States Must Step Up Efforts to Check Spread of Deadly Weapons as Non-State Actors Exploit Rapid Technological Advances, Speakers Tell Security Council

SC/12888
28 June 2017
7985th Meeting (AM)

States Must Step Up Efforts to Check Spread of Deadly Weapons as Non-State Actors Exploit Rapid Technological Advances, Speakers Tell Security Council

In tackling drones, 3D printing, the dark web and other emerging threats hindering non-proliferation efforts, States must bolster their efforts as well as technological advances in order to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction and keep them out of the hands of terrorists and other non-State actors, delegates told the Security Council today.

Briefing the Council on those and other new concerns and responses, Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said many of the technologies, goods and raw materials required to produce weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems were available through legitimate producers.  She also emphasized the importance of international cooperation and dialogue with the private sector in eradicating illicit trafficking routes.

Despite the gains of the last decade, much still remained to be done, she continued.  Joint non-proliferation efforts must identify actions by which to grapple with threats arising from globalization, which had facilitated the exploitation and use of weapons of mass destruction, she said, noting that terrorists groups had evolved into cyberspace and, alongside other non-State actors, exploited loopholes to access the technology they needed.  The international community must prosecute all those responsible for supporting terrorist actions, she said, stressing that overcoming such challenges hinged upon cooperation among security agencies, including the sharing of information.

Agreeing, Joseph Ballard, Senior Officer for the Office of Strategy and Policy at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said the rising threat posed by non-State actors, the pace of economic development and the evolution of science and technology were all shaping the future of the global disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.  Moreover, the use of chemical weapons by non-State actors was no longer a threat, but a chilling reality.

The focus must shift to preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons and to adjusting programmes and resources as needs arose.  Preventing non-State actors from acquiring dual-use materials, equipment and technologies was of critical importance to maintaining the global norm against the use of chemical weapons and in favour of international peace and security, he said.  Outlining recent efforts, he said OPCW had tested a mechanism designed to respond to a chemical terrorist attack.  “OPCW is committed to playing our part, in close cooperation with this Council and with the range of stakeholders that are so critical to our collective goals,” he added.

When the floor opened, many speakers highlighted the continuing relevance of Council resolution 1540 (2004) in calling for actions to prevent non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.  Many underlined the urgent need to shift strategies in order to effectively address new and emerging dangers, as some recalled that Council resolution 2325 (2016) called for strengthening efforts to implement 1540 (2004).

Such efforts were more relevant now than ever before, speakers emphasized.  Panama’s representative said his country’s national efforts included halting the financing of terrorism, regulating dual-use materials and participating in a World Customs Organization programme to monitor the use of shipping containers for illicit trafficking.

Yet, States must be able to meet non-proliferation obligations without jeopardizing the development of commercial, industry and technology markets.  Mexico, home to one of the world’s largest chemical industries, enforced strict export-control standards that dovetailed with national non-proliferation responsibilities, that country’s representative said.

The re-emergence of chemical weapons was another pressing issue as many speakers expressed alarm over reports that they had been used in Iraq and Syria.  More must be done to hold perpetrators accountable and to eliminate chemical those weapons permanently, delegates stressed.

The representative of the United States underlined the need for greater controls over chemical materials, saying that exchanging expertise was important in that regard.  Additionally, the global nuclear security architecture required strengthening, and there was need to address critical gaps in the smuggling of radioactive and other nuclear materials.  Underlining the binding nature of resolution 1540 (2004), she said the use of chemical weapons by the Government of Syria was “troubling”, urging all States to increase pressure to make President Bashar al-Assad stop.

Syria’s representative said that the worst violations of resolution 1540 (2004) were the assistance, support and training provided to terrorist groups by some Western States.  Condemning the use of all weapons of mass destruction, he pointed out that Syria had ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, ended its chemical weapons programme in record time and had cooperated fully with inquiries carried out since 2014.  Rejecting allegations that its military forces had used chemical weapons, he said Syria had constantly warned the Security Council about the danger of terrorist groups acquiring weapons of mass destruction and had clearly identified the countries supplying them.

