The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the Conference on Disarmament as the sole multilateral negotiating body on disarmament. They regretted that the continued inflexible postures of some of the Nuclear Weapon States continue to prevent the Conference on Disarmament from establishing an Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament. They emphasised the necessity to start negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time, including a Nuclear Weapons Convention. They reiterated their call on the Conference on Disarmament to establish as soon as possible and as the highest priority, an Ad Hoc Committee on Nuclear Disarmament. They underlined once again the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control. In this regard, they regretted that no progress has been made in the fulfilment of this obligation despite the lapse of eight years.
The Ministers again called for an international conference, at the earliest possible date, with the objective of arriving at an agreement on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specified framework of time to eliminate all nuclear weapons, to prohibit their development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction. In this context, they reiterated the resolve at the Millennium Summit by the Heads of State or Government as contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration to strive for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, and to keep all options open for achieving this aim, including the possibility of convening an international conference to identify ways and means of eliminating nuclear dangers.
The Ministers reaffirmed that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and reaffirmed further that non-nuclear-weapon States should be effectively assured by nuclear-weapons States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. They reiterated their conviction that pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons efforts for the conclusion of a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on security assurances to Non- Nuclear-Weapon States should be pursued as a matter of priority by the Members of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Ministers continued to be concerned over the negative implications of the development and deployment of anti-ballistic missile defence systems and the pursuit of advanced military technologies capable of being deployed in outer space which have, inter alia, contributed to the further erosion of an international climate conducive to the promotion of disarmament and the strengthening of international security. The abrogation of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-ballistic Missiles (ABM) brings new challenges to strategic stability and the prevention of an arms race in outer space. They remained concerned that the implementation of a national missile defence system could trigger an arms race(s) and the further development of advanced missile systems and an increase in the number of nuclear weapons. In accordance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 58/36, they emphasised the urgent need for the commencement of substantive work, in the Conference on Disarmament, on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
The Ministers welcomed the report prepared by the First Panel of Governmental Experts 17