Exploiting Renewed Focus on Nuclear Disarmament Requires Political Will, Reversal of Past Policies, Understanding New Dynamics Among Nations, First Committee Told
Exploiting Renewed Focus on Nuclear Disarmament Requires Political Will, Reversal of Past Policies, Understanding New Dynamics Among Nations, First Committee Told
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
5th Meeting (AM)
Exploiting Renewed Focus on Nuclear Disarmament Requires Political Will, Reversal
of Past Policies, Understanding New Dynamics Among Nations, First Committee Told
Iran Says Security Council Disarmament Text ‘Missed the Mark’, Exceeding
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, International Atomic Energy Agency Statute
In the face of the continued existence and spread of nuclear weapons by nuclear Powers, the world could profit from the current attention to nuclear disarmament only from sincere political will, real change in past policies and respect for disarmament obligations, and understanding of the new dynamics among nations, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today.
Addressing the Committee during its ongoing general debate, Iran’s delegate said that some nuclear-weapon States had not demonstrated genuine will to accomplish the disarmament part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) “bargain” and full compliance with their obligations, he said. Instead of moving towards totally eliminating their arsenals, those countries had continued to develop and modernize their nuclear weapons, in a serious case of non-compliance.
“If the NPT is to continue its role in promoting international peace and security, it is necessary that the nuclear-weapon States prove that they are serious about their responsibility and commitments to fully implement the provisions of Article VI of the NPT,” he said.
Moreover, he said that the recent Security Council adoption of resolution 1887 (2009) missed the mark, with the text going beyond the provisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Statute and the NPT, and introducing certain provisions that clearly contradicted the NPT, distorting the language of article VI. “Legally speaking, it cannot and must not be referred to in any future NPT meetings,” he said.
Still, the forthcoming NPT Review Conference in 2010 was an opportunity for some nuclear-weapon States to “turn the page” and prove that they could take their responsibilities seriously in addressing the international community’s concerns, he said. Regarding peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Iran was an NPT party and had a adopted a policy based on developing long-term planning to meet energy needs.
Similarly, Malaysia’s delegate said that the 2010 NPT Review Conference could be significant in the efforts to rid the world free of nuclear weapons, “but this will require the willingness by all parties to fulfil their obligations under the Treaty”. He, too, was troubled that nuclear-weapon States were not moving towards disarmament and that other countries were pursuing nuclearization, increasing the risks that non-State actors would enter the nuclear fray.
Achieving true non-proliferation rested on fulfilling the “basic (NPT) bargain” consisting of, among other things, nuclear-weapon States honouring their disarmament obligations and non-nuclear-weapon States promising not to acquire nuclear weapons, he said. Fulfilling that bargain meant creating a bedrock of trust in a multilateral, universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory manner.
Why not simply cut off the ingredients to build nuclear weapons? asked Canada’s representative. The international community should ban the production of fissile material to “turn off the tap” of the substances required to manufacture them. The NPT, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and a fissile material cut-off treaty were the three key mutually-supporting instruments to address those steps. And the prospects for progress on all three of those Treaties were more promising now than they had been for many years.
If the international community wished to make serious advances on those fundamental challenges, he said it needed to more effectively use the United Nations disarmament machinery and support the global organizations that had been established to implement existing agreements, such as the IAEA and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). It was also time to start work on the security guarantees for non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and banning the weaponization of outer space.
The main role of the disarmament machinery was to reduce military spending through arms control and disarmament so the international community could “de‑weaponize”, said the representative of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See. Civil society, international humanitarian organizations, individuals and especially those struggling from armed conflicts and violence were all expecting tangible and convincing results in the quest for a nuclear-weapon-free world where education, food, health care and clean water were more accessible than illicit arms. In a year plagued by economic crises and a spike in military spending of 4 per cent to $1.5 trillion, he wondered whether ordinary people could expect more progressive, concrete and courageous changes from their leaders.
Reminding the Committee that the uranium used in the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had come from Africa, a continent that had the largest proven uranium deposits and nuclear-related strategic minerals in the world, the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania said that Africa was a shining example of adherence to all international and regional instruments to prevent nuclear proliferation by working transparently with the IAEA in avoiding the exploitation of and safeguarding the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Africa’s nuclear-weapon-free zone should be a catalyst to achieve the remaining needed ratifications to put the Test-Ban Treaty into force.
