Dr. Chris Ford briefs on the 50th Anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

NEW YORK FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, 799 UNITED NATIONS PLAZA, 10TH FLOOR

MODERATOR:  Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to the New York Foreign Press Center.  It’s good to see you.  We’re honored to have Dr. Christopher Ford with us today, who is the Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation.  He’s in New York to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  He will give opening remarks followed by a time of questions and answers which I will moderate, both here in New York and also to our colleagues in Washington.  So with that, sir, the podium is yours, and then we’ll have a time of Q&A.

MR FORD:  Thank you.  Good morning, everyone.  It’s a pleasure to be here.  As indicated, my name is Chris Ford and I’m Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation at the Department of State.  I’m currently also performing the duties of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security.  I’m up in New York for an auspicious occasion.  Today, March 5th, is the 50th anniversary of entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, otherwise more commonly known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or the NPT.  And we’re up here for a bit of a celebration of that important day in – on the 5th of March, 1970, because that was the point at which this treaty came into force.  And we are here to remember all the good that it has done, and to bring people together to call people to recommit to all of the important principles that are embedded in that treaty as we look forward to what will hopefully be another 50 years at least of success with the treaty.

This is, in our view, a milestone for – that gives all states party to the treaty the opportunity to remember all the good that it has done in making the world a safer place, and making the world a more prosperous place, an opportunity to recommit to the treaty and to ensure that that continues to be true over time, and to rededicate ourselves to trying to not just preserve, but to strengthen the nonproliferation regime that was built up around the NPT at a time when that regime continues to face significant challenges, so that we can ensure that it – as I said, has another good half century at the very least.

We are proud to be organizing with the other two depositary governments for the NPT – that is to say, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation – an event this afternoon to commemorate that anniversary, to celebrate it, and to have a series of panel discussions on its past, its present, and perhaps looking forward to its future as well.  Part of the event this afternoon actually will also be – we will – what we’re doing today is releasing a number of documents that were previously classified that we have been reviewing for declassification release from all three of the depositary governments.  So U.S. documents, Russian documents, and British documents that will help shed – for those of you who are as interested in the history of this, of how we got to where we are – shed light on the history of the NPT’s negotiation, with a particular focus upon working level engagements and some of the details of how the treaty was actually put together.

And I see this as a great opportunity to remember all the hard work and care and prudence and wisdom that went into trying to make sure that this treaty was crafted in ways that have managed to allow it to survive for so long and to do so much good.  So we’re excited about that as part of this commemoration event this afternoon.  From the U.S. side, we’ll be releasing our first tranche of probably several tranches of documents that will – the total will run to thousands of pages, so it’s quite a considerable new insight into the history of this august treaty.

And we’re quite pleased by all of this, all of which is, of course, leading up to the 50th anniversary Review Conference, a very important event on this very important anniversary, where we will have a chance to have all of the other states party come together with us all to focus on the common interests that the treaty – that we all share in the treaty’s success, and to hopefully get everyone to recommit to ensuring a good future for it.  We in our own diplomacy, with respect to the treaty, have been emphasizing the profound security benefits that the treaty has been for all this time providing to every single of its states party, and indeed to the broader international community, security benefits from – most obviously from reducing the likelihood of nuclear war, the fundamental purpose of the treaty to reduce the likelihood of nuclear conflict by helping prevent the further injection of nuclear weaponry into the world’s volatile conflicts and rivalries.

It has done that remarkably well compared to what everyone expected in the early 1960s, and we should remember that that security benefit has accrued to all countries, nuclear – non-nuclear weapon states, nuclear weapon states, developed countries, less developed countries, east, west, north, south, and so forth.  So fundamental benefits of the treaty are security, and we need to also make sure that we are remembering the profound benefits that the treaty has brought for these last 50 years in terms of access to the benefits of nuclear technology and nuclear applications for all mankind, not just in the area of power generation but in applications that stretch across health, industry, life sciences, medicine, agriculture, industry research and scientific development, and all sorts of things.  These benefits have been made possible because of the nonproliferation regime.  It is certainly the case that were there not the kind of nonproliferation assurances, that the NPT and the regime that’s built up around it have all provided – it would be very difficult to imagine the kind of widespread sharing of nuclear technology that we can all – that all mankind benefits from today.  So that’s also been a significant success of the treaty that we are drawing attention to and urging people to recommit to continue it.

