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Security Council strongly condemns DPRK missile launches

Wide view of the Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe (file)
Wide view of the Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe (file)
27 August 2016 – The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine on 23 August, which follows a series of recent tests and launches the Council said is a “grave violation” of the DPRK's international obligations and “in flagrant disregard” of repeated calls to halt such activity.

In a press statement issued late yesterday evening, the Council also strongly condemned the DPRK's ballistic missile launches conducted on 2 August and 18 July, and the launching of a submarine-launched ballistic missile by the country on 9 July.

Council members said this string of recent launches is in grave violation of the DPRK's international obligations under relevant Council resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) and 2270 (2016).

Deploring all ballistic missile activities by the DPRK, including the most recent launches, the Council noted that such activities contribute to the country's development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension.

The Council's 15-members further regretted that the DPRK is diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles while the country's citizens have great unmet needs.

Further, Council members expressed “serious concern” that the DPRK conducted these ballistic missile launches after the 15 April, 23 April, 27 April, 28 April, 31 May and 21 June launches, “in flagrant disregard of the repeated statements of the Security Council.”

As such, the Council reiterated that the DPRK shall refrain from further actions, including nuclear tests, in violation of the relevant resolutions and comply fully with its obligations under those Council texts.

The Security Council in its statement went on to call on all Member States to redouble their efforts to implement fully its measures imposed on the DPRK, particularly the comprehensive measures contained in resolution 2270 (2016), which among others, expands arms embargo and non-proliferation measures, including small arms and light weapons, and enforces new cargo inspection and maritime procedures, including mandatory inspection on cargo destined to and originating from the DPRK.

Directing the panel established to monitor all measures imposed on the DPRK, known as the 1718 Committee after the 2006 resolution that created it to intensify its work to strengthen enforcement of resolution 2270 (2016) , the Council also directed the Committee to assist Member States to comply with their obligations under that resolution and other relevant texts.

The members of the Security Council also called on Member States to report as soon as possible on concrete measures they have taken in order to implement effectively the provisions of resolution 2270 (2016).

Reiterating the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in North-East Asia at large, the Council expressed its commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation and welcomed efforts by Council members, as well as other States to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.

The members of the Council went on to stress the importance of working to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond, and agreed to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures in line with its previously expressed determination.

At Security Council, Ban calls for eradicating weapons of mass destruction ‘once and for all’

A wide view of the Security Council open debate on the topic “Challenges in addressing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related materials.” UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
A wide view of the Security Council open debate on the topic “Challenges in addressing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related materials.” UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
23 August 2016 – Recalling that eliminating weapons of mass destruction was one of the founding principles of the United Nations and was in fact the subject of the first resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need to seriously refocus attention on nuclear disarmament.

“I call on all States to focus on one overriding truth: the only sure way to prevent the human, environmental and existential destruction these weapons can cause, is by eradicating [these weapons] once and for all,” said Mr. Ban in his remarks at the Security Council open debate on ‘non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.’

“We – the international community – must ensure the disarmament and non-proliferation framework is universally and completely implemented, and is resilient and versatile enough to grapple with the changing environment,” he added.

In his remarks, Mr. Ban said the success in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction offers some comfort and that multilateral treaties, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, and instruments, including Security Council resolution 1540, are “robust and tested.”

Adopted in 2004, resolution 1540 affirms that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

But the Secretary-General also pointed out that the challenges to the disarmament and non-proliferation architecture are growing. He noted that technological advances have made means of production and methods of delivery of these weapons easier and more accessible.

“Vicious non-State actors that target civilians for carnage are actively seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons,” he stressed.

He said that it is particularly disappointing that progress on eliminating nuclear weapons has descended into fractious deadlock, underscoring that arguments justifying nuclear weapons, such as those used during the Cold War, “were morally, politically and practically wrong thirty years ago, and they are wrong now”.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges all states to focus on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in order to "prevent the human, environmental and existential destruction these weapons can cause". Credit: UN News Centre

Recalling the Security Council’s convening of the historic summit on non-proliferation and adoption of resolution 1887 (2009) in which it emphasized its primary responsibility to address nuclear threats and its willingness to take action, Mr. Ban said the global community now expects the Council to demonstrate the same leadership on the subject, to build on resolution 1887 and to develop further initiatives to bring about a world free of weapons of mass destruction.

While noting that more needs to be done to “bridge the divide” within the international community, the UN chief said that it was encouraging that all UN Member States agree that the collective efforts must complement and strengthen the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, including the NPT, which is the only treaty-based commitment to nuclear disarmament and has been a strong barrier against nuclear proliferation for nearly 50 years.

Biological attacks could be much more devastating

Speaking on the threat of biological weapons, the Secretary General said that in the wake of serious outbreaks of Ebola, MERS and yellow fever, he is “very concerned” that the international community is not adequately prepared to prevent or respond to a biological attack.

“The impact and consequences of a biological attack on a civilian target could far exceed those of a chemical or radiological attack,” he highlighted, stating that the investment in the international architecture dealing with these different types of weapons of mass destruction is not commensurate with their possible effects.

