Discourse on Nuclear Weapons Eclipsed in First Committee as Focus Shifts to ‘Pervasive and Long-lasting’ Effects of Conventional Arms

GA/DIS/3509
23 October 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 15th Meeting (AM)

Discourse on Nuclear Weapons Eclipsed in First Committee as Focus Shifts to ‘Pervasive and Long-lasting’ Effects of Conventional Arms

Transferred and traded around the globe, “excessive accumulation and unregulated proliferation” of illicit small arms and light weapons led to devastating consequences, say speakers in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) as thematic debate on conventional weapons continued.

While the world was focussed primarily on weapons of mass destruction, the effect of conventional weapons was more insidious, causing more mass casualties and untold suffering around the world, said the representative of Kenya.

Armed violence, he added, was a major impediment to surmounting the challenges of building a peaceful society capable of meeting development goals.

The representative of Eritrea said that the excessive accumulation and unregulated proliferation of small arms and light weapons continued to perpetuate conflicts in many parts of Africa, rendering insecurity “intractable”. 

The social, economic and political impacts of small arms and light weapons on African citizens, said the speaker, were “disproportionate, pervasive and long-lasting”, and responsible for death, displacement and abuse against women and children. 

The representative of Botswana noted that terrorists and non-State actors were using those weapons to commit atrocities.  Referencing Security Council resolution 2178 (2014), he said the destruction of surplus and forfeited weapons was a starting point for reducing stockpiles available for illicit circulation.

Echoing those sentiments, the representative of Guatemala said that small arms and light weapons had devastated her region, which continued to suffer from violence and crime due, in part, to such arms.  The high costs associated with development made small arms and light weapons a multifaceted issue. With that, she said her country supported any efforts towards finding solutions to the connection between armed violence and development. 

For Iran, the excessive production of arms by major producers was a matter of serious concern, and without addressing that issue, global efforts would hardly reach expectations.  A clear example was the “irresponsible” export of arms to the Middle East region, with flows of sophisticated weapons into that volatile region continuing unabated.

Highlighting the threat of man-portable air defence systems was the representative of Israel who said that heightened concern in recent years was a reminder that those weapons must not be allowed to reach the hands of terrorists or non-State actors.  That issue warranted closer and more immediate examination.

Cambodia’s land had been riddled with mines from decades of war that claimed lives and maimed victims, posing obstacles for cultivating farming and development, said its delegate.  To confront that issue at the global level, it had shared its experiences in mine clearance with other affected countries.

Similarly, the representative of Thailand said his country was committed to the goal of a zero-victim and mine-free country, and had adopted a holistic and integrated approach to victim assistance.  Strong local community networks were central to empowering persons with disabilities through rehabilitation, he added.

Drawing attention to the link between arms transfers and gender-based violence, the representative of Ireland said women were a powerful force for change in matters of disarmament and arms control.  Ireland supported an increase in the number of women in policymaking, planning and implementation processes related to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.

During the meeting, draft resolutions were introduced on the Arms Trade Treaty, measures to promote trust on conventional weapons, and the Mine-Ban Convention.

Also speaking were the representatives of Mexico, Jamaica, Singapore, Georgia, Bulgaria, Sweden, United Kingdom, Chile, Turkey, Argentina, the Russian Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Algeria, Czech Republic, Mozambique, and Chad.

The First Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on 24 October to continue its thematic debate segment.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met today to continue its thematic debate on conventional weapons. For more background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3497.

Statements

YANERIT MORGAN (Mexico) welcomed the coming entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, which she said was “a historic step forward” as the first global effort to regulate the trade in conventional arms and establish a legal framework in their trade.  Given the interest of her Government in implementing it as soon as possible, Mexico would host the First Conference of States Parties in 2015.  Towards that end, her country would conduct the preparatory process, in a transparent and inclusive manner, and as Conference President, it would promote inclusive decisions for the Treaty’s effective and timely implementation.