And also, a final point:  The profound necessity of the treaty and of that nonproliferation regime, for there to be a future of moving toward the disarmament that we all desire and to which the treaty commits all of its states party.  It is very difficult to imagine you could possibly have a path toward a world without nuclear weapons if you were not confident in the strength of nonproliferation assurances to prevent newcomers from swarming into any vacuum that might have been created by the elimination of existing stockpiles.  So the NPT provides an absolutely inescapable foundation for moving forward with disarmament.  And remembering all of these elements of the treaty, all these three aspects, is a critical piece of what I hope that we will all be able to do with our fellow states party when we meet next month in New York for the 50th anniversary Review Conference.

So this is all a very exciting time.  That’s probably plenty by way of introductory remarks, but I hope I’ve given you a little bit of a taste for the occasion that we’re up here for, and what we’re looking forward to seeing everyone recommit to doing, and to producing more success with this treaty in the generations ahead.  So I’d be happy to take questions, and perhaps I’ll turn it over to you all to moderate.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, sir.  Welcome, everyone, again.  Before you ask your question, please state your name and organization.  That’s both for here in New York and in Washington.  And please remain on the microphone because – so both parties can hear each other.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.  Edith Lederer from the Associated Press.  At the last Review Conference for the NPT, there was no agreement on a final document, and there was a pretty strong divide between countries that believe that the nuclear powers should be doing more on disarmament and the nuclear powers themselves.  How do you expect this bridge to be overcome?

MR FORD:  Well, there have always been disagreements in the NPT community even before there was an NPT community.  One of the things that this document declassification effort has helped highlight – at least for me personally because I am interested in such things – is looking back at the history of how the negotiating of the treaty itself also clearly reflected the many different perspectives in the international community upon a range of issues, whether on safeguards or peaceful uses or – and certainly on disarmament as well.  Those were present from the very beginning.

Some of the disputes that were very important at the time are no longer disputes.  There was a strong emphasis at the time upon peaceful nuclear explosions, which is a concept that I think people find sort of odd and quaint in the present day but that was taken very seriously for a while.  That has thankfully, I think, been resolved by history, but issues over disarmament were there from the very beginning.  They continue to be a topic of much debate and discussion in the NPT community.

Disarmament issues were not the focus of the breakdown in the endgame at the last Review Conference, to be sure, but I’m sure these issues will be much discussed.  I don’t think anyone is in a position to predict exactly what the outcome in those respects is likely to be, but there are certainly lots of us who are working together very closely and committed in good faith at trying to have this be as successful a conference as we can, and we have great faith in the president-designate, Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen from Argentina, who has been doing good work to bring the parties together in that respect.  So we are cautiously optimistic and looking forward to seeing how all of our good work is able to come together to make this as successful as possible.

MODERATOR:  We have to keep going.  Did you have a question, sir?  Sir.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Dr. Ford.  My name is Fumitaka Sato from NHK Japan Public TV.  Let me ask you about the second (inaudible) NPT, that is, nonproliferation.  One of the concern us is to North Korea’s nuclear development.  What is your view on the status of the North Korea’s nuclear development?  How does – is the U.S. Government more engaged in the North Korea’s denuclearization?  Thank you.

MR FORD:  Well, I would have to – I would – I should probably refer you to our Intelligence Community for any kind of publicly available assessment of the status and progress of the North Korean program itself.  From a State Department perspective, it remains true that we are ready and willing and prepared for the beginning of working-level discussions with North Korea to – in which they will, one hopes, implement the commitments made in Singapore and allow us to move forward towards the kind of negotiated solution that our senior officials from President Trump all down have been calling for for some time.  We are very – we have been ready for that and look forward to hearing back from them and moving forward as soon as possible, but I would have to defer you – defer to you – you to Steve Biegun, our deputy secretary, who is also our North Korea negotiating envoy for specifics on where things might be going there.

But I can assure you that from an interagency and a departmental perspective, we are ready and prepared for trying to make those commitments in Singapore into a reality on the ground as soon as possible.

MODERATOR:  We’re going to go to Washington to take a question from there.  Go ahead.

QUESTION:  (Inaudible.)

MODERATOR:  Sorry, we – your audio is muted.

MR FORD:  I’m afraid I can’t hear you.  That’s not working.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  Stand by.  We’ll come back.  We’re going to take another question here in New York.

