The nuclear non-proliferation regime: the importance of an integrated and multilateral approach

March 22, 2006 - nr.47
Summary

Recommendations (chapter IV of the advisory report)

 

Introduction

 

The previous three chapters dealt successively with the nuclear non-proliferation regime (chapter I), the current state of this regime (chapter II) and the first three questions asked by the government in its request for advice (chapter III). This chapter lists all the recommendations together and thus provides an answer to the government’s last question.

 

The Dutch contribution (question 4: What can the Netherlands do, nationally and internationally, to counter the proliferation of nuclear weapons?)

 

Proliferation of WMD is one of the main threats to international peace and security. It is of the utmost importance that this threat be actively addressed. The government rightly devoted separate attention to this in its budget for 2006. The government has also asked the AIV for advice on a strategy for preventing the proliferation of nuclear materials and technology.

 

The nuclear non-proliferation regime has been defined in this report as an integral system of treaties, agreements, practices, organisations and norms which are together intended to prevent proliferation, or at least make it a good deal more difficult. The regime and views on the regime are in a continual state of flux, with states endeavouring to ensure that their national interests and views are reflected as well as possible.

 

Recently the conflicting positions on the operation and interpretation of the various non-proliferation instruments have come clearly to the fore. For example, the NPT Review Conference in May 2005 was a complete failure, as was the UN summit of heads of government on the aspect of non-proliferation in September 2005. Nor have permanent solutions yet been found to the problems posed by Iran and North Korea. As a result, the credibility of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and particularly of the NPT (which is its normative cornerstone) has been seriously compromised. But despite this gloomy picture, there is no real alternative. The proliferation of WMD can be tackled effectively only in an international context. The Netherlands must therefore continue to press in international forums for a multilateral approach to this problem. In tackling proliferation the Netherlands has no choice but to operate within the EU, NATO and the UN. Given the present disagreements, however, the only way of strengthening the non-proliferation regime is one small step at a time.

 

The AIV advises the government:

 

1.      to adopt an integrated and multilateral approach as the basis for national and international non-proliferation policy;

 

2.      to send the biannual EU reports on non-proliferation to the Dutch parliament from now on (see section III.4.1);

 

3.      to use the available instruments constructively and flexibly in order for the NPT to retain its credibility, while showing understanding for the objections and criticisms of the have-nots (see section III.3.1);

 

4.      to convey to the United States, on all suitable occasions, in all relevant forums and with as many like-minded countries as possible, that in order for the international community to achieve success in combating proliferation, a multilateral approach must continue to form the core of the strategy. The cornerstone of this strategy is a strong NPT, but for the credibility of this treaty the United States and Russia must make substantial disarmament efforts. Afterwards, the attention of the EU member states France and the United Kingdom should also be drawn to their responsibility for disarmament (see section III.3.1);

 

5.      to convey to all parties and groups in Washington on all suitable occasions, just as in the case of the NPT, that the CTBT is a very important and integral part of the non-proliferation regime (see section III.3.1);

 

6.      to urge the EU to clearly draw the attention of the United States on all suitable occasions to its positions on non-proliferation and disarmament (see section III.4.1);

 

7.      with regard to the crisis concerning Iran, to help in the search for a diplomatic solution, for which purpose as much joint international pressure as possible must be brought to bear on the unpredictable regime in Iran (see section III.3.1);

 

8.      to support the existing initiatives to create nuclear-weapon-free zones in both the Middle East and the Gulf region (see section III.3.1);

 

9.      to encourage the EU to support, financially and otherwise, the negotiations on the North Korea issue, as it did in the mid-1990s, if this would bring a solution closer (see section III.3.1);

 

10.     to press, within the EU, for multilateral solutions to the proliferation-sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle (see section III.3.2);

 

11.     to take active steps to combat brokering and to propose measures to this end within the EU (see section III.3.2);

 

12.     to take a position on the Scheltema Committee’s recommendation to establish a single contact point for the entire Dutch policy on export control regimes (see section III.3.2);

 

13.     to coordinate, as far as possible, action taken on the PSI within the EU and arrange for a joint evaluation of this initiative (see section III.3.2);

 

14.     to involve itself, as a member of the NSG, in formulating the conditions to be met by India and, in cooperation, with like-minded countries, urge maximum conformity with the non-proliferation regime (see section III.3.2);

 

15.     to press for the EU member states and/or the EU to release extra funds to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, for example in order to support the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, which focuses primarily on clearing dangerous stockpiles of nuclear and chemical weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union (see section III.4.1);

 

16.     to contribute, if possible within the framework of the EU, to solutions to the ‘administrative problems’ which are an increasing factor in the implementation of the G8 initiative in the Russian Federation (see section III.4.1);

 

17.     to urge all EU member states to honour their commitments under the EU Action Plan against Terrorism adopted in March 2004 (see section III.3.3);

 

18.     to continue treating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery as an area for joint strategic attention from the Dutch intelligence services and to allocate sufficient capacity to this (see section III.3.3);

 

19.     vigorously to implement the planned expansion of the counter-NBC capabilities of the armed forces (see section III.3.4);

 

20.     to arrange for all the authorities concerned to hold regular joint exercises on dealing with the consequences of attacks involving NBC weapons, so as to ensure the quality of the cooperation and the response (see section III.3.4);

 

21.     to continue pressing for the inclusion of proliferation as a permanent item on the agenda of the NATO Council (see section III.4.2).

 

Finally, the AIV advises the House of Representatives:

 

22.     to hold a regular exchange of views with the government on its policy regarding nuclear non-proliferation (and non-proliferation in general), for example on the basis of the relevant EU reports (see recommendation 2 and section III.4.1).