She said that international humanitarian law was the foundation for the protection of life, dignity and the integrity of civilians in armed conflict.  In that vein, she joined calls to prevent and eliminate the use of indiscriminate weapons, particularly in densely populated areas.  Turning to anti-personnel landmines, she said the Mine Ban Convention had not only managed to stigmatize those weapons, but had contributed to the destruction of more than 1 million of them.  That work had not been easy, she said, acknowledging the crucial role of Governments, United Nations specialized agencies and programmes, and civil society  Mexico was committed to the “great humanitarian mission” established by that Convention to move towards the total elimination of anti-personnel landmines, which would strengthen international humanitarian law and the human rights regime.

Shorna Kay Richards (Jamaica), associating with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the Arms Trade Treaty, which was borne of the concerted action of like-minded States and civil society, was of “singular importance”.  The Treaty had the potential to become a welcome “Christmas gift”, but only if efforts were made to implement it fully and ensure its universalization.  That required international cooperation in capacity‑building as well as the establishment of a secretariat.  Jamaica was in the process of implementing the Treaty in cooperation with countries and organizations.  On small arms and light weapons, she reiterated her country’s commitment to further engagement on various aspects concerning on the full and effective implementation of the Programme of Action on those weapons, and she commended the Organization of American States and the United Nations for their tremendous work in Jamaica.

Foo Khee Loon (Singapore), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), expressed deep concern about the humanitarian, socioeconomic and security impact arising from the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  Weapons’ illicit diversion contributed to armed conflict, displacements, organized crime and terrorism.  Moreover, they undermined peace, safety, security, stability and sustainable social and economic development.  In that regard, Singapore supported international efforts to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, including through the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument.  The country had put in place strict legislation and penalties to regulate the manufacture, possession and transfer of firearms and hoped that all nations would make the necessary efforts to implement the existing mechanisms.

Kaha Imnadze (Georgia), expressed his country’s readiness to cooperate with other countries in full implementation of existing mechanisms and participation in all consultative processes.  Elaborating a structural framework and establishing a secretariat as a plenipotentiary body, among other things, were critical to the success of the Arms Trade Treaty.  The complementary nature of instruments established for peace and stability in the region meant that undermining a single one undermined them all.  A recent draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the “Republic of Abkhazia” represented a serious threat to the process of the de-escalation of Georgia-Russia relations. He urged the Russian Federation to refrain from signing the so-called treaty to avoid undermining the security and stability of the region and beyond.

STEPHAN TAFROV (Bulgaria), associating with the European Union, said that the Arms Trade Treaty was a major achievement for the international community, and noted that his country had been one of the 53 countries to have ratified it.  The instrument filled a “serious gap” in international law and, now, its universalization was crucial.  On small arms and light weapons, the Programme of Action framework was an appropriate forum through which to address new developments that could help curb the illicit trade in those weapons.  In that respect, Bulgaria looked forward to the 2015 meeting of governmental experts to consider the implications of recent developments in small arms and light weapons-related technologies, as tasked by the Outcome Document of the Fifth Biennial Meeting in June.  He was deeply concerned at the alleged use of anti-personnel mines by certain State parties to the Mine-Ban Convention and the alleged “landing” of such weapons on the territory of a State party by another.

Ulf Lindell (Sweden), associating with the European Union, said the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty was a landmark step towards establishing robust international standards.  The next step was its full implementation, he said, adding that the Treaty had a provision for addressing gender-based violence, on which countries needed to work.  An open and inclusive process whereby State parties and signatories played a significant role was essential for moving forward.  Sweden assured implementation assistance to State parties requesting such help.  On the Programme of Action, his country offered to share its experience.  In closing, he said, human beings should not delegate life-and-death decisions on the battlefield to machines.  In that context, he was referring to lethal autonomous weapons systems.

ZEBIB GEBREKIDAN (Eritrea), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the excessive accumulation and unregulated proliferation of small arms and light weapons continued to perpetuate conflicts in many parts of Africa, rendering insecurity intractable.  Their social, economic and political impact on African citizens was disproportionate, pervasive and long-lasting, and they were responsible for death, displacement, sexual violence and abuse against women and children.  As a country that had emerged from decades of war, Eritrea was deeply concerned about the negative consequences and proliferation of those weapons.  That said, she hailed the achievements made since the creation of the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes region, the Horn of Africa and bordering States, and global support for that mechanism could enhance world peace and security.