QUESTION:  Thanks very much indeed.  My name is Manik Mehta.  I’m a syndicated journalist.  We have been hearing a lot about the JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal.  How do you see its future?  Is there going to be any kind of a softness on the part of the current administration given the fact that Europeans, particularly the French and the Germans, are very eager to resume this treaty?  I would appreciate your thoughts on that.  Thank you.

MR FORD:  Well, certainly from a U.S. perspective, we think that the JCPOA had terrible flaws.  We felt it was problematic enough that we took the trouble to get out of it.  But what we are trying to do is drive toward a diplomatic solution with Iran that answers questions the JCPOA did not even try to answer, and indeed exacerbated in some respect, while trying to have a more comprehensive answer to the many problems that we face, that the international community faces with Iran.

Secretary Pompeo made very clear as far back as May of 2018 that what we seek is an agreement in which Iran in effect starts to act like a normal country, which is to say not building up dangerous nuclear capabilities that position itself for potential weaponization breakout; not sponsoring terrorism, proliferating missiles to nonstate actors; not building up dangerous missile capabilities itself and those sorts of things.

That sounds like a lot if you list all of the things, but it’s only a lot because Iran has been doing a lot of things that it is important for international peace and security that it stop doing.  In fact, all we ask of Iran is that it behave like a normal country that doesn’t do all of those problematic things.  And in return for that, we have been willing and very clear that we are putting on the table what no U.S. administration has ever offered the Iranians before as long as there has been an Islamic Republic of Iran.  And that is to say we are offering full normalization, diplomatic relations, and a relaxation of all economic sanctions if they are willing to take the steps to behave normally in that way.

That is a discussion we would be very eager to sit down and have with the Iranians when they choose to come to the table.  So far they have refused, but our pressure campaign is designed to incentivize them to do exactly that.  And we hope that they will come to understand their own interest in moving forward in that way and how this can be a light at the end of the tunnel for them in what is a very challenging economic time of privation and diplomatic isolation that they are only making worse for themselves by such things as the behavior that we are beginning to see glimpses of coming out of the IAEA, which has issued reports just in the last couple of days that, while I cannot talk about the substance of those reports at this time, do raise additional questions about whether Iran is concealing undeclared nuclear material or undeclared nuclear activity from the IAEA.

Iran is only making the situation for itself worse, and we hope that it will see fit to turn that course around and sit down with us to negotiate the kind of solution that we do firmly believe and desire to be possible with Iran.

QUESTION:  Can I have a quick follow-up?

MODERATOR:  Sure.

QUESTION:  (Inaudible) from Voice Of America.  Can you —

MR FORD:  Oh, that’s working now, good.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  Hold on.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Following up on the North Korean issue, North Korea earlier this week tested new rockets and President Trump said he has no reaction to it.  But I was wondering if you are worried at all that North Korea is continuing to improve its weapons capability.

MR FORD:  (Inaudible) of launches from North Korea and following the matter closely, but I would have to defer you to the spokesmen who have already addressed this issue from Washington on that.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Michelle Nichols from Reuters.  Just a quick follow-up on the Iran JCPOA question.  Obviously the Europeans have triggered the dispute resolution mechanism, but how much pressure is the U.S. putting on the Europeans to actually bring it to the Security Council and trigger snapback, especially in light of the IAEA report yesterday?

MR FORD:  Well, I would not characterize there being pressure except in the sense that Iran is putting pressure on all of us to bring this issue to a resolution as promptly as possible.  This has been something that I must say we foresaw coming for quite a while, not just on the safeguards front, although of course we had been very deeply suspicious of their behavior in that respect for some time, but also on the issue of the JCPOA itself.  I mean, one of the principal problems that U.S. officials saw with the deal was precisely that it over time would allow Iran to build up capabilities that no one, including our European partners, thought it would be a good idea for Iran to have.  Under the terms of the deal, in a few years’ time, it would have been permitted to have essentially any size uranium enrichment capacity, any size stockpile of enriched uranium, to any degree of purity.  That would – it was in no way a problem under the deal and we saw that coming.  That was the so-called “sunset” problem, when certain key restrictions on the size and scope of Iran’s program were going to go away under the terms of the deal itself.

