Speakers in First Committee Say ‘Trust Deficit’ Must Be Upended to Hasten Pace of Nuclear Disarmament, Break Cycle of Intense Frustration

GA/DIS/3521
9 October 2015
Seventieth Session, 3rd Meeting (AM)

Speakers in First Committee Say ‘Trust Deficit’ Must Be Upended to Hasten Pace of Nuclear Disarmament, Break Cycle of Intense Frustration

Despite some gains, the world had been locked in a “cycle of intense frustration” over the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament, as the “flawed step-by-step approach” was not enough to achieve the goal of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today, as it continued its general debate.

Forty-five years after the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s (NPT) entry into force and 20 years after its indefinite extension, the representative of Jamaica said that while some countries still insisted that an incremental approach was the only realistic way to achieve the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons, that had not proven successful in advancing that shared aspiration.

Similarly, the representative of Indonesia said the possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons could rapidly worsen the already volatile situation.  Geopolitical tensions were a testament to the precariousness of false confidences, he said, warning that miscalculation, catastrophic accidents and the potential consequences of brinkmanship could have dramatic consequences.  States must address the “trust deficit” and revitalize the disarmament machinery.

Grounds existed for more “pessimistic and even alarming” statements on disarmament and non-proliferation, said the Russian Federation’s representative, highlighting “nuclear sharing” among member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  By all accounts, cooperation between nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States was growing, he said, calling for a General Assembly declaration to strengthen global strategic security.  He spotlighted some gains, such as agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, Syria’s chemical demilitarization and his country’s own reductions in nuclear deterrence force.

The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania said it was a matter of great concern that nuclear-weapon States were modernizing, upgrading and refurbishing their arsenals.  Far more damaging, he said, was the fact that instead of acting as a deterrent, the existence of nuclear weapons had only galvanized non-nuclear-armed States to acquire them.

Iran’s representative expressed concern that reductions in nuclear arsenals had been limited and reversible, and worse, accompanied by extensive efforts to modernize them, while Kazakhstan’s representative declared that the NPT’s indefinite extension in 1995 was not a basis for the indefinite extension of the existence of nuclear weapons.

On small arms and light weapons, the representative of Chile urged all States to implement the United Nations Programme of Action.  He endorsed the Secretary-General’s view that the illicit trade and availability of those weapons were among the underlying causes of conflict.  Indeed, Chile considered that trade to be a “scourge with immeasurable destructive effects”.

Turning to cybersecurity, China’s representative said the absence of international rules on that and other fields “incurred risks of the law of the jungle”.  He urged States to intensify cooperation in formulating and improving global norms, and to elaborate an international code of conduct on cyberspace that was acceptable to all.

Also speaking were the representatives of Japan, Israel, Philippines, Cuba, Germany, Peru, Netherlands and Libya.

The representatives of the United States, Syria and the Russian Federation spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The First Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Monday, 12 October, to continue its general debate.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met to continue its general debate today on the broad range of items before it.  For details, please see Press Release GA/DIS/3520 of 7 October.

Statements

TOSHIO SANO (Japan), speaking for the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, expressed renewed determination to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.  The NPT remained the cornerstone of the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.  Stressing that its universality was of the utmost importance, he said members of the Initiative were determined to strengthen the Treaty’s implementation across all three of its pillars, namely nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Expressing regret that the 2015 NPT Review Conference had been unable to produce a consensus outcome, he emphasized that those of the previous reviews remained relevant and valid, including that of the 1995 Review and Extension Conference; most important was the 2010 Action Plan.  His group was committed to strengthening implementation and taking forward new initiatives where progress was possible.  He, therefore, called on all States parties to fully implement their commitments.  In that spirit, the Initiative would continue to advance nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation based on the principles of irreversibility, verifiability and transparency during the 2020 review process.