Catherine POLLARD (United Kingdom), associating with the European Union, said that as a proud leading advocate of the Arms Trade Treaty, his country had signed, ratified and was already implementing its provisions.  Priorities on that front were now two-fold.  First and foremost, his delegation would continue to promote the Treaty’s universalization and encourage full implementation once it entered into force.  The United Kingdom had allocated more than $1 million to support States in ratifying and provisionally implementing the Treaty.

He urged the international community to support Libya in tackling weapons proliferation, which was destabilizing the country and wider region.  The Arms Trade Treaty could be part of the solution to control that proliferation.  This year, he said, had been a momentous one, and to that end, the United Kingdom was introducing resolution “L.32” marking the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty.  States must take the next step together, and with energy, whether by supporting the resolution or signing and ratifying the Treaty, ensure its effective implementation.  Moreover, each State, where possible, could assist other countries in that process.  By working together, the Treaty could and would make a difference in the lives of many.

Vincente GARRIDO (Chile), aligning with the Union of South American States (UNASUR), said the Arms Trade Treaty represented the first significant effort to regulate an entire category of weapons that continued to wreak havoc around the world.  The Mine-Ban Convention was another crucial step in bolstering international humanitarian law, he said, stressing the importance of the United Nations Programme of Action as well.  The effective inclusion of women in relevant mechanisms was of utmost priority for the international community.

Maria Soledad (Guatemala), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that small arms and light weapons had devastated her region.  Despite a long history of armed conflict, it had emerged as a region of peace, but it continued to suffer from violence and crime due, in part, to illicit arms.  For that reason, combatting illicit arms trafficking was a key priority for her Government.  The climate of insecurity and high costs associated with development made small arms and light weapons a multifaceted issue, she noted, adding that her country supported any efforts towards finding solutions to the link between armed violence and development.  She welcomed the Arms Trade Treaty; Guatemala had signed it and would soon complete the ratification process.  She also welcomed Mexico’s offer to host of the Treaty’s first review and supported the candidacy of Trinidad and Tobago as host of the Treaty’s secretariat.

PATRICIA O’BRIEN (Ireland), associating with the European Union, noted that women had been, and continue to be, a powerful force for change in matters of  disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.  Women’s knowledge, experience and perceptions should be included, and their perspectives about security threats considered.  In that regard, she strongly supported efforts to increase the number of women active in policymaking, planning and implementation processes related to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.  Noting the link between international arms transfers and gender-based violence included in the Arms Trade Treaty, she encouraged States parties to fully implement all provisions.  Concerned about the use of cluster munitions in Syria this year and reports of use in Ukraine and South Sudan, she called upon all State and non-State actors to refrain from deploying those inhumane weapons.  The First Review Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, to be held in Croatia in 2015, would be an opportunity to realize the aims of that instrument.

Mehmet Ceylan (Turkey) said that the issue of Small Arms and Light Weapons could be taken from an international, regional and national security perspective, making it a disarmament issue, as well as from a human life and socio-economic perspective, thereby making it a humanitarian and development issue.  Turkey welcomed the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty and recalled that mitigating the risk of conventional weapons called for concerted global effort.  His country contributed to all efforts towards establishing effective norms aimed at eradicating illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  Turkey supported the implementation of the Programme of Action and welcomed Security Council resolution 2117 (2013) on small arms and light weapons.  Turkey, committed to the implementation of the Mine-Ban Convention, participated in the third review conference and was a State party to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.  He welcomed the discussions on lethal autonomous weapons held in the context of meetings on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.  His country shared the humanitarian goals of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and condemned their use against civilians.  Turkey believed that the most effective way to address the ill-effects of conventional weapons was to tackle the root cause of conflicts and the making efforts towards the peaceful settlement of disputes.

GABRIELA Martinic (Argentina), presenting a draft resolution, Implementation of measures to promote trust on conventional weapons on behalf of 60 delegations, said the text’s objective was to highlight recent developments in that area.  It was not prescriptive but voluntary in the interest of boosting trust and confidence.  She welcomed expressions of support for the text and urged countries that had not done so to join its sponsorship.  She sought its consensus approval.

