|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
18th Meeting (PM)
Space-Based Ballistic Missile Defence ‘Very Worrying Dimension’, with Potentially
Devastating Consequences on Earth, Speaker Tells First Committee
Five Texts Introduced, as United States Joins
Russian Federation , China in Tabling Resolution on Outer Space
Development of anti-ballistic missile systems and their integration into space assets was an “especially worrying dimension” and the resultant arms race in space would aggravate the intensity of conflicts on Earth, with potentially disastrous consequences, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today as it concluded its thematic consideration of the item.
The representative of Pakistan said that space was no longer the preserve of a few developed States, as developing countries were tapping into space technology. If history was any guide, he said, monopolies of the few could not last long. Gaps in the existing international regime pertaining to outer space had widened, however, because of rapid growth in space technologies, and those needed to be filled by a new legal instrument.
As for the “handful of States” who opposed such negotiations, he said there could be no other explanation than that they were seeking to maintain “full spectrum dominance”. While Pakistan viewed transparency and confidence-building measures regarding outer space with interest, they “cannot and should not obviate the quest for a legally binding treaty on the issue of an outer space arms race”. A universal agreement on anti-ballistic missiles systems — which were “inherently destabilizing and of dubious effectiveness” — was especially necessary.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that without resolving the issues regarding placement of weapons in space, achieving results in the wider field of outer space security would be exceedingly difficult. Keeping space free of weapons was only possible with the conclusion of international agreements, however, and in that context his country, together with China, had presented a draft treaty for consideration by the Conference on Disarmament.
Together with other co-sponsors, the Russian Federation would present a “no first-placement” initiative to the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session, in response to “ambiguity” concerning the prevention of an outer space arms race, he said. Today, he introduced resolution “L.40”, entitled “Transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities”, based on the report of the Group of Governmental Experts. The draft was presented with China, and, for the first time in the history of the First Committee, the United States, he said.
The representative of China also voiced concern at the increasing risk of an arms race in outer space, adding that space security was surrounded by “growing uncertainties”. He believed that appropriate and viable steps in that regard could enhance mutual trust, reduce misperceptions, regulate outer space activities, thereby maintaining outer space security. He appreciated the European Union’s efforts on a draft code of conduct, but cautioned that it should focus on peaceful uses of outer space without diluting efforts to prevent an outer space arms race.
Introducing draft decision “L.8”, entitled “Missiles”, the representative of Iran expressed strong opposition to any measure aimed at turning space technology into a monopoly of a few countries, and agreed that preventing an arms race in space required “greater urgency” given the inadequacy of existing legal instruments. He said that the use of anti-ballistic missile systems and the hosting of such systems was an attempt to gain “supremacy over other nuclear-weapon States”, and would not add to the security of host countries or the country operating the system; it would only trigger an arms race.
The delegate from Sri Lanka introduced “L.41”, entitled “Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space”, stressing that it was easier to prevent an arms race than to control one. The text called for a legally binding instrument, and emphasized the importance of multilateral efforts, while recognizing that the Conference on Disarmament should have the primary role in addressing the issue. He added that the draft treaty submitted to the Conference on Disarmament by China and the Russian Federation was the “most viable basis” for such an instrument.
During the meeting the Committee also began its thematic debate on its conventional weapons cluster. The representative of Mali, speaking on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), introduced a draft resolution, “L.9”, entitled “Assistance to States for Curbing the Illicit Traffic in Small Arms and Light Weapons and Collecting Them”. Those weapons stoked terrorism and organised crime, she said, adding that the war against them must be waged in coordination and cooperation.
The representative of Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, introduced “L.47”, on the United Nations regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, which, among its other provisions, welcomed the Centre’s assistance to the African Union Commission in elaborating the Union’s Strategy on the Control of Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons and the accompanying action plan. He said global efforts were urgent to defeat the excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread of those weapons in Africa.
Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Jamaica’s representative said that although its members were not manufacturers or large importers of conventional weapons, the region had not escaped their devastating impact. Those were true “weapons of mass destruction” and a relentless force, which not only threatened the sustainable development of many States in the region, but also undermined the very fabric of their societies, she said.