And seeing that coming, we were determined to try to get out ahead of that and ensure that some kind of a mechanism was in place to keep that from materializing, because even the Europeans didn’t think that was a good thing for Iran to have.  It would position Iran dangerously close to a – to the kind of weaponization breakout that it has always been our objective to prevent.  And yet, under the deal, there was no plan for dealing with that, and indeed arguably the deal prohibited one from dealing with that problem effectively because it would have been under the terms of the deal impermissible to reimpose nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime, which to our eye was the only way to effectively pressure them to consider putting genuine, permanent limits on the size and scale of their program.

So what we have tried to do is to bring that issue to the forefront and work with our European partners to find a way to answer that long-term problem.  I think – I like to think that there is now – by virtue of Iran’s provocative escalation of things, there is now attention to the fact that, oh yes, that really is a problem and we do need to have some kind of a long-term answer to that.  And I hope that that will be something of a catalyst for the kind of diplomatic engagement that we have been trying to bring to bear all along, and I look forward to working with our European friends and trying to do that.

QUESTION:  Just a quick follow-up.  Sorry – thank you.  Just a quick follow-up, then, to be a little more direct:  Has the United States asked the Europeans to trigger snapback of sanctions at the Security Council?

MR FORD:  We believe that the dispute resolution mechanism and their discussions inside what remains of the joint commission of the JCPOA – for them to characterize and deal with.  I certainly wish them luck.  The mechanism is designed to resolve problems within the JCPOA framework.  There isn’t much sign that the Iranians are being particularly flexible in resolving these things, but I certainly wish the Europeans luck and success in bringing Iran back into a less provocative and dangerous mode of behavior.  Not sure how optimistic I am, but certainly wish them luck, and if it fails, I think it will be important to do what is also contemplated in the deal.  And that is to say if there is no other way to bring them back through those kinds of conciliatory engagements, then there is of course always the option of Resolution 2231 snapback, which is implicit in – or indeed explicit in the process here, and we’ll see where that goes.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Gakushi Fujiwara from the Asahi Shimbun, Japanese newspaper.  Regarding the Review Conference this year, the U.S. Department of State has not issued a visa for a certain Russian delegate, and Russian mission might stop the substantial debate at the Review Conference.  How would you deal with or how would you overcome this problem?  Thank you.

MR FORD:  Well, on issues of Russian visas, that’s not really my lane in the road for the department, and I should refer you to the Europe and Russia bureau, who has an official who is – whose job it is to work with those issues, and I would have to refer you to him.

MODERATOR:  All right, we’re going to go back to Washington for the next question.  Washington, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Can you hear me?

MR FORD:  Yes, we can, actually.

MODERATOR:  Yeah —

QUESTION:  This is Dmitry Kirsanov with TASS.  Thank you very much for doing this, Mr. Secretary.  As you know perfectly well, National Security Advisor O’Brien spoke at the Atlantic Council the other day.  He discussed arms control and nonproliferation at length and he announced, sort of, a new round of talks between the U.S. and Russia on disarmament.  So I simply wanted to ask you if you have anything in addition to that – when and where do you expect the talks to start, at what level, things of that nature.

MR FORD:  Well, I don’t have any new announcements about particular plans or logistics at this time.  I will say that we were very pleased to have the most recent round of our strategic security dialogue with the Russians in January, which took place in Geneva with Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov and his team and me and our team.  Thought those talks went pretty well, and I – and I think of significance it was the first time to my knowledge in those discussions that we began to introduce the topic of what the future of arms control should look like.  Certainly from our perspective, we think it is very important, and the President has made very clear his strong commitment to finding a future for arms control that prevents the kind of arms race that would – seems likely otherwise to be engendered by choices made in Moscow and Beijing to build up their nuclear arsenals.  We have called emphatically and the President has repeatedly urged his counterparts to come to the table for trilateral arms control discussions to bring those challenges under control, and we hope very much that it would be possible to work towards that.

One step towards that has been the beginnings of this future of arms control discussion in the strategic security dialogue with the Russians, and we’re very pleased to have that, and we have also invited our Chinese counterparts to come to the table for such a strategic security dialogue.  I myself issued the invitation to them back on the 19th of December.  That’s been some time and we have yet to get an answer from China, which is a bit disappointing, but perhaps they will respond soon and we will be able to have those parallel bilateral discussions as a foundation upon which to build toward something more.  And we’re enthusiastic about moving President Trump’s priorities forward to find a path to a trilateral arms control agreement.

