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Thursday, 10 October 1985
Page: 992

Senator CROWLEY —I refer the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs to the recent third Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference held in Geneva last month. Will the Minister elaborate on Australian Government participation in the Conference and its contribution to the outcomes?

Senator GARETH EVANS —The third NPT Review Conference concluded on 21 September. It was an outstanding success, and it has to be said that the Australian delegation did play a major role in achieving that success. Unlike its predecessor in 1980, the Conference adopted by consensus a substantive final document. That document contains a number of statements of great importance to Australia and the international community. In particular, the Government welcomes: First, the support for International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards for the intensification of safeguards in nuclear weapons states and for an effective international system of plutonium storage; secondly, the clear call on non-parties to join the Treaty and to accept IAEA safeguards in all their nuclear activities, both current and future; thirdly, the call on all states for international nuclear co-operation specifically as a necessary basis for the transfer of nuclear supplies to non-nuclear weapon states to take effective steps to achieve an international, legally binding non-proliferation commitment and the acceptance of full scope safeguards by those states; fourthly, the welcoming of the South Pacific nuclear free zone treaty; and, above all, finally, the clear and unanimous commitment of all non-nuclear weapons states to the cessation of all nuclear testing by all states in all environments for all times and their appeal to the nuclear weapons states to participate in the urgent negotiation and conclusion of such a treaty.

The Australian delegation was instrumental in achieving a number of these results as well as in defusing, through the intervention of the Ambassador for Disarmament, Mr Richard Butler, in some early morning shuttle diplomacy, a last minute dispute between Iran and Iraq which did threaten the consensus that had been reached. This Conference was probably the most important international conference to have been held this year, if not for the last few years. I think that it is a matter of pride to record the extent to which Australia's objectives were achieved and the role that Australia played in that Conference.