Nothing ‘Conventional’ about Conventional Weapons, First Committee Told, as Hopes for New Treaty Temper Ambivalence towards Arms Restraint
Nothing ‘Conventional’ about Conventional Weapons, First Committee Told, as Hopes for New Treaty Temper Ambivalence towards Arms Restraint
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
20th & 21st Meetings (AM & PM)
Nothing ‘Conventional’ about Conventional Weapons, First Committee Told,
as Hopes For New Treaty Temper Ambivalence towards Arms Restraint
Ahead of ‘Action’ Tomorrow, Drafts Tabled on Range of Items from Regional
Disarmament to I nformation Developments in Context of International Security
Light weapons were “only light in name” and contributed to problems ranging from exploitation of natural resources, to child soldiers, piracy, terrorism and trans-border organized crime, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today in nearly 70 interventions, as thematic debates concluded on conventional weapons, other disarmament measures, and regional disarmament and security.
Stressing the ease with which small arms and light weapons could be procured, the representative of Togo said that those weapons caused violence and instability even in countries not experiencing civil war. The scope of the problem was particularly worrying in Africa, which had become the most profitable market for arms traffickers, giving rise to a situation of “permanent trafficking and vulnerability”.
More than any other category, conventional weapons brought unspeakable suffering to millions of people, the Committee was told. Calling those weapons “without doubt the world’s biggest killers”, the representative of Australia welcomed the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty as near-universal recognition of the need to better regulate the arms trade. The Treaty reflected considerable progress and brought hope to individuals and societies most affected by the uncontrolled spread. The Treaty was especially welcome in the context of the “slow-moving” field of disarmament, where gains were “hard fought and hard won”.
Reflecting the broad support among the delegations, the representative of New Zealand noted that the Arms Trade Treaty had been adopted even while conflict raged in Syria. That country, he said, had been the scene of so many human rights violations, which the Treaty had been drafted to prevent. The Syrian situation tragically underlined the need for legally binding, common international standards on conventional weapons transfers.
Likewise acknowledging that the international community was acutely aware of the devastating effects of those weapons deemed “conventional”, Botswana’s speaker underscored that legal frameworks targeting weapons of mass destruction alone would never be sufficient to prevent human suffering in many parts of the world. He urged the international community to do more to mitigate the destructive power of conventional weapons. Calling the Arms Trade Treaty a “step in the right direction”, he said it should be reinforced in order to “cover all the blind spots”.
Expressing further reservations regarding the Treaty, the representative of Iran said that it was expected to be an effective, robust, balanced and non-discriminatory instrument aimed at reducing human suffering resulting from the illicit conventional weapons trade. However, the process had been redirected towards narrow national agendas and regional policies, and the draft treaty fell far short in meeting those expectations.
Regarding other conventional weapons, the representative of Lao People’s Democratic Republic drew particular attention to the humanitarian problems caused by explosive remnants of war. In that regard, she said conventional weapons had the same impact as weapons of mass destruction. In her country, almost four decades after the end of the Viet Nam war, those weapons continued to maim or kill 100 innocent people each year, including women and children, who had had nothing to do with the war. Remnants of war, she said, inflicted “unacceptable harm”.
Moving to its thematic debate on other disarmament measures and international security, delegates said that developments in information and communications technologies ushered in an era of “big data”. Issues of cyberspace and cybersecurity were “rapidly moving up the international security agenda”, with several delegates pointing to the potential benefit to people’s lives.
While acknowledging the positive aspects of the new technologies, the representative of China said that, at the same time, cyberspace posed severe challenges to information security. A cold-war mentality and zero-sum game theory was neither feasible nor tenable in the “information space”. There was no “global domain”, she said, stressing that countries should be able to enjoy State sovereignty in that regard.
Adding his voice to calls that State sovereignty must be upheld in the use of information and communications technologies by both State and non-State actors, Venezuela’s delegate said that he rejected the espionage perpetrated by the United States in that regard, as it “impinged on human rights”. That country’s “illegal and arbitrary” interception of private communications was a violation of the right of non-interference and posed a serious obstacle to peace.
Echoing that sentiment, the representative of Ecuador deplored the discovery of “a global Power’s” network of surveillance to intrude into the private lives of all the world’s inhabitants. Though “everyone had expected it,” its scope was nevertheless surprising. The unveiling of that “massive network” of surveillance could not be denied and had seriously affected trust among nations and undermined international peace and security.
When members turned to the regional disarmament cluster, the delegate from Pakistan told the Committee that, in the post-cold war era, most threats to peace and security arose mainly among States located in the same region. Stressing that regional approaches to disarmament and arms control were both essential and complementary to international and bilateral efforts, he introduced three draft resolutions: “L.50”, on regional disarmament; ”L.51”, on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context; and “L.52” on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels.
Also on regional disarmament, numerous speakers reiterated calls for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. The representative of Bahrain, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said that nuclear disasters could transform regions of the world into “mass graves”. Since the Middle East was considered one of the most tense regions of the world, it was essential to ensure that it was free of nuclear weapons.
On the same topic, the representative of Kuwait said that he regretted Israel’s “continued policy of intransigence and disregard” towards many resolutions of international legitimacy, including one unanimously adopted in the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to convene a meeting in 2012 for the establishment of a weapons-free zone in the Middle East.
During the cluster on conventional weapons, the representative of India introduced draft decision “L.22” on the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament. Also during that cluster, the representative of Germany introduced draft resolution “L.44” on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus.
The representative of Rwanda introduced draft resolution “L.53” on regional confidence-building measures: activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa.
During the cluster on other disarmament measures and international security, the representative of Indonesia introduced, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, three draft resolutions: “L.14”, on observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control; ”L.15” on the relationship between disarmament and development; and “L.17” on promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.
Also during that cluster, the representative of Romania introduced “L.45” on objective information on military matters, including transparency of military expenditures. The representative of the Russian Federation introduced “L.37” on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security.
During the cluster on regional disarmament, the representative of Algeria introduced “L.19” on strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region.
Also speaking during the cluster on conventional weapons were the representatives of Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Guatemala, Guyana, Latvia, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sweden, and Turkey.