QUESTION:  Thanks much.

QUESTION:  Thank you for taking questions.  My name is Toshiyuki Sumi from the Mainichi newspapers, Japanese newspaper.  My question is about the nuclear ban treaty, which is the – I believe one of the reason of this divided situation in the international world.  And were – we have still 15 countries before it will be – ratification, and so do you think this treaty will be a reason that makes the NPT conference failed in – next month, I mean?

MR FORD:  I wouldn’t think so.  I mean, it is – there are many debates and discussions within the NPT community on a great number of issues.  That’s been true for a long time.  Sometimes conferences have – are perceived as a failure.  Sometimes conferences are perceived as a success.  Despite all of those issues, it’s natural and normal for a community as large and diverse as that of the NPT to disagree about many things.

One of the things I think this conference offers us on the 50th anniversary is the opportunity to come together and perhaps abstract a little bit from all of those normal disagreements that we normally have, all of which are healthy within sort of the larger family if you will, and remember what we also share and the degree to which the treaty has provided a common framework of benefit and shared interest for a very long time that has remained true notwithstanding all of those debates.

And so I don’t think the ban treaty will change that basic dynamic.  And I hope that especially on this 50th anniversary we can remember what we share and the interests that – the ways in which we all benefit from the treaty and its health and that of the nonproliferation regime and that that will be more than enough to bring us through for a successful conference in which we are all appropriately recommitting ourselves to moving the treaty successfully forward.

So I don’t think it’s going to be that big a factor.  We have our own views in the U.S. on the – of the unwisdom of that approach to disarmament.  We have our own efforts to bring parties together in a much more constructive and forward-looking dialogue through something that we call the Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament initiative.  That’s actually off to a very good start.  We have another meeting of that coming up in early April.  It will be the third time we have brought countries together for the CEND initiative.  It’ll be happening in Washington in early April.

At the last meeting, in the UK, we had I think 62 participants from 31 different countries.  It spanned all the divisions you could imagine in the NPT world and beyond – in other words, not just NPT parties, but non-parties to the treaty as well – talking about how to come up with a way forward and find a future for disarmament.  We had weapon states, non-weapon states, north and south and east and west, developed and less developed.  It was a wonderfully diverse collection of people engaged in the kind of discussion that one would hope and expect it would be necessary to have in order to find a way through the thicket of problems that stand in the way of disarmament in today’s complicated world.

And I think the CEND initiative represents a polar opposite and a constructive alternative to the kind of divisive rhetoric and polarizing approaches that the TPNW represents.  And so we’re hoping to model the better approach, and I think that that will help take us through very nicely and we will see these dialogues that we are trying to build move forward and hopefully inject lots of creative thinking and wisdom into the disarmament policy community in the years ahead.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thank you.  Stephanie Yuvienco from Kyodo News.  Back on the Review Conference, I just want to know if – what the focus points will be, since we haven’t really seen much movement or progression regarding NPT, whether or not you’ll bring up creating a nuclear-free – or nuclear-arms-free – zone in the Middle East.  Thank you.

MR FORD:  Well, I think that the main points of our focus from the U.S. side I sort of touched in a very brief way at the outset, and that will continue to be the case.  We are also trying to draw attention to the importance of continuing to move forward our longstanding agenda item for many, many countries of achieving the universality of the Additional Protocol, which along with a Safeguards Agreement is clearly now the de facto universal standard for safeguards.  And making sure that that, in fact, becomes one that is in place and adhered to by all countries is an important agenda that I – item that I think will be extremely important for the future of the treaty and the success of the safeguards in the nonproliferation regime.  So we will continue to focus upon that.

We will stress peaceful uses.  We are very supportive of the work that the Argentine Government has been doing to bring people together in workshops, to draw attention to the peaceful uses questions and opportunities and the history of providing these benefits, and not just to do that but to bring non-traditional stakeholders into discussion.  We spend lots of time in places like New York amongst the usual diplomatic crowd talking about these issues, but it’s been very valuable I think for the these Argentine-sponsored workshops – that we’ve been proudly helping contribute to – to go out to areas of the world that do benefit hugely not just from power applications, but from some of the nuclear application – the range of nuclear applications that I referred to earlier – and to bring to the table not just diplomats but the regulatory community and industry and science and health officials, the range of stakeholders in so many countries who benefit from peaceful nuclear applications, and to make them part of this discussion as well.