Prior to consideration of the clusters on outer space and conventional weapons, the Committee’s informal segment on regional disarmament was introduced with briefings by Virginia Gamba, Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; Marco Kalbusch, Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa; Sharon Riggle, Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and Pacific; and Carolyne-Melanie Regimbal, Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Also speaking during the cluster on outer space were representatives of Australia, Belarus, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea and Switzerland. Participating in the debate on conventional weapons were the representatives of Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, and Suriname on behalf of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), as well as a representative from the European Union delegation.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Tuesday, 29 October, to continue its thematic debate on conventional weapons.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its thematic debate segment and hear the introduction of draft resolutions and decisions across the spectrum of agenda items before it.
Introduction to Informal Discussion on Regional Disarmament
VIRGINIA GAMBA, Director of United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and Deputy to the High Representative, said that the United Nations Regional Centres promoted regional disarmament, taking into account the specific characteristics of each area. The Centres’ core costs were funded in part by the regular budget, while its activities were funded by voluntary contributions. The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa continued to provide policy support on disarmament issues to the 11 States of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa. The Centre had trained 23 security sector officers in Cote d’Ivoire on the control of small arms and light weapons.
In Asia and the Pacific, she noted, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament contributed to regional dialogue and confidence-building by organizing conferences, such as the eleventh United Nations-Republic of Korea Joint Conference, and the twenty-fourth United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in cooperation with Japan. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development supported public policy dialogue on small arms issues, including national action plans. It had also implemented stockpile management and weapons destruction activities as well as training courses on eradicating the illicit trafficking in those weapons. More than 41,000 weapons and 51 tons of ammunition had been destroyed.
MARCO KALBUSCH, United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, said that the Centre was mandated to respond to new peace and disarmament in African States. He thanked Member States for voluntary contributions to the Centre, which continued to make its work possible. The Centre worked in partnership with Governments, academic institutions, and civil society. Among its numerous activities in 2013 was an initiative to help Member States in security sector reform activities. Other initiatives at the regional level included the development of the African Strategy and Action Plan for the control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, as well as a joint African Union-European Union project on the illicit trafficking of firearms in Africa. Looking forward, he summarised some of the Centre’s activities for the coming months, and said the Centre stood ready to work with Member States on any peace and disarmament issue in the continent.
SHAROM RIGGLE, Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, shared a power-point presentation with the Committee and highlighted achievements of the Centre, which included the eleventh Annual Republic of Korea — United Nations Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues in December 2012, and the twenty-fourth Annual United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues, in February 2013. A workshop had been held in Bangkok in December 2012 on “Building Capacity in Small Arms and Light Weapons”, and a treaty support meeting on the Arms Trade Treaty had been convened in Kuala Lumpur in February 2013. She also highlighted the “peace and disarmament education” project, which included support for the Nepalese Government.
CAROLYNE-MELANIE REGIMBAL, Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, said that the Centre had assisted with more than 70 activities in 20 countries covering the gamut of non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control. The Centre’s main focus, as requested by Member States, was sustaining efforts to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. In that regard, stockpile management and support for the destruction of weapons and ammunition were key mitigation measures. Outlining the Centre’s numerous initiatives in that regard, she highlighted in particular that States of the region had made use of technical equipment that had resulted in the destruction of 41,000 weapons and 51 tons of ammunition. Likewise, she drew attention to guidelines developed by the Centre, aimed at standardizing firearm-marking practices. Next year, the Centre would continue to focus its work on stockpile management and weapon destruction, including through an Arms Trade Treaty training course, which would target arms control and regulation in the region.
Statements, Disarmament Aspects of Outer Space
KHALIL HASHMI(Pakistan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the final document of the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament contained more than 30 paragraphs relating to the urgency of preventing an arms race, with one paragraph specifically pertaining to negotiations on the prevention of an outer space arms race. Space was no longer the exclusive preserve of a few developed States; developing countries were tapping into space technology, and if history was any guide, monopolies of the few could not last long. It was urgent, therefore, to prevent the realm’s weaponization. Development of anti-ballistic missile systems and their integration into space assets was an especially worrying dimension. An arms race in space would aggravate the intensity of conflicts on Earth, with potentially disastrous consequences.
He said that the rapid growth of space technologies had widened gaps in the existing international regime, which a new legal instrument could fill. Pakistan had consistently opposed the weaponization of space, and called on the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiations to prevent that. Some States continued to oppose commencement of such negotiations, and there could be no other explanation except that they were seeking to protect their monopoly and maintain “full spectrum dominance”. The international community must ask why a handful of States opposed those negotiations. Those had made no convincing case as to how such negotiations would negatively affect their security interests. Clearly, those States should acknowledge their responsibility in perpetuating the Conference’s deadlock.