Statements during the cluster on other disarmament measures and international security were also made by the representatives of Australia, Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Egypt, India, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore, Spain, Suriname on behalf of UNASUR, and United States.
During the cluster on regional disarmament and security, the representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Colombia, Gabon, Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran, Jamaica on behalf of the Caribbean Community, Maldives, Malta, Myanmar, Suriname on behalf of UNASUR, United Arab Emirates and United States.
The First Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. tomorrow, 5 November, to begin taking action on its draft texts.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met today to continue its thematic debate segment and hear the introduction of draft resolutions and decisions across the spectrum of agenda items before it.
Statements on Conventional Weapons
PETER WOOLCOTT ( Australia) said that, more than any other category, conventional arms brought unspeakable suffering to millions of people around the world every year. They were without a doubt the world’s biggest killers. However, considerable progress had been made in the past year. In the slow-moving field of disarmament where gains were hard-fought and hard-won, that progress had brought hope to those individuals and societies most affected by the uncontrolled spread of conventional arms. In the context, the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty was the result of near-universal recognition of the need to better regulate the arms trade. Now, focus should be on achieving its early entry into force and implementation, and his country had committed $1 million towards that goal. Likewise, Australia was at the forefront of efforts in the area of small arms and light weapons, and was committed to the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. Explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions and landmines, had a deadly legacy long after the cessation of conflict, injuring and killing “indiscriminately”.
DAVID CERVENKA ( Czech Republic), associating himself with the European Union, said the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms was meant to provide transparency in armaments as an important confidence-building measure aimed at fostering international peace and security. He welcomed the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty, and said his country was working to be among the first 50 States to ratify it. He hoped it would not only change the landscape of trade in armaments, but also push different international control regimes to react by modifying their rules. The Treaty’s positive influence and good spirit proved the willingness of the international community to change the rules of the game to the advantage of those suffering from illicit weapons trade and should not be diminished.
THOMAS HAJNOCZI (Austria), associating himself with the European Union, said that international and humanitarian law as enshrined in the Geneva Convention, as well as human rights law and disarmament treaties, provided the normative framework for civilian protection. Humanitarian disarmament instruments, such as the Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions also played a crucial role in strengthening that framework. Disturbingly, however, reports continued about the massive human suffering of civilians resulting from armed violence in many countries. The consequences of explosive weapons were of particular concern, as well as weapons using new technologies, including drones. The impacts of those developments required urgent engagement by relevant United Nations forums and further discussion, with a view to ensuring that those were not used in ways that violated universally recognized principles, such as proportionality of force, and that they distinguished civilians from combatants.
MÅRTEN GRUNDITZ (Sweden), associating himself with the European Union, said that the Arms Trade Treaty represented a “major success” in efforts to curb the illicit and irresponsible trade in conventional arms, as well as for multilateral arms control and for the United Nations system itself. There was a global responsibility, as well as an obligation for States parties to support those who needed assistance in implementation. Sweden also strongly supported the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons as a pillar of international humanitarian law, and this year, had had the honour of chairing the Seventh Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Convention’s Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, which it endeavoured to universalize. In this context, Sweden concluded that more must be done to increase knowledge of the Convention and its protocols, and raise awareness of the crucial role of this instrument. It was particularly unfortunate that many countries that remained outside the Convention were affected by mines and other explosive remnants of war.
BOUCHAIB EL OUMNI (Morocco), thanking Bahrain for delivering the statement on behalf of the Arab Group, said the proliferation of small arms and light weapons was at the heart of the humanitarian crisis in a number of regions, particularly in Africa, which was why he called for the control of such weapons. He supported the entry into force of the Arms Trade, and reiterated the importance of its implementation so as to benefit the victims of those weapons.
JEAN-HUGUES SIMON-MICHEL ( France), associating himself with the European Union, said that the year had been marked by a historic development with the conclusion of the Arms Trade Treaty. With its adoption, universal standards had at last been approved. As the first major security treaty adopted by the United Nations in more than 15 years, it showed international capability to successfully hold negotiations in a particularly sensitive area. For its part, France had signed the Treaty, and its parliamentary ratification procedure was under way. Turning to small arms and light weapons, he said that those caused the most fatalities worldwide, and had a profound destabilizing effect. They also impeded the development of the most fragile States. His country was furthermore committed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and efforts in that regard had a humanitarian aim. In that respect, the massacre committed using chemical weapons in Syria was terrifying, but the other sufferings of the Syrian people must not be forgotten, which included the use of other unacceptable weapons, such as cluster bombs and, according to certain allegations, incendiary weapons.
VIVIANA ARENAS AGUILAR ( Guatemala) said that a great deal of attention had been paid to small arms and light weapons, but the burden went far beyond their circulation in restricted areas of conflict. Violence was underpinned by the lack of economic opportunities, poverty, and the increased prevalence of drug trafficking and organized crime. Her region suffered from those issues, and the struggle against arms trafficking was a top priority. No single country was able to tackle that challenge on its own, which created a need for international cooperation. She regretted that the Arms Trade Treaty did not include certain parts and ammunitions, but it still had the potential to make a real difference.
JOHANN KELLERMAN ( South Africa) said that all were aware that the most significant development this year had been the landmark adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty. At the same time, he acknowledged the “immense challenges” facing the United Nations membership in achieving a consensus agreement. South Africa, on many occasions, had expressed its concern about the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions, and was fully committed to the Convention banning them. Those had become obsolete as weapons of modern warfare, and their recent use had shown the unacceptable harm they caused to civilians. Their use must be stigmatized. Turning to the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, he said that most developing States were unable to prevent that illicit trade without international assistance. In conclusion, he noted the environmental damage of certain substances used in conventional weapons and their hazard to human health.
SANDRA PAOLA RAMIREZ VALENZUELA ( Mexico) said that small arms and light weapons fuelled the bloodiest conflicts and were used by criminal organizations. Their easy access and unlimited civilian possession, as well as the lack of appropriate regulations, had devastating consequences worldwide. She welcomed that the First Committee had laid the groundwork for the Arms Trade Treaty, which set high standards and had a broad scope. But its adoption was only a first step; the goal must be to ensure its entry into force. Given the importance Mexico attached to that instrument and the need to see its effects on the ground, it had signed and ratified it and had issued a declaration for the immediate enactment of article 7 on export and export assessment. While the Treaty was the bedrock on which to establish minimum standards, it also had the capacity to further address new weapons technologies and should be further strengthened in that regard.
