The international community continues to face a number of serious challenges, regionally and globally, in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament. North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose a new level of threat and call for a strong and determined reaction by the G7 and international community. The confirmation of the use of chemical weapons including toxic chemicals as weapons in Syria by the Syrian Armed Forces and ISIL/Da'esh is highly disturbing, breaking a longstanding taboo. The illicit proliferation of conventional arms to terrorists represents a serious threat to be addressed also through more adequate export control and border security measures.
We reiterate our commitment to safeguarding international peace and security and to creating conditions that would lead to a more secure, stable and safer world. While recognizing that the effectiveness of any effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons is dependent upon improvements in the security environment for all nations, we support further practical and concrete steps in the fields of nuclear arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, aimed at achieving this goal in a way that promotes international stability and in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
We the G7 Members remain committed to the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) endorsed by UNSCR 2231(2015), as well as to contribute positively to the 2017-2020 review cycle of the NPT, which remains the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and a foundation for disarmament and peaceful uses.
We are gravely concerned by the continuing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in several regions, as well as by the recent use of such weapons against civilian populations.
North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a grave and increasing threat to regional and international peace and security and constitute a blatant violation of the non-proliferation regime. We condemn in the strongest terms all the nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches carried out by North Korea in clear violation of its international obligations under UNSC Resolutions 1718, 2270 and 2321. It is profoundly deplorable that, despite repeated calls by the international community not to conduct any further provocations, North Korea has conducted its 4th and 5th nuclear tests and has dramatically increased ballistic missile launches since the beginning of 2016.
We reiterate our demand that the leadership of the DPRK immediately and fully implement all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and refrains from any other destabilizing or provocative actions. We demand that the DPRK live up to its commitments under the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks of 19 September 2005 and return at an early date to the NPT and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards.
We recall the international community's firm opposition to North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and delivery systems and reiterate our support to the goal of the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
While reaffirming our shared objective to achieve a diplomatic solution to North Korea's weapons of mass destruction threats, we are convinced that this requires a strong and unified response. We welcome the unanimous adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2321 on 30 November 2016 and call upon all States to redouble their efforts to fully implement it, as well as all the previous relevant UNSC Resolutions. We are determined to urgently strengthen measures aimed at stopping North Korea from advancing military nuclear capability and related means of delivery.
We also call on North Korea to refrain from any use of chemical weapons and to join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). North Korea is one of only four UN Member States not members of this Convention.
We express serious concern about the report that a chemical weapon was used in a fatal incident on 13 February at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 and express full support for Malaysia's ongoing investigation. We welcome Malaysia's work with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to address the case.
The OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism's (JIM) findings of use of chemical weapons, including toxic chemicals as weapons, by the Syrian Arab Armed Forces in three cases and ISIL/Da'esh in one case, as well as continuing reports of alleged incidents, are matters of grave concern.
We are shocked by the reports of use of chemical weapons in an airstrike in the Khan Shaykhun area of southern Idlib on 4 April. We express full support to the OPCW Fact Finding Mission investigation and stress that if the Fact Finding Mission concludes that chemical weapons have or have likely been used, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism should immediately carry out its investigation in accordance with its mandate to identify the perpetrators. We call upon the Syrian Arab Republic and all parties in Syria to cooperate fully with the OPCW to allow a prompt conclusion of its investigation on this heinous incident.
We condemn in the strongest terms any use of chemical weapons, including toxic chemicals as weapons, in Syria and express alarm over the continuing reports of civilians killed and injured by such use. We remain convinced that the UN Security Council should take substantive actions in response to the shocking findings by the body which it set up and deplore the vetoes in February 2017 of a draft Resolution aimed at sanctioning those responsible in Syria.
The identification of the perpetrators of those horrific acts and holding them to account for their actions remain crucial for deterring future such attacks. This reinforces the importance of holding perpetrators of such acts to account to avoid additional brutality and continued flouting of international norms. For this reason, we reaffirm our strong support for the work of the JIM, welcome the unanimous adoption, on 17 November 2016, of UN Security Council Resolution 2319 extending its mandate for a further year, and urge the JIM to ensure that it is ready to fulfil its mandate at the earliest date.