Transparency and confidence-building measures regarding outer space activities had been viewed with interest by his country, but they “cannot and should not obviate the quest for a legally binding treaty” on the issue of an outer space arms race. Likewise, he called for a universal agreement that addressed anti-ballistic missiles systems, which were “inherently destabilizing and of dubious effectiveness”. Elsewhere, efforts to conclude a code of conduct for outer space activities should be pursued in an inclusive, universal manner that took into account the security interests of all States.
LIM SANG-BEOM ( Republic of Korea) said that since the “space age” began more then five decades ago, the international community had made continued efforts to ensure that outer space was used only for peaceful purposes. The increase in the number of space actors had led to a more congested and competitive space environment, and protecting it was a priority. Application of existing treaties should be constantly reviewed to ensure the relevance of the legal regime. Regarding repeated claims by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea about its right to peaceful outer space activity, that country’s launch using ballistic missile technology was a clear violation of Security Council resolutions.
He urged the international community to make safety, security and long-term sustainability of outer space a key priority, and in that light, he welcomed the adoption of the report by the Group of Governmental Experts on Outer Space Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Outer Space Activities, as well as efforts by the European Union to develop an international code of conduct on outer space activities. As the number of countries and actors participating in space activities increased, the global community should look into the space-faring and non-space-faring nations could collaborate.
VLADIMIR YERMAKOV ( Russian Federation) said that, as a pioneer in outer space, his country bore particular responsibility for the enjoyment of the inalienable right of all States to its exploration and “dividends’ resulting from its peaceful use. The Russian Federation had consistently endeavoured to prevent a new arms race in space, and it remained convinced that, without resolving the issues regarding placement of weapons in space, achieving results in the wider field of outer space security would be exceedingly difficult. Keeping space free of weapons was only possible with the conclusion of international agreements, however, and in that context his country, together with China, had presented a draft treaty for consideration by the Conference on Disarmament. The draft was a “fully justified and achievable” disarmament initiative. As long as there were no weapons yet in outer space, it should not be difficult to prohibit their placement, thereby saving the world from a host of problems.
He said that, in response to “ambiguity” concerning the prevention of an outer space arms race, the Russian Federation, together with others, had developed the “no first-placement” initiative. It would pursue that endeavour, with a view to presenting an official draft resolution at the sixty-ninth General Assembly Session. The initiative was an important step towards a legally binding treaty. He introduced resolution “L.40”, entitled, “Transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities”, saying that the text built upon the outcomes of the Group of Governmental Experts. It was presented by his country and China, and, for the first time in the history of the First Committee, the United States. It already had 50 co-sponsors and he called for its adoption by all Member States.
The Russian Federation, he continued, maintained a “comprehensive approach” and undertook active efforts to prevent the placement of weapons in outer space. Outlining steps taken in that regard, he said such initiatives affirmed the genuine nature of his country’s intention, not only to keep space free of weapons, but also to create conditions for further reduction of nuclear weapons. There was an “obvious linkage” between the two issues. Preventing weapons in space created conditions for dialogue on nuclear disarmament. Today marked the beginning of full deployment by the United States of anti-ballistic missiles on Romanian territory. It should be clear, however, that without resolving the issue of anti-ballistic missiles, progress towards “nuclear zero” was objectively impossible. His country called on all States to join its efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space.
SHEN JIAN ( China) said his Government supported the peaceful uses of outer space and was dedicated to relevant international exchange and cooperation. His country had launched the Shenzou-10 manned spacecraft last June, which had successfully implemented the rendezvous and docking experiment with Tiangong-1. China’s manned space programme was entering a new stage of research and development of a space station, and the country would continue to honour its commitment to the peaceful utilization of space, as that was important to the security, development and prosperity of all countries.
However, he warned, the risk of weaponizing outer space was on the rise, and space security was confronted with growing uncertainties. China was a co-sponsor, along with the Russian Federation, of a draft submitted to the Conference on Disarmament entitled “Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, and of the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects”. He also attached great importance to outer space transparency and confidence-building measures, and believed that appropriate and viable such steps were conducive to enhancing mutual trust, reducing misperceptions, regulating outer space activities and maintaining outer space security. He appreciated the European Union’s efforts to promote a draft international code of conduct, and had participated in those discussions. The code, as a voluntary measure, should focus on peaceful uses of outer space without diluting efforts to prevent an outer space arms race.