 

 

 

Advice request
Ministry of                                                                                                                      Ministry of

Foreign Affairs                                                                                                                  Defence

 

Postbus 20061                                                                                                           Postbus 20701

2500 EB 's-Gravenhage                                                                                   2500 ES 's-Gravenhage

Telephone: +31 (0) 70 348 6486                                                           Telephone: +31 (0) 70 318 8188

 

 

Chairman of the Advisory Council

on International Affairs

Mr F. Korthals Altes

Postbus 20061

2500 EB Den Haag

 

 

Your letter of             Your reference                Our reference                  Date

                               DVB/NN-076/05                                                    28 February 2005

 

Re: Strategy for preventing the proliferation of nuclear materials and technology

 

Dear Mr Korthals Altes,

 

Introduction

The continued proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons remains a subject of concern for the government. Despite international commitments and international monitoring, the proliferation of these weapons and missile technology has become a major threat to our security. The government is particularly concerned because further proliferation means a greater chance that these weapons will fall into the hands of states of concern or terrorist groups.

 

On 2 December 2004 the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (HLP), established by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, released a report containing recommendations on improving the system of collective security. According to the Panel, stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is an ‘urgent priority’, and the report makes a number of recommendations on how this can be achieved. One particularly alarming conclusion is that there is a very real chance that terrorists will have the capacity to bring about nuclear explosions in the future. The Panel is also deeply concerned about the future of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Against this backdrop, the report proposes additional powers for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), advocates the negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty and calls for broader participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). The Panel also urges the Security Council to take a considerably more active role in the event of alleged or proven violations of the non-proliferation regime. The Panel feels that the Security Council should take collective measures in response to a nuclear attack – or the threat of one – on a non-nuclear-weapon state.

 

In March, partly on the basis of the HLP’s recommendation, Secretary-General Annan will present his own recommendations for the UN Summit, which will take place from 14 to 16 September. The Secretary-General’s recommendations are also important with a view to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference coming up this May.

 

There are other reasons that the proliferation of nuclear weapons deserves the government’s consideration. In February 2004, the Director-General of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, asked that higher priority be given to the mounting danger of nuclear proliferation, warning, ‘If the world does not change course, we risk self-destruction.’ The imminent spread of nuclear weapons to states of concern is another pressing issue.

 

Questions

Against this background we would put the following questions to the Advisory Council:

 

1.       In the opinion of the Advisory Council, how much of a threat does the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology pose to international peace and security and Dutch society? Obviously, the Advisory Council should devote particular attention to the possibility that high-risk countries and terrorist groups could come to possess nuclear materials and technology. North Korea claims to have nuclear weapons already and maintains that it has denounced the treaty. Iran’s intentions remain unclear, though the Iranians have suspended their enrichment activities following diplomatic talks with the United Kingdom, France and Germany. One positive development is Libya’s decision to renounce its aspirations to possess weapons of mass destruction (although it is questionable how far along Libya actually was in acquiring nuclear technology). What is the Advisory Council’s assessment of these developments?

 

2.       In the opinion of the Advisory Council, what elements are needed for a comprehensive, effective strategy to halt the proliferation of nuclear materials and technology? These could include measures to curb the spread of nuclear materials and technology and know-how (non-proliferation) and passive and active measures to protect and defend the Netherlands, as well as military units in the field and densely populated areas (counter-proliferation). In that connection, the government would be interested in hearing the Advisory Council’s views on the HLP’s recommendations and the outcome of the NPT Review Conference in May.

 

The Advisory Council will obviously have to address the question of whether the strategies that the European Union and the United States have developed to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction are adequate. Would it be advisable to explore new approaches to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime in the broadest sense of the term? How can states of concern be kept from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons? What is the connection between the pursuit of non-proliferation and counter-proliferation measures? How can we ensure that nuclear materials and technology do not fall into the hands of terrorists? Is it useful to map out the various stages of nuclear proliferation and developing diplomatic, economic, legal and military countermeasures for each stage? In the opinion of the Advisory Council, what should be the main priorities of a comprehensive strategy?

 

3.       In the opinion of the Advisory Council, what effects will the proliferation of nuclear resource have on current Dutch security policy and that of NATO and the EU? Two areas to concentrate on are NATO’s nuclear deterrent policy and the question of how to protect European territory from long-range nuclear missiles in the hands of states of concern. Should current policy be modified?

 

4.       What can the Netherlands do, nationally and internationally, to counter the proliferation of nuclear weapons?

 

Conclusion

The government is aware of the fact that this is not the first time the Advisory Council has been asked to advise the government on related topics. The relevant reports are 'An Analysis of the US Missile Defence Plans: Pros and Cons of Striving for Invulnerability’ (no. 28, August 2002) and ‘Pre-emptive Action’ (no. 36, July 2004). The government would appreciate it if the Advisory Council would frame its advice in the context of the above developments and these earlier reports.

 

We would ask that the Advisory Council complete its report before the summer, with a view to the government’s response to the recommendations that the UN Secretary-General will be presenting in March for the UN Summit in September and the outcome of the NPT Review Conference in May.

