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New York, 24 September 2010

Mr. Secretary-General,
His Excellency Paul Biya,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to deliver opening remarks at this High Level Meeting at such an important moment for the disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

In recent times we have seen some new positive developments in the field of disarmament. Since last year, important bilateral and multilateral negotiations have come to a successful conclusion. The new START treaty on the reduction of nuclear weapons by the United States and the Russian Federation was a major step in this field. It is my hope that this agreement can expeditiously enter into force and that all other nuclear weapon states also commit themselves to reducing their nuclear arsenals.  

The positive outcome of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is a clear recommitment by the international community to multilateralism. I would like to congratulate the Secretary-General for his leadership and vision and, particularly, for convening this meeting.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my firm belief that the problems the world is facing today cannot be solved by any country alone. We need effective and inclusive multilateral efforts; we need a strong United Nations that can take a leadership role also in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.

In order to fulfil this role, reinforcing and reinvigorating the UN Disarmament structures is essential. And no exercise of such nature can succeed without addressing the current deadlock that the Conference on Disarmament faces.

Last year the CD was able to approve its program of work, a breakthrough after more than a decade of stagnation. Unfortunately the implementation of the plan of work has not yet taken place.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is crucial that the Conference on Disarmament is able to overcome its current stalemate. The CD’s programme of work deals with different aspects of the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda, which should be addressed in an integrated approach. Selectively choosing one or another item will undermine the delicate political balance achieved so far. Negotiations should start as soon as possible, including those on a Fissile Material Cut off Treaty.

We should make use of all instruments at hand within the UN Disarmament structures to improve confidence-building and to overcome the current stalemate, rather than envisage solutions outside the Conference on Disarmament.  

It is my hope that the political support that we all lend to the Conference on Disarmament here today, as well as possible concrete proposals on its revitalization, can unfold into real steps towards the achievement of the objective of establishing a world free of nuclear weapons.

Thank you.

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