|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
7th Meeting (AM)
China Champions New Thinking on Security, Shaped by Mutual Trust, Mutual Benefit,
Amid Calls in First Committee for Binding Pledges of Non‑Use of Nuclear Weapons
‘Zero‑Sum Game Should Be Discarded as Pursuit of Win‑Win
Situation through Cooperation Was Only Choice,’ Delegates Told
The multipolar world of the twenty‑first century called for “a new thinking on security featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination”, China’s representative told the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), even amid forceful calls by the non‑nuclear‑armed countries to bind and universalize the pledges that nuclear weapons would never be used against them.
No countries, under the present new historical conditions, were immune from global challenges, nor were they able to meet such challenges alone, he said. Rather, they must work together to overcome difficulties in pursuit of success. To that end, he said it was time to champion a new thinking and work to pursue comprehensive security, common security and cooperative security.
In that security paradigm, he envisaged fully respecting the legitimate security concerns of all countries and seeking proper solutions through enhanced mutual trust and dialogue and consultation on an equal footing. The “zero‑sum game should be discarded, as pursuit of a win‑win situation through cooperation was the only choice”. He pressed for adherence to multilateralism and a sustained collective security system, with the United Nations at its core.
Nuclear disarmament, he urged, should follow the principle of global strategic stability and undiminished security for all. The Test‑Ban Treaty should be brought into force at an early date, negotiations for a fissile material ban should be activated at the Conference on Disarmament, and an international legal instrument on negative security assurances should be negotiated and concluded. The international community should also develop, at an appropriate time, a viable long‑term plan composed of phased actions, including the conclusion of a negotiated convention on the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.
Several delegations advocated non‑use pledges in a setting outside that of the Nuclear Non‑Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The representative of Ukraine, for instance, said the guarantees against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons outlined in Security Council Resolution 984 (1995) should be reaffirmed in a multilateral legally binding document.
States must not, he warned, use their nuclear weapons or threaten to use them against non‑nuclear‑weapon States. Neither should they abuse their nuclear status in order to assist, encourage or induce in any way the use or threat of use of force in international relations or exert any kind of pressure on the non‑nuclear‑armed States in order to subdue their sovereign rights.
Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, restated its earlier position in support of negative security assurances, as its delegate reaffirmed the country’s call for a legally binding international instrument.
Framing such assurances in the context of the nuclear‑weapon‑free zone treaties, the delegate from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic called on the nuclear‑armed States to accede at the earliest to the protocol to the Treaty on the South‑East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty), with a view to improving its full operation and implementation.
Switzerland’s representative lamented that negotiations on negative security assurances and on a fissile material cut‑off treaty in the Geneva‑based Conference on Disarmament had not even begun and that “nuclear disarmament processes have reached an impasse”. Ecuador’s speaker, along with several others, stressed that the only real guarantee of the non‑use of nuclear weapons was their elimination.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea declared that the United States, in its “nuclear posture review” last year, had officially announced that his country was excluded from the list of countries to receive negative security assurances. That showed the United States’ policy of pre‑emptive nuclear strikes against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remained unchanged, the delegate said.
The United Kingdom’s representative briefed on efforts under way to implement the action plan from the 2010 NPT review, including a meeting her country had held in June with the other nuclear‑weapon States. The United Kingdom was also working on a “groundbreaking initiative” with Norway on research into the verification of warhead dismantlement and would host a workshop on the subject in December to share experiences with interested non‑nuclear‑armed States.
Also addressing the Committee was the theDirector for Multilateral Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Timor‑Leste and the Ambassador of Myanmar to the Conference on Disarmament.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Mongolia, Philippines, Denmark, Argentina, Bahrain, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and Lebanon.
The First Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Monday, 10 October, to continue its general debate.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning, with a view to concluding its general debate for the session, on all disarmament and international security agenda items before it. (For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3429.)
ALEXANDRE FASEL, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Conference on Disarmament, said nuclear weapons continued to pose an existential risk to human beings, and to the regime set up to deal with those issues remained incomplete. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) did not provide a comprehensive answer to the challenges, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) had not entered into force, negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and negative security assurances had not even begun and multilateral nuclear disarmament processes had reached an impasse. New threats, such as cyber attacks, had emerged and were evolving, alongside new risks, such as advances in life sciences and outer space security, faster than existing international instruments. Similarly, conventional weapons continued to kill and maim people and fuel armed violence.
He said that the list of challenges to be addressed was getting longer, and it was urgent to make progress. “We must act on the basis of global long-term perspectives, integrating national security interests into a broader concept of security and stability.” Traditional security approaches must be complemented by tackling such issues as human security, human rights and development. A functional and effective disarmament machinery was needed, including a Conference on Disarmament that responded to the concerns of many, rather than allow a very few to prevent the start of negotiations in order to protect narrow interests.
