States urged to focus on common security, as UN disarmament meeting ends in deadlock

13 September 2012 – As the United Nations Conference on Disarmament ended its 2012 session in Geneva today – without breaking an impasse over its agenda, including the consideration of a fissile materials treaty – the top UN official on the issue urged Member States to continue to seek progress, keeping in mind that their national security was not solely dependent on military might.

“National security is also linked to the security of one’s neighbours, and to regional and global security,” the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, said as the Conference, the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community, adopted its 2012 report to the General Assembly.

“Recognizing this indivisibility of security is the first and most crucial step toward advancing the security interests of all, at the expense of none,” Ms. Kane added.

Established in 1979 and with a current membership of 65 countries, the Conference on Disarmament primarily focuses on cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament, prevention of nuclear war, and prevention of an arms race in outer space, among other issues.

Over its history, the Conference has produced landmark disarmament instruments such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

However, the Conference has been plagued in recent years by an inability to overcome differences among its members and start its substantive work towards advancing those goals.

“The world is facing new risks and challenges to our common security. If we manage to address the challenges of disarmament, we will be able to better create a platform for common actions to address these new challenges as well,” Ms Kane said in her remarks to the session’s closing.

“Members have to employ all available means to reach a common political will and to enable this body to fulfil its mandate,” she added. “This is less of a challenge of administrative reform than of reconciling differences among Member States through diplomacy. “

Such diplomacy, Ms. Kane said, may include high-level consultations in different formats, new approaches to addressing key issues, with the forthcoming 67th session of the General Assembly providing the broadest platform to consider new initiatives.

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