 

 

[signed]                                                                      [signed]

MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS                               MINISTER OF DEFENCE

 

Government reactions

Ministry of Foreign Affairs                                                                 Ministry of Defence

Postbus 20061                                                                                    Postbus 20701

2500 EB Den Haag                                                                              2500 ES Den Haag

Tel. 070 348 6486                                                                                Tel. 070 318 8188

 

 

                                                                       To:

                                                                       Mr F. Korthals Altes

                                                                       Chair of the Advisory Council on International Affairs

                                                                       Postbus 20061

                                                                       2500 EB Den Haag

 

 

                                                                                                         

                                                                                             

Your letter                            Your ref.                                  Our ref.                                    Date

                                                                     DVB/NN-428/06            29 August 2006

 

 

 

Dear Mr Korthals Altes,

 

We are pleased to offer you the government’s response to report no. 47 by the Advisory Council on International Affairs, entitled ‘The nuclear non-proliferation regime: the importance of an integrated, multilateral approach’. The government is grateful to you for your report, the bulk of which it agrees with. The government regards this report as providing support for the main thrust of its current policy on non-proliferation, as an encouragement to continue on the same track and as a source of inspiration for the further development of Dutch policy on non-proliferation.

 

The government’s response will also be sent to the Presidents of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the States General.

 

 

(signed)                                                                                               (signed)

 

Bernard Bot                                                                                       Henk Kamp

Minister of Foreign Affairs                                                                   Minister of Defence

____________________________________________________________________________

 

 

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE AIV’S ADVISORY REPORT ON THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION REGIME SENT TO THE AIV AND TO PARLIAMENT ON AUGUST 29th, 2006.

 

1.                   Preface

 

The government is grateful to the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) for its report entitled ‘The nuclear non-proliferation regime: the importance of an integrated, multilateral approach’. The contents of the report form a welcome complement to the non-proliferation policy pursued by The Netherlands. In this document, the government discusses the situation in relation to non-proliferation and compares it with the AIV’s description and analysis of the situation. The government then presents its own conceptual framework and concludes by responding to the AIV’s policy recommendations.

 

The report of the AIV can be found at the website http://www.aiv-advies.nl/, publications AIV, advisory report nr. 47. This document contains solely the response of The Netherlands government to the AIV’s advisory report on the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

 

2.                   Description and analysis

 

Outline of the current situation

 

The government agrees with the description and analysis set out in chapters I, II and III of the report entitled ‘The nuclear non-proliferation regime: the importance of an integrated, multilateral approach’ by the AIV. In formulating a comprehensive strategy to combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the AIV endorses the non-proliferation model adopted by the UN’s High Level Panel (HLP) in its December 2004 report entitled ‘A more secure world – Our shared responsibility’. This model identifies four levels: demand, supply, enforcement and defence (although the HLP, unlike the AIV, does not go beyond public health defences). In terms of policy, the Dutch government supports the recommendations made in ‘A more secure world – Our shared responsibility’ for preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The problem, as the AIV rightly points out, is that, following the failure of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2005, the UN summit in September 2005 similarly failed to reach agreement on recommendations on the question of non-proliferation. Now that the current strategy (i.e. the strategy adopted to date) for preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has reached its limits, support for it is starting to crumble.

 

Some commentators claim that the time has come to review the system of treaties, agreements and standards that constitutes the non-proliferation regime, pointing to developments in North Korea, Iran and Syria, plus the risk that terrorist groups may gain access to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. The agreement between the US and India on civil nuclear cooperation also has a bearing on this debate, as well as the fact that the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is not proceeding as rapidly as had been hoped. In the international community views of these developments tend to differ. Sometimes it’s a question of divergent views or differences of perception, sometimes simply a question of nuance. In these circumstances, it is not always easy or possible to come to a concordant or internationally agreed response.

 

North Korea claims that it needs nuclear weapons in order to safeguard its security. It is highly likely that North Korea already possesses a number of nuclear warheads. North Korea has withdrawn from the NPT, a decision that has given rise to suspicions that it took advantage of the Treaty to develop expertise and acquire sensitive technology. Moreover, North Korea is continuing to develop and export missile technology. Iran is seeking to obtain nuclear technology that could, in the long term, give it access to nuclear weapons. The nature and scale of Iran’s nuclear activities, combined with the fact that these were concealed from the international community for a long time, have raised doubts about the peaceful intentions of its nuclear programme. Moreover, Iran is constantly refining its missile technology, as a result of which parts of NATO territory are now within reach of its missiles. Syria also has missiles and probably also possesses chemical weapons, and has not signed up to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The fact that other countries may seek to follow the examples set by North Korea, Iran and Syria is a threat that strikes at the heart of non-proliferation policy. Libya’s abandonment, in December 2003, of its ambition of possessing weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems does not detract from the gravity of the above developments.

 

In addition to this, there is also a risk that non-state actors, notably terrorist groups, may acquire weapons of mass destruction or a “dirty bomb” in order to mount an attack or to use such weapons as threats. Leaders of certain terrorist groups have openly announced their aim of acquiring weapons of mass destruction. The international community must forestall these developments.

 

The recent agreement between the US and India on civil nuclear cooperation has triggered an international debate on its potentially adverse effects on the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The agreement has also created confusion about how the international community should deal with other countries that have not signed up to the NPT. It may induce countries either not to sign up to the Treaty or to withdraw from it and develop their own nuclear weapons.

 

The above developments together paint an overwhelmingly gloomy picture. At the same time, they illustrate the urgency of the need to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

 

Conceptual framework

 

Further to the points made by the AIV, the government would like to outline the conceptual framework on which Dutch non-proliferation policy is based. This framework consists of four pillars.

