States Must Prioritize Building Strong Regional Security Architecture to Tackle Current Disarmament Challenges, First Committee Hears

GA/DIS/3561
25 October 2016
Seventy-first Session, 20th Meeting (PM)

States Must Prioritize Building Strong Regional Security Architecture to Tackle Current Disarmament Challenges, First Committee Hears

Broad cooperation on a range of strategic initiatives, including the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, were needed to address common challenges and build a sound regional security architecture, the First Committee heard today during its thematic debate on regional disarmament.

Stressing the importance of establishing a nuclear-weapon free zone in the Middle East, several delegates also highlighted the failure of Member States to support efforts aimed at achieving that goal.  Representing the views of the Non-Aligned Movement, Indonesia’s representative reiterated the 120-member bloc’s profound disappointment that a 2010 action plan on establishing such a zone had yet to be implemented.  That failure, she said, had undermined the effectiveness and credibility of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons while disrupting the delicate balance between that instrument’s three pillars — disarmament, non-proliferation and the right of States to pursue peaceful nuclear energy programmes.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s delegate said a nuclear-free-zone in the Middle East had been discussed so extensively by the international community that it had almost become the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s fourth pillar.

During the debate, many speakers expressed their strong support for nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Underscoring the importance of such zones, Tajikistan’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Central Asian States, said the entry into force in 2009 of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia had marked an important milestone in strengthening regional security.  States parties had committed themselves voluntarily and unequivocally to ban the production, acquisition and deployment on their territories of nuclear weapons and their components or other nuclear explosive devices, he added, saying the zone had made a real contribution to the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Looking to implement a similar agreement across South Asia, the speaker from Bangladesh said he was encouraged that relevant civil society actors and others had continued to remain engaged in discussions on the possibility of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in his region.  Enhanced regional cooperation, including transparency and confidence-building measures, were also critical for creating conditions conducive to sustained and meaningful dialogues on related disarmament and security issues, he said.

Other speakers raised concerns over what was needed to create such conditions.  Pakistan’s representative said that while confidence-building measures had proven their utility in several regions and subregions over the years, their utility would remain limited without progress towards eliminating underlying disputes and the root causes of mistrust between States.  Such measures must be tailored to the region and should begin with simple arrangements on transparency, openness and risk reduction, he stressed.  For its part, Pakistan had proposed the establishment of a strategic restraint regime that included three interlocking elements of dispute resolution, nuclear and missile restraint and conventional force balance.

Other speakers highlighted the continued importance of global disarmament instruments in addressing regional security challenges.  Malaysia’s delegate, speaking on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said progress on global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the full and effective implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, was indispensable in improving security in the Asia-Pacific region.  At the same time, ASEAN had undertaken regional activities in such areas as nuclear safety, security and emergency preparedness and response.

Briefing the Committee today was the Chair of the Open-ended Working Group of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament.  The Committee also heard the introduction of a draft resolution on activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa.

Also speaking were the representatives of Antigua and Barbuda (on behalf of Caribbean Community), Venezuela (on behalf of the Union of South American Nations) Iraq, United States, Paraguay, Peru, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Iran, Central African Republic, Fiji, Ukraine, Cuba, Togo, Armenia, Azerbaijan and France.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Republic of Korea, United States, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The First Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 26 October, to begin its thematic debate on the disarmament machinery.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met today to continue its general debate on all agenda items before it.  For background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3545 of 3 October.

Briefing on Disarmament Machinery

FERNANDO LUQUE MÁRQUEZ (Ecuador), Chair of the Open-ended Working Group of the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, said the Group had held an organizational meeting in February 2016, during which it had appointed a Chair and Vice-Chair.  During that session, it had adopted a provisional programme for 2016 and 2017.  The first substantive meeting had been held in March, during which a briefing had been held on the previous special sessions of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament.  It had been useful for delegations to review the programmes of previous special sessions and consider future objectives.  A second substantive meeting had taken place in July, before which a draft document had been circulated with a proposed work programme.  In order to reflect the proposals of all delegations, an updated version of text had been circulated at the end of each day.  Looking ahead to the fourth special session, to be held in June 2017, discussions would continue on how to develop a programme of work that reflected common interests.  In that regard, he was hopeful to reach the upcoming session with a text acceptable to all.  He thanked the members of the working group for their contributions and said he looked forward to a successful conclusion of its work in 2016.

