Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Questions (23, 24, 25, 26)

Emmet Stagg

Question:

84 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his view of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty of which Ireland was an author in view of the recent reported nuclear test by North Korea; the actions which will now be taken in this regard, in particular actions by the New Agenda group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34500/06]

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Joe Sherlock

Question:

93 Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position in relation to the recent nuclear test conducted by North Korea; the Government’s reaction to this test and to reported uranium enrichment in that country; the sanctions which the international community proposes against the Government of that country; his views on whether a diplomatic approach is the correct one to take, as an initial step; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34493/06]

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Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

98 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the negotiations which have taken place with his European counterparts regarding the response of the European and international community to the recent testing of a nuclear device by North Korea; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34419/06]

View answer

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

132 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the recent nuclear test by North Korea; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34481/06]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 84, 93, 98 and 132 together.

In regard to the recent testing of a nuclear explosive device by the DPRK, I would refer the Deputies to the reply I have just given to the priority question on this issue.

As I stated in that reply, I immediately strongly condemned this provocative action by the DPRK. It is a serious threat to the security and stability of the region, as well as a direct contravention of the international objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It is clear from the many statements calling on the DPRK not to perform its intended test, including that made by the EU, that this action ignored the will of the international community. It also ran counter to the patient efforts of the DPRK's neighbours to work constructively to find a diplomatic solution through the Six Party Talks process.

On 14 October, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1718 condemning the DPRK's test and empowering the international community to enforce specific sanctions. These sanctions include an arms embargo, as well as a ban on any items which could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear, ballistic missile or WMD programmes. In addition, the Resolution requires that all funds, economic resources and financial assets, connected to the trafficking of such items and their respective programmes, be frozen.

At the meeting last week of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, Ministers committed the EU to the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1718, as well as Resolution 1695, adopted in July in response to the DPRK's earlier controversial ballistic missile tests. We are currently taking the necessary steps to ensure Ireland's full compliance with these two resolutions.

I believe that it is still possible to achieve a diplomatic solution to the current crisis through the Six Party Talks process. I would urge the DPRK to return to these talks immediately and without precondition and work towards the implementation of the Joint Statement of September 2005 and the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

As regards the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the testing of a nuclear explosive device by DPRK is a matter of grave concern. Since the DPRK's announced withdrawal from the NPT in 2003, and subsequent declaration that it possesses nuclear weapons, the international community has consistently urged the DPRK to abandon its policy, completely dismantle its nuclear weapons programme and comply fully with its obligations under the NPT.

With respect to the New Agenda Coalition, Ireland, together with our partners in the group, has tabled a resolution at the current session of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly emphasising the central role of the NPT in achieving nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and condemning the DRPK's test of a nuclear device. If there is a clear conclusion from this act of defiance by the DPRK, it is the importance of the NPT and the non-proliferation regime it establishes to international peace and security.

We hope that this latest incident will serve as an impetus to the international community to redouble its efforts to strengthen all aspects of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime, not least the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which has yet to enter into force.