ongoing efforts in the dismantlement of nuclear weapons, notes the importance of the safe and effective management of the resultant fissile materials and calls for arrangements by all the nuclear-weapon States to place, as soon as practicable, fissile material designated by each of them as no longer required for military purposes under IAEA or other relevant international verification and arrangements for the disposition of such material for peaceful purposes to ensure that such material remains permanently outside of military programmes;
  8. Stresses the importance of further development of the verification capabilities, including IAEA safeguards, that will be required to provide assurance of compliance with nuclear disarmament agreements for the achievement and maintenance of a nuclear-weapon-free world;
  9. Calls upon all States to redouble their efforts to prevent and curb the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, confirming and strengthening, if necessary, their policies not to transfer equipment, materials or technology that could contribute to the proliferation of those weapons, while ensuring that such policies are consistent with States' obligations under the NPT;
  10. Calls upon all States to maintain the highest possible standards of security, safe custody, effective control and physical protection of all materials that could contribute to the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in order, inter alia, to prevent those materials from falling into the hands of terrorists;
  11. Welcomes the adoption and stresses the importance of the resolution GC(47)/RES/11 which recommends that Member States of the IAEA continue to consider implementing the elements of the plan of action outlined in the resolution GC(44)/RES/19 and in the Agency's updated plan of action(April 2003), with the aim of facilitating the entry into force of comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols, and calls for the early and full implementation of that resolution;
  12. Encourages the constructive role played by civil society in promoting nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.

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