In this context, we urge the Syrian Arab Republic to fulfil without further delay its obligations under the CWC, including the terms of the Decision of the Executive Council of the OPCW of 11 November 2016 (EC-83/DEC.5); to immediately desist from any further use of toxic chemicals as weapons; to facilitate the OPCW inspections without delay when requested; and to address the unresolved issues, including gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies, in the Syrian declaration and related submissions on its chemical weapons program to the OPCW.
In parallel, we reiterate our commitment to working with partners around the world to address the serious threat posed by the terrorist use of chemical weapons, including toxic chemicals as weapons, in light of continuing reports of such use in both Syria and Iraq.
In our fight against the destabilizing effects of Small Arms and Light Weapons, one key area of G7-engagement will remain the Sahel and northern Africa.
We reaffirm our full commitment to the objectives and obligations of the NPT and pledge ourselves to redouble our efforts to uphold and strengthen the Treaty in all its aspects (non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy). We remain committed to the universalization of the NPT and urge States that have not yet done so to become parties to it without delay and without conditions.
We will work collectively to achieve a successful outcome of the First Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference, to be held in Vienna on 2-12 May 2017, and we stress the importance to move forward during the next four years Review Cycle. We call on all States Parties to the NPT to make a constructive contribution to a balanced review of the Treaty.
The role of the IAEA and its safeguards system remains of utmost importance to the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We continue promoting the universalization of the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements together with an Additional Protocol as the international verification standard. We call on all States who have not yet done so to sign and bring into force an Additional Protocol and, where relevant, adopt the modified Small Quantities Protocol. We welcome the provision of technical assistance where necessary. We underscore the importance of the application of IAEA safeguards and Additional Protocol to nuclear fuel cycle activities.
We recognize that all States Parties to the NPT have an inalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with the Treaty. We continue to be ready to cooperate with States that meet their nuclear non-proliferation obligations, wishing to develop a peaceful civil nuclear program with full transparency and in compliance with the highest standards of safety, security, non-proliferation and respect of the environment. In this regard, we underline the fact that these factors are enablers for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology.
We reiterate our commitment to work with the IAEA, which plays a key coordinating role in strengthening capacities worldwide for the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technology, in accordance with the NPT. We support the Director General in pursuing the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative and activities in capacity building which can make an effective contribution to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We welcome further contributions to these efforts. We are committed to the IAEA's Technical Cooperation Program as an effective mean to promote the benefits of nuclear technology in areas such as human health, agriculture, water management and industrial applications, as well as energy to meet development needs.
We reaffirm our strong support for concrete measures to reduce the risk of conflict, manage escalation risks, forestall destructive arms races and otherwise promote international peace and security. We invite all States to join us in pursuit of practical and realistic initiatives that can promote verifiable nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including dialogue between nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States. There is no alternative to an inclusive step-by-step, progressive approach taking into account the need for international stability and security for all as the way to create conditions that could allow a world without nuclear weapons.
In this respect, we reiterate our support for a halt to the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, which is the objective of a fissile material cut-off treaty, and welcome the establishment of the high-level fissile material cut-off treaty expert preparatory group to address challenges in this area. We urge all States to declare and maintain moratoria on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
We stress the value of co-operation between nuclear weapon States and non-nuclear weapon States developing practical and effective nuclear arms control and disarmament verification initiatives, which has been made clear by the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.
We welcome the efforts taken by the nuclear-weapon States in the G7 that have enhanced transparency and urge others to do the same. In this regard, we welcome the role that members of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative have played to bridge divisions among NPT States Parties.