 

First pillar: Treaty-based arms control and disarmament

 

The starting point for the government is that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction should be prevented by a legally binding system of international treaties and legislation whose enforcement should be supervised. The system of treaties forms the basis for Dutch policy. The treaties in question are the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). These treaties have a wider aim than simply preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: their ultimate objective is to totally eliminate them. The NPT seeks to achieve this by obliging the five recognised nuclear-weapon states to work towards complete nuclear disarmament and by preventing other states from gaining access to nuclear weapons. The CWC and the BTWC ban chemical and biological weapons and stipulate that all stocks of such weapons should be destroyed. These are ambitious objectives that nonetheless provide the foundations underlying the Dutch government’s policy on preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

 

The NPT is a trade-off between treaty parties in terms of abandoning the possession of nuclear weapons, access to nuclear technology (for non-nuclear-weapon states) and the pursuit of complete nuclear disarmament (for the five nuclear-weapon states). There is one respect in which the NPT differs from the CWC and the BTWC: it does not contain a general ban on the possession of nuclear weapons. The group of recognised nuclear-weapon states consists of five countries that detonated nuclear explosions before 1968, viz. the United States of America, the Russian Federation, China, the United Kingdom and France. All other countries that signed up to the Treaty did so as non-nuclear-weapon states. Unfortunately, the objective of complete nuclear disarmament is unlikely to be achieved in the foreseeable future.

 

As a result of the different roles played by nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states in the NPT, the AIV describes the Treaty as being of an asymmetric nature. ‘Discriminatory’ is another label that is frequently used in this context; this is a factor that lies at the root of many of the problems currently encountered by the states that are party to the NPT. The point is that many non-nuclear-weapon states complain that the nuclear-weapon states are not serious enough about disarmament, and that non-nuclear weapon states are not given sufficient access to nuclear technology. Moreover, the NPT has the same inherent weakness as all other treaty-based regimes, i.e. membership is not obligatory.

 

These developments, and the aspirations of North Korea and Iran in particular, have in recent years steadily eroded both the NPT and the standards the Treaty seeks to impose on the international community. This has led to the failure of most of the five-yearly NPT Review Conferences – as was recently the case in 2005 – although at that time the US government’s emphasis on non-proliferation (to the exclusion of the objective of nuclear disarmament and access to nuclear technology) was also a complicating factor.

 

The Dutch government continues to support the full implementation of and compliance with the NPT, CWC and BTWC, as well as, where possible, the conclusion of treaty-based agreements to close any loopholes in the non-proliferation regime. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are both of vital importance for the full implementation and enforcement of the NPT and the CWC. Thanks to the expert manner in which these two organisations assist with and supervise the implementation of the NPT and the CWC, the treaty states can rest assured that the two treaties are properly inspected and verified. The Netherlands fully supports the activities of the IAEA and the OPCW, a policy that is also reflected by the provision of funding. As far as nuclear weapons are concerned, the Netherlands will continue to present proposals at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva for a treaty banning the production of fissile materials for explosive purposes (known as the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, FMCT). The US plans for presenting a draft FMCT should hopefully help to breathe new life into talks in this respect. The Dutch government will also continue to argue for the rapid entry into force of the CTBT. Although there is still a long way to go before the two treaties can come into force, they should help to bring the nuclear-weapon states and the non-nuclear-weapon states in the NPT closer together. Where necessary, the Netherlands will also continue to assist the treaty parties in making domestic laws for enforcing their treaty obligations.

 

Second pillar: Arrangements for the export of sensitive technologies and materials

 

Because not all countries are parties to the above treaties, because the treaties cannot always be fully verified and because they are not always fully observed, arrangements have been made for inspecting exports of sensitive technologies and materials.

 

The export control regimes are a tried and tested form of international collaboration. Groups of countries which have access to sensitive technologies and/or materials make certain agreements about the conditions for exporting them. The name of the group formed in connection with nuclear technologies and materials is the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Its counterpart for chemical and biological products is the Australia Group (AG). Finally, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) was formed for the purpose of controlling exports of delivery systems. The lists of ‘dual-use’ goods and systems play a crucial role in the system of export controls: dual-use goods are goods that can be used both for civil purposes and for the production of weapons of mass destruction or delivery systems. The Netherlands will continue to support the strengthening of these regimes, the relevant national laws and adequate enforcement procedures. It has been gratifying to see a growing number of countries which are not members of these export control regimes nonetheless adjust their domestic legislation to meet the guidelines imposed by the export control regimes. By doing so, these countries are helping to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

 

Third pillar: Preventing illicit trafficking

 

Certain countries have opted out of the international system of treaties and export control regimes or fail to observe them for other reasons. Similarly, non-state actors do not regard themselves as being under any obligation to comply with these agreements. Particularly in the case of terrorists, this can pose a serious risk to international security.

 

A third pillar is currently under development that consists of a direct, hands-on method of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This pillar is embodied, for example, in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and UN Security Council Resolution 1540. The aim of the PSI is to intercept shipments of weapons of mass destruction, components, delivery systems and related materials. PSI is based on the current body of international and national laws and rules. Resolution 1540 states that all countries, including those which have not signed up to any export control regimes, should put an effective export control system in place. Resolution 1540 (whose mandate was extended for a further two years on 27 April 2006) specifically calls upon countries to take action to prevent non-state actors from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction.

 

The third pillar also includes the improved protection of existing weapons of mass destruction and sensitive materials, and assistance with the destruction of weapons of mass destruction. Funding is available to enable scientific researchers with specialist knowledge of weapons of mass destruction to undertake alternative research programmes that can generate new methods of safe storage and destruction. The aim of providing this type of assistance is to prevent weapons, components, technology or expertise from getting into the wrong hands. The main beneficiaries of assistance with the destruction of weapons of mass destruction are the Russian Federation and other successor states of the Soviet Union. The Netherlands contributes to funding, both nationally and through its membership of the European Union.

 

Fourth pillar: defence against the use of weapons of mass destruction and against the consequences of attacks

 

As indicated in the outline of the situation with regard to non-proliferation, certain countries are trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction, delivery systems and sensitive technologies. Some of them have been successful in this. A terrorist attack mounted with a weapon of mass destruction, such as a radiological weapon (otherwise known as a ‘dirty bomb’), could lead to severe social disruption.