Several speakers commended nuclear-weapon-free zones as a deterrent for the spread of these weapons, while others reported taking arms control and disarmament measures into their own hands through national legislation. The representative of Yemen said his country had ratified all multilateral disarmament treaties and had begun a policy of weapons regulations that would stem trafficking of small arms and light weapons. However, there was a paramount responsibility that must be taken by weapons-producing nations that were lending technical assistance to countries that suffered from the dire consequences of the use of those weapons. That situation destroyed economic and social structures and bred terrorism and organized crime.
Statements in the general debate were also made by the representatives of India, United Arab Emirates, Chile, Mali, Viet Nam, Ukraine, Singapore, Cambodia, Senegal and San Marino.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 9 October, to continue its general debate.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items before the General Assembly. (For background on the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Release GA/DIS/3384).
HAMID ALI RAO ( India) named nuclear disarmament as the highest priority and said it would be just as possible to prohibit chemical and biological weapons through non-discriminatory and international conventions. Encouraging signs, such as the recent United States-Russian Federation talks, showed that the goal of nuclear disarmament could be achieved through a step-by-step process, underwritten by a universal commitment. However, the overall goal of nuclear disarmament should not be held hostage to nuclear non-proliferation. At the same time, non‑proliferation objectives should be achieved through a concerted international effort. Expansion of nuclear energy, vital to global energy security, must be ensured in a manner that did not jeopardize non-proliferation.
He said that in order to advance the global debate on nuclear disarmament, India suggested, among other things, a reaffirmation of commitment by all nuclear‑weapon States to the goal of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, reduction of the salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines and the negotiation of a global agreement among them on no-first-use as well as a universal and legally-binding agreement on non-use of nuclear weapons against non‑nuclear-weapon States. He also suggested the negotiation of a nuclear-weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of those weapons and on their destruction.
India shared the disappointment over the inability for the Conference on Disarmament to get down to substantive work, but it was committed to participating constructively in the fissile material treaty negotiations. India’s Prime Minister was willing to join only a non-discriminatory, multilaterally-negotiated and internationally-verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty, concluded in the Conference, provided that India’s security interests were fully addressed. As a nuclear-weapon State, India was a responsible Member of the world community and would approach negotiations as such.
As part of its minimum nuclear deterrent, India had adopted a policy of no‑first-use and non-use against non-nuclear-weapon States, and it was prepared to convert those commitments into a multilateral legal arrangement. India was also committed to maintaining its voluntary unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.
Regarding other issues, he urged that outer space remain weapon-free. The United Nations should play its role in addressing conventional arms control. India remained strongly committed to 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(Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons) as vitally important in controlling armed conflict. He also welcomed the opening of the new United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, to which it extended India’s full support.
AUGUSTINE MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) said that the current positive momentum should finally turn the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into a fully-ratified instrument demonstrating the world’s commitment to sustainable nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Africa’s nuclear-weapon‑free zone should also be a catalyst to achieve the remaining needed ratifications. He reminded the Committee that the uranium used in the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had come from Africa, a continent that had the largest proven uranium deposits and nuclear-related strategic minerals in the world. But Africa was a shining example of adherence to all international and regional instruments to prevent nuclear proliferation by working transparently with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in avoiding the exploitation of and safeguarding the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.
He called for strengthening the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa to provide more expert knowledge to African States of nuclear and conventional disarmament in the continent and to expand its network with civil-society organizations. He welcomed into force the Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone, adding that all of those zones played a pivotal role in promoting international peace and security. He encouraged similar efforts in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula. Turning to nuclear energy, he said it was imperative to ensure internationally-safeguarded access to fissile material for peaceful uses, in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The proliferation of small arms and light weapons was a great concern in Africa and its Great Lakes Region, he said. Those weapons fuelled conflicts and instability, displacing civilians and undermining peacebuilding efforts and the provision of humanitarian assistance to victims. They also contributed to cross‑border crimes and terrorism. His country supported the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects to address those issues, as well as the efforts being made to create an arms-trade treaty that would regulate the arms trade and prevent the illicit circulation. He also called on the international community to support the Region Centre on Small Arms.
