Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Department of Foreign Affairs
Question 120: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had recent discussions with India and Pakistan with regard to their status as non-signatories to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13036/06]
I have not had recent discussions with either India or Pakistan but both countries are well aware of Ireland's long-held position that both should join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as non-nuclear weapon states. As I made clear in my replies to Questions Nos. 64 and 153 of 22 February 2006, Ireland has a long-standing policy of support for the NPT, going back to Frank Aiken's initiative almost 50 years ago, and attaches the utmost importance to its universalisation. India, Pakistan and Israel are the only three countries that have not acceded to the NPT. Ireland will continue to avail of every opportunity to call for their adherence to the treaty as non-nuclear weapon states at national level, within the EU, within the new agenda coalition and at the United Nations.
Ireland strongly supports United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172 adopted in June 1998 which, inter alia, calls on India and Pakistan to become parties to the NPT and to the comprehensive test ban treaty and to stop immediately their nuclear weapons development programmes, including the development of ballistic missiles capable of nuclear weapons delivery. At the NPT review conference in New York last May, I stated that it was a matter of serious concern that India, Israel and Pakistan continue to remain outside the NPT regime and I urged them to accede to the treaty unconditionally and at an early date. Such a call has also been made in recent statements by the European Union.
Ireland, with our partners in the new agenda coalition, introduced a resolution on the NPT to the first committee of the United Nations General Assembly last October. A paragraph in the resolution that urged India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the treaty was supported by 148 countries. Last December, when the issue was taken up in the plenary of the General Assembly, 158 UN member states endorsed this call. Pakistan voted against that paragraph of the resolution at the first committee but abstained during the plenary while India and Israel voted against the resolution on both occasions. We will continue to press for the universalisation of the NPT and for India, Pakistan and Israel to accede unconditionally to the treaty.
Question 121: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the latest discussions he has had with his EU counterparts with regard to the Iranian nuclear programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13041/06]
Question 127: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had recent contact with the Iranian Government with regard to that state's compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13049/06]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 121, 127 and 128 together.
I have not had any recent direct contact with representatives of the Iranian Government in respect of Iran's compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The last occasion that I had an opportunity to discuss this matter with the Iranian Government was when I met the then Foreign Minister, Dr. Kamal Kharrazi, on 2 May 2005, during the NPT review conference in New York. During that meeting, I underlined my belief that difficulties should be resolved through dialogue and negotiation and that if a solution was found on the nuclear issue, this would open the way to making progress on other aspects of relations with Iran.
My most recent discussions with my EU counterparts on the Iranian nuclear programme was at the General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting on 20 March 2006. The Council emphasised that the EU continues to be committed to a diplomatic solution, deeply regretted that Iran has failed to implement in full the measures deemed necessary by the IAEA board, resulting in the involvement of the UN Security Council. The council also expressed its deep concern at Iran's continuing failure to co-operate fully with the IAEA and to take the steps necessary to re-establish international confidence in the peaceful purpose of its nuclear programme. It indicated that it believed that the Security Council should act to reinforce the authority of the IAEA and called upon Iran urgently to meet in full the requests set out in the IAEA board of governors' resolution of 4 February, including a full suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
I welcome the UN Security Council presidential statement adopted on 29 March 2006 on the Iranian nuclear programme. The statement notes with serious concern Iran's decision to resume enrichment related activities and to suspend co-operation with the IAEA under the additional protocol. The statement calls on Iran to comply with the steps required in the IAEA board of governors' resolution of 4 February 2006 and underlined the particular importance of re-establishing full and sustained suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities including research and development. The IAEA director general is requested to provide a report to the board of governors, and in parallel to the Security Council, within 30 days on Iranian compliance with the steps required by the IAEA board of governors.
We urge Iran to suspend immediately all enrichment related activities, to co-operate fully with the IAEA and to provide the necessary transparency and openness to resolve all outstanding issues in its nuclear programme. The resolution of those issues would help to restore the confidence of the international community in Iran's declared wish to have a nuclear programme for peaceful purposes.