 

The Netherlands has taken a series of measures to counter this threat. Following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on 9/11, the Dutch government decided in 2001 to make a number of organisational changes to the Dutch armed forces (see the report entitled ‘Defence and terrorism’, parliamentary paper 27925, no. 40, dated 18 January 2002). These changes were designed to improve the way in which Dutch forces were protected against attacks using NBC weapons and to raise the level of support provided by the armed forces to civilian organisations in both the Netherlands and abroad in the event of a disaster or a terrorist attack using nuclear, radiological, biological or chemical weapons. Among the measures taken were the formation of a rapid-response NBC company equipped with detection and decontamination equipment, and the decisions to concentrate the relatively small amount of NBC expertise available in the armed forces in the form of a single, joint NBC research institute, and to bring together the various NBC training courses in the form of a joint NBC training centre.

 

The government agrees with the AIV that the Ministry of Defence needs to play a more prominent role in dealing with the consequences of NBC contaminations. In its letter of 24 May 2006 to the House of Representatives on the “Intensification of Civil-Military cooperation”, the government announced its decision to set up a second NBC unit at the Ministry of Defence. As a result of this decision, it will now be possible not just to protect units deployed on missions, but also to guarantee a permanent system of national support in conjunction with the existing civil defences.

 

Another important aspect, alongside defence, is the preparation of response and after-care (also known as ‘consequence management’) in the event of The Netherlands suffering an attack with weapons of mass destruction. The aim of consequence management is to make society more resistant (in terms of processes, organisations and individuals) to terrorist attacks using CBRN weapons (i.e. chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons). For a list of activities in this context, see the 2005 progress report on the prevention of CBRN-related terrorism and disasters, which the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations presented to the House of Representatives on 11 April 2006.

 

The government’s request for advice discusses the matter of how European territory should be protected from long-range missiles fitted with nuclear warheads that are launched by high-risk countries. Ballistic missiles are a very effective means of delivering weapons of mass destruction. It is for this reason that the AIV links the issue of missile defence to CBRN non-proliferation and counter-proliferation measures, including measures aimed against ballistic missiles and missile technology. The issue of the in-flight interception of ballistic missiles should also be included in any comprehensive review of measures to provide protection from weapons of mass destruction. NATO is currently studying the (in)feasibility of a missile shield.

 

Flexible use of instruments

 

We have already argued that the non-proliferation regime is not watertight. As indicated, certain states have developed weapons of mass destruction despite the presence of this regime, or else by operating outside the regime. Moreover, the discovery of the Khan network has shown that a growing number of countries are capable of producing sensitive materials and using sensitive technologies that were previously restricted to countries that had signed up to the export control regimes. In other words, not all countries that have access to sensitive technologies are using effective national export controls. Although UN Security Council Resolution 1540 requires UN member states to put export controls in place, by no means all states have already done so. Disregarding the developments in individual states, there is mounting concern that terrorists may be able to gain access to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

 

These various developments make clear that it is no longer possible to assume that the current system of treaties, agreements and standards, even if it were to be enforced in all countries around the world, offers sufficient potential for preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As far as the Netherlands is concerned, the system of treaties, agreements and standards described above continues to form the heart of the government’s policy on non-proliferation. The Netherlands will continue to try and retain a consensus and make progress in terms of adequately implementing existing laws and using existing instruments. At the same time, given the need for being constantly aware of new, emergent security risks, the Netherlands is willing to add new instruments to the existing ones, use new techniques and assist in the development of new instruments that can be used in specific instances to counter new proliferation risks. The PSI and Resolution 1540 are recent examples of new instruments. A selective approach, based on individual cases and developments, and using a mix of both old and new instruments, can help to contain the emergent risks of proliferation.

 

3.                   Government response to the AIV’s policy recommendations

 

The AIV’s recommendations have been grouped under the following headings so that the government can respond to them in a logical order:

 

Strategy / integrated multilateral approach

 

Recommendations made by the AIV:

 

·                to adopt an integrated and multilateral approach as the basis for national and international non-proliferation policy (first recommendation);

·                to use the available instruments constructively and flexibly in order for the NPT to retain its credibility, while showing understanding for the objections and criticisms of the have-nots (third recommendation).

 

Government response:

 

As we have already made clear, the government accepts the need for an integrated, multilateral approach to non-proliferation policy, as set out by the AIV. The legally binding system of treaties and laws continues to form the core of this policy. It is also clear, however, that an integrated approach should offer sufficient opportunities for the flexible use of instruments and for the development of new instruments, given that new proliferation risks may arise that require a suitable response.

 

Although the Netherlands is party to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state, NATO’s nuclear deterrent is one of the instruments used to guarantee its security. As a result, the Netherlands, like the other non-nuclear-weapon states that are members of the NATO alliance, occupies a special position in relation to the NPT. This position has been a recurring cause of criticism, most notably (to use the AIV’s terminology) from the ‘have-nots’. The Netherlands understands the arguments and concerns voiced by these NPT member states. It maintains open and constructive contacts with the members of the New Agenda Coalition, a group that is generally regarded as forming the mouthpiece for the have-nots. Accordingly, the Netherlands voted in support of a motion tabled by the New Agenda Coalition at the UN General Assembly of 2005.