Thematic Debate on Regional Disarmament and Security

MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan), speaking for the Central Asian States, said the entry into force in 2009 of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, known as the Semipalatinsk Treaty, was an important milestone strengthening regional and global security.  States parties had committed themselves voluntarily and unequivocally to ban the production, acquisition and deployment on their territories of nuclear weapons and their components or other nuclear explosive devices.  Thus, the zone had made a real contribution to the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  In May 2014, high-ranking representatives of nuclear-weapon States had signed the Protocol on negative security assurances in the presence of States parties to the Semipalatinsk Treaty, constituting one of the milestones of the global non-proliferation regime of the last decade.  That Protocol had been ratified by four nuclear-weapon States, he said, expressing hope that the zone’s formal institutionalization would soon be completed.

During the current session, he noted, Tajikistan would introduce a draft resolution on the “Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia”, on behalf of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.  That text would reflect progress that had been made since the Treaty was signed in 2006 and would reaffirm those countries’ strong commitment to enhancing the effective implementation of disarmament and non-proliferation measures.

ASHA CHALLENGER (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said its member States remained committed to the full and effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty.  CARICOM supported strengthening the role of women in disarmament and was committed to full implementation of the CARICOM-Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) implementation programme.  CARICOM’s ultimate goal in implementing its crime and security strategy was to improve the security of citizens, she said.  However, the region faced the challenge of limited resources with which to confront complex and multifaceted security issues.  It sought meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships as it strove to increase its institutional efficiency and capacity to address those issues, she said, thanking those partners, organizations and civil society groups that had provided financial, technical and other forms of assistance.

SAU MING CHAN (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), said its members were party to all of the main international disarmament instruments, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction.  As such, South America was an area free of weapons of mass destruction.  Furthermore, the Centre for Strategic Defence Studies had been created in 2010 to disseminate South America’s strategic defence strategy.  In that context, the Centre had acted as a confidence-building measure.  Currently, the Centre was developing South America’s first register of military inventories, which would further strengthen the Union’s transparency.

She said the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean had been successful in implementing its work programmes.  The Centre’s activities must be carried out in accordance with the priorities of Member States, she said.  Thanking Governments for their financial support, she called on the international community to continue to fund the Centre’s activities.

RIADH BEN SLIMAN (Tunisia), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, reaffirmed the importance of creating nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world, including in the Middle East.  As such, a draft resolution on preventing nuclear proliferation in the Middle East had been submitted to the Committee on an annual basis, put forth to uphold international peace and security.  The Arab Group had spared no effort in making the Middle East an area free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.  Recalling that the outcome of the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference had not been implemented, he said the Arab Group’s efforts had been undermined during those discussions on establishing such a zone.

That goal, he said, was a shared responsibility.  The Arab Group had delivered and others must follow suit.  Meanwhile, Israel was the only country in the Middle East yet to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and have its facilities subjected to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.  Flouting international obligations was a failure in non-proliferation efforts.  The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was a pillar of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and carried as much importance as other pillars of that instrument.

ANGGI SAZIKA JENIE (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated profound disappointment that the 2010 action plan on establishing a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction had not been implemented.  The Non-Aligned Movement was also concerned that a lack of implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East had undermined the effectiveness and credibility of the Non-Proliferation Treaty while disrupting the delicate balance between that instrument’s three pillars.

The Non-Aligned Movement, she said, strongly supported the speedy establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.  Pending its establishment, she demanded that Israel renounce any possession of nuclear weapons, accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and place its nuclear facilities under the scope of IAEA safeguards.  The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action concluded with Iran had demonstrated that dialogue and diplomacy were the best means to resolve nuclear issues.  She called upon nuclear-weapon States to provide unconditional assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons to all States in nuclear-weapon-free zones and to ratify related protocols to all nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties, withdraw reservations and respect the denuclearization status of those zones.