The political will of States to adhere to international instruments in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation was vital because adoption of conventions and binding resolutions without real commitment was futile.
Archbishop CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said that civil society, international humanitarian organizations, individuals and especially those struggling from armed conflicts and violence were all expecting tangible and convincing results in the quest for a nuclear‑weapon‑free world where education, food, health care and clean water were more accessible than illicit arms. In a year plagued by economic crises and a spike in military spending of 4 per cent to $1.5 trillion, he wondered whether ordinary people could expect more progressive, concrete and courageous changes from their leaders. “The answer is in our hands,” he said.
He emphasized that Article 26 of the United Nations Charter declared that excessive spending on arms was a diversion from human and economic resources, and that the main role of the disarmament machinery was to reduce military expenditures through arms control and disarmament, so that the international community could progressively “de-weaponize” the field of security. One alternative to excessive military spending was to strengthen multilateralism. One positive sign of an emerging healthy multilateral agenda had been the convening of a Security Council summit on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. A new political climate among major players in disarmament had also been reflected in the positive outcome of the last preparatory meeting for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, the adoption of a Convention on Cluster Munitions, renewed commitments to achieve a mine-free world, as well as new initiatives promoting disarmament.
There had also been earnest efforts by international organizations, non‑governmental organizations and civil society groups towards an arms-trade treaty. The Holy See was committed to advancing work on a legally-binding instrument on the import, export and transfer of arms. In a globalized world, trade, the financial system and the global market were regulated, so arms should likewise be controlled. The Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1887 (2009) put nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at the centre of the international debate on peace and security, but that should not divert the world’s attention from long-standing unresolved issues, such as the 13-year-old CTBT, which had yet to enter into force, absent just nine ratifications. In addition, persistent obstacles hampered negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty. While the Conference on Disarmament had broken its deadlock, it had failed to advance negotiations because of procedural disagreements.
Furthermore, he said, some key players had remained outside the international instruments to ban anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions, and a few States had still not joined the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention). Finally, many disarmament issues awaited definitive solutions.
MARIUS GRINIUS ( Canada) said that progress in nuclear disarmament required that the international community first work to prevent nuclear weapons from spreading and reduce nuclear arsenals to the lowest levels possible, with a view to eliminating them altogether. It also required that all nuclear-test explosions be banned to prohibit the last step that must be taken in a nuclear-weapons development. Thirdly, the international community should ban the production of fissile material to “turn off the tap” of the substances required to manufacture nuclear weapons. The NPT, the CTBT and a fissile material cut-off treaty were the three key mutually-supporting instruments to address those steps. The prospects for progress on all three of those treaties were more promising now than they had been for many years. If the international community wished to make serious advances on those fundamental challenges, it needed to more effectively use the United Nations disarmament machinery and support the global organizations that had been established to implement existing agreements, such as the IAEA and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
He said that Canada ascribed particular importance to strong coordination and cooperation among nuclear-weapon States in the effort to advance the non‑proliferation, arms control and disarmament agenda. Efforts by the nuclear‑weapon possessor States should be reinforced by leadership and action by all members of the international community in advancing the collective goals. Canada applauded those States and organizations that had shown such leadership, for example, Australia and Japan through their joint initiative in setting up the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation. He also cited as such an example, the creation of the International Panel on Fissile Materials. Canada remained at the forefront of efforts to combat terrorism and strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime. As Group of Eight President for 2010, it would undertake diplomatic-advocacy initiatives to advance those efforts.
Canada believed that now was the time to start work on the security guarantees, shared by the international community, to ban the weaponization of outer space, by prohibiting the emplacement of weapons there and the testing and use of weapons on satellites. That work should be undertaken in the Conference on Disarmament. Canada hoped that the Conference’s programme of work, which included a discussion mandate on outer-space issues, could be adopted again in 2010 and be fully implemented.