JOE BALLARD ( New Zealand) said his country’s support of the Arms Trade Treaty was founded on the belief that humanitarian concerns must continue to drive the collective work on disarmament and arms control. The Treaty, adopted while conflict raged in Syria, which was the scene of so many human rights violations, was drafted to help prevent those very breaches. Tragically, it underlined the desperate need for legally binding common international standards on conventional weapons transfers. His country was working hard to ratify it. It was meanwhile heartened by progress made in taking forward the aims of the Cluster Munitions Convention, which, in its short lifespan, had already achieved 84 ratifications. The international community’s growing support for that Convention, and its loud and clear condemnation of any use of cluster munitions, was clear evidence of a growing international norm against them.
BIBI SHELIZA ALLY ( Guyana) stated that the lack of rules in the conventional arms trade had caused irreparable harm worldwide. For developing countries such as her own, illicit trade posed significant challenges, including the diversion of scarce resources that could be better used for other purposes, such as development. At the national level, her Government had invested to improve the national security architecture, including the training of its police force and strengthening legislation. Regionally, Guyana had worked closely with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in that context. The historic adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty was testimony to the efficacy of international diplomacy. In the Caribbean region, it would make a real difference to the safety and security of its citizens. The Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons was viewed by Guyana as a current, global, normative framework that addressed those weapons in a cohesive and coordinated manner. The international community must examine ways in which implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty could complement that Programme.
PRATIBHA PARKAR ( India) welcomed the successful conclusion of the second Review Conference of the Programme of Action and the adoption of the outcome document by consensus. India also remained committed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons process in progressively strengthening the role and principles of international humanitarian law. India supported the vision of a world free of the threat of landmines and was committed to the eventual elimination of those weapons. She supported the approach enshrined in the Amended Protocol II on anti-personnel mines of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which addressed the legitimate defence requirements of States with long borders. India, however, had discontinued the production of non-detectable anti-personnel landmines and observed a moratorium on their transfer. She also supported the two major instruments promoting transparency in armaments, including the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and the United Nations Standardized Instrument for reporting on military expenditures.
PHONENIPHA MATHOUCHANH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, amid regional conflicts and disputes, as well as civil unrest occurring across various regions, the international community should redouble its efforts to address the issue of armaments. Conventional weapons had the same impact as weapons of mass destruction and caused long-lasting consequences. Explosive remnants of war created humanitarian problems and inflicted unacceptable harm on civilians, and also seriously impeded social and economic development. In her country, almost four decades after the end of the Viet Nam war, remnants of war continued to maim or kill almost 100 innocent people each year, including women and children, who had had nothing to do with the war or with those weapons.
FRANCISCO DEL CAMPO ( Chile) said that recent years had borne fruit in the area of conventional weapons, including the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty. Chile had been an early signatory and was firmly committed to that noble undertaking. There was a clear humanitarian dimension to the instrument, owing to the constructive spirit that had prevailed during negotiations. Nevertheless, the international community must remain ambitious on the set of norms it established, which must be further strengthened. In that regard, Chile was pleased States had begun to implement the Treaty even before its entry into force. A further key instrument was the Convention on Cluster Munitions, he said, noting that the Chilean army was cluster-bomb free. That Convention represented a “qualitative leap” in international humanitarian law, and Chile hoped that the region could move towards an agreement in that realm. He acknowledged civil society’s contribution to that Convention as well as to the Arms Trade Treaty’s adoption.
ABIODUN RICHARDS ADEJOLA (Nigeria), associating himself with the African Group and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said that people had died needlessly as a result of armaments. Small arms and light weapons were responsible for half a million deaths per year. It was gratifying that, with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty, States seemed to have found a way to regulate that trade, and Nigeria had signed and ratified that instrument. He believed in the need for an efficient system to build capacities, and said the Treaty could become an “empty shell” without the provision of that essential element.
EDUARDO JOSE ATIENZA DE VEGA ( Philippines) said that the year had witnessed two concrete international efforts to staunch the illicit weapons flows. Welcoming the Arms Trade Treaty, which his country had signed last month, he expressed hope that ratification would be achieved at the earliest possible date. Security Council resolution 2117 (2013) was another recent highlight, and the Philippines reminded the international community of its obligations to comply fully with Council-mandated arms embargoes. Reaffirming his country’s commitment to the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, he emphasized some initiatives undertaken by the Philippines in that context, as well as in line with other conventional weapons instruments. Among those, he noted that his country had presided over the 2012 Meeting of States parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
KO KO SHEIN (Myanmar), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that conventional weapons posed serious threats and challenges, and had devastating effects on humanity. Their trade between States needed to be based on the principles of legitimate use and the right of every State to self-defence. Excessive use of surplus weapons had damaging effects on daily lives. The arms trade between the developed and developing countries was unbalanced, and more attention must be paid to the plight of innocent civilians rather than to the “protectionist arms traders”. The Arms Trade Treaty should complement the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition, the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, and the International Tracing Instrument.
NKOLOI NKOLOI ( Botswana), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the international community was acutely aware of the devastating effects of some weapons that were deemed “conventional”. Underscoring that the development of legal frameworks targeting weapons of mass destruction alone would never be sufficient to prevent human suffering in many parts of the world, he said that the international community should do more to mitigate the destructive power of conventional weapons, and in particular their disproportionate use against civilians. Progress achieved in raising awareness about their illicit trade could be replicated to raise the conscience of the international community about their indiscriminate deployment. The Arms Trade Treaty was a step in the right direction, but its reinforcement was needed to “cover all the blind spots”. As a landlocked country in the middle of southern Africa, Botswana was a “transit point” for regional crime, which had exacerbated the transfer and use of small weapons by organized syndicates which terrorized its citizens. Botswana, therefore, emphasized the need for effective national laws to combat organized crime. The Programme of Action was also important.