Against that backdrop of unresolved issues, meaningful progress would remain difficult, he said. But the remainder of this year and 2012 would provide plenty of opportunities to achieve significant progress. A smooth start to the new NPT review cycle next year was essential to strengthen and better implement that key regime. The Treaty’s credibility depended on the full implementation of the 2010 Review Conference, and Switzerland was particularly interested in getting feedback from nuclear-weapon States on the implementation of their disarmament obligations. The coming Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention) was another key opportunity, and Switzerland expected that Conference to decide to restructure future intersessional activities to ensure that the instrument responded to rapid scientific developments. A cooperation and assistance mechanism should also be established, and he expected the review of confidence-building measures to update current forms. The launch of a process for joint reflection on concepts to demonstrate compliance was another crucial issue.
On the conventional arms front, he said next year’s arms trade treaty conference would hopefully see substantive efforts crowned by the conclusion of a strong and comprehensive legally binding treaty. Review of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects next month was at a critical juncture, and he regretted that negotiations on a protocol on cluster munitions had not found consensus. He was concerned about the draft’s failure to have an immediate impact on the ground and urged the so-called “users and producers” to shed light on the consequences of the draft text and increase transparency. The Convention on Cluster Munitions made progress at its recent Meeting of States Parties. Switzerland was in the process of ratifying that instrument and would continue to contribute to its implementation.
The 2012 Review Conference on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects would be yet another opportunity for progress, he said. Switzerland believed it was high time to significantly accelerate implementation of that plan. He also expected that the coming Second Ministerial Review Conference on the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development would be a reaffirmation to achieve, by 2015, measurable reductions in the global burden of armed violence and tangible improvements in developments.
Much more needed to be done to systematically boost efforts to provide security and safety, he said. It was critical to overcome the current disarmament and non-proliferation institutional crisis, and to agree on how the Conference on Disarmament could be put back on track.
SIN SON HO (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that 20 years after the end of the cold war, serious challenges still confronted international efforts of peace and security, and global disarmament. Hegemonic policies and the use of force and nuclear blackmail were openly practised and armed conflicts and insecurity persisted around the world, threatening sovereign States’ rights to existence.
He said that the Korean peninsula was forcibly divided by outside forces and had remained in a state between war and peace for more than half a century. The nuclear issue, accompanied by periodic explosive situations and a continuation of tensions, had originated from hostile relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States, giving rise to mistrust and confrontation. Despite unanimous aspirations and demands at home and abroad for peace, arms build-ups and nuclear war exercises were ceaselessly conducted against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the peninsula and in its vicinity.
The United States, in its “nuclear posture review” last year, had officially announced that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was excluded from the list of countries to receive negative security assurances. That showed that the United States’ policy of pre‑emptive nuclear strikes against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remained unchanged. In August, the United States had conducted nuclear war exercises under the code name Ulji Freedom Guardian, mobilizing massive armed forces in South Korea, despite the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s repeated warnings.
Another reason for the ever‑growing tension on the Korean peninsula was the absence of a peace mechanism; there was an outdated armistice mechanism, a cold war legacy, he said. Technically and legally, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States were in a state of war. As long as they — the direct parties of the armistice agreement — levelled guns at each other, mutual mistrust would remain and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula could not be achieved.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said, had proposed last year to conclude a peace agreement, which was the most effective confidence‑building measure to remove existing mistrust. The conclusion of the agreement would play a role as a powerful driving force to ensure the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. He strongly believed the proposal for the agreement would be good for the peculiar security situation of the peninsula and for regional peace and security. His Government stood consistent in its position to ensure peace and security and to speed up the denuclearization of the peninsula.
He said concerned parties should seize the opportunity with a bold decision to address the fundamental root cause of tensions through dialogue. The main party was the United States. If the United States had real concerns for peace and stability on the peninsula, it should stop hostile military action and respond positively to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s peace agreement proposal.
RUSLAN NIMCHINSKY ( Ukraine) said the issue of global disarmament was critical to international peace and development, and general and complete disarmament was the cornerstone of international security. Recent events in international forum had given hope that other States shared that view. The Washington National Security Summit, the signing of the new START between the United States and the Russian Federation, and the 2010 NPT Review Conference were milestone undertakings, which set the tone for future activities. Ukraine fully supported those developments and would continue to make its contribution to the process.
