Address by Chairman of the Organizing Committee International Conference on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe Viatcheslav Kantor Presentation of the Final Conference Declaration

Dear Colleagues!

The Declaration we are presenting to you today was developed by the International Conference on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, held this May in Luxembourg.

The Conference's main features were:

First, unlike many conferences on nuclear non-proliferation issues, this Conference was a unique forum bringing together the most authoritative, unbiased leading experts (57 individuals from 14 countries), including five top-level participants:
Mr. Rolf Ekeus, High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who is in attendance today;
Mr. Mohammed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize;
Nikolay Laverov, Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences;
William Perry, Stanford University Professor and member of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC);
Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission.

Sergey Kirienko represented Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Conference and read the President's greeting to the participants, which underscored the vital importance of efforts to prevent nuclear catastrophe.

Second, the Conference agenda covered almost all of the most pressing issues related to nuclear weapons non-proliferation regimes.

In particular, it addressed the following concerns:

  • Direct threats of terrorist organizations gaining access to nuclear explosive devices or nuclear materials
  • Possible collapse of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a result of the ongoing nuclear crises in Iran and North Korea
  • Stagnation in negotiations between the Russian Federation and the United States with respect to further reduction of Strategic Nuclear Forces and a delay in the Comprehensive Nuclear-test-ban Treaty's entering into force due to the position held by the U.S. and China
  • U.S. refusal to provide binding safeguards to non-nuclear NPT states and other major issues.

Third, the Conference was also unique because it was the first to come up with a unanimous declaration in the form of a roadmap proposing consecutive practical steps to resolve the most crucial problems, including the Iranian and North-Korean nuclear crises and ways to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The declaration that we are presenting to you today formulates this action plan in detail. It has been circulated to the UN Secretary General, heads of state, the IAEA, leaders of the Group of Eight, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union, the CIS leaders, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation.

Alexei Arbatov, a member of the Conference Organizing Committee, is presenting the declaration to NATO Secretary General.

Finally, another important distinction - I am pleased to announce the opening of a permanent Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe with the involvement of all the conference participants who signed the Declaration.

In addition to the above-mentioned top-tier conference members, the Forum Supervisory Board will also include Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn.

The Forum's program envisages regular workshops and conferences on the most current and pressing issues associated with nuclear weapons proliferation. Today and in the foreseeable future these issues will continue to pose a major threat to regional and global security.

The next workshop will discuss the Iranian nuclear crisis. A new UN Security Council resolution on Iran may be adopted this month. While the recent U.S. intelligence report was greeted by some with a sign of relief, it actually raises more questions and concerns.

At this point, I would like to offer the floor to my colleagues. After they speak we will be happy to answer your questions. Thank you.