SEBADE TOBA (Togo), endorsing the statements made by the African Group and ECOWAS, said that the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons was a true threat to economic and social development. Those weapons were only “light” in name, given their adverse impact on societies, and they contributed to the illegal exploitation of natural resources, as well as the problem of child soldiers, piracy, terrorism, and trans-border organized crime. Even in countries not experiencing civil war, the ease with which one could procure those weapons contributed to violence and political instability. Unlike victims, weapons survived the conflicts in which they were used and were transferred from one region to another by traffickers, who exploited the gaps between State legal structures. Africa, like other continents, had hardly been spared. The scope of the problem was particularly worrisome as Africa had become the most profitable market for arms traffickers and also counted the highest number of victims. Weaknesses and shortcomings in instruments to curb those illicit activities had given rise to permanent trafficking and vulnerability of the continent. Combating those activities was crucial, including for peacebuilding.
ANTÓNIO GUMENDE (Mozambique), associating himself with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said there had been considerable implementation of the Programme of Action since its adoption more than a decade ago. Many national action plans had also been developed, and Mozambique, working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and civil society organizations, was very involved in the creation of a national plan to mitigate the risk and control of small arms and light weapons. The country was also implementing the Arms, Ammunition and Explosives Control System Project in order to create a modern database. That mechanism would register and control firearms managed by Government entities and in the hands of civilians. Mozambique had adopted a holistic approach to deal with the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons. That included civic education campaigns, reinforcing the close relationship between State authorities, and adoption of a handbook on procedural rules to support victims of firearms under the nation’s efforts to address domestic violence.
PETERIS FILIPSONS ( Latvia), associating himself with the European Union, said that the success of the Arms Trade Treaty did not diminish the importance of other conventional arms control instruments. The Programme of Action was a major tool at the international community’s disposal, and Latvia welcomed its second Review Conference in 2012 and the adoption of its outcome document. Latvia also fully supported the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and its review by governmental experts this year. While acknowledging the importance of international mechanisms, Latvia believed nations had the responsibility to enforce effective control over the transfer of goods for military purposes. Latvia had carried out additional procedures to strengthen its national and international security. For example, a law was enacted which required a transit or brokering license for every single transfer of dual-use or military equipment, including import, export or transit. Latvian customs officers had received specialized training to identify that type of equipment in 2012, and this year, along with customs declarants, had to pass an introduction course on export control of strategic goods, before they were certified.
VLADIMIR LUPAN ( Republic of Moldova), associating himself with the European Union, said that genuine security at all levels hinged on progress in disarmament, which enveloped an entire set of measures, including those aimed at conventional weapons control. Moldova welcomed the Assembly’s adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty and supported the Programme of Action. It was determined to ratify the Treaty as soon as possible, of the view that it would ensure the transparency and accountability in arms transfer and thus prevent their illicit trafficking. Among other initiatives, Moldova, with the support of the international community, was developing a national mechanism for tracing small arms and improving stockpiles management. All necessary actions aimed at destruction of past and current lots of small arms and light weapons were also being undertaken with the international community’s support. His country also supported efforts aimed at transparency in arms control and regularly submitted its national reports to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and the United Nations Report on Military Expenditure. It encouraged all Member States to do the same.
MICHAEL BIONTINO ( Germany) introduced resolution “L.44”, entitled Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus, which, among its many provisions, recognized that appropriate controls with regard to the security and safety of stockpiles of conventional ammunition were indispensable at the national level in order to eliminate the risk of explosion, pollution or diversion. He stressed that weapons and ammunition stockpiles could become unsafe if not properly managed. Furthermore, depots could be an “unremitting source” of weapons for criminals and, in that way, sustain their illegal activity. Stockpile management could contribute substantially to national security. Changes to the text had been made to include a reference to the provision of ammunition in the Arms Trade Treaty, as well as technical guidelines regarding ammunition.
ISAЇE BAGABO (Rwanda), associating himself with the African Union and the Non-Aligned Movement, took the floor in his capacity as current Chair of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa. He said that more than a decade after the adoption of the United Nations Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons, Member States had made tremendous progress globally in measures aimed at better management and control of those weapons. Beyond classic disarmament, the draft resolution put forward by Rwanda, “L.53”, addressed two security threats that had reached alarming proportions in recent years: maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and poaching in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad and Gabon.
WON JANG ( Republic of Korea) said that the Arms Trade Treaty reconfirmed that any transfer in violation of Chapter VII resolutions was strictly prohibited, and that the same restriction applied to those situations where there were overriding risks to peace and security. One of the original Treaty signatories, his country was in the process of taking steps for ratification. More attention should be paid to illicit brokering, which spread instability and poured on the fires of conflict worldwide. Importantly, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons had proved to be a dynamic instrument, capable of responding to developments in weapons technology and to the evolving nature of armed conflict. As a State party to that Convention, the Republic of Korea attached great importance to its indispensible role in addressing humanitarian concerns in a manner consistent with the national security interests of States.
MUSTAFA İLKER KILIÇ ( Turkey) said that, while States had the legitimate right to retain conventional weapons for self-defence, more attention should be paid to those weapons’ adverse effects. Small arms and light weapons were especially significant, as those threatened peace and security, as well as social and economic development. Furthermore, there was a well-documented relationship between their illicit trade, terrorism and organized crime. Such far-reaching consequences called for a common and concerted global effort. The Arms Trade Treaty was heartening in that regard, and Turkey would contribute to all efforts to eradicate the illicit arms trade. Accordingly, it was committed to the further strengthening of the Programme of Action.
MOSTAFA SHISHECHIHA ( Iran) said that nothing should affect the inherent right of any State to security, self-defence and territorial integrity. The sovereign right of a State to acquire, manufacture, import, export and retain conventional arms, their ammunitions, parts, components and related technologies and know-how for its self-defence and security needs should be fully observed. The Arms Trade Treaty was expected to be an effective, robust, balanced and non-discriminatory instrument aimed at reducing human suffering resulting from the illicit conventional weapons trade. However, the process had been redirected towards narrow national agendas and regional policies, and the draft treaty fell far short in meeting those expectations. For that reason, his delegation was compelled to object to its adoption.