AHMED ABDULRAHMAN AL-JARMAN ( United Arab Emirates) said that his country welcomed the recent positive developments in the disarmament and non-proliferation arena, including the Security Council summit, which produced resolution 1887 (2009) and subsequent developments. The United Arab Emirates was optimistic that those developments, along with relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, would help create a world free of nuclear weapons. His country was optimistic that the two initiatives recently announced by United States President Barack Obama with regard to holding an international conference next April on securing vulnerable nuclear materials and reaching agreement with the Russian Federation on reducing nuclear warheads and their launchers. However, those important endeavours could not replace the required reductions in nuclear weapons in the two countries in complete transparency, aimed at achievement of the ultimate goal of the total elimination of those weapons.
Continuing, he said that the elimination of nuclear weapons would systematically contribute to strengthening multilateral international cooperation and would encourage non-nuclear-weapon States to abandon the relentless pursuit to acquire those dangerous weapons. It would also strengthen the non-proliferation system, particularly after decades of living in a distressing climate of escalated military confrontation and arms race. Security was a legitimate right of all States. Efforts to ensure security should not be limited to addressing prohibited strategic armaments, but should also include strengthening international-cooperation mechanisms in other equally important areas such as armed violence, trafficking, and the illicit-arms trade, including small arms and light weapons, and preventing dangerous materials from falling into the hands of irresponsible or lawless groups. Those efforts should include enhancing cooperation among all States. The United Arab Emirates hoped that the international community would soon develop a legally-binding treaty on importing, exporting and transferring conventional weapons, without exception and with full transparency. That would build confidence and promote peaceful coexistence among all States and regions.
FRANCISCO DEL CAMPO ( Chile) said Committee discussions were being held against a favourable international backdrop. Chile favoured a multilateral approach to security and development of strategy based on an open economy, as that would foster additional positive steps. As a country involved in peacekeeping, Chile was a party to major disarmament treaties, including the recent Convention on Cluster Munitions; all mechanisms and multilateral efforts in arms control had Chile’s support. The NPT was the cornerstone of disarmament, and the balance in the Treaty ensured the legitimacy and commitment inherent in the agreement.
He said that the discussion by the United States and Russian Federation were a good example of bilateral progress. He also highlighted the recent Security Council summit and the redoubled efforts to ban nuclear weapons, hoping that the favourable environment would bring about further progress in disarmament. Chile supported the peaceful use of nuclear energy, but that right should only be conferred on those States that complied with the NPT. A positive outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference was imperative. The nuclear threat was real and commitments must be honoured. He welcomed endeavours by the United States Government relating to multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation. Further progress required a flexible vision, over the rigidity that hampered past discussions. He also sought progress on the issue of fissile materials.
Chile, together with the rest of the Latin America and the Caribbean Region, was an area of peace, since the establishment in 1969 of a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and he welcomed the new zones in Central Asia and Africa. Creating those zones could help regional and international security, simultaneous with disarmament obligations. Those zones fostered mutual trust, which would accelerate disarmament.
MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE ( Iran) said that, given the current attention to the question of nuclear disarmament -- genuine multilateralism and respect for disarmament obligations would emerge only if accompanied by sincere political will, real change in past policies and understanding of new dynamics and improvements in relations among nations. The Committee should seize the opportunity to contribute to the current atmosphere.
He said that Iran views nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as essential components of international security, which was deeply affected by massive warhead stockpiles and States failing to honour their obligations. Multilateral disarmament efforts must be revitalized. Bitter experience from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Iraq’s chemical attacks against Iran demonstrated the grave long-term consequences of weapons of mass destruction. As a victim of those weapons, Iran was committed to pursuing the realization of a world free of those weapons, not only in words, but also by the full implementation of the NPT and the Conventions banning biological and chemical weapons. The General Assembly’s adoption of disarmament resolutions showed that those objectives should be the utmost priority for the international community.
Existing nuclear weapons were capable of destroying civilizations and all life on earth, he said. With the exception of a few people in nuclear-weapon States, nobody could deny the fact that the continued existence and proliferation of nuclear weapons by nuclear Powers posed the greatest threat to the security of humanity. Some nuclear-weapon States had not demonstrated genuine will to accomplish the disarmament part of the NPT bargain and full compliance with their obligations. Nuclear-weapon States had not moved towards the total elimination of their arsenals, but instead, had continued to develop and modernize their nuclear weapons, in a serious case of non-compliance.
“If the NPT is to continue its role in promoting international peace and security, it is necessary that the nuclear-weapon States prove that they are serious about their responsibility and commitments to fully implement the provisions of Article VI of the NPT,” he said.