In that, he said his country had recently committed to get rid of all of its stocks of highly enriched uranium. That decision had been announced by the President of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, at the Washington Nuclear Security Summit. The underlying message was clear — Ukraine took seriously nuclear non‑proliferation and disarmament. Ukraine’s initiative to convene the high‑level meeting “Kyiv Summit on Safe and Innovative Use of Nuclear Energy” was yet another step on the path of implementation of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit commitments, namely, to promote the idea of conversion of highly enriched uranium fuel nuclear reactors to low‑enriched reactors, as well as to secure the rights of non‑nuclear‑weapon States to nuclear materials and technology for peaceful purposes in accordance with the NPT. The Kyiv summit also served as an integral part of a broader preparatory agenda to the next Nuclear Security Summit, scheduled for April 2012 in the Republic of Korea.
States must not, he said, use their nuclear weapons or threaten to use them against non‑nuclear‑weapon States. Neither could they abuse their nuclear status in order to assist, encourage or induce in any way the use or threat of use of force in international relations or exert any kind of pressure on the non‑nuclear‑armed States in order to subdue their sovereign rights. A practical tool of ensuring that would be to further endorse and develop negative security assurances. Ukraine believed that the assurances outlined in the United Nations Security Council resolution 984 (1995) should, once again, be reaffirmed in the relevant multilateral legally binding document. His country had consistently advanced that principle and would continue to do so. That underpinned Ukraine’s participation in the establishment of the working group to deal with negative security assurances in effective international arrangements.
Elimination of nuclear weapons, however, was the only guarantee that they would never be used, he said. More declarations were insufficient for achieving that goal; practical steps would be required. One of them would be to put an end to the production of fissile materials. Thus, the fissile material cut‑off treaty would be a tremendous step towards global nuclear disarmament. Such an instrument would also close a number of windows of opportunities for terrorists to obtain nuclear materials, which could be used to create nuclear weapons. Ukraine, therefore, deeply regretted the continuing deadlock over resumption of work in the Conference on Disarmament, and sought the immediate launch of negotiations on a fissile material ban.
Another vital step towards nuclear disarmament would be to universalize the Test‑Ban Treaty, as it was vital that the norms set forth by the Treaty were observed worldwide, he said. Ukraine strongly hoped that the renewed commitment of key States regarding the Treaty’s ratification would finally pave the way to its entry into force. In the meantime, the moratorium on nuclear tests of any other nuclear explosions should be maintained, and he called upon all States to ratify the CTBT, observe obligations under it and refrain from any actions contrary to its objectives.
KANIKA PHOMMACHANH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating her country with the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that over the past year and a half, there had been positive developments in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. The successful conclusion of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START), and preparations for an arms trade treaty conference were important encouraging signs towards disarmament and ridding the world of nuclear weapons. And, the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in August 2010 was a critical step towards reducing the threat of those weapons.
Notwithstanding those achievements, she said, the world was still facing multiple emergencies, such as the deadlock of the disarmament machinery, the slow progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and the increasing expenditure on armaments as humankind struggled to defeat extreme poverty. Those challenges were aggravated by non-fulfilment of commitments and obligations under relevant legally binding instruments, especially concerning weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons.
This year would mark the fifteenth anniversary of the opening for signature of the CTBT, she noted, adding that achieving its universalization and accelerating its early entry into force were important and should occur without further delay. Her country welcomed the seventh ministerial-level meeting in New York last month to hasten the Test-Ban Treaty’s operation and strengthen its International Monitoring and Verification System against nuclear testing.
She said that the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones had contributed significantly to strengthening regional and global peace and security. This year marked the tenth anniversary of the Treaty on the South East Asia Nuclear-Weapon- Free Zone (Bangkok Treaty), and she encouraged the nuclear-armed States to provide negative security assurances and to accede, at the earliest, to that Treaty’s Protocol, with a view to improving its full operation and implementation.
Likewise, the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, as reinforced by the 2010 NPT Review Conference, would contribute to lasting peace in the region, he said. His country aspired to make the entire planet a nuclear-weapon-free zone. A key step in that regard would be to “operationalize” the Secretary-General’s October 2008 call for a convention against nuclear weapons, in his five-point plan for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
At the same time, her country could not afford to ignore the challenge posed by conventional weapons, in particular, that of cluster munitions, which threatened peace, human security, poverty eradication, socio-economic development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Presiding over the Oslo Convention throughout the past year, her country had received invaluable support from State and non-State parties. The broad and active participation of countries in the first Meeting of States Parties to the Convention Cluster Munitions, held in November last year, had been gratifying, and she hoped all Member States would considering becoming party to that humanitarian Convention, which was of particular importance to countries and innocent victims suffering from the destructive consequences of cluster bombs.
ENKHTSETSEG OCHIR ( Mongolia), associating her statement with that of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the “only absolute guarantee” against their use or threat of use. While substantial challenges persisted, there had been significant progress made in disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control over the last four years, including the successful NPT Review Conference in 2010, the new START, and elaboration by the Secretary-General of a five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament. Still, many outstanding issues remained to be addressed.