Statements on Other Disarmament Measures and International Security
MICHIEL RAAFENBERG (Suriname), speaking on behalf of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), highlighted developments in the field of information and telecommunications technology, particularly in the context of international security. Noting that international law as well as the United Nations Charter was applicable to maintaining peace and stability and promoting open and secure use of information and communications technologies, he said that those should nevertheless not be used by State and non-State actors to violate international law. In that context, UNASUR strongly rejected the interception of communications by agencies of the United States Government, which constituted a threat to human rights, and a violation of international law and State sovereignty.
HAMAD FAREED AHMED HASAN (Bahrain), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the only durable means to address issues of international security was through multilateral cooperation. The United Nations had the leading role to play with regard to disarmament and non-proliferation. The destruction of weapons of mass destruction while pursuit of their modernization was under way posed one of the biggest challenges to international peace and security. It also threatened sustainable development and ecological systems, making the consideration of environmental standards important.
FIKRY CASSIDY ( Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that there had been a revolution concerning information and communications technologies, which had changed the world in a fundamental way. There was a divide between developed and developing countries, which had assumed new dimensions because of those developments. That gap must be bridged, if the new technologies were to be realized for social and economic development. While noting progress in their application, the Movement was concerned that those technologies could be used for purposes inconsistent with maintaining international peace and security. Taking into account ongoing efforts in that area, he called on States to promote multilateral agreements in that field. This year, the Movement would introduce draft resolutions “L.14”, on the observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control; “L.15”, on the relationship between disarmament and development; and “L.17”, on the promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.
ALFREDO TORO CARNEVALI ( Venezuela) said that information and communications technologies were tools for inclusion and development, and should not be used by States and non-State actors to violate international law, but must respect State sovereignty. He thus rejected the espionage perpetrated by the United States National Security Agency, or any other actor taking part in those activities, as they impinged on human rights. The revelations of extraterritorial espionage by the United States made it clear that that was carried out against the Venezuelan energy agency. During the official visit of former President Hugo Chavez to the United States in 2006, the National Security Agency had carried out an unprecedented spying operation via electronic surveillance. The illegal and arbitrary interception of private communications was a violation of the right of non-interference, and posed a serous obstacle to peace. The perpetrators of those illicit acts must cease and explanations must be provided.
CAMILO LOUIS ( Colombia), associating himself with UNASUR, stressed the importance of regional disarmament, and supported the resolution on this matter, which affirmed that regional and international disarmament took place in tandem. Colombia was a strong supporter of that principle, in particular as a signatory to the Treaty of Tlatelolco and in its capacity as a non-nuclear-weapon State. Furthermore, it had entered into agreements on nuclear safeguards with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which had made it possible to strengthen the scope of that system. Turning to confidence-building measures in the context of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, he said that among their central objectives was strengthening international peace and security. Reiterating Colombia’s resolve in that regard, he stressed again the importance of confidence-building measures at the regional level and their development within the United Nations.
TOSHIO SANO ( Japan) said it was essential to raise awareness about the threats posed by nuclear arsenals and the tragic humanitarian consequences of their use. As a country that had suffered from atomic bombings, Japan had a historic mission to inform people around the world, particularly future generations, with knowledge of their catastrophic consequences. Detailing a number of educational efforts in that regard, including the establishment of permanent exhibitions at United Nations Headquarters in New York in 1983 and in Geneva in 2011, he requested that the Secretariat allocate greater space for those exhibitions and for their further improvement.
Mr. WOOLCOTT ( Australia) emphasized that issues of cyberspace and cybersecurity were rapidly moving up the international security agenda. In this regard, the report of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Cyber Issue was “ground-breaking” and its recommendations would change the international cyber policy landscape. Quoting Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, he said that cyberspace was “not lawless”, as international law applicable to States already existed. The law of armed conflict and other related bodies of international law applied in cyberspace as they did elsewhere. That was a “simple yet fundamental proposition”. Furthermore, the Group’s report observed that State sovereignty, as well as norms and principles that flowed from sovereignty, applied in the case of cyberspace. Referring to a draft resolution from the Russian Federation, entitled “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security”, he said that Australia would support the resolution, but would welcome affirmation from its sponsors that international law applied in the use of cyberspace, since the draft was “silent” on that issue.
FERNANDO LUQUE MÁRQUEZ ( Ecuador), associating himself with UNASUR, said that history had been marked by the enhancement of human rights for all. Among those were the principles of privacy and the inviolability of communications. In that context, the discovery of the extent to which a global Power had established a global network of surveillance to intrude into the private lives of all the world’s inhabitants was deplorable. While to a certain extent, everyone had expected that, its scope was nevertheless surprising. Ecuador rejected all interception into electronic communication. The unveiling of that “massive network” of surveillance could not be denied, and had seriously affected trust among nations and undermined international peace and security. Ecuador rejected any such claim of a country to authorize its intelligence agencies to intercept communications within its territory, as such an attack was an attack on international law that governed relations between States and should be considered as such by the United Nations. In that context, his delegation said he was co-sponsoring “L.37” on information and telecommunications in the context of international security.
Mr. VIPUL ( India), introduced draft decision “L.22”, entitled Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament. He said it was clear that scientific and technological progress was necessary for social and economic development. Developing countries were dependent on access to scientific developments and new technologies, as well as on active participation in global trade. Cooperation in those fields should be promoted for all, including through the exchange of information and equipment. However, those developments had both civilian and military applications, and could contribute to the improvement and upgrading of weapons systems, including weapons of mass destruction, as well as inventing entirely new ones. The international community had expressed concerns about the misuse of information and communications technologies for hostile purposes, as well as the development of lethal autonomous robotics. While progress in science and technology for civilians should be encouraged, the international community must also ensure that global transfers were effectively regulated.
LIU YING ( China) said that the development of information and communications technologies had heralded an era of “big data” to the benefit of people’s lives. At the same time, cyberspace brought about severe challenges to information security. The cold-war mentality and zero-sum game theory was neither feasible nor tenable in “information space”. That was no “global domain”, she said, stressing that countries should be able to enjoy State sovereignty in that regard. Governments were entitled to manage their own network-related activities and had the jurisdiction over the information infrastructures within its territory.