The recent Security Council adoption of resolution 1887 (2009) missed the mark, with the text going beyond IAEA Statute provisions and the NPT, and introducing certain provisions that clearly contradicted the NPT, distorting the language of article VI, he said. “Legally speaking, it can not and must not be referred to in any future NPT meetings,” he said. The forthcoming NPT Review Conference was a good opportunity for some nuclear-weapon States to “turn the page” and prove that they could take their responsibilities seriously in addressing the international community’s concerns.
Turning to regional matters, he said that despite expectations that a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East would enhance international peace and security, one regime continued to flout all international instruments on weapons of mass destruction and remained the sole impediment to realization of such a zone. The regime’s refusal to join the NPT, its repeated threats and attacks against countries in the region, and nuclear weapons possession posed a uniquely grave threat to regional and international security. The 1995 resolution on the Middle East should be a main focus of the coming NPT Review Conference.
Regarding peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Iran was a party to the NPT and had adopted a policy based on developing long-term planning to meet energy needs. By presenting its package of proposals for comprehensive and constructive negotiations to the “5+1” group in September, Iran had demonstrated its firm determination to negotiations, aimed at creating a framework for cooperative relationships. It was now up to the other parties to change their past policies to demonstrate their good will.
On the Conference on Disarmament, Iran believed the recent momentum could only be sustained if the concerns of all States were accommodated.
He then underlined that the complete destruction of chemical weapons remained the most important foundation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Failure to meet the 29 April 2012 deadline to destroy those weapons would constitute a serious case of non-compliance.
AMI DIALLO( Mali) said that the prevention of conflicts and the guarantee of security constituted a constant challenge for the authorities in his country and other African States. In view of the phenomenon of illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons and their dramatic consequences, initiatives had been taken at the global, regional, subregional and national levels. Mali had been among the first countries to establish a national commission to combat the proliferation of light weapons. The commission had been created by decree on 14 November 1996, following the “flame of peace” ceremony held on 27 March 1996 to mark the end of the armed rebellion in that country. More recently, specific national legislation in that area had been reinforced by the adoption on 12 November 2004 of a new law conforming to the Programme of Action and the Bamako Declaration, and on 8 July 2008, of a law on terrorism.
He said that, at the regional level, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had made the fight against illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons a major thrust of its political security effort. In that context, following a Malian initiative, and with the support of its neighbours, an ECOWAS Programme of Coordination and Assistance for Development had been put in place in 1999. That Programme was officially replaced on 6 June 2006 by an ECOWAS Programme on the Control of Light Weapons. The new Programme was based in Bamako and was charged with controlling the sale and traffic in light calibre weapons, strengthening the capacity of national commissions on light weapons and providing technical assistance to the ECOWAS secretariat in the area of light weapons.
In addition, the ECOWAS Member States had decided to transform the moratorium on the importation, exportation and manufacture of light weapons into a binding legal instrument, he said. Moreover, on 14 June 2006 in Abuja, ECOWAS Heads of State had adopted the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Munitions and Other Related Materials. That Convention, which prohibited the transfer of those weapons, was a great advance in the region and represented a decisive stage in the fight against the proliferation of light weapons.
HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) shared the current optimism over prospects for general and complete disarmament and non-proliferation, citing the Conference on Disarmament’s progress, the United States and Russian Federation commitments and the Security Council’s recent summit. The existence of nuclear weapons would always pose a serious threat of disaster, and Viet Nam had advocated for many years that the only absolute guarantee against nuclear catastrophe was the elimination of those weapons. He reiterated the need for an international conference to identify effective ways and means to accomplish that goal.
Saying that the NPT was the cornerstone of the nuclear disarmament and non‑proliferation regime, he underscored the importance of full and non-selective implementation of the Treaty’s three pillars, which sought to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology, promote cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and achieve the goal of nuclear disarmament. He also stressed the inalienable right of States to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, under the NPT. The coming 2010 NPT Review Conference would be an opportunity to review, renew and strengthen commitments.