NANDUNI HASINTHA GOVINNAGE ( Sri Lanka) said that the world had seen arms races on land, at sea and in the air. Outer space must not become another arena. Rather, as part of “world heritage”, it should be explored and utilized for peaceful purposes, for the benefit of all humankind. It was easier to prevent an arms race than to try to control one, and Sri Lanka stood ready to work towards that goal. Together with Egypt, Sri Lanka had for many years alternately presented a draft resolution on the prevention of an outer space arms race, which called for a legally binding instrument in that regard. This year’s draft (document A/C.1/68/L.41), recognizing “general understanding” about the issue, contained only technical updates. It emphasized the importance of multilateral efforts, and recognized that the Conference on Disarmament should have the primary role in addressing the issue. Sri Lanka believed the draft treaty submitted to the Conference by China and the Russian Federation was the “most viable basis” for such an instrument.
ALEKSANDR PONOMAREV ( Belarus) said his country had launched its first artificial satellite, and continued to attach priority to keeping space peaceful. The matter should be given due attention. Several important initiatives on transparency and confidence-building measures were already on the table, and since 2005, Belarus had upheld its regional obligations on the non-placement of weapons in outer space. He called on all States with the capacity to launch outer space apparatuses to join the relevant peaceful initiatives. He supported the idea of adopting a comprehensive treaty on the placement of weapons in outer space, as well as on the non-use of force, or threat thereof, on space objects. However, no progress had yet been made.
He welcomed the report of the group of governmental experts, and said that his country was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution with the Russian Federation that had approved it. His delegation supported the European Union’s proposal for an international code of conduct on outer space activities, and looked forward to participating in the upcoming event in Bangkok in that regard.
LAURENT MASMEJEAN ( Switzerland) said that space had “changed deeply” in recent years. Access to it had increased sharply, and the realm was increasingly saturated and competitive. Furthermore, space played an increasing role in military operations and, accordingly, weapons had been developed to neutralise space systems. Those had become an important part of the infrastructure of many States. In that context, Switzerland welcomed the consensus report by Group of Governmental Experts. The Group had served to build bridges between two communities working to achieve the same goal; on one hand, the disarmament and arms control community, and on the other, the community for the peaceful uses of outer space. The recommendations were an important step towards preserving space for future generations. Among the measures outlined, Switzerland put particular emphasis on the importance of notification of space activities, including prior to launches. The Group’s work should motivate efforts in the Conference on Disarmament and the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
EMILY STREET ( Australia) emphasised a “rules-based approach” to State activity in outer space. As in other realms of human endeavour, such an approach was paramount for stability and security, and Australia placed high value on efforts to develop international norms to guide States’ behaviour in space. Welcoming the consensus report of the Group of Experts, she noted that, while not a member of the Group, her country had nonetheless contributed to its work. In the context of the Group’s endorsement of multilateral codes of conduct, Australia valued the European Union’s proposal. The proliferation of space debris was an imminent threat, with severe economic and strategic consequences. Furthermore, since it was highly likely to create debris, the development and testing of anti-satellite weapons was of concern. Space was a common resource, and thus, there was particular premium on a cooperative approach to it. Actions in that sphere taken by one had the potential to affect all.
KIM JU SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that outer space was the common heritage of humankind and must be used for peaceful purposes. However, attempts in recent years to use outer space for military purposes, such as the ongoing establishment of the missile defence system, was giving rise to great concerns. The establishment of that system was nothing but the extension of the confrontation policy of the cold war era, with the main purpose of gaining military hegemony, while creating an arms race on outer space. That system was also justified on the pretext of another’s non-existent ballistic missile “threat”, and even peaceful launches had been questioned under the pretext of “launches using ballistic missile technology”. The right of a State to the peaceful uses of outer space was rampantly being infringed upon.
He said that the logic that some were allowed to use space for peaceful purposes while others were not did not make sense, and ran contrary to the United Nations Charter. All States had the right to peaceful space development under international law. He supported the 2008 Russian Federation-Chinese treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force against outer space objects. As a State party to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1975 Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, his country would keep on with its efforts in peaceful space development and would actively contribute to the development of science and technology, as well as the welfare of humankind and increased international exchange and cooperation.