And the Argentines have been doing a great job of trying to bring attention to that and involve more stakeholders in this community and to collect – and to build opportunities for there to be in connection with this 50th anniversary Review Conference a series of greater commitments by technology possessors to sharing more and providing more support for these kinds of sharing of the benefits of nuclear technology worldwide.  So we’re very pleased by those points of emphasis and will be trying to talk about them as much as we can.

MODERATOR:  We have time for a couple more questions.  We’ll take one in Washington.

QUESTION:  Am I online?

MODERATOR:  Yes, you’re all set.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  My name is Mikhail Turgiev.  I am with the Russian news agency Ria Novosti.  And my question is related to the information that there is a chance that soon in New York will be meeting of the five leaders of nuclear powers about arms control.  So my question is:  Is State Department already doing some preparatory work for this?  And are there any meetings or engagements with your Russian counterparts planned already?  In particular, will be there any discussion at the ministerial level probably?  And if yes, then when and where?  Thank you so much.

MR FORD:  I’ll have to refer you to the White House on any particular plans there might be for that kind of a meeting, but certainly were there to be plans underway, we would be happily and I hope effectively and usefully contributing to them.  But I will defer that to others.

MODERATOR:  Any other last questions?  Any last questions in – oh, we’ll take one in New York.  And if there’s any last questions in Washington, please go to the podium.

QUESTION:  I am taking advantage of your magnanimity.  My question goes to the recent meeting in Singapore known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.  There was some informal discussion, especially amongst the ASEAN diplomats, about holding a kind of a summit on NPT or potential links to the NPT, NPT with the inclusion of proliferating states like North Korea, Iran, and so forth.  What – how would you define that possibility?  Is that within the realm of reality?

MR FORD:  I must confess, I’m not familiar with the discussions to which you’re referring, so I don’t have anything for you.  So —

QUESTION:  (Off-mike.)  And I’m sure they have passed on the information to the U.S. Government.

MR FORD:  Well, I wouldn’t be in a position to speculate about that at this time.

MODERATOR:  We’re going to end with our colleague in Washington.  Washington, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Hello.  Thank you for taking my question.  I’m Miya Tanaka from Kyodo News.  Could you give me an assessment on why the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty is not making – is showing a slow progress in its entry into force?  Thank you.

MR FORD:  Well, I think the – to answer that question entirely would be to get into the minds of people who I am not.  So it’s hard to say.  I mean, we have not been shy about our concerns about the degree to which that approach to a treaty and to its specific content is a counterproductive approach – not just for the reasons I alluded to earlier of it being a polarizing and divisive way to approach a treaty, but also because of the substance that it embodies itself, and in particular, among other things, the way in which it reifies a safeguards standard that the world has known for more than two decades is an inadequate answer, even to the verification challenges of regular safeguards agreements, let alone to the additional verification challenges that would be attendant to a – to verifying a disarmament regime.  In that respect, it both is inadequate on its own terms and threatens to undermine the existing safeguards regime by suggesting that things like the Additional Protocol are actually not necessary, which would be a profound and dangerous mistake and confusion.

So we think it points in the wrong direction and causes challenges in that respect, and we worry about its potential implication upon institutions and practices in the modern present day world that are actually essential to preventing nuclear war and preventing aggression, deterring aggression.  And we think that there are better ways to move forward, better ways to talk about disarmament, and find a path through the thicket of today’s security challenges to that future, and that the treaty, if anything, gets in the way of finding those better ways.

We are committed to working out those better ways, and we have a promising dialogue already underway with a number of countries that I talked about earlier with CEND to find that path, and we would very much welcome countries joining – continuing to join us in that endeavor.  And I think in light of that, all of these factors, I think it is no surprise that movement forward on entry into force of the TPNW has been slow.  I think that is – it is probably slow precisely to the degree that people have actually had a chance to get over their initial blush of enthusiasm and actually read it and think about it hard, because it doesn’t stand up well to that scrutiny.

MODERATOR:  Thank you for your briefing, sir.  Thank you for your participation.  This concludes the event today.

MR FORD:  Thank you all very much.

MODERATOR:  There will be a transcript which we will send as soon as it becomes available.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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