The faithful implementation of existing non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control treaties remains of great importance for their concrete security benefits and for strengthening the mutual trust required for further measures to improve stability and security, including through arms reductions. We thus welcome the continued implementation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty by the United States and Russian Federation. Compliance is essential with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a landmark arms-control agreement that eliminated an entire class of weapons and advanced, and remains key to, European security and broader international security and stability, including in Asia. In this context, we call upon the Russian Federation to preserve the INF Treaty by addressing concerns regarding its full and verifiable compliance.
We believe that all States should maintain all existing voluntary moratoria on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosion, and those States that have not instituted such moratoria should do so.
The verification regime being established by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, in particular the International Monitoring System and International Data Centre, has proven its effectiveness by providing substantive and reliable data on the nuclear tests conducted by North Korea. We strongly encourage all interested States to complete the IMS as a matter of priority. While recalling the UN Security Council Resolution 2310(2016), we note the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty's potential contribution to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Non-Proliferation
We strongly support existing Nuclear Weapons Free Zones on the basis of treaties freely arrived at among States of the regions concerned as a tool which can help promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as regional security.
We remain committed to the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons as well as other WMD and their means of delivery in the Middle East, alongside efforts for a comprehensive and durable peace in that region, and call for renewed inclusive regional dialogue to achieve such a goal.
We attach great importance to bringing about the entry into force of relevant legally binding protocols of nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties, which enhance regional and international security by helping to build confidence between nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States.
We support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) as an important contribution to the non-proliferation regime. Continued and full implementation of the JCPoA is essential to build confidence that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature. We value the JCPoA's comprehensive structure and the commitment by all parties to its solid verification mechanism. We commend and continue supporting the IAEA in its crucial work in Iran, including monitoring and verification to help ensure compliance with Iran's JCPoA commitments and safeguard obligations, thus playing a key role in fostering mutual trust. We stress the need for all parties to entirely and consistently fulfill all their commitments under the JCPoA in good faith. We reaffirm the need for Iran to strictly abide by all its nuclear related commitments.
UN Security Council Resolution 2231 needs to be fully implemented, including its provisions prohibiting the transfer of arms. We deeply regret Iran's testing of ballistic missiles; as such tests are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231. We call upon Iran to play a constructive regional role by contributing to efforts to achieve political solutions, reconciliation and peace in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen and other parts of the region and to cooperate in countering the spread of terrorism and violent extremism.
In the year of the twentieth anniversary of its entry into force, we renew our strong support to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and deep appreciation of the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). CWC universalization and its full and effective implementation remain high priorities. We call on all States not yet party to ratify or accede to the Convention without delay and without conditions.
We applaud the successful removal of all chemical weapons precursors from Libya last summer, in an operation facilitated and coordinated by the OPCW and endorsed by the United Nations Security Council through Resolution 2298(2016).
We reiterate our strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances, emphasizing that such use is unacceptable. We reiterate that those individuals, entities, groups or governments responsible for any use of chemical weapons must be held accountable, since accountability of perpetrators is a crucial tool to prevent the further use of chemical weapons.
We are fully committed to countering the evolving threat of chemical weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups or other non-state actors, to eradicating non-state actors possession of such weapons, and to ensuring full accountability for any State or non-state actor which uses them.
We strongly support the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) as the cornerstone of the international ban on biological weapons. We continue to promote its universalization and a more substantial and effective implementation by all States Parties as key priorities. Transparency and confidence-building measures, voluntary transparency initiatives, cooperation and assistance, as well as practical steps to reinforce the UN Secretary General's Mechanism for investigation of alleged use of chemical and biological weapons are essential tools to strengthen the Convention.
Bearing in mind that the Eighth Review Conference was not able to achieve consensus on a substantive program of work for the intersessional period, we call on all States Parties to redouble their efforts to promote and secure agreement on a strengthened future inter-sessional process in view of the next Meeting of States Parties to be held in Geneva from 4 to 8 December.
The BTWC is an important element in the international community's response to counter deliberate biosecurity threats, but it should not and does not stand alone. We are cooperating across a range of relevant organizations and initiatives to build capacity to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats, including through the Global Partnership against the spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, as well as through support for implementing the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations, including through the Global Health Security Agenda. In this regard, we have offered collectively to assist over one hundred countries over the next five years and encourage others to join this collective effort.