AMR FATHI ALJOWAILY ( Egypt) said that, in using information and communications technologies, States must observe their obligations under the Charter to settle international disputes by peaceful means, as well as abide by the prohibition contained therein on the threat or use of force. In the context of information security, the threat or use of force also encompassed the destruction or harm done to any layers of that infrastructure, whether physical or digital, of a Member State. Gaps in capacity increased State vulnerability in an interconnected world and presented additional challenges to developing countries, constrained in their resources. Those were most affected by malicious uses of information and communications technologies, and commensurate capacity-building and adequate transfers of knowledge and technology should be integral to any multilateral initiatives. It was also necessary to establish attribution for such attacks, which required the fullest participation of countries in all arrangements related to the management and governance of that critical infrastructure. He supported the continuation of the work of the Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in that field, as recommended in draft resolution ”L.37”.
KHALIL HASHMI (Pakistan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the use of armed drones, especially against civilians, was a violation of international law, the United Nations Charter, international humanitarian law and human rights law. However, drone use did not fulfil the criteria of the zone of conflict as defined in international law, and it was characterized by a lack of transparency and accountability. Information on chain of command and responsibility was opaque or unavailable. Civilians were targeted and killed through “signature strikes”. In the absence of credible information against the targeted individuals, the use of drones was tantamount to extrajudicial killings since no due process of law was followed.
YADIRA LEDESMA HERNÁNDEZ ( Cuba) said it was crucial to uphold observance of environmental norms and standards when negotiating treaties on disarmament and arms limitation. She restated the need to attain negotiated solutions in the multilateral context. Multilateralism and pacific settlements remained the only appropriate means to resolve conflicts and progress towards general and complete disarmament. Those were the principle challenges faced by humankind. Moreover, it was alarming that $1.75 billion had been allocated to military expenditure when that could have been spent to combat extreme poverty or feed the more than 100 million people living in hunger.
SIMONA MICULESCU ( Romania), also speaking on behalf of Germany, said that the idea of reducing military expenditures through an active and voluntary engagement of States via a mechanism that registered their allocations of resources had emerged as early as 1981. The instrument, now titled the United Nations Report on Military Expenditures, came about as a way to promote an environment of trust when it came to military enhancements. In its early years, it had received reports from an average of 30 States per year, followed by an increase in the late 1990s. However, during the last decade, there had been a downward trend. The Group of Governmental Experts, which had been established to review those operations and examine reasons that might prevent countries from reporting, indicated that transparency on allocation of funds for military purposes was a fundamental aspect for cultivating trust and confidence.
MICHELE G. MARKOFF (United States) said that, in the report of the Group of Governmental Experts on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, her delegation saw the refection of a growing global consensus on core ideas, namely the search for a path towards a peaceful and stable environment that allowed all States to take advantage of the positive benefits of cyberspace. As a participant in that Group, the United States sought to enhance common understanding on cyber issues of critical national and international significance, such as the need to promote global stability, transparency, and confidence in cyberspace. Practical confidence-building measures were needed to enhance predictability and reduce the prospect of misattribution and misperception leading to conflict.
LAI ZHENLING ( Singapore) said she hoped to see the universalization of both the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, to which her country was a party. She urged States to demonstrate the political resolve needed to overcome the impasses in the Conference on Disarmament. Stressing the imperative of reinforcing and upholding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), she called on all parties to ensure the full and effective implementation of its 2010 Plan of Action. She also urged the States outside the NPT regime to accede to the Treaty without delay.
MARIA VICTORIA GONZÁLEZ ( Spain) said that information and communications technologies, and in particular, Internet technologies, had the potential to make an extraordinary contribution to economic growth and development. However, those also created challenges to the security of nations. It was essential, therefore, to close existing legal loopholes to dissuade perpetrators of Internet crime. Cooperation was essential to facilitate the prosecution of crimes and ensure the law was upheld. The Seoul Conference was a step in the right direction; however, initiatives developed to date within the United Nations were insufficient to respond to the challenges. The future meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts, in line with the Russian Federation draft was welcome, but there was need for an “institutional debate” to set out global standards and best practices.
VLADIMIR YERMAKOV ( Russian Federation) said that the potential damage from the threat of the new information and communications technologies was comparable to that inflicted by the most destructive weapons. In the face of those challenges, no one could feel safe. It was an interdependent world, and each voice counted. The United Nations, responsible for the maintenance of peace and security, must continue to address information security. In June, the work of the Group of Governmental Experts on the topic had concluded. Russia valued the outcome, and felt that its greatest achievement had been its focus on preventing conflicts in the information space rather than legitimizing them.
In that context, he introduced draft resolution “L.37”, entitled Developments in the field of information and telecommunications technology in the context of international security”. It was based on the traditional text, which had been adopted by consensus for several years. Among other things, it proposed to convene a new group of governmental experts in 2014 to facilitate the continuation of the discussion on international information security.
UFFE A. BALSLEV ( Denmark) said it was widely recognized that sexual and gender-based violence carried responsibility for an unacceptably high share of human suffering in the world and was linked with the suffering caused by the illicit and unregulated arms trade. That had most recently been confirmed in Security Council resolution 2117 (2013), which underlined how the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons had a disproportionate impact on violence against women and girls, and exacerbated sexual and gender-based violence overall. The Arms Trade Treaty represented a huge step forward and gave the issue of gender-based violence a prominent place, in the preamble and in operative article 7.4.
Mr. SHISHECHIHA ( Iran) said that information and communications technologies had become a driving force in many societies. At the same time, use of such technologies by criminals was a threat. It was essential, therefore, to ensure security of information and to build a safe telecommunications environment. That was in the interest of all States. However, due to the complex nature and unique features of those technologies, ensuring security through merely national measures was impossible. International cooperation was necessary, with the aim of developing a common understanding between States to find ways and means of preventing information and telecommunications threats, as well as solid legal foundations towards that goal. Outlining several principles in that regard, he highlighted in particular that States should be held responsible for “internationally wrongful activities” regarding those technologies.
Statements on Regional Disarmament and Security
Mr. CASSIDY ( Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, strongly supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. He expressed great concern over the acquisition of nuclear capabilities by Israel, and called for the complete prohibition of the transfer of such material to Israel. He expressed profound disappointment that the conference to create a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East had not been convened, and deplored that Israel continued to undermine it by not agreeing to participate. He urged the relevant Middle East States to seek out “credible assurances” regarding Israel’s participation and convene the conference without further delay.