However, he said he was deeply concerned that the Test-Ban Treaty, after 13 years, had not entered into force. He urged States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify it, stressing that the nuclear-weapon States must take a leading role to enable the Treaty’s immediate operation. Nuclear-weapon-free zones were positive steps to strengthen non-proliferation regimes and enhance regional and global peace and security. Viet Nam welcomed the two new zones, in Central Asia and in Africa, and supported the convening of the Second Conference of States Parties and Signatory to the Treaties of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones next year. That would help to mobilize greater support for implementation of those Treaties.
The Conventions on biological and chemical weapons were also important.
On conventional arms, he recognized the negative impacts caused by small arms and light weapons and supported efforts to curb their illegal manufacture, transfer and circulation. Viet Nam was convinced that an arms trade treaty should be concluded within the United Nations framework, through a consensus-based approach to ensure its universal acceptance and effective implementation. Viet Nam also firmly supported strengthening the disarmament machinery, as well as the work of the United Nations International Disarmament Commission. He hoped that Members States would demonstrate greater political will and flexibility to reach consensus at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and that the Conference on Disarmament would move ahead next year on banning fissile material for nuclear weapons, along with other important disarmament issues on its agenda.
YURIY SERGEYEV ( Ukraine) said that his country had consistently supported a multilateral approach to the disarmament and international security agenda. It fully reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining and strengthening the current disarmament machinery, including the First Committee, the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission. Ukraine had previously had the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, but had voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons, thus contributing significantly to nuclear disarmament and strengthening regional and global security. It confirmed its commitment to secure peace and stability. The use of weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear weapons in particular, remained the most alarming issue of the day and the greatest threat to mankind. It was necessary to halt the proliferation of those weapons, while preserving and ratifying the treaties aimed at total disarmament.
He reiterated the vital importance of the universalization of the CTBT and expressed confidence that its entry into force would tangibly help the realization of the noble objective of a safe and peaceful world, free of nuclear weapons. Ukraine, whose role in nuclear disarmament could serve as an example, remained one of the strongest and most consistent supporters of the standing international instruments in that field. It hoped that the commitment made by United States President Obama to pursue his country’s ratification of the Test-Ban Treaty would be fulfilled soon. Meanwhile, it was of the greatest importance that the integrity of the norms set by the CTBT be respected. Pending its entry into force, the moratorium on nuclear tests or any other nuclear explosions should be maintained. All States should refrain from any action contrary to the Treaty and should further demonstrate their firm determination to observe its norms and maintain their commitments once the Treaty entered into force.
Ukraine took an active part in international efforts to combat the illicit small arms trade and to curb their uncontrolled proliferation, he stated. The country firmly adhered to the provisions of the Action Programme and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Small Arms and Light Weapons document for their comprehensive approach to the issue of international arms transfers. Implementation of those texts, as well as the international instrument on tracing illicit small arms and light weapons, at the national level, was the most important aspect of efforts to counter the illegal trade in those weapons. His country also attached particular importance to ensuring effective export controls, which met all standing international requirements. It strictly adhered to the decisions taken by the Security Council, OSCE and the Wassenaar Arrangement concerning the transfer of those weapons.
He added that Ukraine supported the initiative for an international arms trade treaty, which could become a comprehensive instrument for establishing common standards in the field of regulating global trade in conventional weapons, thus preventing their diversion. It welcomed the constructive exchanges during the two sessions of the open-ended working group on that treaty, which had taken place in New York in March and July. Ukraine was encouraged by the positive will to address the problem posed by unregulated trade and transfer of those arms.
KELVIN ZEE ( Singapore) said that the world could never be truly safe from nuclear conflict without total and complete nuclear disarmament. As a non‑nuclear-weapon State, Singapore had been deeply concerned over the moribund state of nuclear disarmament efforts. Thus, the country had been heartened by President Obama’s landmark speech last April in Prague, in which he had declared that the United States was committed to “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”. Singapore applauded Security Council resolution 1887 for revitalizing the global commitment towards nuclear disarmament. The moves by the United States and the Security Council were useful measures in generating positive momentum in the run-up to the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The NPT was in a critical phase, with many challenges to overcome, and his country would play its part to help that Conference reach a successful outcome.