RAJA REZA RAJA ZAIB SHAH (Malaysia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said efforts had been made to strengthen its ability to address regional security challenges.  ASEAN viewed transparency and confidence-building measures and progress on global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as indispensable tools in improving security in the Asia-Pacific region.  It was firmly wedded to the universal, full and effective implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said, calling on States parties to take concrete measures to fulfil their obligations.

He said the establishment of the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, known as the Treaty of Bangkok, had contributed to international and regional security.  He encouraged the creation of similar zones in the Middle East and in other places where they did not yet exist.  Providing an overview of the Association’s regional efforts, he said a mine action centre headquarters in Phnom Penh had been inaugurated and the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy had undertaken activities in such areas as nuclear safety, security and emergency preparedness and response.

KYAW NYUNT LWIN (Myanmar) gave the Committee an update on national efforts.  They included organizing, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, a national round table dialogue on the implementation of the Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) and initiatives focusing on good practices in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The United Nations Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific had, in February 2016, organized a capacity-building workshop in Nay Pyi Taw on small arms and light weapons.  Since the threat of terrorism and violent extremism had become imminent, control over small arms and light weapons was a priority for the international community.  For its part, Myanmar would be cooperating with neighbouring countries and regional institutions to enhance stability and security.

Ms. AL MUKH (Iraq), endorsing the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the establishment of zones free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction demonstrated shared values in the area of disarmament and arms control.  Critical circumstances in the Middle East made it essential for the international community to assume its responsibilities and establish such a zone in that region without delay.  The continued non-application of the 1995 decision on establishing such a zone in the Middle East would cause persistent instability.  In that regard, the IAEA safeguards regime must be applied to Israel.

ROBERT WOOD (United States) said his Government remained committed to the goal of establishing a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, adding that direct, inclusive discussions among States in the region would be essential for progress.  At the East Asia Summit, in 2016, a stand-alone statement on non-proliferation had been issued, demonstrating that the strength derived from the unity of summit participants would be vital to address such regional threats as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.  Reiterating the United States’ strong commitment to defending its allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, he said his country also remained committed to conventional arms control in Europe.  Noting a number of acute security challenges in Europe, including terrorist incidents, the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and intolerance resulting from the refugee and migrant crisis, he said the Russian Federation’s aggression in eastern Ukraine and its attempted annexation of Crimea were clear violations of that country’s international obligations and a contravention of its Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) commitments.  European security had also been severely undermined by the Russian Federation’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.  Strongly condemning the use of chemical weapons by Syria and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), as documented in the report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, he said perpetrators must be held accountable.

ENRIQUE CARRILLO GÓMEZ (Paraguay), reaffirming his Government’s commitment to the achievement of peace and international security, highlighted that Latin America and the Caribbean region was a zone of peace.  Spotlighting the work of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, UNASUR and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) in adopting regional and subregional measures and commitments, he called on Member States to push forward compliance with confidence-building measures and limit military expenditures.  He also urged Member States to increase efforts to respond to common challenges in the region and achieve the universalization of relevant international instruments.  At the same time, he asked States in the region to include women in disarmament debates and decisions.  Economic, intellectual and other resources must be directed towards peaceful purposes and not arms races or exacerbating armed confrontations between nations, he stressed.

TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM (Bangladesh) said strategic stability based on nuclear deterrence was an area of particular concern.  As such, Bangladesh encouraged relevant civil society actors and others to continue to remain engaged in discussions on the possibility of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia.  His Government attached priority to unconditional and legally-binding assurances to non-nuclear States against the use or threat of use of those weapons by States possessing them.  However, peaceful dialogue and diplomacy remained the best options for building a sound regional security architecture.  Enhanced regional cooperation, including transparency and confidence-building measures, remained critical for creating conditions conducive to sustained and meaningful dialogues on disarmament and security issues.