VLADIMIR ERMAKOV (Russian Federation) said that his delegation could perhaps also calmly speak, as others did, about the shortcomings and virtues of the Arms Trade Treaty, and the goals that the international community faced in the context of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and many other neutral topics.  However, he said he would not do so.  A particular reason for that was that a number of delegations allowed themselves to cast unfounded aspersions against Russia including in the context of quite tragic developments in Ukraine, a country that was dear to Russia in many respects.

In response, he said he would like to draw attention, not to some kind of subjective assessments but to the unequivocal facts, he said.  After the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and Poland signed last February the agreements on the settlement of the political situation in Ukraine, those agreements had been “completely broken” the very next day, and the United States together with the European Union supported the armed and anti-constitutional coup d’état in Ukraine, and helped the ultra-national forces to come to power in Kyiv that literally exploded the country from inside, thus turning the world upside down.  It was perhaps too early to make final conclusions, but on the whole those reprehensible events in the middle of Europe in the twenty-first century could have a greater impact on the world than the nuclear bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago.  One thing was already clear, which was that the masks were off and the so-called Western (European) “democratic values” had been completely trampled by the West.

Regarding conventional arms control, he said Russia fully shared the view that compliance with international humanitarian law was important.  However, he proposed not to discuss an abstract notion, but rather to make “an analysis of concrete facts”.  Russia had repeatedly expressed its serious concern in connection with the use by Kyiv of weapons with indiscriminate and extremely injurious effect to civilian populations.  These included the constant shelling of cities in south-eastern Ukraine by heavy artillery, ballistic missiles, and salvo-launch systems.  There had also been the use of tanks, air force, incendiary weapons, cluster munitions, and the massive extermination of civilians including women, elders, children, and the handicapped.  This was in addition to the destruction of infrastructure, all of which could not be described in any other way but as a gross violation of international humanitarian law and the basic human right to life.  In that light the use of anti-personnel mines in one’s own country, which was a direct violation of the Ottawa Treaty, seemed to be “just a routine detail”.

His delegation was surprised not only by Kyiv’s “beastly actions”, but by attempts of the so-called “Western democracy” to sweep all these war crimes under the carpet.  Collective suppression of facts of blatant violations of international humanitarian law actually meant aiding and abetting the dark forces which continued still in total impunity to brutally massacre unarmed people.  He took note of some delegations’ arguments trying to lay the blame for their own actions at the door of Russia and said that would not work.  He said that Russia was not a party to the internal conflict in Ukraine.  But naturally, politically, the Russian Federation had insisted and would continue to insist on “a full ceasefire to the hostilities” in south-eastern Ukraine and the solution of all extremely complex issues through negotiations among the regional forces themselves in Ukraine.

On the issue of conventional arms control in Europe, he said that for 17 years Russia had fully implemented its obligations under the old Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), even though that Treaty “was of a discriminatory nature” against Russia.  His country had ratified the new CFE, but since none of the European partners had followed suit, the Russian Federation was forced to introduce a moratorium on the implementation of its obligations in 2007.  Seven years had already passed but nothing had been done by Western partners and the situation continued to deteriorate.  The military bloc of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization continued to move closer to Russian borders.  For its part, he said the Russian Federation remained transparent in its military activities.

MIRZA PAŠIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), associating with the European Union, said the globalization of the arms trade had allowed such transactions to proceed with little control.  The Arms Trade Treaty represented a significant step to reversing that trend, he said, adding that his country was committed to its full and effective implementation.  Bosnia and Herzegovina still faced threats posed by unexploded ordnance, dating from the war in the 1990s, and welcomed the support international partners assist in ameliorating that situation.

Fernando Luque Marquez (Ecuador), associating with UNASUR and the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated his country’s total support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine-Ban Convention.  Concerning small arms and light weapons, he underlined that the Programme of Action and the international tracing instruments were the main tools of action and that commitments should be met at the international, regional and national levels.  The international community should advance discussions on unmanned combat aerial vehicles, or UAVs, and lethal autonomous weapons, known as LAWS, as part of addressing new challenges arising in the field of conventional weapons.  Ecuador took full part in the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations on the belief that it could make an effective contribution to that growing global challenge.  Action should be based on the principles of universality and balance.