She urged the international community to implement the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and to put an end to the protracted stalemate at the Conference on Disarmament. Mongolia was convinced that more vigorous implementation by the nuclear-weapon States of their disarmament obligations and efforts to promote nuclear non-proliferation must be pursued. It was indisputable that nuclear-weapon-free zones strengthened both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and, thereby, international peace and security. Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status, declared nearly 20 years ago, had strengthened the country’s international security. His country reaffirmed its inalienable right to the research, development, production and use of nuclear energy, including the right to the nuclear-fuel cycle for peaceful purposes, without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of the NPT.
The IAEA, she said, continued to play a central role in ensuring non-proliferation through its safeguards and verification, assisting Member States in embarking on nuclear power and uranium production, as well as introducing nuclear technology in food and agriculture, human health, water resources, environment and other nuclear applications. Indeed, the Agency made a “formidable contribution” to global development efforts by providing relevant skills, training and equipment. The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan was a grave reminder of the inherent risks associated with nuclear power — risks that were especially relevant for countries like her own, which were considering launching nuclear power programmes.
As the IAEA Director General had rightly pointed out, the “terrible” accident “does not mean the end of nuclear power”. However, there was a critical need for individual countries to enhance the safety of nuclear power plants on their respective territories and combine efforts to close existing safety gaps worldwide. There had been reports in some media that Mongolia had been in talks to host an international spent fuel storage facility on its territory and import nuclear waste from other countries. Those “claims are groundless”, she said. “Importing foreign nuclear waste would be in gross violation of Mongolia’s domestic laws and regulations.” Concluding, she said that Mongolia, being a North-East Asian country, strongly hoped for the resumption of the Six-Party talks on the Korean peninsula’s nuclear issue.
U MAUNG WAI, Ambassador of Myanmar to the Conference on Disarmament, associating his comments with those of the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that “bold and swift actions, particularly by the nuclear-weapon States” were necessary to achieve and maintain a world free of nuclear weapons. He urged nuclear‑armed States to fully and immediately comply with the 22‑point plan on nuclear disarmament contained in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and urged States yet to ratify the CTBT to do so. After outlining Myanmar’s own commitment to international legal instruments on disarmament and non‑proliferation, he said that his delegation would present a draft resolution entitled “Nuclear Disarmament” to the First Committee. He went on to assert the inalienable right of all countries to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
He regretted stagnation and a lack of substantive work in the Conference on Disarmament, but underlined his belief in the Conference as the sole multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament. He reiterated his delegation’s call to establish an ad hoc committee in the Conference to negotiate a phased nuclear disarmament programme leading to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Given the link between the goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he urged a ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. He expressed support for the immediate commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut‑off treaty in the Conference on Disarmament. He concluded by calling for review of the functioning of the United Nations disarmament machinery, saying, “We cannot wait for things to happen. We need to make things happen.”
CARLOS SORRETA (Philippines), associating his statement with those of the Non‑Aligned Movement and ASEAN, stressed the importance of the Committee’s session, saying that its result might very well set the tone for upcoming negotiations on disarmament. If the world was serious about making progress in nuclear disarmament and nuclear proliferation, all 64 action points stemming from the 2010 NPT review must be implemented, including reaffirmation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East. The Philippines recognized that the “Arab Spring” could serve as opportunity for change in the region, which, in turn, could lead to progress in the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction there.
He said that related actions towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non‑proliferation should include a universal subscription to the IAEA Additional Protocol and access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The Philippines considered nuclear‑weapon‑free zones important to achieving nuclear disarmament and non‑proliferation, and it commended Mongolia’s nuclear‑weapon‑free status. Noting the human cost caused by landmines and cluster munitions, he expressed his country’s full support for implementation of the Mine‑Ban Convention.
The Philippines, together with several other delegations that formed the International Group of Observer States, saw an urgent need for the Conference on Disarmament’s expansion, and viewed that as a possible solution to the impasse. Numerous countries, presently observers in the Conference, possessed the legitimate aspiration to full membership. To facilitate that review, the Philippines called for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur/Coordinator on enlargement. It hoped that, once the impasse was broken, negotiations could commence immediately on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. If not, an alternative means “may have to be agreed in order to have a modicum of progress”, he declared.
THEIS TRUELSEN ( Denmark) urged States to utilize and increase the momentum building in disarmament and non‑proliferation. The Conference on Disarmament would be pivotal in that process. Identifying the Conference’s key issues, he pointed to the fissile material cut‑off treaty, which he felt should be the first topic for negotiation, and urged the Conference to “roll up its sleeves, break the deadlock and get to work”. The Conference itself needed greater legitimacy, which could be achieved through enlargement. To address that matter, he suggested the appointment of a Special Coordinator.