“For example, there is no multilateral prevention and verification agency for biological weapons, as there is for nuclear and chemical threats and risks,” he added.

The Secretary-General also called on the Security Council to consider how to strengthen resolution 1540 to ensure that non-State actors cannot acquire these horrific weapons.

“For twelve years, this resolution has tried to provide a barrier to the threat and risk of weapons of mass destruction use by non-state actors, which is a very real threat,” recalled Mr. Ban.

He called on the Council to use the open debate to be proactive in ensuring the resolution continues to be fit for purpose.

People must also be protected from online attacks

Turning to the new global threats emerging from the misuse of science and technology, and the power of globalization, the Secretary-General said that the nexus between these emerging technologies and weapons of mass destruction needs close examination and action.

“Information and communication technologies, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and synthetic biology will bring profound changes to our everyday lives and benefits to millions of people,” he noted, but cautioned that “their potential for misuse could also bring destruction.”

As a starting point, Mr. Ban said the international community must step up to expand common ground for the peaceful use of cyberspace and, particularly, the intersection between cyberspace and critical infrastructure.

Expressing that people now live a significant portion of their lives “online,” they must be protected from online attacks, just as effectively as they are protected from physical attacks.

“Disarmament and non-proliferation instruments are only as successful as Member States’ capacity to implement them,” he noted, encouraging the members of the Council to devise effective solutions so that all states can fully implement their disarmament and non-proliferation commitments.

One year on, Iran deal ‘best’ way to ensure peaceful nuclear programme – UN chief

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefs the press at UN Headquarters in New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefs the press at UN Headquarters in New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten
20 July 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that the nuclear deal agreed to last year by Iran and six world powers is the best way of ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, calling for the comprehensive implementation of the accord, as well as a subsequent Security Council resolution that endorsed it.

In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General congratulated the Council and the participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the first anniversary of the “historic achievement” and commended progress made so far.

On 20 July last year, the Council adopted resolution 2231 (2015), endorsing the JCPOA under which Iran pledged that it would not seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons. The resolution called the deal a “culmination of diplomatic efforts” by Iran and the so-called E3+3 – China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In his statement, Mr. Ban said the JCPOA was “a triumph of diplomacy” for conflict resolution and prevention, and strengthened global norms for nuclear non-proliferation.

He explained that, combined with a robust verification regime, the agreement ended one of the Council’s strictest sanctions regimes, and provided Iran with the opportunity for greater engagement with the international community.

“Resolution 2231 (2015) heralded a fundamental shift in Iran’s relationship with the Security Council, and provided a defined time schedule for the removal of the Iran nuclear issue from the Council’s agenda,” the Secretary-General said.

He also commended Iran for implementing its nuclear-related commitments, as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, while also applauding the steps taken by the European Union and the United States.

“One year on, I remain certain that the JCPOA is the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme and to realise the great aspirations of the Iranian people,” he said, calling for the agreement and resolution 2231 to be implemented in a comprehensive manner, based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

That would facilitate greater cooperation to achieve international peace and security, he added.

On anniversary of Iran deal, UN calls for implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman addresses UN Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman addresses UN Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe
18 July 2016 – The top United Nations political official today called for implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under which Iran reaffirmed that it would not seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons.

“Fully implemented, the JCPOA will reinforce global non-proliferation norms, and assure the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme,” Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council.

He noted also that lifting sanctions as a result of abiding with the JCPOA will “help to realize the long-awaited hopes and aspirations of the Iranian people to be reconnected to the global economy and the international community.”

The Council endorsed the JCPOA on 20 July 2015 in resolution 2231, calling it a “culmination of diplomatic efforts by the so-called E3+3 – which includes China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and Iran.

Presenting the Secretary-General's first report on implementation of the resolution, Mr. Feltman today told the Council that since 16 January of this year, the Secretary-General “has not received any report, nor is he aware of any open source information, regarding the supply, sale, transfer or export to Iran of nuclear-related items undertaken contrary to the provisions of the JCPOA.”

In addition, since that date, the Secretariat has received “no information regarding the supply, sale, transfer or export to Iran of ballistic missile-related items undertaken contrary to the provisions of resolution 2231 (2015).”

However, in early March 2016, during military exercises, Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles. The report includes details from Iranian media and from information provided to the Secretary-General from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“While it is for the Security Council to interpret its own resolutions,” Mr. Feltman said, “the Secretary-General stressed that we must maintain the momentum created by the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, consistent with its constructive spirit.”

“In this regard, he calls upon Iran to avoid such ballistic missile launches which have the potential to increase tensions in the region,” he continued.

The report focuses on the restrictive measures in Annex B to the resolution which includes restrictions on nuclear-related transfers and activities, ballistic missile-related transfers and activities, arms-related transfers, as well as an assets freeze and a travel ban. It does not report on other provisions of the resolution or Annex A (on the JCPOA), nor touch upon the work of the Joint Commission established in the agreement.

The next report of the Secretary-General will be submitted to the Council in January 2017.