FIFTEENTH SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM
27 – 28 August 1984
Regional Nuclear Matters
Following the decision of the previous meeting, the Forum gave further consideration to the concept of a nuclear free zone in the region, and in particular a draft set of principles regarding its establishment submitted by Australia. It also had before it a proposal from Nauru regarding action to amend the London Dumping Convention to prohibit totally the dumping of nuclear waste.
The Forum noted the importance of the initiative for a nuclear free zone in the region in the context of the disappointing lack of progress in international disarmament negotiations. It was felt that efforts should be intensified to encourage the conclusion of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which would outlaw all forms of nuclear testing by all states in all environments. The Forum also noted that 1985 was a year of review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Progress towards a nuclear free zone in the region could make a useful contribution to maintaining the momentum of international debate on disarmament and arms control.
Forum members also considered the report of the joint New Zealand, Australian and Papua New Guinea scientific mission that visited the French nuclear testing site on Mururoa Atoll in October 1983 at the invitation of the French Government. They noted that, while the findings of the mission allayed to some degree the concern that had been expressed about the short-term effects of the French nuclear tests, they provided no reassurance about long-term consequences nor in any sense diminished Forum opposition to testing in any environment. They accordingly reiterated their strong opposition to continued nuclear testing in the South Pacific region by France or any other country.
After discussion of the various interrelated aspects of nuclear activity in the region, the Forum agreed on the desirability of establishing a Nuclear Free Zone in the region at the earliest possible opportunity in accordance with the principles set out in the Australian working papers. These principles were: that South Pacific countries should be free to live in peace and independence and to run their own affairs in accordance with the wishes and traditions of their people; South Pacific countries should enjoy peaceful social and economic development free from the threat of environmental pollution; South Pacific countries acknowledge existing international treaties, organisations and regional arrangements, such as the Charter of the United the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Law of the Sea Convention, which contribute to their objectives; there should he no use, testing or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the South Pacific; no South Pacific country would develop or manufacture, or receive from others, or acquire or test any nuclear explosive device; nuclear activities of South Pacific countries should be in accordance with applicable international principles and treaties, notably the NPT and take into account regional arrangements; and that South Pacific countries retain their unqualified sovereign rights to decide for themselves, consistent with their support for these objectives, their security arrangements, and such questions as the access to their ports and airfields by vessels and aircraft of other countries.
Reference was made to the particular importance of the principle of freedom of navigation and overflight and the treaty obligations of Forum members.
A working group of officials was appointed to meet as often as may be required to undertake an examination of the substantive legal and other issues involved in establishing a nuclear free zone in the region with a view to preparing a draft of a treaty for consideration by the Forum Meeting in 1985. The working group is to be chaired by Australia and would be convened in consultation with the Director of SPEC. All members of the Forum would be entitled to attend.
The Forum agreed that the proposals by Nauru to strengthen the London Dumping Convention would also be examined by the group. The dumping and disposal of nuclear waste in the region was intolerable and unacceptable and Forum Governments were strongly committed to this aspect of the Convention and Protocols being negotiated under the auspices of the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
The Forum also supported a suggestion that Governments continue to protest individually, as well as collectively, to France over its persistent nuclear testing and to Japan over proposals to dump nuclear waste in the Pacific.
The Forum also welcomed the declaration on French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll made by member states of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (PCSP) on 6 July 1984. They regarded the declaration as a further expression of the united opposition by countries of the Pacific to French nuclear tests in the South Pacific The Forum was also of the view that it would be useful for SPEC and the PCSP secretariat (representing Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) to maintain contact on the question of French nuclear testing.
SIXTEENTH SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
5 – 6 August, 1985
Dumping of Radioactive Waste
21. The Forum reaffirmed its strong opposition to the dumping of radioactive waste in the oceans of the region. Forum members were committed to the early conclusion of the Convention and Protocols being negotiated under the auspices of the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) which would, among other things, preclude the dumping at sea of radioactive waste in the region. The Forum noted that this commitment was also enshrined in the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty.
22. The Forum welcomed the statement by the Prime Minister of Japan that Japan had no intention of dumping radioactive waste in the Pacific Ocean in disregard of the concern expressed by the communities of the region.
23. The Forum considered further the proposal, made by Nauru at the Fifteenth Forum at Tuvalu, to strengthen the London Dumping Convention (LDC), including the Report of the Chairman of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Working Group recording the Working Group's consideration of the Nauru proposal.
24. The Forum noted that the next meeting of parties would take place from 23 to 27 September 1985. In the light of their shared opposition to radioactive waste dumping at sea, it was agreed that those Forum members participating in the LDC Meeting would consult closely about approaches to this issue at that meeting. It was recognised that it would be desirable to achieve a common approach. The advantages were noted of havingadditional Forum members adhere to the LDC, so as to increase the number of LDC parties which shared South Pacific regional concerns.