Describing the NPT as a “cornerstone in our common endeavour”, he welcomed the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, but said its ultimate success depended on concrete actions and results. One such action would be the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Expressing hope for a successful conference on the matter in 2012, he urged States to explore how the establishment of nuclear‑weapon‑free zones, including in the Middle East and the Arctic, were integral to a comprehensive multilateral strategy to implement global nuclear disarmament and combat proliferation.
He welcomed the Nuclear Security Summit scheduled for Seoul in 2012, hoping it would build on the process started by the Washington summit in 2010. He urged more States to join the Proliferation Security Initiative, praising the work of the Global Initiative to Counter Nuclear Terrorism, and shared his belief that there was a good basis for negotiations at the 2012 conference on an arms trade treaty, which could result in a comprehensive and legally binding international instrument.
DIEGO LIMERES ( Argentina) said that when his country launched a programme to pursue nuclear energy, it was in compliance with IAEA safeguards. As the first country in its region to use nuclear energy, Argentina had conducted activities within the framework of the Agency’s safeguards to maintain its three reactors. July had marked the twentieth anniversary of the Brazil‑ Argentina agreement for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he said, noting that that agreement was unique in the world, providing for safeguards in both countries.
Regarding disarmament and non‑proliferation, he said current global challenges would find speedy solutions only if nuclear‑weapon States agreed to eliminate nuclear weapons. The entry into force of the new START gave hope for progress in that area. He urged all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the CTBT to put that instrument into force. The Conference on Disarmament had urgent negotiation tasks before it, including discussing a future fissile material cut‑off treaty and negative assurances. As a State party to the first nuclear‑weapon‑free zone, he reiterated his call to States expressing reservations to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Tlatelolco Treaty) to withdraw those reservations.
In 1978, the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament had, for the first time, affirmed the United Nations role in disarmament. There had since been meetings to break the stalemate of the Conference on Disarmament, whose problems rested outside that body’s structure. It was still possible to revitalize disarmament mechanisms. After more than a decade of calls for conventional weapons controls, Argentina believed there should be an international instrument for the transfer of those weapons to avoid their use and abuse by non‑State actors. He hoped this session would achieve results on those issues.
SHAIKHA AYSHA AHMED SAQUER ALKHALIFA ( Bahrain) said the recent race to acquire technology to benefit from nuclear energy had awakened suspicions regarding some of those seeking that technology. She affirmed the need for universality of the NPT, without too many restrictions placed on it. Given the world’s interest in disarmament, including her own country, Bahrain had acceded to the NPT and CTBT, and had joined the IAEA in 2007. She was convinced of the need to remove from the Middle East, including the Arab Gulf, all weapons of mass destruction, and she looked forward to the 2012 conference on that issue. It was imperative that Israel sign the NPT and submit its facilities to the IAEA safeguards regime.
Bahrain was one of the first countries to sign and ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention), and had passed national legislation on banning the development, stockpiling and use of those weapons. It had also set up a national committee to address issues surrounding those weapons. The range of disarmament and non‑proliferation challenges should not become an impediment to peace and security. Some positive signs included the Secretary‑General’s focus on nuclear disarmament; she applauded him for his tireless efforts.
IKONGO ISEKOTOKO BOYOO ( Democratic Republic of the Congo) said the ultimate objective of international instruments concerning weapons of mass destruction absolutely required nuclear disarmament in a verifiable manner. Nuclear-weapon States had obligations that must be honoured, he said, noting that the International Court of Justice reaffirmed that.
At the same time, he said, States had a right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Nuclear issues among States must be resolved under the IAEA. He was convinced that the NPT’s goal was total disarmament. His country was among those that had decided to place the atom in the midst of civilian use; nuclear energy, for many countries, was an essential choice to meet energy needs. Supplying nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes should never have restrictions under the NPT.
The Conference on Disarmament impasse and continued delays of the CTBT’s entry into force should be overcome immediately, he said. The Conference must take advantage of the positive impetus of the 2010 NPT Review Conference to re-launch its efforts and uphold its mandate. No United Nations forum should take away from the role of the Conference, and his country remained committed towards effectively restoring that body’s calling as a unique forum for disarmament negotiations.
He said that the illicit trade and transfers of small arms and light weapons remained a concern to his country. The 2001 Programme of Action should be strengthened. It had already contributed to highlighting the negative political consequences of the proliferation of those weapons. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 2010 national report provided information of its own activities to address these arms issues. Regarding the arms trade treaty initiative, his country supported the process, convinced that an international instrument aimed at establishing standards would help to strengthen peace and security at all levels. At a regional level, his country’s foreign policy was based on promoting peace, and it was committed to fostering dialogue and cooperation, especially in the Great Lakes area.