ALON ROTH-SNIR (Israel) supported a vision of the Middle East that was free from wars, hostility, weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means.  That vision was shared by all the region’s inhabitants, based on their hope for peace, mutual recognition, reconciliation and cessation of all acts of terrorism, aggression and hostility.  Disarmament and arms control were inseparable from the context in which they existed and must be firmly planted in reality.  Since last year, the Middle East had been further destabilized and radicalized, and State sovereignty had eroded.  ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) now controlled more than 100,000 square kilometres of Syrian and Iraqi territories, running the daily lives of 6 million people.  That raised the question as to what extent regional States could fulfil fundamental functions and control their territory.

Chemical weapons were in continuous and regular use in today’s Middle East, he said.  While recognizing the importance of removing such weapons in Syria, he was concerned by the erosion of the norms and prohibitions against them.  That could not be “the new normal”, in the Middle East or elsewhere.  Iran remained the most significant threat to the security of the region and beyond, and the recent agreement with the P5+1 (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States, Germany) was unlikely to stop Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons.  A more secure and peaceful Middle East required all regional States to engage in a process of direct and sustained dialogue to address the broad range of regional security challenges.  Israel had agreed to enter a process of consultations in 2011, facilitated by Finland, and had attended five rounds of talks in Switzerland in 2013.  However, a sixth meeting had not taken place due to the Arab side’s reluctance to continue.

MIKHAIL ULIYANOV (Russian Federation) said statements often heard about crisis or stagnation in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament were exaggerated.  In fact, recent years had seen problems and achievements; among the latter were the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear programme and chemical demilitarization in Syria.  He also noted the conclusion of the Arms Trade Treaty, but said shortcomings had prevented the Russian Federation from joining it.  Nevertheless, that instrument could strengthen security at regional and global levels with proper implementation.  Nuclear disarmament was advancing rapidly as evidenced by the reduction of deployed nuclear warheads in his country as part of the Russian nuclear deterrence force, from 3,900 units at the time of the eighth NPT Review Conference in 2010, to 1,582 units by the time the ninth such conference was held earlier this year.

He said that grounds existed for the more “pessimistic and even alarming statements” on disarmament and non-proliferation.  The upcoming scheduled deployment of MK-41 vertical launch systems at the United States missile defence facility in Romania would seriously challenge international security.  While the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, did not prohibit deployment of those systems capable of launching intermediate-range cruise missiles on naval ships, their relocation to the ground was inconsistent with INF obligations.  Also, the continuing practice of “nuclear sharing” by NATO member States violated their NPT obligations.  By all accounts, cooperation between nuclear- and non-nuclear member States was “building up”.  The United States intended to modernize its nuclear warheads stationed in Europe in the near future, while the European countries on which they were located were planning to renew their air delivery vehicles.  Thus, violation of non-proliferation obligations would become “indefinite in duration”.

Furthermore, he said, contrary to official statements by the United States that with the removal of the so-called Iranian threat, the driving force behind the deployment of a missile defence system in the European continent would disappear, the European missile defence project was being implemented as intended.  It was time, he concluded, for a special declaration of the General Assembly to strengthen global strategic stability as a principle of international security and a prerequisite for arms reduction.  The Russian Federation had prepared a draft and would hold consultations with all interested States.  On outer space, he urged that the draft for a legally binding treaty proposed by his country and China be a basis for further joint efforts.  That treaty was ripe for negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament, but pending such negotiations, voluntary political commitments to refrain from placing weapons in outer space were important.  The NPT Review Conference in May was not a failure because the intended objective of examining aspects related to the Treaty’s implementation had been achieved; however, he was disappointed at the lack of a final document, owing to the objections of three States to the section on the Middle East.  Their decision to block consensus was a “serious mistake”.

BARLYBAY SADYKOV (Kazakhstan) said disarmament and non-proliferation were the mainstays of his country’s foreign policy.  As a nation that had voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan believed that the nuclear-weapon States must make further reductions in their nuclear arsenals until they were eliminated.  The NPT’s indefinite extension in 1995 should not be considered as a basis for the indefinite extension of the existence of nuclear weapons.  To that end, the adoption of a universal United Nations declaration on a world free of nuclear weapons would be an important step.