He said that in order to support the cause of nuclear non-proliferation, Singapore remained committed to strengthening its national legislation and export controls system to ensure that it effectively played its part in preventing dual‑ use technologies and weapons of mass destruction-related items from falling into the wrong hands. As one of the world’s busiest trans-shipment hubs and as a responsible member of the international community, Singapore took its duties seriously. It had implemented a robust export controls regime, which now monitored items from all four major multilateral export controls lists, including from the Australia Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement. In support of those efforts, Singapore also participated in the Container Security Initiative and the Proliferation Security Initiative. Those were concrete demonstrations of the country’s firm commitment to non-proliferation.
KOSAL SEA ( Cambodia) said as the world arrived at a crossroads of whether or not it could prevent further nuclear weapons proliferation, it was time to renew determination and make headway on disarmament. The process of disarmament and non-proliferation was vital through combined national, regional and international efforts, for which genuine political will and commitment from countries and the international community were crucial. He recalled President Obama’s statement in the General Assembly last month, the United States and Russian Federation talks, and Security Council resolution 1887 (2009) to secure a safer world for all. As part of the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Bangkok), Cambodia appealed to all nuclear-weapon States to engage more constructively. It welcomed the adoption of the 2010 NPT Review Conference agenda.
Turning to small arms and light weapons, he said Cambodia had been never a source of arms supplies. Since the end of war in 1998, Cambodia had transformed itself from a region of uncertainty and instability to an epicentre of sustained peace, security, social order and respect for democracy. Thousands of small arms and light weapons left over from war had been removed and destroyed, with a total of nearly half a million collected by the Government. Having understood the negative impact of the illegal use and circulation of those weapons, Cambodia strongly supported the bold, action-oriented United Nations Programme of Action and urged the international community to continue its efforts to control those weapons. Mines and unexploded ordnance continued to pose grave insecurity and negative social impacts in many countries, including Cambodia, where millions remained from past wars and conflicts. To address that tragic situation, Cambodia had integrated the issue of mines into its national agenda. Cambodia had already removed 2 million mines and unexploded ordnance, and appreciated ongoing support from partners, including United Nations agencies. Cambodia had also deployed “de-miners” to the Sudan for mine clearance action, under United Nations oversight.
PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) noted that that the disarmament and non-proliferation regime had been encountering numerous obstacles in the past few years, which had delayed progress towards achieving international disarmament and non-proliferation goals. Several rays of hope, however, had appeared, particularly at the Conference on Disarmament, where agreement had been reached on a work programme. Also, the Security Council summit had focused on nuclear disarmament. International effort in that field should focus greatest attention on several key areas. In that regard, ridding the world of nuclear weapons forever must have the support of all Member States. NPT’s authority should also be strengthened and the Treaty should be universalized. He also sought the speedy entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty and completion of a fissile material cut-off treaty.
He urged the nuclear Powers to reach agreement on an irreversible and far‑reaching programme for reducing their arsenals and providing security guarantees to non-nuclear-weapon States through binding instruments. Additionally, there was a need to reaffirm the right of countries to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to the safe transfer of technology to those States, under IAEA’s authority.
Nuclear weapons were not the sole priority at present, he said, as there was also a need to address conventional weapons issues. Senegal was awaiting the holding of a Security Council summit on conventional weapons, just as the one that had been held on nuclear weapons. The existing United Nations Register of Conventional Arms awaited the participation of all States. Ultimately, only a universal treaty on weapons trade would lead to proper arms control. In that regard, Senegal welcomed the initiative for an arms trade treaty and hoped that it would lead to commitments on a binding instrument. Senegal had hosted a seminar on that treaty for the West and North African regions.
There was also a need to make binding the instrument on marking and tracing of small arms and light weapons, he said, calling also for proper implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer or Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Mine-Ban Convention). The same held true for cluster munitions. The major challenges to international peace and security were not insurmountable. Progress depended on political will, and he was confident that a safer world, free from nuclear weapons and in which conventional weapons would be better controlled, was possible.
DANIELE D. BODINI ( San Marino) said that as a country without an army, his had been delighted at the adoption of Security Council resolution 1887. The President of the United States, the Russian Federation, China and France and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as leaders of countries with the largest nuclear arsenals, had shown the world and all its citizens great leadership. San Marino was very thankful for that turning point in their nuclear policies. They had led by example. There was no better example to contain nuclear armaments around the world than a self-imposed reduction of those devastating weapons. San Marino commended the convening of that historic event under the roof of the United Nations and in the presence of all the leaders of the world. By their action, the permanent members of the Security Council had reaffirmed, unequivocally, the Organization’s central and universal role.