Some speakers noted that combating current threats required more than existing tools could handle, with the Russian Federation’s representative describing resolution 1540 (2004) as “insufficient” in light of today’s global threats.  As for the inquiries in Syria, he vowed that his country would continue to conduct impartial investigations into the allegations of chemical weapons use.  Given the ever greater threat posed by chemical or biological warfare, especially in the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and other such groups, the Russian Federation’s proposed initiative to develop an international convention to combat chemical and biological terrorism would set out provisions criminalizing activities under its purview and implement the principle of “extradite or prosecute”, he said.

China’s representative said it was critical to seek a system of common global security based on fairness while also working to eliminate the driving forces of terrorism, but emphasized that “unilateralism, double standards and discriminatory practices” were contrary to such efforts.  All States were entitled to enjoy the fruits of nuclear technology, he said, warning that confrontation and the emphasis on sanctions could further exacerbate the risk of proliferation.

Delegates raised other looming threats alongside suggestions about how to deal with them, as many speakers recalled today’s newspaper headlines about a massive cyberattack in Ukraine, the United Kingdom and other countries.  Sweden’s representative pointed out the risks associated with intangible transfers of technology, whereby sensitive know-how could be transferred through research, industry or social media.

Senegal’s delegate, meanwhile, said that cybersecurity threats could be serious if targeted at nuclear power stations or other relevant infrastructure.  To quash such dire threats, Senegal recommended a prevention-oriented strategy to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands.

Egypt’s representative recommended the creation of a new mechanism to coordinate United Nations counter-terrorism strategies.

Kazakhstan’s delegate suggested that the United Nations establish a tracking mechanism on sensitive technologies.

Many speakers expressed support for the work of the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), with some calling for more robust action.  Encapsulating a common thread heard throughout the day-long meeting, the United Kingdom’s representative said the cost of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists would be too high to bear.

Also delivering statements were representative of Bolivia, Ukraine, Uruguay, France, Italy, Ethiopia, Japan, Montenegro, Chile, Peru, Israel, Pakistan, Estonia, Poland, Norway (for the Nordic countries), Brazil, Turkey, Belgium, Morocco, South Africa, Austria, Guatemala, Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Botswana, Venezuela (for the Non-Aligned Movement), Netherlands, Colombia, Indonesia, Paraguay, Germany, Spain, Cuba, Argentina, India, Armenia, Canada, Greece, Namibia, Nigeria, Slovenia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Malaysia and Iran, as well as the Holy See, European Union and the International Criminal Police Organization.

Taking the floor a second time was Turkey’s delegate, who spoke in response to a statement by the representative of Syria.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m., was suspended at 1:07 p.m., reconvened at 2:08 p.m. and ended at 5:08 p.m.

Briefings

IZUMI NAKAMITSU, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said that despite substantial progress in minimizing risks involving terrorism and the use of weapons of mass destruction, emerging threats were a great concern.  Joint efforts to prevent their proliferation must identify actions by which to grapple with threats arising from globalization, which had eased the exploitation and use of such weapons, she said, noting that terrorists groups had evolved into cyberspace and, alongside other non-State actors, exploited loopholes to access the technology they needed.

Emerging new areas of concern included the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”), 3D printing and the dark web, she continued, emphasizing that many of the technologies, goods and raw materials required to produce weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems were available through legitimate producers.  She underlined the importance of international cooperation and dialogue with the private sector in tackling illicit trafficking routes so as to prevent terrorist actions.

She went on to underscore the critical importance of ensuring accountability, saying the international community must prosecute all those responsible for supporting such actions.  Cooperation among security agencies, including the sharing of information, was vital to overcoming those challenges, she said, pointing out that, despite the gains made over the last decade, much still remained to be done.  She encouraged the Council to use today’s debate as an opportunity to be proactive and to devise effective solutions to the existing and related challenges.