The chronic deadlock in disarmament had given rise to a loss of confidence in that global process, he said, urging the start of negotiations on a legally binding document granting security assurances by the nuclear Powers to non-nuclear-weapon States.  Having established a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia together with its neighbours, Kazakhstan firmly believed in the need to establish such zones all over the world. Hopefully, the entire planet would soon be a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

CARLOS OLGUÍN CIGARROA (Chile), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said the “consensus rule” was paralyzing the disarmament machinery, and some 2,000 atomic weapons on “hair-trigger alert” was also discouraging.  Nuclear weapons and international humanitarian law were incompatible.  In the context of CELAC’s special declaration adopted in Costa Rica in January, Chile supported the Open-ended Working Group of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament.  He urged nuclear-weapon-States to move towards those weapons’ total elimination under the NPT’s article VI, and to scale back the operational readiness of their nuclear-weapon systems.  He also called on all countries to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

On small arms and light weapons, he urged all States to implement the relevant United Nations Programme of Action.  He endorsed the Secretary-General’s view that the illicit trade and availability of those weapons were among the underlying causes of conflict.  Indeed, Chile considered that trade to be a “scourge with immeasurable destructive effects”. Regarding other conventional weapons, he reaffirmed support for the Mine Ban Convention, noting that his delegation would host the fifteenth meeting of States parties, which would focus on victim assistance.

LOURDES O. YPARRAGUIRRE (Philippines), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), supported efforts to strengthen the discourse on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and ensure that that would lead to concrete actions for those weapons’ total elimination.  In order to accomplish that, she called for the start of negotiations on a convention to ban them.  She also supported the resumption of talks to convene a conference on establishing a Middle East zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, and stressed the need for balanced and immediate implementation of the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan across all the Treaty’s pillars.  Her country would strive to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty before the second conference of States parties.

She welcomed the Iran nuclear deal as an important measure to promote security and stability in the region and globally.  She called on the international community to maintain the positive momentum for the long-term peace that agreement aimed to create.  She also expressed commitment, with ASEAN neighbours, to preserve her region as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  In that regard, the Philippines would step up efforts with nuclear-weapon States to resolve outstanding issues leading to their signature and ratification of the Treaty’s protocol.  The Philippines, along with Georgia and Morocco, had formed a group of friends of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risk mitigation and security governance to promote State compliance with their obligations under Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).

RODOLFO REYES RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, supported the group’s proposal for negotiations on a comprehensive convention banning nuclear weapons and leading to their complete elimination.  The existence of 60,000 nuclear weapons was “incompatible with life”.  The nuclear Powers still had not complied with their obligations under the NPT’s article VI; instead, they continued to perfect their weapons.  The ninth NPT Review Conference had confirmed the gap between the “rhetoric and fine intentions” repeated by some nuclear-weapon States and the commitments and steps they were willing to take.  He underscored Cuba’s support for establishing a zone free from nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, an essential contribution to peace and security for all nations in the region.  Additionally, non-nuclear-weapon States needed guarantees against the use of these weapons.

He welcomed the agreement reached with Iran, and hoped that it would pave the way to lifting unjust sanctions against the Iranian people.  Indeed, Cuba categorically rejected sanctions as a method of settling disputes in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.  He expressed deep concern about the concealed and illegal use of information technology systems to attack countries, and also condemned the use of chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

SHORNA-KAY RICHARDS (Jamaica), aligning with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the international community had avoided a war of global scale over the past 70 years, but now faced increasingly complex, interconnected threats to peace and security.  Globally, new challenges had surfaced as a result of acts of terrorism and violent extremism.  The humanitarian approach that was gaining momentum could inject new life and urgency into what was currently a moribund process, and allow for more ambitious and progressive action, as well as bring more diverse actors on board.

She said her delegation was deeply disappointed that the international community had failed to seize the opportunity provided by the 2015 NPT Review Conference to make significant progress.  For far too long, the world had been locked in a cycle of intense frustration over the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament.  Yet, 45 years after the NPT’s entry into force and 20 years after its indefinite extension, some were prevailing on the international community to persist in the flawed step-by-step approach as the only realistic way to achieve the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons.  However, those incremental steps had not proved successful in advancing collective disarmament goals.  States parties must put in the hard work needed to ensure the NPT’s full implementation.