We appreciate the second Comprehensive Review of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540(2004) concluded last December, which remains a crucial instrument in the efforts to combat proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery, as well as their potential acquisition by non-state actors. We welcome UN Security Council Resolution 2325(2016), calling for greater capacity building assistance and for more intense cooperation among all stakeholders, including civil society and academia.
We stress the importance of the 1540 Committee in the discharge of its mandate for capacity-building assistance and encouragement to all States to work towards the full implementation of UNSCR 1540. We call upon all States that have not yet done so, to submit their first national report to the 1540 Committee without further delay, as well as to start developing effective national control lists at the earliest opportunity for the implementation of UNSCR 1540.
While recognizing the primary responsibility of States, we stress the importance for the full implementation of UNSCR 1540 of the partnership between Governments and all the other relevant actors. In this respect, we appreciate the "Wiesbaden Process" as a tool aimed at facilitating the Committee's dialogue with industry, and strengthening the partnership between governments and the private sector, including in the field of export controls.
We reiterate our commitment to reduce global proliferation threats through sound and effective implementation of WMD-related guidelines of international export control regimes (Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group) and the Zangger Committee. We urge all States participating in the three aforementioned regimes to act consistently with their Guidelines, encourage all States outside of the regimes to adhere to their Guidelines, and urge all States to enhance the implementation of their national export controls and, in particular, to exercise vigilance to ensure that the supply of items and technology covered by the regimes does not contribute to programs of proliferation concern.
In the year of its thirtieth anniversary and while missile technology proliferation remains a matter of serious concern, we reiterate our firm support for the Missile Technology Control Regime.
We continue to support the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) which plays a vital role in facilitating the interdiction of shipments of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related materials to and from States and non-state actors of proliferation concern, including through proactive and voluntary activities directed at building national capacities and fostering international cooperation.
We further support outreach activities for enhanced participation to meet the emerging WMD proliferation challenges, including through expanding global support for the 2003 Statement of Interdiction Principles. We look forward to the 2018 High Level Political Meeting to be held in Paris and call on all PSI endorsing States to capitalize on the existing achievements and further strengthen the Initiative.
The Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) remains the only multilateral transparency and confidence building instrument to counter the threat of proliferation of missiles, including those capable of delivering WMD. Emphasizing that the HCoC strengthens disarmament and non-proliferation objectives and mechanisms, we continue to promote its universalization, as a crucial priority.
We confirm our unwavering commitment to the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GP) and its coordination of funding programs and activities to combat chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism. We welcome the GP's engagement with a wide range of regions, including Africa, and the increasing attention to the building of a CBRN security culture as well as the continuing synergy with Committee 1540.
The international community must remain vigilant to the constantly evolving threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism, especially by preventing the potential acquisition of nuclear and radiological material by terrorists, extremists, and non-state and other malicious actors. We strongly support international non-proliferation efforts, including measures aimed at preventing the spread of such material.
Bearing in mind the Ministerial Declaration adopted at the IAEA ministerial-level International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions held in Vienna from 5 to 9 December 2016, we reaffirm our support for the central coordinating role of the Agency in strengthening nuclear security, including by maintaining the momentum of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) process. Accordingly, we are strongly committed to the work of the Nuclear Security Contact Group, including the coordination of actions by States to further support and strengthen international organizations and institutions actively engaged in efforts to counter nuclear terrorism.
In this regard, we fully support the role of the United Nations, IAEA, INTERPOL, Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and the GP in taking forward the NSS legacy and underpinning its robust and comprehensive global nuclear security architecture.
We also commend the work of the GICNT, welcome its 10th Anniversary in June 2016, and look forward to its 10th Plenary meeting in Tokyo, on June 1-2, 2017.
We underline the importance of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, in this tenth anniversary year of its entry into force, and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities, and its 2005 Amendment, whose entry into force on 8 May 2016 we strongly welcome. We fully support continued efforts toward full implementation and universalization of these instruments and we urge all States that have not already done so to become party to them.