MOSTAFA SHISHECHIHA ( Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the need for promoting non-discriminatory cooperation and mutual assistance in the peaceful uses of outer space. Space science and technology should be utilized in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter, as that could effectively contribute to development in different regions of the world, including by conserving natural resources and enhancing disaster preparedness. He strongly opposed any measure aimed at turning space technology into a monopoly of a few countries.
He said that Iran relied on its own indigenous space technology to continue its long-term plan to explore and utilize space for peaceful purposes, including by establishing a monitoring and prediction system of rice yields using satellite imagery. Deeply concerned about the possibility of the weaponization of space, he said the development of projects under the pretext of missile defence systems contributed to the further erosion of an international climate conducive to strengthening disarmament and international security. Given the inadequacy of existing legal instruments to deter an arms race in space, preventing it required greater urgency. Hosting an anti-missile system was an attempt to gain “supremacy over other nuclear-weapon States”. That would not add to the security of host countries or the country operating the system; it would trigger an arms race. He introduced a draft resolution, entitled “Missiles” (document A/C.1/68/L.8).
Statements, Conventional Weapons
SHORNA KAY RICHARDS (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that although its members were not manufacturers or large importers of conventional weapons, the region had not escaped their devastating impact. Though armed conflict had not “inflicted itself” within the borders of the countries of her region, the Community continued to confront its impact. Those were true “weapons of mass destruction” and a relentless force, which not only threatened the sustainable development of many States in the region, but also undermined the very fabric of their societies.
She said that the Community had developed a targeted approach within the framework of the 2013 CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy, which was an important component in the “arsenal” to fight the war against crime. However, despite numerous initiatives and mechanisms aimed at addressing the problems of armed violence, high levels of gun crimes persisted in the region. According to the Strategy, illegal guns were responsible for over 70 per cent of murders in the region, making it essential to markedly reduce the availability of illegal guns and ammunition. CARICOM was a firm advocate of action at the hemispheric and global levels to combat the illicit trade. The Arms Trade Treaty had ushered in a new era of hope, and represented a significant achievement for CARICOM.
In light of the global financial and economic uncertainty, she said, many Member States were finding it difficult to mobilize adequate resources to address the many issues. The Community applauded the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development for the increased assistance rendered to countries in the region.
HAMAD FAREED AHMED HASAN (Bahrain), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed support for regulating the arms trade for the sake of the international community’s safety. States that exported weapons had a special responsibility. He was concerned over the explosives and mines that had remained in the Arab Group’s territories, especially after the Second World War. The remaining landmines continued to cause human and material damage, and obstructed the development plans in some Arab States. He called on the countries that had planted those mines to cooperate with the damaged States in exchanging information, plans, and maps that outlined the locations of the mines and explosives. Those countries should also offer technical support to the affected nations and undertake the costs of the weapons removal, as well as compensate those States for the many losses incurred.
EL HADJI A TRAORE (Mali), speaking on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said that the annual draft annual resolution, entitled “Assistance to States for Curbing the Illicit Traffic in Small Arms and Light Weapons and Collecting them” (document A/C.1/68/L.9) targeted trafficking in small arms and light weapons, which, among other things, stoked terrorism and organise crime. Combating the proliferation and elimination of the trafficking of such weapons must be waged “in coordination and cooperation”. Since the adoption of last year’s resolution, he welcomed progress that had been achieved, as well as the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty by the General Assembly. The draft this year was the same as last year’s text with the necessary technical updates. It invited the international community to provide technical and financial support to assist States in combating those weapons. Noting that the list for co-sponsors remained open, he called for additional support for the resolution.
MICHIEL RAAFENBERG (Suriname), speaking on behalf of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), recognized the contribution and qualitative difference made by the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Aspects in providing a comprehensive and multidimensional response to the problems arising from those illicit activities. However, the Union remained concerned about the effects of illicit production, transfer and circulation of firearms and ammunition, and their uncontrolled spread in the hands of civilians. Thus, the implementation of that Programme was a matter of high and urgent priority for the Union.