ABASS ALHASSANE ( Niger) said his country was not a military power and had no ambition to be one. He believed in the peaceful settlement of conflict, and his country’s foreign policy was based on peace and development. While an arms policy must meet strict requirements, development was imperative. He underlined the importance of military budget reductions to free up funds for development. There simply was no justification that there were those with nothing, while funds were allocated to arms.
For its part, Niger had signed all the principal instruments on terrorism and adopted a national law on the issue, he said. With seven neighbouring countries, Niger was concerned about a climate of insecurity, and it strongly supported a robust arms trade treaty that would limit arms circulation in the region.
JOSE EDUARDO PROANO ( Ecuador) said the only guarantee for the non‑use of nuclear weapons was their complete destruction. The Conference on Disarmament should overcome its impasse to address urgent issues, including the lack of consensus. Most importantly, a fissile material cut‑off treaty should be negotiated. It was clear the stalemate in the Conference stemmed from the lack of political will, and not the rules of procedure. The solution rested in how to bring positions closer together so all issues could be negotiated in a transparent matter. The proposal of transferring some of the issues, “in an isolated manner”, would undermine the Conference. The only way to achieve universality was to promote confidence‑building measures.
He said that the Commission on Disarmament had also yielded lacklustre results. Ecuador supported the idea of convening a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, so all bodies in the machinery could be examined and corrected.
He called on all States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify the NPT and implement the action plan of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. He also called upon all States to make efforts to consolidate all nuclear‑weapon-‑free zones in all regions. He urged the rapid entry into force of the CTBT, urging all States to ratify it without delay. He supported the right of States to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and insisted on States’ obligations to develop and implement the highest safety standards.
Ecuador promoted peace and disarmament, condemned chemical and biological weapons and supported security and stability, he said. It strongly supported the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons and commended the preparatory committee meetings for the coming arms trade treaty conference. Ecuador was committed to cluster munitions destruction, and was willing to share its experiences with other States wishing to pursue similar initiatives.
JO ADAMSON, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Conference on Disarmament, said her country had played a leading role across a range of disarmament and related international security issues. Since the previous First Committee session, the United Kingdom had, among other things, worked hard with a range of international partners to “set the ball rolling” on implementing the NPT action plan and, just into a new five-year cycle, had announced its Strategic Defence and Security Review. In June, her country had met with other nuclear-weapon States, discussing Action Plan recommendations and agreeing on follow-up initiatives on nuclear terminology and disarmament verification. In addition, the United Kingdom was working on a groundbreaking initiative with Norway on research into the verification of warhead dismantlement and would host a workshop on the subject in December to share experiences with interested non-nuclear-armed States.
Turning to other items on the Committee’s agenda, she said the United Kingdom remained a depository State to the 2012 conference on the creation of a Middle East zone free of all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and hoped all States in the region would fully engage with the host and facilitator of the conference. The United Kingdom had also been a driving force behind efforts to secure agreement on a strong and robust arms trade treaty, and would be taking an active part in the coming Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference, as well as promoting the aims of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
On cybersecurity, the United Kingdom would host an international conference on cyberspace next month, hoping that those deliberations would enhance the engagement of the international community on that important issue, she said.
Given that the United Kingdom would be hosting the 2012 Olympic Games this session, it would table a draft resolution on an Olympic truce, which encouraged Member States to undertake actions at local, national, regional and international levels to promote and strengthen a culture of peace. The United Kingdom would work with partners internationally to identify opportunities to promote the Olympic Truce ideals, prevent conflict and build peace. She called upon all United Nations Member States to join the United Kingdom in co-sponsoring that draft text.
LEI WANG ( China) said that, during the first decade of the twenty‑first century, there have been profound and complex changes in the international security landscape. The global security issue had become increasingly prominent. It not only extended to political, economic and financial fields, as well as public health and energy, but also covered a wider spectrum, from outer space to such new frontiers as cyberspace and polar regions. During the past decade, the international community had also seen the ups and downs of the multilateral arms control, disarmament and non‑proliferation cause. The notion of a nuclear—weapon‑free world had gained momentum; however, its attainment remained a formidable task.
The first decade of the twenty‑first century had now passed, he said, adding that perhaps what had most enlightened had also been most thought‑provoking: as the world today was moving towards multipolarity with accelerated economic globalization and fast development of the information age, all members were virtually in a state of unprecedented mutual dependence, with their interests intertwined. Indeed, the world had, subsequently, been turned into a “community of common destiny”, in which the members were closely interconnected.
No countries, under the present new historical conditions, were immune from global challenges, nor were they able to meet such challenges alone, he said. Rather, they must work together to overcome difficulties in pursuit of a win‑win situation. To that end, he said there was a need to champion a new thinking on security featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, and work to pursue comprehensive security, common security and cooperative security; foster a peaceful and stable international environment and build a safer world for all; fully respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries, and seek proper solutions through enhanced mutual trust and dialogue and consultation on an equal footing. The zero‑sum game should be discarded, as pursuit of a win‑win situation through cooperation was the only choice. He advocated adherence to multilateralism and the maintenance of a collective security system, with the United Nations at its core.