JOSEPH BALLARD, Senior Officer, Office of Strategy and Policy, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW), said the rising threat posed by non-State actors, the pace of economic development and the evolution of science and technology were all shaping the future of the global disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.  Moreover, the use of chemical weapons by non-State actors was no longer a threat, but a chilling reality.  The focus must shift to preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons and to adjusting programmes and resources as needs arose, he said.  Preventing non-State actors from acquiring dual-use materials, equipment and technologies was of critical importance to maintaining the global norm against the use of chemical weapons and in favour of international peace and security.  To that end, OPCW dedicated considerable resources to helping States parties fulfil their obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction.  That was not an easy task, as recognized by the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), he said.

The OPCW also worked with States parties through its open-ended working group on terrorism to coordinate the sharing of best practices in terms of national implementation, which tied into Council resolution 2325 (2016).  That text encouraged Member States to review their implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) in light of new and evolving security risks, he noted.  Among other OPCW activities, a recent review of resolution 1540 (2004) had identified transboundary movements of dual-use materials and technologies as a key area.  The agency had therefore signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Customs Organization with the aim of reinforcing its efforts and enhancing the security of the global supply chain, he said, emphasizing that working with the global chemical industry was now more important than ever before.  As for the improving coordination within the United Nations system, he cited the activities of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and various other inter-agencies, saying that a mechanism designed to respond to a chemical terrorist attack had recently been tested and would be enhanced by the newly established OPCW Rapid Response and Assistance Mission.  “OPCW is committed to play our part, in close cooperation with this Council and with the range of stakeholders that are so critical to our collective goals,” he added.

Statements

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, saying that the focus of today’s discussion should be the responsibility of all States to implement resolution 1540 (2004) in order to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-State actors.  The range of legislation and enforcement provisions was broad and must also cover any parties acting in any way as accomplices.  The key to successful implementation was international collaboration, including bilateral and regional cooperation, he said, stressing the need for constant vigilance, particularly in light of rapid advances in technology and commerce.  He underlined, in addition, that resolution 2325 (2016) called for greater attention to the financing of proliferation, and to accounting for and securing related materials, national export and transhipment controls as well as the need for stronger enforcement of all existing measures.

VOLODYMYR LESCHENKO (Ukraine), associating himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union delegation, noted that despite measures by Member States to reduce proliferation risks, challenges in that area were growing more sophisticated.  Several cases of chemical weapons use had been confirmed, particularly in Syria, Iraq and Malaysia, he noted, condemning the use of any weapon of mass destruction as a war crime and a crime against humanity.  It was crucial to find practical ways to ensure that international legal non-proliferation norms did not remain only on paper, but were properly enforced and fully respected.  As such, it was an important and urgent task to intensify effective interactions among States and to build synergies among all stakeholders involved.  In that regard, Ukraine commended Spain’s contribution to strengthening the role of resolution 1540 (2004) and to establishing the resolution’s Group of Friends in 2016, he said, adding that his country attached particular importance to the Global Partnership Initiative as a proper format for strengthening capacities for resisting proliferation threats and challenges.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004) and with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Nordic countries, emphasized the need to be alert to the threat of non-State actors seeking to procure and use weapons of mass destruction.  Sweden remained strongly committed to strengthening multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, including nuclear disarmament, and resolution 1540 (2004) was an important complement, he said.  The country had recently made a special contribution of $60,000 to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs to bolster implementation of the resolution.  In addition, Sweden was contributing to global efforts supporting the resolution’s objectives through the Swedish Radiation Safety Agency’s nuclear security cooperation programme as well as engagement with the Group of Seven Global Partnership Programme.  He said it was also important to highlight risks associated with intangible transfers of technology, whereby sensitive know-how may be transferred through research, industry or social media.