YASAR AMMAR (Pakistan) said that preventing the possibility of surprise military attacks and avoiding aggression remained important goals of conventional arms control.  A stable balance of conventional forces and weapons were necessary to ensure strategic stability, particularly in sensitive regions like South Asia.  For its part, Pakistan had made numerous proposals for enhancing strategic stability in the region, yet none of those had met a favourable response.  Its comprehensive proposal for the establishment of a strategic restraint regime had included three interlocking elements of dispute resolution, nuclear and missile restraint and conventional force balance.  Confidence-building measures had proven their utility and efficacy in several regions and subregions over the years.  Such measures must be tailored to the region and should begin with simple arrangements on transparency, openness and risk reduction, he stressed.  Without progress towards eliminating underlying disputes and the root causes of mistrust between States, however, their utility would remain limited, he said.

TAREK MAHFOUZ (Egypt), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, said a nuclear-free-zone in the Middle East had been discussed so extensively by the international community that it had almost become the fourth pillar of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Despite successive General Assembly resolutions, the issue had remained unresolved for four decades.  He recalled that the Non-Aligned Movement working paper that had been submitted at the 2015 Review Conference had featured a road map towards the realization of a such a zone in the Middle East and that the 2015 resolution on that zone remained valid until fully implemented.  He called on Israel to immediately sign and ratify the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to put its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.

FRANCISCO TENYA HASEGAWA (Peru) said the primarily middle-income Latin America and the Caribbean region had experienced persistent challenges such as extreme poverty and required technical tools and resources in that regard.  Much of those resources had been lost, however, because of armed violence and spending on weapons, he said, calling for coordinated efforts towards disarmament alongside development.  He commended the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, which would soon mark its thirtieth anniversary, for its appropriate use of resources.  Through the Centre’s work, States had been able to, among other things, build capacity and train specialized personnel.  The Centre had organized more than 60 activities supporting regional States in applying disarmament instruments and for arms control and non-proliferation.  It had also trained personnel to strengthen their ability to apply provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty. 

SHADI AL MATROUSHI (United Arab Emirates), endorsing the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the international community remained unable to achieve tangible progress in achieving the goal of creating a world free of nuclear weapons.  He expressed disappointment with the failure of the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and the inability to convene a 2012 conference on establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.  The United Arab Emirates would continue supporting all constructive efforts aimed at achieving that goal.  Iran’s interference in regional affairs had aggravated instability and conflict in the region, he said.  Despite the Iran nuclear agreement, regional expectations had been thwarted by that country’s continued efforts to undermine security through aggressive rhetoric and blatant interference.  He expressed hope that the nuclear agreement would encourage Iran to strengthen confidence in the peaceful and transparent nature of its nuclear programme, urging that country to fully implement its international obligations and responsibilities under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

ABDELKARIM AIT ABDESLAM (Algeria), drawing attention to the deterioration of the security situation in the Middle East, voiced concern about the uncontrolled proliferation of arms and their close links with terrorist groups, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and smuggling networks.  In that regard, he called upon developed countries, the United Nations and other international organizations to provide assistance in strengthening the capacities of countries in the Sahel region to fight against the illicit arms trade.  Regarding the crisis in Libya, he said the only solution was through dialogue and national reconciliation, emphasizing the international community’s duty to bring all political and diplomatic means together to support the process.  Turning to the situation in Mali, he said that the inter-Malian dialogue process that had been initiated by Algeria had concluded with a comprehensive peace agreement between the parties.

SEYED MOHAMMAD ALI ROBATJAZI (Iran), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement, said the security situation in the Middle East was tense, complicated and appalling.  Despite more than 40 years of efforts, there was today no hope for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone due to the stubborn objections of the Israeli regime, which must be compelled to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon party.  Another source of great concern was the Israeli regime’s possession of other weapons of mass destruction and a large arsenal of sophisticated conventional weapons.  The use of chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq by Da’esh had also aggravated the security situation.  Sophisticated weapons accumulated by certain oil-rich Persian Gulf countries were being used by the United States-backed Saudi-led coalition in its 20-month aggression against Yemen.  Despite the situation, Iran continued to have among the lowest military expenditures in the region, he said.