We reaffirm the importance of achieving and maintaining high levels of nuclear safety worldwide and international cooperation to work toward this end. States with a nuclear power program need to develop appropriate safety infrastructure and adequate human resources. We reaffirm our support for the IAEA central role in capacity building in this area. We encourage the States that have not done so to join the international conventions on nuclear safety and all the Contracting Parties of the Conventions to work toward their effective and sustainable implementation. We invite the States to participate in the international nuclear liability instruments.
We confirm the importance of promoting the highest level of nuclear safety in international nuclear transfers and cooperation. We remain committed to facilitate the development of the infrastructure necessary for States embarking on a nuclear power program according to the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation. We urge all countries, when exporting nuclear power plants, to accord with "OECD Common Approaches for Export Credits Agencies" and to encourage destination States to host relevant IAEA peer review missions, prior to commissioning their first nuclear power plant.
Conventional Weapons, Including Small Arms and Light Weapons
We are deeply concerned about the illicit transfer and destabilizing accumulation of conventional arms, in particular small arms and light weapons, and related ammunition, which continue to constitute a major challenge to security and development in many parts of the world. In this regard, we fully endorse Target 16.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals to significantly reduce illicit arms flows by 2030.
We acknowledge efforts deployed by affected States, in particular on the African Continent, in tackling the illicit trafficking of arms, which fuel armed violence in their regions, and stand ready to support them as a matter of priority. We welcome the G7ľAU initiative on SALW-control in the extended Sahel, which aims to promote synchronized efforts between donors, regional organizations and recipient countries. The improvement of Physical Security and Stockpile Management is a key element in this regard, requiring capacity building for the competent national institutions. We will also increase our efforts to counter the diversion of weapons that may boost the capacity of criminal organizations and terrorist groups.
We recognize the continued importance of the UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, as well as the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace in a Timely Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons and the UN Register of Conventional Arms and call upon all States to implement their commitments under the respective instruments. We also call upon all States to consider the ratification of the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
We stress that the Wassenaar Arrangement contributes to international and regional security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in the transfer of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations. We appeal to non-participating States to make every effort to apply its standards and control lists. We will continue to strengthen cooperation in the Wassenaar Arrangement to prevent the illicit transfer of conventional arms and in this regard we call upon all States to continue stringent implementation of their national export control on sensitive goods and technology.
We continue to promote effective systems of national controls for exports and imports of conventional arms, such as those called for in the Arms Trade Treaty to contribute to international and regional peace, security and stability.
Outer space activities play a significant and increasing role in the social, economic, scientific and technological development of States, as well as in maintaining international peace and security. In this context, we reiterate our commitment to preserve a safe, secure, and sustainable outer space environment and the need to evolve and implement principles of responsible behavior for all outer space activities in a prompt and pragmatic manner, ensuring the peaceful exploration and use of outer space on the basis of equality and in accordance with international law.
We call on all States to refrain from irresponsible intentional destruction of space objects, including by anti-satellite tests, and from any other action which brings about, directly or indirectly, damage or destruction of space objects. We strongly encourage all States to take appropriate measures to cooperate in good faith to avoid harmful interference with outer space activities, in a manner consistent with international law, as well as to cooperate to prevent the creation and diffusion of long-lived orbital debris.
We reaffirm our commitment, and call on all States, to review and implement, to the extent practicable, the proposed transparency and confidence-building measures contained in the recommendations of the UN Group of Governmental Experts Report (A/68/189, 29 July 2013) such as information exchange on space policies and strategies, information exchange and notifications related to outer space activities in a timely manner and an effective consultation mechanism.
We strongly support efforts to rapidly complete clear, practicable and proven Guidelines for Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities by the UN Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) by 2018. We encourage all Member States of the Committee to play a constructive role to this end, building on the significant results recently achieved, both during the 59th session of the UN-COPUOS and the 54th session of the Committee's Scientific and Technical Subcommittees.