WANG QUN (China) spoke of the seventieth anniversary of the victory of various countries over fascism, regretting lingering security threats against which Chinese President Xi Jinping had proposed cooperative and sustainable security.  Building on 10 rounds of troop cuts, China would further reduce the number of troops by 300,000, reflecting that country’s commitment to peaceful development.  Having ratified the Protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, China had also resolved problems with the instrument’s Protocol together with ASEAN States.  As a victim of chemical weapons and a State party to the Chemical Weapons Convention with the “largest amount of declared chemical facilities”, China had implemented its obligations, and as a State party to the Biological Weapons Convention, was working to improve the Treaty’s compliance mechanism.

China, he said, regretted the lack of international legal instruments on outer space, cybersecurity and fissile material production.  The delegation would continue to advance discussions in the Conference on Disarmament on the draft treaty on preventing the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects.  The absence of international rules on such fields “incurred risks of the law of the jungle”.  He urged States to intensify cooperation in formulating and improving such global norms.  To elaborate an international code of conduct on cyberspace that was acceptable to all, he suggested the following principles: compliance with the United Nations Charter and other recognized norms, respect for the cyberspace sovereignty of each State, the resolution of international disputes in that field by peaceful means, ensuring that cyberspace was used only for peace and security activities, and ensuring that States not interfere with the internal affairs of other States or to the detriment of their national interests.  China commended the work of the United Nations governmental experts group on information security and expected that cooperative mechanism to work out an international code of conduct on cyberspace.

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the international community was facing a difficult situation in the field of international security and disarmament.  The recent negotiations with his country and the P5+1 were based on achieving a peaceful solution to politically complex issues.  In the past, the reaction of the Security Council to Iran’s nuclear programme had been unjust, and his country was determined to exercise its full rights to peaceful nuclear technology within the framework of the NPT.  Iran’s nuclear programme had always been peaceful and should be recognized as such, and the country was committed to implementing its obligations in good faith.

He underlined the imperative for the total elimination of nuclear weapons as a requirement of international security, adding, however, that the complete lack of progress on that front could best categorize the state of affairs of NPT commitments overall.  There had been some reductions in nuclear weapons, but those were limited and reversible, and worse, accompanied by extensive efforts to modernize them.  Large budgets devoted to that process suggested that the nuclear-weapon States contemplated the indefinite possession of their arsenals rather than compliance with their NPT nuclear disarmament obligations.  Consistent non-compliance with those commitments could have extensive ramifications.  As a result of the opposition of a small minority, the 2015 NPT review had been unable to produce a substantive final document.  The international community, however, should not let that disappointing conclusion prevent it from moving forward on the nuclear disarmament front.  It was not a time for recriminations, but a time to engage positively in an open and inclusive process.

MUHAMMAD ANSHOR (Indonesia), associating with ASEAN, said the current volatile situation could rapidly change for the worse due to the possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  Geopolitical tensions in many areas of the world were a testament to the precariousness of false confidences.  The non-proliferation challenge on the Korean peninsula was a constant reminder that miscalculation, catastrophic accidents and the potential consequences of brinkmanship could dramatically erase the peace dividend that was currently being enjoyed.

At the heart of Europe, the current situation had demonstrated that negative security assurances could be withdrawn rapidly as a result of dramatic changes in domestic political situations, he said.  So long as even a single nuclear weapon existed, humankind was in danger of suffering a nuclear catastrophe, by design or by accident.  Compliance with nuclear disarmament commitments remained far behind those related to non-proliferation or to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  Necessary political will was required to address the trust deficit and revitalize the United Nations disarmament machinery, including the First Committee.