LARRY MARCEL KOYMA (Central African Republic) said the work of the Conference on Disarmament needed to be pushed forward by the First Committee and its draft resolutions.  All weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, needed to be subjected to legally binding international treaties and confidence-building measures.  To that end, he said, his delegation was submitting draft resolution “L.67” titled “Regional confidence-building measures:  activities of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa”.  A similar text had been adopted by the General Assembly in 2015, but the newest version reflected recommendations following a summit of Central African leaders, he said, asking that it be approved by consensus.

PATRICIA CHAND (Fiji) said efforts towards disarmament must begin with actions at the regional level if the international community wanted to live in a world of genuine peace and security.  In that regard, Fiji had signed the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, known as the Rarotonga Treaty, with a view to keeping the region nuclear-weapon-free.  Stressing the need to revisit traditional approaches, she called for more conventional arms control at regional and subregional levels given that it was one of the most effective measures to combat the illicit proliferation of weapons.  Information sharing, in that regard, would help States to monitor, detect and confiscate such weapons, she concluded.

ANDRIY TSYMBALIUK (Ukraine) said it would support and sponsor two draft resolutions, titled “Conventional Arms Control at the Regional and Subregional Levels” and “Confidence-Building Measures in the Regional and Subregional Context”.  Ukraine attached great importance to bilateral measures with neighbouring countries in border areas in line with the Vienna Document 2011 on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures.  Such efforts included observing military activities starting from the tactical level.  Expressing regret over Ukraine’s numerous rejected proposals to enter into a similar agreement with the Russian Federation, he said that country had brought subregional military cooperation and confidence-building arrangements between Black Sea littoral States to an impasse.  After suspending its participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe in 2007, he said, the Russian Federation had avoided information exchanges and verification controls.  As a result of aggression against Ukraine, he said conventional arms control and confidence-building measures regimes did not currently apply on the territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

LILIANNE SÁNCHEZ RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, supported the existence of nuclear-weapon-free zones, calling for the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East, where it would constitute an essential contribution to peace and security.  Holding an international conference to establish such a zone could not be postponed indefinitely and should be convened without further delay.  Disarmament efforts at regional levels consider each region’s specific circumstances.  Her region had declared itself a nuclear-weapon-free zone, she said, calling on other regions to do the same.  The adoption of bilateral and multilateral confidence-building measures would help to diffuse tensions and strengthen regional stability, she said, noting that respect and support for regional and subregional treaties were essential.  She commended the work of the United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament and said their work should continue in close consultation with States in their respective regions.

KOKOU KPAYEDO (Togo), endorsing the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa was carrying out its mission well.  It had provided technical assistance to States in the region, at their request, which had addressed such concerns as the proliferation of weapons, particularly among non-State actors.  However, the Centre continued to face financial difficulties, he said, inviting Member States to contribute more in order to enhance its operational capacities.  As the Centre’s host country, Togo was providing it with new premises and an improved access road, he said.

TIGRAN SAMVELIAN (Armenia) said that, on 2 April, Azerbaijan had unleashed military aggression in violation of ceasefire agreements.  Armenia welcomed the condemnation of ceasefire violations, but non-specific and generic condemnations would not be sufficient.  It was, therefore, essential to hold Azerbaijan accountable for undermining the ceasefire agreement and thus regional peace and security.  Clear and unequivocal commitment to the ceasefire and confidence‑building efforts by the parties concerned were the only ways to create a conducive environment for the peace process.

HUSNIYYA MAMMADOVA (Azerbaijan), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement, said regional disarmament efforts bore particular significance for her region.  Armenia had used force against Azerbaijan, occupying one fifth of its territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh, and had committed serious crimes during the conflict.  Despite Security Council resolutions condemning the occupation, Armenia continued to unlawfully occupy those territories, strengthening its military presence and preventing Azerbaijanis from returning to their homes.  Meanwhile, Armenian attacks on towns and villages had become more frequent and it had conducted a large-scale attack in April.  The status quo had been acknowledged as unsustainable, and the situation could escalate at any time, she said, calling on Armenia to halt its military build-up and engage in negotiations with Azerbaijan in good faith to achieve a long-overdue political solution.