 

The European Union and NATO

 

Recommendations made by the AIV:

 

·                to press, within the EU, for multilateral solutions to the proliferation-sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle (10th recommendation);

·                to take active steps to combat brokering and to propose measures to this end within the EU (11th recommendation);

·                to coordinate, as far as possible, action taken on the PSI within the EU and arrange for a joint evaluation of this initiative (13th recommendation);

·                to press for the EU member states and/or the EU to release extra funds to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, for example in order to support the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, which focuses primarily on clearing dangerous stockpiles of nuclear and chemical weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union (15th recommendation);

·                to contribute, if possible within the framework of the EU, to solutions to the ‘administrative problems’ which are an increasing factor in the implementation of the G8 initiative in the Russian Federation (16th recommendation);

·                to urge all EU member states to honour their commitments under the EU Action Plan against Terrorism adopted in March 2004 (17th recommendation);

·                to continue pressing for the inclusion of proliferation as a permanent item on the agenda of the NATO Council (21st recommendation).

 

Government response:

 

The debate on multilateral solutions to the proliferation-sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle has not moved on much since the European Union formulated a common position for the NPT Review Conference in 2005. The AIV makes the same point in its report. The US proposals did lead to talks being held between the countries that enrich uranium on a commercial basis (including the Netherlands). These talks led to the formulation of a plan for a multilateral mechanism for assured access to nuclear fuel supplies, which was presented to the IAEA Board of Governors on 12-16 June 2006. This plan was to be discussed in more detail at a special meeting held in the margins of the IAEA General Conference from 18-22 September 2006, together with various other plans for Multilateral Nuclear Approaches (MNA). The Netherlands is strongly in favour of the importing countries also being actively involved in talks on a mechanism. The IAEA is the appropriate international platform for multilateral talks on this issue.

 

There is currently a debate taking place in the European Union on the issue of ‘brokering'. In March 2006, a report was published that gave the member states an idea of the effects of regulation on brokerage activities. Among the topics under discussion are whether and how the EU’s dual-use regulation can be tightened in order to provide an effective solution to the brokerage problem. The Netherlands is an active contributor to this debate.

 

The Netherlands is keen to see as all EU member states that wish to be so, involved in the PSI. Now that the idea of a ‘PSI core group’ (of which the Netherlands was a member) has been abandoned, all those countries that back the PSI and/or support the principle of interceptions in the framework of the PSI are welcome to subscribe to the Initiative. In June 2004, the European Union gave its explicit backing to the PSI. A meeting on PSI was held in Hamburg in November 2005, at which all the EU member states were represented. The Netherlands invited all EU member states to attend the PSI ‘Top Port’ exercise in Rotterdam in April of this year. This resulted in ten EU member states attending a PSI exercise for the first time, either as participants or as observers.

 

The European Union and individual EU member states have set aside large amounts of money to assist the Russian Federation in protecting or safely destroying its weapons of mass destruction. The G8 set four priorities to this end in 2002, viz. destroying chemical weapons, dismantling nuclear submarines, processing fissile materials and finding alternative employment for scientists working on weapons of mass destruction. The Dutch government has chosen to concentrate on assistance with the destruction of chemical weapons, and has spent almost €10 million on this. There have not been any problems getting countries to pledge funds. In fact, so many commitments have been made that it is worth considering spending the available funds in other parts of the former Soviet Union (rather than just in the Russian Federation), given that similar problems exist in other successor states of the Soviet Union. There have been practical difficulties with certain projects, for example in gaining access to sensitive facilities or weapon destruction plants. It would be wrong, however, to claim that such problems are on the increase. In most cases, satisfactory solutions have been found. Moreover, they are gradually becoming less frequent as both donor countries and the Russian Federation have gained experience with the implementation of projects in recent years.

 

In May 2006, the European Union adopted an updated version of the EU Action Plan Against Terrorism. The Action Plan is constantly being refined and forms the means by which the EU seeks to put its Counter-Terrorism Strategy into effect. The EU’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gijs de Vries, reports every six months on the progress that is being made in implementing the Action Plan. Although progress has been good, there are certain aspects of the plan that require a greater effort (see also the Minister of Justice’s letter of 28 September 2005 on the current state of the EU’s anti-terrorism policy).

 

The Netherlands aims to focus attention on the issue of non-proliferation in appropriate forums, including NATO. Together with the Senior Defence Group on Proliferation (DGP), the Senior Politico-Military Group on Proliferation (SGP) advises the NATO Council on matters relating to non-proliferation. The Netherlands is an active contributor to this debate. The government shares the AIV’s view that it is important for the NATO Council to address the issue of non-proliferation, and will press for action to be taken in this respect.

 

Non-proliferation and the United States

 

Recommendations made by the AIV:

 

·                to convey to the United States, on all suitable occasions, in all relevant forums and with as many like-minded countries as possible, that in order for the international community to achieve success in combating proliferation, a multilateral approach must continue to form the core of the strategy. The cornerstone of this strategy is a strong NPT, but for the credibility of this treaty the United States and Russia must make substantial disarmament efforts. The attention of the EU member states France and the United Kingdom should also be drawn to their responsibility for disarmament (fourth recommendation);

·                to convey to all parties and groups in Washington on all suitable occasions, just as in the case of the NPT, that the CTBT is a very important and integral part of the non-proliferation regime (fifth recommendation);

·                to urge the EU to clearly draw the attention of the United States on all suitable occasions to its positions on non-proliferation and disarmament (sixth recommendation).

 

Government response:

 

The Netherlands regularly consults the United States on the issue of non-proliferation in the widest sense, at a variety of levels and on a wide range of occasions. In doing so, the Dutch government seeks not only to stress the importance of a multilateral approach, but also to draw the attention of the US government to other vital steps to reinforce the nuclear non-proliferation system, such as the CTBT. Non-proliferation is also a recurring topic of debate between the European Union and the United States, in routine troika meetings, in the Western Europe and Other Group (WEOG), in the margins of international conferences and in informal settings.