ZAINA BENHABOUCHE (Algeria), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as the Arab and African Groups, said the illicit weapons trade was a serious threat to stability, particularly in Africa.  The situations in Libya and the Sahel required international attention to reinforce the countries’ capabilities to confront that scourge.  For its part, Algeria had submitted its national report on the Programme of Action as well as on the International Tracing Instrument.  The Programme of Action had helped create a collective re-awakening, she said, adding that international and subregional cooperation was essential to secure effective border control and eradicate illicit arms flow.  Algeria had implemented national legislation and was promoting knowledge-sharing and training with neighbouring countries to develop their capabilities to contravene in illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons.  The country had also made efforts to eliminate anti-personnel landmines and believed the Mine-Ban Convention was the appropriate framework for dealing with that issue.

VERONICA STROMSIKOVA (Czech Republic), associating with the European Union, said her country considered the Arms Trade Treaty to be a milestone in the development of international standards to regulate the global conventional weapons trade, and welcomed its coming entry into force.  She reiterated her strong support for the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.  An important issue of the treaty’s agenda was LAWS, and her delegation saw the merit in continuing discussion on different aspects of those weapons.  She welcomed the substantial progress achieved at the Third Review Conference and also reiterated her support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions expressing deep concern over their reported use in Syria, South Sudan and Ukraine.  The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons affected regional and international security; she supported measures to strengthen cooperation in tracing illegal flows and believed that the Arms Trade treaty’s entry into force would help.

ANTONIO GUMENDE (Mozambique), associating with the African Group and Non-Aligned Movement, highlighted the illicit use of small weapons had widespread negative effects on peace and stability.  It was in that context that the country attached great importance to the implementation of the Programme of Action.  Mozambique continued to implement decisions and take initiatives at the national level on that important issue, he said, stressing that the United Nations should remain vigilant.  He introduced a draft resolution entitled Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction, and sought full support of it.

NKOLOI NKOLOI (Botswana), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, described peace and security as preconditions to the achievement of sustainable economic and social development.  He remained concerned over the illicit transfer of small arms and light weapons worldwide.  His delegation welcomed the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty aiming at curbing the uncontrolled arms trade and looked forward to its implementation.  Small arms and light weapons posed danger to communities, where terrorists and non-State actors used them to commit atrocities.  He welcomed the adoption of Security Council resolution 2178 (2014) to tackle the threat of foreign and terrorist fighters.  He believed that the destruction of surplus and forfeited weapons was a starting point for reducing stockpiles available for illicit circulation.  He noted with satisfaction the convening of the Fifth Biennial Meeting on implementation of the Programme of Action, whose implementation remained critical.  Botswana had established an Inter-Agency responsible for its implementation and regional protocols aimed at addressing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

Seyed Mohammad Ali ROBATJAZI (Iran), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country was at the forefront of the combat against terrorism, violent extremism and drug trafficking in the region.  As such, it had been actively engaged in curbing illicit small arms and light weapons flows and continued to support the full implementation of the Programme of Action and International Tracing Instrument.  The excessive production of arms by major producers with the aim of export to other countries was a matter of serious concern.  Without addressing that issue, global efforts to prevent trade would hardly achieve their expectations.  A clear example was the irresponsible export of arms to the Middle East region, yet flows of sophisticated weapons into that volatile region continued unabated.  Moreover, unlimited offensive weapons continued to be transferred to the Israeli regime, which fuelled that regime’s “war machine” and enabled its pursuit of expansionist, aggressive and destabilizing policies in the region.

He said his country was also concerned about the irresponsible arms exports to certain countries in the Persian Gulf region.  According to public information, two countries in that region were among the five biggest arms importers in the world.  While Iran recognized the right of all States to acquire arms for their self-defence and security needs, such a large amount of imports were usually used in the intervention of the domestic affairs of other States.  On the Arms Trade Treaty, he said it made little sense that such an instrument had not prohibited arms transfers to countries that were engaged in committing acts of aggression, including foreign occupation, he said.