SUSANNE BAUMANN (Germany), associating with the European Union, said the joint goal was for a safer and more secure world with fewer weapons.  Diplomatic solutions could be reached if all parties concerned demonstrated the necessary political will, as was shown recently with Iran and the P5+1.  The lack of a final document at the 2015 NPT Review Conference was not a shortcoming of the NPT itself, which remained the best basis from which to address nuclear disarmament; the 2010 Action Plan remained valid and should be fully implemented.  There were more than 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world, which meant that the international community must push harder for progress and advance fissile material cut-off treaty negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament, although Germany was also open to alternative forums.

Nuclear disarmament could not advance without engaging the States possessing them, she said.  Those weapons not only had a humanitarian dimension but also a security dimension that could not be ignored.  She appreciated and supported the international community’s work in advancing the verified elimination of chemical weapons and added that the repeated use of chlorine as a chemical weapon in Syria, as reported by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was a clear breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention and international law.  Small arms and light weapons also caused tremendous suffering and were among the main causes for migration and displacement.  The Arms Trade Treaty was a sound basis for tackling that problem, he added.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said the international community was concerned by the illicit transfer and manufacture of small arms and light weapons, and his country was committed to the full implementation of the 2001 Programme of Action to prevent further proliferation of those weapons.  Regarding cluster munitions, Peru had submitted a national transparency report, and was grateful for the international cooperation of Norway in that regard.

Echoing the views expressed that nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons was a major issue, he said achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world was dependent on the full implementation of the three pillars of the NPT.  He stressed the need for universality of that Treaty and expressed profound disappointment in the lack of consensus at the recent Review Conference, which had made it impossible to adopt a final document.  The draft outcome text had fallen short of expectations.  However, that failure should not be seen as a new impediment for those who truly believed in prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons as soon as possible.

HENK COR VAN DER KWAST (Netherlands), associating with the European Union, noted the agreement between the E3+3 (France, Germany, United Kingdom, China, Russian Federation, United States) and Iran on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the final success of which would be measured by the implementation of the road map as agreed between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran.  He particularly stressed the importance of Iran’s cooperation with the Agency regarding possibly military dimensions of its nuclear programme.  Pleased at the substantial consensus report produced by the governmental expert group on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, he said that since the current political situation had not allowed negotiations to start, preparations for implementing the reports’ conclusions and recommendations should continue in- and outside the Conference on Disarmament.  The lack of consensus at the NPT review was disappointing, but not a failure of the Treaty; States should build on the Action Plan agreed upon in 2010.

The Netherlands, he said, had organized the Global Conference on Cyberspace this year, and was interested in participating in the Group of Governmental Experts on cybersecurity to enhance confidence-building measures.  Two years of discussions on lethal autonomous weapons systems in the context of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons had answered some questions, but others remained and new ones had been raised, such as the exact definition of “meaningful human control” regarding those weapon systems.  The Netherlands saw benefits in a treaty on preventing an outer-space arms race, but as a starting point, a code of conduct could be implemented immediately.

IBRAHIM DABBASHI (Libya) reiterated respect for all States that assumed their obligations under international instruments on disarmament, particularly on weapons of mass destruction, several of which Libya had ratified.  He supported all international efforts to create an atmosphere conducive to eliminating all weapons of mass destruction.  Libya was determined to reconsider some disarmament instruments to which it had not acceded, and would study them and take the necessary positions.  The international community could not guarantee the non-use or threat of use of nuclear weapons except through the full destruction of those weapons, and he called for speedy work to conclude an unconditional and legally binding instrument to protect non-nuclear-weapon States.

Libya called for implementing all the provisions of General Assembly resolution 58/69, which called for the speedy launch of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, comprehensive treaty to proscribe the use, acquisition, production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons; the commemoration of 26 September as an International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons; and the holding of a high-level international conference on disarmament no later than 2018 aimed at eliminating those weapons.  Deeply concerned over the catastrophic humanitarian effects and destructive consequences of nuclear weapons, as well as their indiscriminate nature, he expressed support for the Vienna Compact, to which 113 States had acceded, including his own.

TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania), associating with the African Group and Non-Aligned Movement, said it was a matter of great concern that nuclear-weapon States were modernizing, upgrading and refurbishing their arsenals.  Far worse was the fact that instead of acting as a deterrent, the existence of nuclear weapons had only galvanized non-nuclear-weapon States to acquire them.  That situation had resulted in undesirable arms races, which presented an existential threat to all mankind.  Though seven decades had elapsed, the horrors and humanitarian consequences of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear blasts were still fresh in people’s minds.  Humankind must not be allowed to witness such horrors ever again.  Eliminating nuclear-weapon technologies must therefore remain a high priority.

He said that while addressing the threats posed by nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, one must not forget that today it was conventional weapons, especially small arms and light weapons, that caused havoc and suffering for people across the world.  The death toll from small arms dwarfed that of all other weapon systems, as former Secretary-General Kofi Annan had noted.  In most years, the death toll from those weapons had greatly exceeded the toll of the atomic bombs that had devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Right of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the United States said it was the Russian Federation that had been violating the INF.  On 29 July 2014, the United States had announced the determination that the Russian Federation was in violation, in a report that referenced the obligation to not possess, produce or flight-test missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres or produce launchers of such missiles.  The finding of the Russian Federation’s non-compliance was repeated in the 2015 version of the compliance report.  The United States was committed to that Treaty and called for the Russian Federation to return to it.

The United States, continued the speaker, had reduced its own nuclear arsenals by more than 90 per cent since 1991, while the Russian Federation had maintained a far greater stockpile.  The Russian Federation had said that the missile defence system was “destabilizing”.  However, the cold-war mindset regarding ballistic missiles was no longer valid.

The actions of the United States were not capable of threatening the Russian Federation’s nuclear forces and were not a threat to nuclear stability, he said.  The nuclear defence system was necessary to protect allies from threats from outside the nuclear defence region and the United States had made it clear that that defence was not from any one country.  More than 30 countries had tried to obtain ballistic missile technologies and he looked forward to working with all interested parties on a positive disarmament agenda in an open and transparent manner.

Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Syria said his country was a full-fledged member of the OPCW and was fully committed to its provisions.  He condemned chemical weapons, including their horrific use against Syrian civilians and soldiers.  It was absurd to listen to the representative of Israel talking about his country’s concern for security in the Middle East and the world, and to his pretension about the expansion of terrorist organizations in the region, when everyone knew about the marriage of convenience between Israel and terrorist groups in Syria.

Israel, he continued, was assisting terrorist groups logistically through providing military support to them, to maintain control and expansion into Syria.  It was absurd to listen to comments about Israel’s commitment to achieving a peaceful environment in the region when it was apparent that Israel was not a member of any international agreements on weapons of mass destruction.  Israel was the sole possessor of those weapons in the Middle East region.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that when his delegation had spoken of the American violations, it was based on a plethora of concrete facts and concrete arguments.  The opinion that the deployment of MK-41 launch installations on the ground would be a violation of the INF Treaty was even shared by many American experts who specialized in the topic.  All of the accusations from Washington against the Russian Federation were not backed up by any facts and were wholly polemical.  The United States was a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) even though it was not on the European continent.  One of the political obligations of the OSCE was that States should not strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of other States, and yet, with the European missile defence system, the United States was doing just that.

In 2009 in Berlin, he said, President Barack Obama had clearly stated that if the Iranian nuclear threat was removed, then the driving force for deployment of that system of missile defence in Europe would also disappear.  However, the Iranian nuclear threat now no longer existed and had been fully removed as a result of signing a comprehensive peace agreement, yet the plans of the United States remained unchanged.  Regarding nuclear sharing, the United States’ delegation had referred to the fact that at one point there had been an agreement reached by which nuclear sharing was not prohibited.  The Russian Federation was not aware of any such agreement, and could find no trace of any such agreement in document archives.  There had been no agreement in the 1960s on nuclear sharing at all, and many countries of the Non-Aligned Movement shared that position.

Speaking again in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the United States said that Russia did not have a monopoly on facts.  The United States had tried to work and have discussions with the Russian Federation on ballistic missile defence, and yet Russia had been unwilling to do so.  The United States would continue to defend itself and its allies from ballistic missile threats.

For information media. Not an official record.