The complete and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons was the common goal of the international community, and States parties should implement in earnest the Final Document of the Eighth NPT Review Conference, he said. Nuclear disarmament should follow the principle of global strategic stability and undiminished security for all. The CTBT should be brought into force at an early date, and negotiations for a fissile material cut‑off treaty should be activated at the Conference on Disarmament as early as possible. Additionally, an international legal instrument on negative security assurances should be negotiated and concluded. The international community should also develop, at an appropriate time, a viable long‑term plan composed of phased actions, including the conclusion of a negotiated convention on the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.
Nuclear non‑proliferation was an essential condition for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, he said. China, for its part, wished to see the early reactivation of the Six‑Party talks on the nuclear issue on the Korea peninsula, and the early resumption of the dialogue between Iran and “E3+3” (United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany). Earnestly strengthening nuclear security was crucial to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and non‑proliferation. China welcomed the United Nations high‑level meeting on nuclear safety and security in September, and hoped that all parties would intensify international cooperation and carry out the activities of peaceful uses of nuclear energy as the prerequisite of ensuring nuclear safety.
He said China consistently supported the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction, and commended the long‑term and unremitting efforts by all parties concerned. It had been China’s hope that the international conference scheduled for next year on that issue would achieve a positive outcome. China maintained that, to break the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament, the crux of the matter must be identified in the first place; for prescriptions to be effective, they had to be based on a correct diagnosis. “To climb a tree will not help catch fish; to make it worse, such an approach may only delay the process with the precious time lost,” he warned.
Continuing, he said the Conference’s deadlock had been, as born out, primarily attributable to political factors. So, earnestly called for were, first, enhanced political trust with pre‑conceived political views left behind; second, right perception and methodology; and third, an objective- and purpose‑driven approach before embarking on any exercise. For multilateral arms control negotiations to be meaningful, the participation of all relevant parties was indispensible. That was even more so in the case of a fissile material cut‑off treaty. While it might be easy to conclude such a treaty outside the Conference, what would be its relevance, especially in achieving the objective of disarmament and non‑proliferation, in the absence of the participation of countries with the capability of producing fissile materials?
“It’s easy peasy if one just likes to indulge himself in complaints; nor is it difficult at all for the FMCT (fissile material cut-off treaty) to be moved out of the CD,” he said. Such approaches could not, however, solve the problem. A sense of historical responsibility was thus called for, especially at present. “We cannot paralyse our much needed efforts to convert retreat into advance due to unjustifiable fear,” he said. More and more countries and people of vision had come to realize that to negotiate a fissile material ban outside the Conference “is virtually a non-starter and will lead us to nowhere”; such an approach would not be able to bring on board all the necessary players, and still less, ensure the prospective treaty’s universalization and effectiveness.
Also important, he said, was the active pursuit of preventative diplomacy in the prevention of turning cyberspace and outer space into new battlefields. The twenty‑first century had become an era of information. The increasingly wider application of information and cyberspace technologies has helped pick up the pace of development of human civilization. Meanwhile, the security threats on the front of information and cyberspace have constituted a grave challenge to the international community.
He said it was against that backdrop that China had joined the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as co‑sponsors and submitted a draft “International Code of Conduct on Information Security” to the current session. The co‑sponsors hoped the international community, on that basis, would enter into open, transparent and democratic deliberations, within the framework of the United Nations, with the objective of reaching early consensus on the relevant code of conduct, so as to safeguard the common interests of all parties in this field, and to ensure that information and cyberspace will be used to better promote international peace, security and stability, as well as the well‑being of mankind.
Outer space was the common wealth of mankind, and preventing an outer space arms race was in the interest of all mankind, he said. China attached importance to the transparency and confidence‑building measures in outer space and remained open to the relevant initiatives and their discussion. The Chinese side did not believe that those measures were at odds with efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space. Indeed, those were a useful supplement to the legal instrument on prevention of weaponization of an arms race in outer space. China was ready to join others in deliberating the relevant initiatives. China earnestly aspired for a peaceful and stable international environment.
MILENA RANGEL, Director for Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Timor‑Leste, said that after witnessing war’s devastating human cost, her country was committed to the effective implementation of the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons and continued to support the conclusion of an arms trade treaty that regulated and controlled conventional arms and their trade. She was pleased by recent disarmament successes, including the new START and the heightened commitment of the ASEAN to preserve South-East Asia as a nuclear‑weapon‑free zone.