 

It is important to bear in mind that both the United States and the Russian Federation have drastically reduced their arsenals of strategic nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War. Other countries, on the other hand, have expanded their nuclear arsenals. Although no precise figures are available, it is generally assumed that China is continuing to expand and modernise its arsenal of nuclear weapons.

 

Intensive consultations are also held with France and the United Kingdom (both bilaterally and within the EU) in preparing for conferences and other meetings on the topic of non-proliferation. Although the government agrees with the AIV that there is a need to draw these countries’ attention to their special responsibility for nuclear disarmament, both France and the United Kingdom have gone further down the road to disarmament than the other nuclear-weapon states. Both countries have ratified the CTBT, have reduced their arsenals of nuclear weapons and have affirmed their support for a verifiable FMCT.

 

As far as the CTBT is concerned, the government has for many years acted in accordance with the AIV’s fifth recommendation. However, in view of the current composition of the US Congress, it is highly unlikely that Congress will take a different line from in 1999 and agree to ratify the CTBT. As long as there is no political prospect of the US ratifying the treaty, the Netherlands will continue to press strongly for more countries to ratify it, in the hope that this will encourage the US to follow their example in due course. This is reflected, for example, by the financial support the Dutch government gives to the work of the Special Representative for the CTBT, the former Dutch ambassador Jaap Ramaker. The government also provides voluntary funding to the CTBT organisation, so that it can recruit competent staff and build up a verification network. A Dutch national, Hein Haak, was recently appointed to chair the international committee that is supervising the formation of this network. The government is also funding his activities. It is worth noting, finally, that although the US – at present at least – is not in a position to ratify the CTBT, it is continuing to provide financial support for the creation of a verification network. This is a welcome development.

 

The European Union is not always able to agree on a common view; nor is it always possible for the Dutch position to be adequately reflected in the position adopted by the European Union. In such cases, there is little choice but to form ad-hoc coalitions, in some instances with non-EU countries. For example, since the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the Netherlands has been working with a group of NATO member states of varying composition (with Belgium and Norway as regular members). The group has put together various coherent sets of proposals, most recently on the occasion of the 2005 Review Conference. Working in a coalition also helps to convey a more powerful message to Washington.

 

Regional affairs

 

Recommendations made by the AIV:

 

·                with regard to the crisis concerning Iran, to help in the search for a diplomatic solution, for which purpose as much joint international pressure as possible must be brought to bear on the unpredictable regime in Iran (seventh recommendation);

·                to support the existing initiatives to create nuclear-weapon-free zones in both the Middle East and the Gulf region (eighth recommendation);

·                to encourage the EU to support, financially and otherwise, the negotiations on the North Korea issue, as it did in the mid-1990s, if this would bring a solution closer (ninth recommendation);

·                to involve itself, as a member of the NSG, in formulating the conditions to be met by India and, in cooperation with like-minded countries, urge maximum conformity with the non-proliferation regime (14th recommendation).

 

Government response:

 

The government takes the view that a diplomatic solution is the most effective way of defusing the nuclear crisis in Iran. To this end, it has given its full support to the activities undertaken by Germany, France and the United Kingdom (the E3 countries). Despite this, Iran nonetheless resumed part of its enrichment and reprocessing-related activities in the middle of 2005. The vast majority of the international community regarded the suspension of these activities as forming a condition for the continuation of talks. When it became clear at the beginning of this year that a Russian diplomatic initiative was also unlikely to be successful, there was little option but to refer the case to the UN Security Council. One of the main reasons for this referral was to enable the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to continue and intensify its investigations and data-collection activities in Iran. There is every reason for this, given that the Director-General of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, was forced to conclude once again, in his report of 28 April 2006, that the Iranians were not cooperating fully with his investigation, as a result of which a number of important questions remained unanswered.

 

At the beginning of June, Iran was offered a package of concrete incentives by a group consisting of the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany. However, five weeks after being offered the package, it was clear that Iran was not at all willing to enter into a serious discussion of its contents. Moreover, Iran had not taken the action that was required in order to start negotiations, i.e. suspend all enrichment and reprocessing-related activities. On 12 July 2006, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany stated that, in these circumstances, they had no option other than to return to the Security Council to resume the debate on a resolution that had been suspended two months earlier. The talks in the UN Security Council on a resolution began in the week following the G8 summit in St Petersburg (15-17 July). The Netherlands supported this move, the main purpose of which was to demonstrate the common resolve of the international community to Iran, in the hope that this would encourage Iran to satisfy the conditions for a resumption of talks.

 

The government supports the plans for creating nuclear-weapon-free zones. These can help to improve regional stability and may help to make countries less keen to obtain nuclear weapons. For this reason, the government is in favour of strengthening the existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and extending them to other parts of the world, and last year called upon the other signatories of the NPT to take action to this effect. The AIV rightly points out, however, that the countries in the Middle East and the Gulf region are not members of such a zone and that it would be a good suggestion to create nuclear-weapon-free zones in both these regions. Whilst the Netherlands has for many years supported initiatives for creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, political considerations have long prevented this. The government was therefore interested to hear calls emanating from the Gulf region for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone, as this would be a good way of encouraging the establishment of a similar zone in the Middle East as a possible next step. The government will continue to pursue this objective, both on its own and as a member state of the European Union, and will, in accordance with the AIV’s recommendation, examine the opportunities for undertaking second-track diplomacy in this regard. It is worth pointing out in this respect that the Action Plans for the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy contain a number of non-proliferation clauses.