SHORNA-KAY MARIE RICHARDS ( Jamaica), speaking on behalf of CARICOM, said its member countries had adopted a practical approach at both regional and subregional levels to tackle security threats. Likewise, it would play its part by fulfilling international obligations. CARICOM had identified trafficking of illegal guns and ammunition as one of the greatest threats to the region’s peace and security. In that context, she summarized several practical measures, among them, an initiative to allow Member States to identify guns and ammunition used in the commission of crimes. She further highlighted the work of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was an important partner for CARICOM. The Centre had undertaken commendable efforts in the area of prevention of armed violence, and despite the limited resources in the region, CARICOM had developed partnerships to realize regional disarmament through a number of practical measures.
Mr. HASAN (Bahrain), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the continued presence of nuclear weapons constituted a danger to humankind. Nuclear disasters caused by those weapons could transform regions of the world into “mass graves”. Since the Middle East was considered one of the most tense regions of the world, it was essential to ensure that it was free of nuclear weapons. For that reason, it was necessary to convene a conference to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone there.
JEFFREY L. EBERHARDT ( United States) said that years of experience had affirmed that non-proliferation and disarmament initiatives at regional and global levels were mutually reinforcing. He commended regional efforts by States on all three pillars of the NPT. The United States had made a serious commitment in building the current security architecture in Europe, and he highlighted elements of that architecture, including the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. That regime remained important to his country, despite the fact that the Russian Federation had ceased implementation of its obligations under that Treaty since 2007. Among other initiatives of the United States, it had worked alongside the Organization of American States’ members to enhance bio-incident readiness and response capabilities. The United States remained committed to take the next steps on the long road to general and complete disarmament.
ANAS ALSHAHEEN (Kuwait), associating himself with the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Middle East was one of the regions most in need of a zone free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, due to its complex geopolitical situation, of which Israel played a major role through its possession of nuclear weapons and its refusal to join the NPT. Kuwait regretted Israel’s “continued policy of intransigence and disregard” towards many resolutions of international legitimacy, including one unanimously adopted at the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which called for the convening of a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a zone free of mass destruction weapons in the Middle East. Kuwait demanded its convening immediately, as well as the continuation of multiple international efforts to impel Israel to sign the NPT and the International Atomic Energy Agency Additional Protocol. Kuwait hoped for fruitful cooperation and transparency between Iran and the IAEA in the coming year, as those negotiations would positively impact the Arab Gulf Region and the Middle East. Positive reports by that Agency would strengthen confidence and stability, and dispel the uncertainty in a region engulfed by tensions.
AHMED AL QASIMI (United Arab Emirates), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, reiterated his deep concern regarding the international inability to achieve any tangible progress on regional disarmament pertaining to the Middle East. That issue must remain a top priority, especially in light of the changes in the region. Prompt implementation of all commitments was required, and he called on Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as early as possible, as that would be a step towards peace in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates encouraged, in particular, the Egyptian initiative concerning a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the region.
Mr. LOUIS ( Colombia) said that his country had refrained from the use of weapons of mass destruction, which was relevant in light of the fact that all Latin American and Caribbean States were party to the Treaty of Tlatelolco and were setting aside the use of nuclear energy for exclusively peaceful purposes. The initiative to create such a zone in the Middle East was welcome. Also, one could not refer to regional disarmament without mentioning the respective Regional Centres for Disarmament. Preventing the illicit trafficking of small arms, munitions, ammunition and explosives was another important issue for Colombia, and he supported the objective to establish in the Americas a mine-free zone.
NOEL NELSON MESSONE ( Gabon) said that his country’s position on disarmament was expressed through its commitment to peace. The United Nations was at the centre of the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda, and the best body for the management of today’s security questions. Gabon reaffirmed its commitment to the Conference on Disarmament as the sole multilateral negotiating body in that regard. Adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty was an important success brought following years of effort, and he hoped it would fill the international legal gaps. Gabon emphasized the importance of the Treaty’s implementation and entry into force as soon as possible. The issue of small arms and light weapons was of particular importance in his region, since they hindered good governance, and good governance led to sustainable development.
Mr. HASMHI ( Pakistan) said that in the post-cold war era, most threats arose mainly among States located in the same region and subregion. Therefore, regional approaches to disarmament and arms control were both essential and complementary to international and bilateral efforts. Such arrangements should accord priority to addressing the most destabilizing military capabilities and imbalances in both conventional and non-conventional fields. A stable balance of conventional forces and weapons was necessary to ensure strategic stability. Over the years, confidence-building measures had proven their utility and efficacy in several regions and subregions, but those should be tailored to the specificities of the region and should begin with simple arrangements on transparency, openness and risk reduction before the concerned States found themselves in a position to pursue more substantive arms control and disarmament measures.
The ultimate aim, he said, should be to enhance regional and global peace and security. Confidence-building measures should not become an end in themselves; they should be pursued in conjunction with earnest efforts for the peaceful settlement of disputes, in accordance with the United Nations Charter. He then introduced three draft resolutions, “L.50” on regional disarmament, “L.51” on confidence-building measures in the regional and subregional context, and “L.52” on conventional arms control at the regional and subregional levels.
ELCHIN HUSEYNLI ( Azerbaijan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that conventional arms control was a complex subject, requiring serious commitment to underlying principles. His country had been actively engaged in ongoing discussions on the future of arms control in Europe. Confidence-building measures were vital tools in building trust among States, but were only effective when there was a genuine commitment to peace and security. As a member of the Security Council, he noted his country’s contribution to resolution 2117 (2013). Its efforts, however, undertaken at the national and international levels, were seriously hampered by Armenia. Confidence-building measures with that country would not be considered until there was a military withdrawal from Azerbaijan’s territory. Despite those and other difficulties, his country remained committed to international peace and security.