KORAKOT PARACHASIT (Thailand), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated his commitment to the United Nations Programme of Action as the principal multilateral cooperation framework for addressing the common and widespread problem of small arms and light weapons.  For the Arms Trade Treaty to be truly effective, State parties, observers States and civil society must play their part in facilitating implementation.  Duplication of work or imposition of unnecessary burdens should be avoided.  Thailand strictly adhered to the humanitarian principles enshrined in various conventions, including the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine-Ban Convention.  On mine clearance, Thailand was committed to the goal of a zero-victim and mine-free country and had adopted a holistic and integrated approach to victim assistance. Strong local community networks were central to empowering persons with disabilities through rehabilitation.

ANDREW KIHURANI (Kenya), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, said that while the world was focussed on weapons of mass destruction, the effect of conventional weapons was “more insidious” and caused “mass casualties and untold suffering” around the world.  Conventional weapons proliferation, especially the illicit transfer, excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread and misuse of small arms and light weapons, posed, not only a significant threat to global peace and security, but also to social and economic development.  Armed violence was a major impediment to overcoming the challenges of building a peaceful society capable of meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Africa, she said, continued to be afflicted by armed conflict owing to the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.  The cause of the most fatalities worldwide, they had a destabilizing effect on development in the most fragile regions.  Kenya welcomed the adoption of Security Council resolution 2117 (2013) on small arms and light weapons.  She stressed the importance of effective implementation of the outcome of the Second Review Conference on the Programme of Action, and, noting that her Government had put in place legislative procedures for its implementation, including policies and national monitoring frameworks with the participation of civil society organizations.  Her delegation valued regional and international cooperation in the fight against the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons and cooperated with the Regional Centre in the Great Lakes region, the Horn of Africa and neighbouring States.  Kenya welcomed the Maputo plan of action.  In closing, she said the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Kenya was the consequence of wider challenges facing her region such militant group’s acquisition of arms,

YAUNG CHAN SOPHEA (Cambodia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country’s land had been riddled with mines from decades of war that had claimed lives and maimed victims, posing obstacles for farming cultivation and development.  Cambodia and its development partners would continue to support mine-risk education programmes in the country and had shared experiences in mine clearance with other affected countries.  To contribute to that process in the Middle East and Africa, it had participated in United Nations Peacekeeping operations, deploying more than 2,000 peacekeepers to Lebanon, Mali and South Sudan.  In November, it would deploy another unit of 216 peacekeepers to the Central African Republic for United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA). In its own region, ASEAN had been working towards establishing the Regional Mine Action Centre in Cambodia, and his country would organize a regional seminar on that body’s establishment, on 2 and 3 November..

AHMAT ABDERAMAN (Chad), associating with the African Union and Non-Aligned Movement, said small arms and light weapons not only destabilized States but also undermined social and economic and development, thereby posing a threat to international peace and security.  Detailing Chad’s national programmes to reduce that threat, he called for effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty building on the momentum that had been generated.

Michal SEHAYAK SOROKA (Israel) expressed deep concern regarding developments in the Middle East and beyond, where terrorist organizations and non-State actors had acquired, smuggled and possessed weapons that sometimes exceeded the arsenals acquired by sovereign States.  In this regard, it was worrying that terrorist organisations had at their disposal weapons such as short- and medium-range rockets and missiles, man-portable air defence systems, or MANPADS, unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAV’s, and shore-to-sea missiles.  Those weapons contributed to destabilizing the region and were used primarily against civilians.  Additionally, their proliferation threatened communities and sovereign States.  Countering that threat required resolve, cooperation, and a concerted effort by the international community.  An important basis already existed in Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1747 (2010), she noted.She said her country considered the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to be a paramount instrument in the regulation of the use of those weapons and in achieving the necessary balance between military needs and humanitarian considerations in the application of international humanitarian law.  Decisions undertaken in this forum had the distinct benefit of having a real and significant impact on the ground.  She went on to highlight the threat of MANPADS in recent years, saying those cases served as reminders that those weapons should not reach the hands of terrorists or non-State actors.  That issue warranted closer and more immediate examination, she said.

For information media. Not an official record.