17 September 2012
Mr. Deputy Secretary-General, Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am speaking as Mongolia’s focal point and the coordinator of the country’s nuclear-weapon-free status.
It gives me a great pleasure and honor to participate in the signing ceremony of two important political documents: Mongolia’s Declaration regarding its nuclear-weapon-free status and the P5 Joint Declaration in connection with that declaration. These documents are a result of careful consultations that duly reflect the interests of all six parties and the broader common interests of promoting the goals of nuclear non-proliferation and greater mutual trust and understanding. They are a product of close consultations among the P5, of Mongolia’s talks with individual members of the P5 and with the P5 as a group.
As products of compromise, these declarations are not perfect documents. However, they bridge the differences of views and approaches to the issue, and lay the foundations of an agreed regime regarding Mongolia’s unique nuclear-weapon-free status.
Mongolia’s unique case
Due to its geopolitical location and the current international practice, Mongolia cannot form part of any traditional (regional) nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ). However, absence of an established practice cannot not be an excuse to sideline an issue. On Mongolia’s part, it does not want to find itself excluded from the general movement towards a world free of nuclear weapons. It does not want its territory to be a vast undefined grey area in this sense; it wants to be part and parcel of the emerging nuclear-weapon-free world. It believes that that would be in the interests of not only of Mongolia itself, but also, as a measure of transparency and predictability, of its neighbors and the region as a whole. Herein lies the importance of a clearly defined Mongolia’s international status.
Without dwelling concretely on the specific provisions of the two declarations, I would only like to underline my country’s unwavering commitment to promoting a world free of nuclear weapons through concrete practical steps by all, including by individual countries such as Mongolia. I would also like to underline the P5’s recognition of Mongolia’s legislation regarding its nuclear-weapon-free status, recognition of the status itself as well as their intent to respect that status and not to contribute to any act that would violate it. This tantamounts to recognition of Mongolia’s neutrality in nuclear powers’ possible power politics or designs.
Mongolia would have preferred to have a legally binding assurance from the P5. However, since it is enjoying good-neighborly relations with its two immediate neighbors – Russia and China – with whom it does not have any territorial, border or other political dispute, and with whom it is working to develop comprehensive partnerships in the areas of mutual interest, Mongolia believes that it need not insist on a treaty form of assurance. The P5 recognition of the status and their pledge to respect the status and not to contribute to any act that would violate it, as reflected in the just signed joint declaration, are in themselves a sufficient assurance for Mongolia.
Looking to the future
Bearing in mind the experience accumulated so far in addressing its unique case, Mongolia is prepared to contribute to addressing some regional issues where its experience in finding mutually acceptable and mutually beneficial solutions might be useful.
Mongolia is a part of the Northeast Asian region and believes that an open, unbiased and comprehensive approach is needed to addressing the region’s pressing issues, especially ridding the region of nuclear weapons. In this respect it is prepared to participate in the joint search for mutually beneficial arrangements and solutions.
Today nuclear threat is not limited to nuclear weapons. As the Fukushima disaster has clearly demonstrated, it can come in the form of natural or man-made disasters or of a silent or unseen threat connected with the peaceful uses or, should we say, misuses or abuses of nuclear energy and technology. Interested in benefiting from nuclear energy in various areas, as defined in the national legislation of 2000, Mongolia is looking forward to working with the United Nations, the P5 and other interested parties, the IAEA and other relevant international organizations in the peaceful and safe uses of nuclear energy and technology.
In conclusion, I would like to thank my colleagues – representatives of the P5 – that have spent their valuable time in searching ways to officially recognize Mongolia’s unique status, thank the Secretary-General and his colleagues, and the member States of the United Nations in general for their support of Mongolia’s policy that has lead to the current level of institutionalization of the status. This broad support and encouragement were important factors that eventually lead to today’s positive outcome.