ISIDOR MARCEL SENE (Senegal) called today’s news headlines a “grim reminder” of the ever-present risk of non-State actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, also drawing attention to cybersecurity threats that could be serious if targeted at nuclear power stations or other relevant infrastructure.  Urging all States to fulfil the commitments enshrined in resolution 1540 (2004) “to the letter”, he emphasized the need for an accurate tally of all the world’s nuclear weapons in order to ensure their destruction and strengthen cooperation on border controls, financial flows and legal assistance.  Crafting a prevention-oriented strategy to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands could also include the following measures:  implementing a five-year voluntary action plan for resolution 1540 (2004); boosting cooperation among relevant domestic offices; and rolling out a system covering the entire life-cycle of nuclear materials.  He concluded by drawing attention to the African Union’s efforts to implement resolution 1540 (2004), emphasizing that international assistance — including through match-making between States requesting assistance and those able to provide it — also remained critical.

ELIZABETH LEE (United States), associating herself with the statement to be delivered by the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said her delegation was concerned about significant gaps in the current implementation of the resolution, particularly with regard to chemical and biological security, and to control over delivery systems.  Emphasizing the need to “work smarter” in the future, she recalled the recent horror of chemical weapons use in the Middle East and the use of the deadly nerve agent VX in Malaysia.  There was need for greater controls over such materials, she said, stressing that the exchange of expertise was important in that regard.  Underlining that resolution 1540 (2004) was binding on Member States, she described the use of chemical weapons by the Government of Syria as “troubling” and urged all States to increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to end such actions.  The global nuclear security architecture also needed strengthening, including by addressing critical gaps in the smuggling of radioactive and other nuclear materials, she said, recalling that the United States had provided training and technical assistance to border officials around the world.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said his country was firmly committed to complete global nuclear disarmament and was therefore in favour of developing a legally binding global instrument to that end.  Expressing concern that “devastating consequences for all humanity” would result from non-State actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, he said the recent use of chemical weapons in the Middle East and Asia had revealed the pressing nature of that threat.  Voicing support for the efforts by the OPCW Fact Finding Mechanism in Syria and the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) to bring the perpetrators of the use of such weapons in Khan Shaykoun to justice, he urged similar investigations in Iraq.  Resolution 1540 (2004) required the ongoing support of all States, which must take appropriate national steps to bolster import and export controls over materials that could be used to develop nuclear weapons, he said, calling also for measures to prevent their acquisition by non-State groups.

BORIS S. LUKSHIN  (Russian Federation) said full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) was a pressing global challenge, noting that the text remained the sole international document joining all countries in the development of national systems to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of non-State actors.  Warning that terrorist groups participating in today’s many conflicts had access to the technology needed to use such weapons, he said the threat of chemical and biological warfare — especially at the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) militants or similar groups — was becoming ever greater.  The Russian Federation supported strengthening the counter-terrorism component of resolution 1540 (2004), he said, calling for objective, professional, unpoliticized and impartial investigations into all allegations of chemical and biological agent use.  It was also wholly unacceptable to help any non-State actors to gain access to weapons of mass destruction or related materials or components, he emphasized.

Expressing concern that the machinery of resolution 1540 (2004) was “insufficient” in light of today’s global threats, he drew attention to the Russian Federation’s proposed initiative to develop an international convention to combat acts of chemical and biological terrorism.  Such an instrument would, among other things, set out provisions criminalizing activities falling under its purview and implement the principle of “extradite or prosecute”.  Emphasizing the need to strengthen the national and regional components of resolution 1540 (2004)’s implementation, he cited several summits organized by his country to that end, and welcomed China’s plan to organize a similar meeting in August.