He reiterated UNASUR’s support for the international community’s efforts to regulate the use of cluster munitions, with the aim of significantly reducing their humanitarian, social and economic consequences. It also reaffirmed the need to eliminate anti-personnel mines. He highlighted mine clearance and victim assistance efforts, which had been made possible because of cooperation among the countries of his region. He cited, as an example, the joint mine clearance exercises of Peru and Ecuador, or Peru and Chile. UNASUR’s member States reiterated the importance of promoting an enabling environment for conventional arms control and limitation, which allowed Member States to devote more resources to their economic and social development.
ABIODUN RICHARDS ADEJOLA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said he remained deeply concerned with the illicit manufacture, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons, including their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world, particularly in Africa. He stressed the urgency of international efforts and cooperation aimed at combating that illicit trade, and reaffirmed the total validity and vital importance of full implementation of the Programme of Action.
He said the Group remained seized with the adverse humanitarian impact caused by the use of landmines and cluster munitions, and expressed sympathy with affected countries. All States in a position to do so should provide the necessary financial and technical assistance for mine clearance, and social and economic rehabilitation aid for the victims. He welcomed the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty, and said its full and balanced implementation would be practically achievable with universal cooperation. An unregulated conventional arms transfer system fuelled the illicit trade, and, in some cases, led to unfettered access and unauthorized use by non-State actors. In that case, no one was immune to their indiscriminate use. He then introduced, on behalf of the African Group, a draft resolution entitled “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa” (document A/C.1/68/L.47).
CLARA GANSLANDT, representative of the European Union delegation, said that the international community had seen how the illicit and poorly regulated trade in arms could create instability and exacerbate conflicts, atrocities, and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The Arms Trade Treaty was the first to address those risks at the global level, by establishing clear and legally binding criteria, including with regard to international human rights and international humanitarian law. When effectively and widely implemented, it would contribute to more responsible and transparent international arms transfers and help to eradicate the illicit trade. However, to be effective, it needed to be implemented globally and effectively.
She said that the Unionwould help to address those challenges including through a new decision of the European Council to be adopted before the end of the year. That would enlarge the Union’s portfolio by funding national implementation assistance programmes and regional awareness-raising seminars, among other initiatives. Twelve years after the adoption of the United Nations Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, the Union continued to consider that instrument to be a key tool to respond to the challenge posed by the illicit trade and excessive accumulation of small arms and light weapons at national, regional and global levels. Efforts to better control those arms should be intensified, especially where significant obstacles to full implementation persisted.
The Union, she added, was proud that all 28 of its members were now States parties to the Mine-Ban Convention, which demonstrated the collective commitment to the goal of a world free of anti-personnel mines. Regarding cluster munitions, the Union was deeply concerned about their reported use against civilians by the Syrian Government, and she called on that regime to refrain from the indiscriminate use of those weapons.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that, as everyone knew, his country had successfully launched a satellite and had done so by following all international treaty procedures. However, the United States and its allies continued to speak of ballistic missile technology. There was a simple question for countries like the United States, which was what technologies they had used to launch their satellites, and the answer was that they used ballistic missile technology. It did not then make sense that other countries were not allowed to access space using those technologies. Outer space was “not a parking garage”, where only a selected few had entry. Space was the common right of mankind, of which the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was a part. His country had adopted its own legitimate right to peacefully develop outer space. The United States was totally mistaken if it thought it could frustrate the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with Security Council resolutions and sanctions. The representative of the Republic of Korea should think before talking about the “a la carte” menus or other fabricated issues, and must learn about what was right and wrong instead of blindly following his American master.
The representative of the Republic of Korea said that Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013) and 2094 (2013), as well as relevant presidential statements, clearly demanded that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea not conduct launches using that technology. It seemed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not understand its obligations. Such launches led to the development of ballistic missile technologies. The Security Council had made it very clear through presidential statements that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s launch was a serious violation of relevant Security Council resolutions. Given the track record of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, it had no justification for such actions.
Speaking again, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s representative said that the delegate from the Republic of Korea went “chattering on” with more illogical briefings, and so he would have to brief the Committee regarding the South’s military exercises with the United States, by which it tried to bring down its fellow countrymen. However, it was worthless to discuss things with someone who did not really understand the language.
The representative of the Republic of Korea said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea still did not understand its obligations imposed by the Security Council and others. According to Article 25 of the United Nations Charter, Member States should accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was obligated to abide by the Security Council resolutions mentioned above. All member States including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must carry out their obligations, and Article 4 of the Charter clearly restricted membership of the United Nations to peace-loving States that would carry out their Charter-based obligations.
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