He said that San Marino had been particularly pleased at the strong support that the Security Council expressed for the IAEA, affirming its authority and providing new resources for it to carry out its mission, he went on. In combating terrorism, especially nuclear terrorism, that support was of paramount importance. All Member States could contribute to that effort through a network of information. San Marino would do its part. The events of the past few days gave great hope for a more just and secure world.
ABDULLAH ALSAIDI ( Yemen) said that eliminating weapons of mass destruction was a priority, and multilateralism was among the best ways of ridding the world of such weapons. He welcomed the new positive developments, which provided a unique opportunity to forge ahead on issues of disarmament and non-proliferation.
For its part, Yemen had implemented its commitments to disarmament, ratifying all multilateral disarmament treaties, including the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions and the CTBT. As a party to those Treaties, it also hoped the non‑proliferation and trafficking of weapons in Yemen would be halted through the Government’s newly-passed national regulations, along with many measures to prohibit weapons trafficking. Among those measures was Yemen’s prohibition against carrying weapons. It had also confiscated weapons and was currently cancelling previous weapons licenses. The availability of weapons fuelled terrorists and organized crime, causing higher crime rates and unemployment. Those conditions could only stimulate violence and instability.
In that light, Yemen supported international efforts to create a legally‑binding instrument to ban arms trafficking. He said there was a paramount responsibility that must be taken by producer countries, which were lending technical assistance to countries that suffered from the dire consequences of weapons use. That situation led to a deterioration of economic and social structures. Regarding nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, Yemen supported their complete elimination, while ensuring the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Yemen sought a Middle East Region free of weapons of mass destruction, calling on Israel to open its nuclear programme to international inspectors, including abiding by the provisions in Security Council resolutions, as well as the related resolution recently adopted by the IAEA.
Yemen supported all international efforts to take greater measures to halt arms trafficking and called upon all States to address that scourge. His country should be used as an example, where some success had been achieved, despite limited resources.
RICHARD RIOT JAEM, Member of Parliament, Malaysia, said achieving non‑proliferation rested on fulfilling a “basic bargain” of the NPT. That gave non-nuclear-weapon States parties the right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in exchange for their commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons, and obligated nuclear-weapons States to honour their disarmament commitments. In 1958, the United States had estimated that 16 nations could acquire nuclear weapons within a decade. By 1960, United States President John F. Kennedy had warned that there would be as many as 20 nuclear-weapon States within four years. There were currently eight confirmed nuclear-weapon States, which was a cause for cautious optimism. But it was troubling that those States were not moving towards disarmament. In addition, other countries were pursuing nuclearization and there were increased risks that non-State actors would enter the nuclear fray. That situation called for further reductions, greater transparency and a diminished role for nuclear weapons in security policies.
He said that in order to fulfil the “bargain”, a bedrock of trust must be formed in a multilateral, universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory manner. Malaysia supported United States and Russian Federation negotiations, but said that that was unlikely to lead to eventual and complete disarmament. Creating incentives to ensure that all countries had access to establishing peaceful nuclear-energy programmes would be facilitated by an international regime to transfer technology, material and equipment. “The 2010 NPT Review Conference can be a significant event in our efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that that would require “the willingness by all parties to fulfil their obligations under the treaty”. It was unfortunate that the NPT preparatory meeting had not embraced the spirit of compromise at the last session, and he hoped parties would exhibit cooperation at the Review Conference.
On related disarmament matters, he said he hoped that the United States policy shift would spur other countries to ratify the Test-Ban Treaty. He called upon all nuclear-weapon States to become party to the Treaty of Bangkok. He also welcomed the Central Asian and African zones, and supported the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East. Concerning other weapons of mass destruction, Malaysia supported the universal implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions. Regarding conventional weapons, Malaysia had put in place stringent laws and regulations to control small arms and light weapons, including over their production, export, import and transfers. Malaysia also supported efforts to ban landmines and to eliminate cluster munitions.
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