In response to the United States statement, he stressed that there was no threat to specialists from that country investigating incidents in Syria, and vowed that the Russian Federation would continue to conduct impartial investigations into the allegations of chemical weapons use.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said emerging threats posed new challenges, as with ISIL/Da’esh in the Middle East.  A new mechanism must be established to coordinate United Nations counter-terrorism strategies, he said, adding that regional and subregional organizations must bolster cooperation.  Campaigns to raise awareness must bring to light issues such as transparency, and closer coordination was also needed between the relevant organizations and the 1540 Committee’s Panel of Experts.  Egypt had submitted four reports on its implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), he noted, expressing support for the creation of a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear bombs, in the Middle East.

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), emphasizing the need to transform resolution 1540 (2004) into reality, said the 1540 Committee must improve technical assistance to States, and the Council must make every effort to encourage the submission of national reports.  The challenges at hand were far too great for the 15 Council members alone, he said, adding that every country had a role to play and that the Council must embrace their help.  Condemning all use of chemical weapons, he expressed great concern about recent allegations, saying he looked forward to seeing the results of the OPCW-JIM’s inquiries on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  Action was needed because the cost of such weapons falling into the hands of terrorists would be too high to bear, he warned.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said his country was taking steps to monitor and address concerns about weapons of mass destruction and sensitive technologies, adding that its efforts extended throughout the region.  Resolutions 1540 (2004) and 2325 (2016) showed the way, he said, expressing confidence that outreach and funding drives could help States to implement those important measures.  Because evolving threats called for new approaches, the United Nations could establish a tracking mechanism on sensitive technologies, he said.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) described resolution 1540 (2004) as a pillar of non-proliferation efforts, while warning that developments in Asia, including a chemical weapon attack in Malaysia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s expanded nuclear programme, constituted a growing concerns, alongside the use of toxic weapons in Syria.  Preventing their spread must entail mobilizing joint actions, he said, adding that States must intensify efforts to implement resolution 1540 (2004), including by securing sensitive goods.  France had modernized its legal framework, including by criminalizing activities linked to non-State actors and their access to weapons of mass destruction, he said, adding that a bill had been submitted with the aim of funding those and other efforts.  Because the sum of individual actions was not enough, States must further cement cooperation with each other, he said, emphasizing that ongoing challenges must also be overcome through cooperation with IAEA and other such organizations, among other efforts.

INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy) associated himself with the statements to be delivered by the European Union delegation and on behalf of the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004).  Noting that rapid advances in science and technology were making it harder for States to control dangerous materials, he called for increased attention to the “intangible transfer of technology” — reflected in both resolution 1540 (2004) and 2325 (2016) — urging Member States to implement the provisions of both texts while also enhancing border controls and improving coordination with the 1540 Committee.  The delivery of technical assistance remained the key element in strengthening national implementation efforts, he said, commending the 1540 Committee’s efforts to help States “that need it most”.  Pointing out that 2016 had seen significant steps forward in efforts to prevent non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, he said “now we must build on that momentum”.

MAHLET HAILU GUADEY (Ethiopia), associating herself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, noted with concern the continued risk of proliferating weapons of mass destruction, including recent reports of their use by non-State actors in the Middle East.  Since addressing that risk would require a complete ban on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Ethiopia favoured developing a legally binding instrument that would ban the development, transfer and use of nuclear weapons, she said.  Preventing non-State actors from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction would require a range of national legislation as well as coordinated domestic measures on the part of Member States.  Regional measures could complement such efforts, she said, calling for enhanced cooperation between the 1540 Committee and regional and subregional organizations such as the African Union.  In particular, the 1540 Committee should enhance cooperation efforts within the framework of the Common African Defence and Security Policy, she said, emphasizing also the crucial need to enhance the exchange of information as well as best practices.