She said that Timor‑Leste, only nine years after independence, had been making efforts to contribute to the vision of a world free from the scourge and threat of armed conflicts. For its part, Timor‑Leste had acceded to all major instruments, including the NPT, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, as well as the Geneva Convention and its protocols I and II relating to victims of armed conflicts.
The First Committee, she said, was a fundamental body addressing international security and disarmament issues. Global peace and security was the keystone for the construction of global economic prosperity. Local threats to peace and security became global threats in today’s increasingly interconnected world and should be managed through multilateral mechanisms in a prompt and effective manner by the international community, in forums such as this one.
The Fukushima disaster was a crucial lesson, exemplifying the overwhelming danger of nuclear power on human health and the environment, she said. It also exemplified the need to explore renewable energy and energy efficiency. Her deepest sympathies went to the Government and people of Japan.
FADI ZIADEH ( Lebanon) said the recent meeting hosted by his country on cluster munitions had addressed several issues surrounding the elimination of those deadly weapons. There was a need to address the issue of emplacement by Israel of those in his country. He appealed for assistance to help rid Lebanese territory of those munitions, which were still killing people, including young children. He called on all users and producers of those weapons to cease their activities immediately and to join the force to eliminate them. Since the first Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, it was clear that the effort was truly cooperative. However, Israel still used many munitions in Lebanon. Efforts required sustained support to, among other things, detect and defuse those weapons.
He urged conclusion of an arms trade treaty, keeping in mind the United Nations Charter. He welcomed efforts to achieving global disarmament within a multilateral framework. However, nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction should be given attention. He regretted the inertia affecting the Conference on Disarmament and encouraged efforts towards adopting a balanced programme of work, which would, among other things, lead to a treaty on negative security assurances and on fissile material. The three pillars of the NPT — nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy — must be applied in a balanced manner. He highlighted States’ right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
A nuclear-weapon-free zone should also be created in the Middle East, he said. The only roadblock was Israel, which should place its nuclear facilities under IAEA review. The 2012 conference on implementing the 1995 resolution to establishing such a zone was taking the issue in the right direction. Lebanon believed that weapons of mass destruction were not the means to global peace and security. On the contrary, they were pushing other countries to an unlimited arms race.
U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria), associating with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated her country’s commitment to the promotion of international peace and security. The issues before the Committee were both daunting and challenging. The world was at the threshold of either producing a model for addressing the defects or falling further into the void of empty platitudes that had no effect whatsoever on our actions. The choice was simple yet not simplistic; for in the end, it was crucial to come to terms with the realities faced by the world – a world of mutual distrust, created by insatiable appetite for deadly weapons and one which needed flexibility and immediate attention.
She stressed her country’s support for the achievement of the principles and objectives of the NPT, in line with its provisions and the commitments agreed at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. To that end, Nigeria welcomed the resolution on the Middle East, as well as the agreed 13 practical steps adopted at the 2000 Review Conference. She stressed that it was in the interest of all States in the region and beyond to support the establishment of a Middle East zone free of all nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and Nigeria looked forward to the convening of a conference on that issue in 2012.
Nigeria, she said, reaffirmed that the IAEA was best positioned to ensure nuclear safety and nuclear security. It was for that reason that it urged all States to adhere to its protocols. Nigeria also commended the recent United Nations high-level meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security. No State was immune to nuclear accidents. That became more compelling, in view of the recent unfortunate nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan.
In support of negative security assurances, she reaffirmed the call for a legally binding international instrument. As stressed in the statement of the African Group, Nigeria recognized the importance of ensuring that any nuclear disarmament process should be transparent, verifiable and irreversible in order to be meaningful and effective. That also extended to the call to convene a fourth special session, in furtherance of an effective promotion of the nuclear disarmament process. Her delegation was also committed to a more practical and effective approach to deliberations on specific disarmament issues at the United Nations Disarmament Commission, as well as a clear work programme for the Conference on Disarmament. She emphasized that calls for transparency on disarmament did not necessarily diminish the security of States.
Nigeria commended the entry into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty on 15 July 2009 and call on all States, and in particular, the nuclear-weapon States that are yet to ratify the Treaty’s relevant protocols, to do so without further delay to ensure the Treaty’s effectiveness.
Noting the continued illicit proliferation of conventional arms, she noted that beneficiaries of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons were not bound by any known “code of conduct”. In their view, what was uppermost was either the profit that accrued from such illicit trade or, as an end product, the depth of mayhem caused by those transactions. Nigeria, therefore, called for a concerted effect to rid the world of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, including ammunitions which brought no substantial benefit to humanity. Heading the preparations in 2012 for the upcoming review of the United Nations Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, Nigeria would consult widely to address the concerns of all delegations. She was hopeful about the conference in 2012 on the arms trade treaty.
* *** *For information media • not an official record