Ukraine ready to host conference on chemical weapons pact, official tells UN

Foreign Minister Khandogiy

3 October 2007 – Ukraine is prepared to host an international conference aimed at generating support for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) as part of ongoing efforts to stem the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the country’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly today.

Volodymyr Khandogiy emphasized the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation. “As a country that voluntarily renounced its military nuclear arsenals, Ukraine is really disappointed that a world without weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) remains a distant dream,” he said.

Stressing the need to strengthen international norms and legal instruments to prevent the spread of WMDs, he called for all countries that have not done so to ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), as well as pacts aimed at eliminating biological and chemical weapons.

He pledged to work to strengthen the CWC. “With this in mind, Ukraine proposes to host next year together with the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) an international conference with the participation of, among others, countries from the Middle East and Northern Africa,” he said.

“The anticipated outcome of such a conference might be a joint statement on the intention of the countries concerned to adhere to the CWC.”

Turning to regional hotspots, he voiced “unequivocal support” for a long-lasting settlement in Kosovo. “That objective cannot be achieved by undertaking unilateral steps as well as attempts to solve the issue of Kosovo by bypassing the United Nations,” he cautioned.

“A hasty settlement can only destabilize the situation the region and have negative implications for the entire system of international relations, since similar scenarios could be pursued by separatist entities in some other regions.”

Looking ahead to next year’s commemoration of the 60th anniversary of UN peacekeeping, he said Ukraine – a major troop contributor – would propose the adoption by the General Assembly of a special declaration marking the milestone.

He also said Ukraine would seek the adoption at the current session of a new resolution on strengthening international cooperation to mitigate the consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. “We would welcome broad support for the initiative,” he said.

In addition, he urged UN agencies and individual donors to continue to provide assistance to the States affected by Chernobyl – the worst technology disaster ever faced by humankind.

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