KORO BESSHO (Japan), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), echoed the need to remain vigilant against the menace of proliferation.  The threat posed by the activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s activities had reached a new level, presenting a clear challenge to the global non-proliferation regime, he noted, strongly urging that country to refrain from developing weapons of mass destruction and to comply faithfully with all relevant international commitments.  The threat was also evident in Syria, where such weapons had actually been used, he said, underlining the responsibility of all States to protect themselves and their peoples.  Proliferation activities must be prevented “whenever and wherever they are attempted”, and special vigilance was needed to prevent people from unwittingly becoming involved in such activities.  State capacity-building was also critical, he said, cautioning that proliferation could occur “through the weakest link”.

LIU JIEYI (China) said it was critical to seek a system of common global security based on fairness while also working to eliminate the driving forces of terrorism.  However, “unilateralism, double standards and discriminatory practices” were contrary to such efforts, he emphasized.  All States were entitled to enjoy the fruits of nuclear technology, he said, warning that confrontation and the emphasis on sanctions could further exacerbate the risk of proliferation.  In that regard, it was important to seek political and diplomatic solutions to global “hotspot” issues and to address the root causes of global insecurity.  Calling upon States to abandon “cold war mentality”, he underlined that national Governments bore primary responsibility for non-proliferation, and that all capacity-building, information-exchange and mutual learning initiatives must ensure respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.  China called for a multipronged approach to the comprehensive and effective implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), and urged the 1540 Committee to abide strictly by its mandate.

SRDJAN DARMANOVIC (Montenegro), associating himself with the statements to be delivered by the European Union delegation and on behalf of the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), condemned the repeated violations of Council resolutions by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Allegations of the presence and use of chemical weapons increased the risk of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorist groups, he warned, voicing support for immediate action to ensure the implementation of a global agenda set out in relevant Council resolutions.  Montenegro had adopted an early strategy for that purpose, with a focus on effective enforcement of laws, and established domestic controls that took into account matters requiring particular vigilance, such as intangible technology transfers.  Affirming that small States without nuclear capacities were an important part of the security architecture, he said his country stood ready to cooperate with partners at all levels in what must be a universal effort.

LAURA ELENA FLORES HERRERA (Panama) described the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and resolution 1540 (2004) as unique legally binding multilateral instruments.  Advocating for security for all, she said it was imperative to combat the threat of weapons of mass destruction.  Half a century after the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), Panama hoped ongoing negotiations for a ban on nuclear weapons would be successful.  Aware of developing trends of new technologies, Panama was tackling those and related challenges through such efforts as halting the financing of terrorism, regulating dual-use materials and participating in a World Customs Organization programme to monitor the use of shipping containers for illicit trafficking.  Condemning the production of nuclear weapons by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she described their humanitarian impact as unacceptable and unquantifiable.  Nuclear disarmament should be a global imperative, she said, pointing out that reaching that goal would free up funding for development-related challenges.

ALFREDO LABBE (Chile) said today’s debate was timely given the current important discussions on a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.  Describing strategic controls as the key to preventing sensitive technologies from falling into the hands of non-State actors, who often attacked the weaknesses of commercial distribution chains, she said that strengthening national capacities through cooperation was particularly important in that effort.  Chile had recently co-organized training for contact points in the region, he said, expressing hope that recent efforts by the OPCW would deter those who intended to use chemical weapons in the future.

JUAN JOSÉ GÓMEZ CAMACHO (Mexico) said a balance must be struck between States meeting their non-proliferation obligations and avoiding obstacles that would advance commercial, technology and industry achievements.  Hosting some of the world’s largest chemical industries, Mexico had established a national export control regime for dual-use materials that ensured its non-proliferation obligations.  Yet, such efforts would be in vain if national capacities lacked real-time knowledge-sharing and cooperation with other States.  Resolution 1540 (2004) and its recent review had underlined the need to expand efforts, he said, noting that industry leaders had taken their own initiatives towards those objectives.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) emphasized that there was a real threat of non-State actors acquiring such arms.  Resolutions 1540 (2004) and 2325 (2106) required full implementation, including by rolling out national legislation on trade in related materials and weapons.  Peru had aligned its legislation with such principles in air and maritime fields.  In addition, regional and subregional cooperation was also essential, he said, noting that Peru had participated in a regional industry conference.  The Security Council must take accurate and coherent action and civil society must be involved in the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).