Mr. COUSSIERE (France) said the European Union was an example of good neighbourliness and cooperation and its proposed disarmament tools had adopted a regional perspective.  France actively contributed to the European Union Assistance Programme relating to arms and had held subregional workshops.  France was also willing to sign on to Bangkok Treaty and supported establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, which represented a lasting settlement to proliferation crises.  At the regional level, France extended robust support tailored to geostrategic situations.  He urged the implementation of the Treaty on Open Skies and the Vienna Document.  Given current threats to the European security machinery, France also supported momentum towards greater conventional arms control.  Non-proliferation and disarmament initiatives at global and regional levels could be mutually reinforcing, exemplified by those efforts being made to address the issue of improvised explosive devices.  For its part, France had provided financial and logistical support in that regard and had contributed to regional mine clearance initiatives.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the statement by his counterpart from the United States was full of lies.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had been pushed to “go nuclear” in the face of nuclear blackmail on the part of the United States.  Sanctions and resolutions directed at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were illegal documents.

The representative of Iran said his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates had made absurd, hypocritical and farcical accusations.  While accusing Iran of interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries, United Arab Emirates fighter jets and those of the Saudi regime were bombing civilians and infrastructure in Yemen.  The United Arab Emirates, along with some accomplices, were arming terrorist groups like Da’esh in Iraq, Syria and many other places.  Iran wanted friendly relations with its neighbours, including those in the Persian Gulf, he said, calling for dialogue with a view to dispelling misunderstandings.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had carried out nuclear tests and fired ballistic missiles against the will of the international community, as mentioned in Security Council resolutions.  He expressed doubts whether the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea shared the common goal of peace and security when it spoke in the Committee.

The representative of the United States said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear weapon tests were a threat to regional and global peace and security and violated multiple Security Council resolutions.  They were intended for cities in the United States and its allies, he said, calling on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to end its threatening behaviour and abide by its international commitments.  The United States was committed to standing with its allies.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates said Iran had denied its interference into neighbouring countries, which had led to tension around the region.  The United Arab Emirates supported the Iran nuclear agreement, knowing that it would provide Iran the opportunity after years of sanctions to open new relations with neighbours, remain committed with regional stability and respect sovereignty of neighbouring States.  After more than a year, however, Iran had only increased its policies of regional aggression and was developing ballistic missiles and armaments.  Iran was still a terrorism-sponsoring State and continued to interfere in spite of the fact that the United Arab Emirates stood against those terrorist groups and were fighting to defend the rights of the Yemeni people.

The representative of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the Republic of Korea and the United States had made false allegations.  The Republic of Korea was bringing in nuclear assets from United States and joint military exercises were being conducted to attack the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at any time.  Those actions were increasing tension in the Korean Peninsula, he said, noting that sanctions had never worked because they had carried no moral ground and no legality.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said the sole purpose of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea addressing the Committee was domestic propaganda.  The international community would move with stronger sanctions and an outright rejection of their behaviour.

The representative of the United States said annual joint military exercises were transparent, had been carried out for 40 years and had been designed for readiness to protect the Republic of Korea and maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The representative of Iran said the United Arab Emirates was fighting against the Yemeni people alongside Al-Qaeda in Yemen.  For 20 months, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia had been bombing Yemeni civilians, which had been well documented by international organizations, humanitarian groups and United Nations bodies present in that country.

The representative of Saudi Arabia said his counterpart from Iran had tried to bring up the name of Saudi Arabia in both his main speech and in exercise of the right of reply.  All States had the right to purchase weapons for their own defence.  However, buying weapons and them giving them to terrorist groups, as Iran had done, was a violation of United Nations principles.

For information media. Not an official record.