AHMED SAREER ( Maldives) said his country had supported the establishment of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace since the Assembly made that decision in 1971. With new threats such as piracy facing the region, the Maldives reiterated its support to ensure conditions of peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean. As the smallest State in the region and relying heavily on tourism and fisheries, the Maldives faced a major threat from piracy. It thanked the United Nations Trust Fund’s approval of a $2 million package for anti-piracy projects in Somalia and other affected States in the region, including the Maldives. The use of the Indian Ocean for the illegal transport of weapons, acts of terror, drug trafficking and illegal fishing were major concerns for the country. The Maldives was actively engaged in various international forums to strengthen its role in the global maritime arena. It was one of the first nations to have signed the Djibouti Code of Conduct to repress piracy and armed robbery in the Western Indian Ocean.
GAREN NAZARIAN ( Armenia) said his country attached great importance to regional disarmament and strongly believed that confidence-building measures were key elements in maintaining peace at regional and subregional levels. Armenia was a strong supporter of United Nations efforts in this regard. Furthermore, it was convinced that resources released by disarmament, including at the regional level, could be diverted to social and economic development, particularly for people living in conflict-prone societies. Elsewhere, Armenia believed the reckless militaristic ambitions of some States must be countered. In that context, Azerbaijan had rejected proposals to sign a non-use of force agreement, and had increased its military budget dramatically over the past few years. Furthermore, it had refused to take confidence-building measures. The use of force could not bring resolution to conflicts, but regardless of Azerbaijan’s “destructive stance”, Armenia would continue its efforts in that area.
TIN MARLAR MYINT ( Myanmar) expressed support for the revitalization of the Regional Centres and the important role they played in the promotion of disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control measures at the regional level. The work of the Centres was demand-driven and funded by extrabudgetary voluntary contributions by donors. Developing partnerships between regions and international organizations was key to moving ahead. Only when Member States and other donors provided adequate funding would the Regional Centres be able to sustain their activities in the cause of disarmament and non-proliferation.
DJAMEL MOKTEFI ( Algeria) said his country was committed to make international peace and security part and parcel of its foreign policy, and continued efforts to foster confidence-building measures and encourage dialogue. He welcomed the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, saying it contributed considerably to peace and security on that continent, including in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Given the current situation in the Sahel and the threats of terrorism, as well as the illegal trafficking of armaments, the States of his region needed to redouble their efforts and foster cooperation to combat those scourges. He then introduced draft resolution “L.19”, entitled Strengthening of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean region.
MAMOUDOU MANA (Cameroon), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, as at every session of the First Committee, Central African nations had prepared a draft resolution and, this year, Rwanda had the honour of presenting that collective initiative. The situation in Central Africa was marked by outbreaks of tension, as well as new threats to stability. Classical obstacles to peace also remained, including the porous nature of borders, the situation in the Sahel region, and issues related to small arms and light weapons. In order to tackle those issues, the region had implemented several measures, among them conclusion of the so-called Kinshasa Convention, formally, the Central African Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition, All Parts and Components That Can Be Used For Their Manufacture, Repair and Assembly.
Cameroon had a longstanding commitment to a world free of weapons, in particular, small arms and light weapons. The situation in his region was further complicated by problems including piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which was of strategic importance, not only for the whole region, but also for the world community.
CHRISTOPHER GRIMA (Malta) said that, as a small island State in the middle of the Mediterranean and a European Union member, Malta continued to support the promotion of closer regional dialogue as a key to regional development, integration and security as manifested in its participation in and endorsement of regional organizations and initiatives, such as the Union for the Mediterranean and the Western Mediterranean Dialogue. That scheme, called the “5+5” Dialogue, played a primary role in regional cohesion and cooperation. He noted the tragic events related to smuggling human beings across the Mediterranean and the loss of hundreds of lives during this month alone, and called on the international community to adopt new strategies to thwart that terrible practice.
Mr. SHISHECHIHA (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East remained a strategic approach of his country to promote peace, security and stability in that volatile region. However, despite all international efforts, no progress had been made so far to establish that zone. Peace and stability could not be achieved in the Middle East as long as an irresponsible regime had a massive nuclear arsenal, continued to threaten the region and maintain its underground nuclear weapons programme. To avoid further consequences of the delay in the implementation of the 1995 resolution and the 2010 Action Plan on the Middle East zone, the co-conveners of the conference must exert utmost pressure on the Israeli regime to compel it to participate without preconditions.
Mr. RAAFENBERG (Suriname), speaking on behalf of UNASUR, said that its member States were party to international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments including the NPT, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions. The region thus constituted a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Highlighting regional initiatives in the area of peace and security, he stressed in particular the work of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Centre had spearheaded programmes of work that were interdisciplinary and in coordination with a range of institutions and civil society initiatives. Concluding, he thanked States for their support to the Centre and called for their continued assistance.
Right of Reply
The representative of Azerbaijan, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said he defied the totally baseless accusations of the Armenian delegate against his country, and was sure that everyone was perplexed to hear that State’s condemnation of the use of force, since it had used force to occupy Azerbaijan’s territory. That and its destructive behaviour was the reason for the main impasse in the current negotiations. Armenia flagrantly violated its obligations to use military force to occupy Azerbaijan and carry out ethnic cleansing. The Security Council had condemned the occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan and reaffirmed its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and had demanded immediate, full and unconditional removal of Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Armenia was the most militarized country it the South Caucuses. In order to have effective and meaningful confidence-building measures in the region, Armenia must demonstrate its respect for international law by withdrawing its armed forces from Azerbaijan’s territory.
The representative of Armenia said that no matter the agenda, the delegate from Azerbaijan kept repeating the same items, hammering it like a well-trained spokesperson. The comments were unusually propagandistic, but it was not new that Azerbaijan was distorting history as well as all figures and facts related to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Concerning the Armenian armed forces, he could only invite the Azerbaijani delegate and the Committee members to look into the relevant United Nations documents where anyone could find the detailed picture of the Armenian armed force. Earlier today the Azerbaijani delegate had touched upon an issue of confidence-building measures, which was very appreciated. If Azerbaijan wanted those measures, there were a lot of perfect opportunities to do so. However, over the years, his delegation had “parted company” from the Azerbaijani representatives, who said before peace, there could be no confidence-building measures. Armenia preferred a different approach, and there was no better illustration than to start the confidence-building measures straight away.
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