DAVID YITSHAK ROET (Israel), aligning himself with the Friends of Resolution 1540, said that prevention of proliferation was a priority for his country.  Israel’s citizens lived under constant threat that had increased in the context of failing States, the recklessness of others and the actual use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime and Da’esh.  Iran’s development of ballistic missiles also increased the threat, particularly to Israel, which it had named as a target.  Such a direct threat by one Member State to another could not be tolerated, he stressed, adding that information had recently come to light that last December Iran had tested a nuclear-capable missile targeted at a bullseye shaped like the Star of David.  He called on the international community to take clear action to counter State-sponsored proliferation, along with all availability of dangerous weapons to terrorists.

MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) noted that some States were neither willing to give up their large inventories of nuclear weapons nor their modernization programmes, and were pursuing non-proliferation with “messianic zeal” while ignoring the fact that disarmament and non-proliferation were organically linked.  The granting of discriminatory waivers to some was another challenge to long-held non-proliferation norms and rules.  Such special arrangements carried obvious proliferation risks and opened up the possibility of diverting material intended for peaceful uses to military purposes.  Her Government had been a consistent supporter of resolution 1540 (2004) objectives and had submitted five national implementation reports.  In particular, the last report submitted in May had noted its readiness to offer assistance to interested States for capacity-building, technical assistance and training in areas such as regulatory infrastructure in export controls, among others.  She called for the Nuclear Suppliers Group to establish and adhere to more transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria to ensure the equal treatment of non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty applicants for the Group’s membership.

BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said that despite the Council’s adoption of texts on the non-proliferation of dangerous weapons, the situation had not changed.  The arms trade continued, including sales of weapons to countries involved in conflict.  He reiterated Pope Francis’ plea to end that trade, to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and to reduce the world’s reliance on armed force in the conduct of international affairs.  Meanwhile, assistance to States and cooperation among them must increase to combat proliferation.  The establishment of zones free of the worst weapons would be a big step in the right direction.  Non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament were critical to achieve both peace and development goals.  In addition, political solutions were needed to halt the involvement of non-State actors in conflicts.

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), aligning himself with the European Union, affirmed the severity of the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their availability to non-State actors.  Prevention efforts needed to be redoubled at the national, regional and global levels.  The key was universal implementation of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation agreements, as well as the strengthening of existing instruments and regimes.  In addition, he welcomed immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiation of a treating banning the production of fissile material.  Noting his country’s contributions to a number of global and regional non-proliferation initiatives, he reaffirmed Estonia’s commitment to continue to implement resolution 1540 (2004) in an effective manner, which entailed legal enforcement and export controls.

JOÃO PEDRO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of the European Union delegation, stressed that the international community must continue addressing the root causes of instability as well as strengthen and uphold multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements.  He also called for the full support of multilateral institutions, especially those dealing with verification and compliance.  Export control lists and regimes also played an important role in stemming proliferation.  In line with its Global Strategy, issued in 2016, the European Union would use every means at its disposal to assist in resolving proliferation crises, as it had successfully done on the Iranian nuclear programme. 

Resolution 1540 (2004) remained a central pillar of international non-proliferation architecture, he stated, noting that the 2016 Comprehensive Review had reaffirmed its centrality, importance and authority.  In May, as a follow-up to the adoption and comprehensive review of resolution 2325 (2016), the European Union Council had adopted a decision supporting implementation of the resolution.  The new decision was an ambitious funding scheme designed to help implement the outcome of the comprehensive review.  It would ask the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs to perform the role of implementing partner for the project extending over a three-year period and worth more than €2.6 million.  By that decision, the European Union would support cooperation and capacity-building, paying special attention to the role of industry, supporting relevant initiatives. 