 

The situation surrounding North Korea has further deteriorated in the wake of the launching of missiles by North Korea on 5 July 2006. On 15 July 2006, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1695 condemning the missile launches, calling on North Korea to cease all activities relating to its ballistic missile programme and to comply, in this context, with the existing agreements on the moratorium on missile launches. The Resolution also calls on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, to comply with the NPT and IAEA safeguards and to resume its membership of the Six-Party Talks immediately. Finally, the Resolution urges the UN member states to exercise caution in selling goods and technologies that have a bearing on the North Korean arms programme, and in buying such goods and technologies from North Korea.

 

Formally speaking, the Resolution is based not on Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, but on the Security Council’s ‘special responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security’. This means that there are doubts surrounding the legal status of the Resolution. This is currently a topic of debate in New York.

 

As soon as the Resolution was passed, North Korea announced that it had no intention of complying with it. It is now a question of waiting to see whether the North Koreans are likely to change their minds, and in any event to rejoin the Six-Party Talks, the other members of which are South Korea, China, Japan, the United States and the Russian Federation.

 

In the past, the EU gave financial support to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO), in the hope that this would bring a solution closer. In the debate on the issue among EU member states, the Netherlands consistently belonged to the group of countries that was in favour of making the largest possible contribution. Even today, it remains important, for the sake of promoting stability and security, to try and find a solution to the precarious situation surrounding North Korea. For this reason, and provided that North Korea is prepared to comply with the terms of the Resolution, the government will continue in the future to encourage the EU to make a financial contribution in order to help find a solution to the North Korean issue.

 

As far as India is concerned, the government refers to the recent letter sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the House of Representatives on the position adopted by the Netherlands in the Nuclear Suppliers Group in relation to the agreement between the United States and India on civil nuclear cooperation (letter of 19 April 2006, ref. DVB/NN-253/06). Whilst the government shares some of the doubts implicit in the AIV’s analysis, it does not share the Advisory Council’s conclusion that this agreement undermines the authority of the NPT, if only because so little is known about it. The Dutch government has decided in principle to adopt a positive position in the EU, the NSG and in bilateral meetings for the time being. At the same time, the Dutch government has made clear it would very much like India to agree to meet the obligations laid down under the CTBT and to impose a moratorium on the production of fissile materials for explosive purposes. India has already made arrangements with the United States on issues such as the separation of civil and military nuclear installations and has agreed to make its civil installations subject to IAEA safeguards, which would include signing up to an IAEA Additional Protocol. Importantly, very little is known about key details, most of which are of a technical nature, of the implementation of the US-Indian nuclear agreement. More needs to be known about the details and the potential impact of the agreement on the NPT before the government can adopt a definitive position on it, as on the proposal made by the US for a special position for India within the NSG guidelines.

 

The Netherlands

 

Recommendations made by the AIV:

 

·                to send the biannual EU reports on non-proliferation to the Dutch parliament from now on (second recommendation);

·                to take a position on the Scheltema Committee’s recommendation to establish a single contact point for the entire Dutch policy on export control regimes (12th recommendation);

·                to continue treating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery as an area for joint strategic attention from the Dutch intelligence services and to allocate sufficient capacity to this (18th recommendation);

·                vigorously to implement the planned expansion of the counter-NBC capabilities of the armed forces (19th recommendation);

·                to arrange for all the authorities concerned to hold regular joint exercises on dealing with the consequences of attacks involving NBC weapons, so as to ensure the quality of the cooperation and the response (20th recommendation).

 

Government response:

 

The Dutch government is fully prepared to consult the House of Representatives on its non-proliferation policy. The biannual EU reports on non-proliferation would not appear to offer the best basis for such consultations, however, as their policy content is low and they tend to focus – in accordance with their status as EU reports – on EU projects. The government will immediately inform the House of Representatives of any relevant policy developments in the European Union, as it already informs the House on a regular basis on political and policy developments in relation to non-proliferation. The above mentioned letter sent to the House of Representatives on the Dutch position in the NSG in relation to the US-Indian agreement on civil nuclear cooperation is a recent example of this.

 

The AIV’s 22nd recommendation is intended for the House of Representatives. It goes without saying that the government cannot interfere with the responsibility of the House of Representatives for setting its own priorities.

 

As regards the Scheltema Committee’s recommendation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Finance are currently studying the existing structures and division of responsibilities for the Dutch policy on export control regimes. Their aim is to see whether any changes need to be made to the current situation and, if so, what type of changes these should be. The House of Representatives will be notified of the findings of this study. Both the General Intelligence and Security Service and the Military Intelligence and Security Service regard the issue of non-proliferation as an area for joint strategic attention and have allocated considerable resources to it. For further details, see the annual reports that both Services submit to the House of Representatives.

 

The scenario analyses performed by TNO (the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) for the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, in conjunction with other relevant ministries, fully endorse and support the need for expanding the counter-NBC capabilities of the armed forces. In their letter of 24 May 2006 to the House of Representatives on the intensification of civil-military cooperation, the Minister of Defence and the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations announced that they were planning to set up a second NBC unit that would make a form of permanent support for the civil authorities possible.

 

The government agrees with the AIV that there is a need to hold regular joint exercises in the area of protection against NBC-threats. In 2005, a national headquarters exercise on nuclear attacks was held in Borssele, involving a number of emergency services and the Ministry of Defence. Alongside this type of exercise, which will be held at regular intervals, the government also announced, in the above letter on the intensification of civil-military cooperation, that it had decided to set up a joint training centre for military and civilian NBC personnel.

 

4.                   Conclusion

 

The government has studied the advisory report from the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) with great interest and agrees with the bulk of the recommendations. The government regards this report as providing support for the main thrust of its current policy on non-proliferation, as an encouragement to continue on the same track and as a source of inspiration for the further development of the Dutch policy on non-proliferation.

 

Press releases

The press release related to this report has not been translated.