Posted by Abolition, 4th May 2007 | Category: Nuclear non-proliferation Treaty
Ambassador Amano said he had received many representations on the reference in the agenda to "full compliance" and reported that his intensive consultations had shown that while the majority of states wanted to avoid the meeting being bogged down in procedures, "the consultations have confirmed that to reopen the agenda would not be a viable option". However, he formally clarified that the Chair's intention with regard to the language in the agenda is that "compliance in the Treaty means compliance with all the provisions of the Treaty." He asked all delegations to reflect on the agenda he had proposed with this clarification in mind. He then closed the session after refusing to open the meeting to any comments or statements from states parties, although Canadian's ambassador, Paul Meyer, had requested the floor. [See Monday's report on http://www.acronym.
The Chair's clarification with regard to 'full compliance' meaning compliance with all articles of the treaty was clearly directed towards the Iranian delegation, which is understood to be the sole (and increasingly isolated) holdout on consensus, in effect exercising a veto on an agenda acceptable to all the other NPT parties in Vienna.
Iran continues to push for the draft agenda to be amended to make it explicit that compliance is to be "with all articles of the treaty". Ambassador Amano's dilemma is that while it is clear in the real world that "full compliance" applies to all articles, if he now opens the agenda for amendment it could open a floodgate of other amendment requests from states that have pragmatically accepted the difficult compromises reflected in his draft text but would - of course - prefer to add or subtract certain elements to make it more "perfect".
A further problem for the Chair is that though Iranian diplomats have told delegations, NGOs and press that all Iran wants is for the agenda to stipulate explicitly that compliance applies to all articles, they have not given the Chair a clear assurance that Iran would definitely accept the draft agenda if he were to open the agenda to make this addition (thereby braving the wrath of others whom he will have to prevent from also putting forward their preferred language changes). Without such a definite reassurance, delegations have raised concerns that if the agenda is reopened, Iran will "pocket" the amendment and then demand something further.
As the NPT Meeting enters the weekend with no agenda, hopes for constructive progress and outcome are fading, leading to deep questions about how the NPT can be strengthened and implemented if those nuclear or non-nuclear states who have provoked concerns about their nuclear programmes can effectively veto any discussion of their own compliance with and implementation of the Treaty.