BOGUSŁAW WINID (Poland), associating himself with the Group of Friends of resolution 1540 (2004), observed that although OPCW was not an anti-terrorist organization, it had the potential to counter the threat of the misuse of toxic chemicals by non-State actors.  The full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention provisions by its States parties could strengthen that posture against terrorism.  Recalling the Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2325 (2016), which Poland had co-sponsored, he stressed that States must pay attention to enforcement measures, particularly those relating to biological, chemical and nuclear weapons as well as national export and trans-shipment controls.  He encouraged the remaining 16 States to submit their initial resolution 1540 (2004) implementation reports, and called on States who had not yet done so to accede to the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

GEIR O. PEDERSEN (Norway), speaking for the Nordic countries including Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, said that the rapid pace of technological development must be taken into account; technological advances could assist implementation efforts but might also lead to new threats.  States with necessary legislation and enforcement measures in place were better placed to benefit from such ongoing advances.  The resolution’s full implementation would therefore also contribute to social and economic progress.  The 2016 comprehensive review had shown considerable progress in both outreach and implementation.  Member States’ initial reporting had clearly improved but progress was uneven, he noted, calling for adequate enforcement measures and domestic legislation to address challenges. 

Since its adoption, he added, the resolution had become more firmly anchored within the United Nations system and was complemented by work under relevant multilateral treaties.  Over the last decade, a broader international architecture of initiatives and partnerships had emerged to fight terrorism related to weapons of mass destruction.  It was of great importance that all such efforts be mutually supportive.  The Nordic countries were active in that broader partnership, contributing financially to the Secretariat’s work on the resolution.  At the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, the individual Nordic countries had made national pledges, such as working towards minimizing the use of highly enriched uranium in the civilian sector and enhancing the nuclear detection architecture.  Other examples of relevant cooperation projects included training chemists from developing countries and assisting States in building capacity to prevent and counter biological threats.

MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) said resolution 1540 (2004)’s implementation required ongoing efforts at the national, regional and international levels and called on countries in a position to do so to assist those with implementation needs.  In spite of the resolution’s importance, international bans on chemical and biological weapons were insufficient.  Indeed, nuclear disarmament was a critical part of any reasonable system designed to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of non-State actors.  An international conference — open to all States — was currently under way with a General Assembly mandate to draft a treaty prohibiting all nuclear weapons.  The international community had frequently faced the rationale that security and stability concerns stood in the way of complete nuclear disarmament.  However, that was a “false dichotomy”.  The risk posed by non-State actors was just one example of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.  “There are no right hands for wrong weapons,” he stressed, quoting former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and voicing hope that the international community would finally make progress towards a world free of all nuclear weapons.

MAKBULE BAŞAK YALÇIN (Turkey), associating herself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said Turkey’s updated national matrix showed its meticulous implementation of that resolution, including an “all-encompassing national legislation” and the country’s membership in international legal instruments on non-proliferation and counter-terrorism.  While noting that her Government was working to reinforce its transit inspections as a priority, she said it was unfair to levy the burden of such control on transit countries alone; a genuine, fair responsibility sharing arrangement with source countries was needed.  As a country that had never pursued weapons of mass destruction, Turkey firmly opposed the development, production, stockpiling and use of such weapons by States and non-State actors alike.  The repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria could not be considered in isolation as it was fully consistent with the regime’s chemical weapons programmes.  Recalling that the use of toxic chemicals, most recently in Khan Shaykoun in April, was a “brutal reminder” that such attacks would continue unless the perpetrators were held accountable, she called on the Council to take measures in accordance with its relevant resolutions.

PASCAL BUFFIN (Belgium), associating himself with the European Union delegation, said there was no doubt terrorists were actively trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction.  The vigilance and cooperation of the entire international community was needed to stop them.  Recalling the use of gas on his country’s territory during the First World War, he emphasized the importance of OPCW’s efforts, particularly in ending the use of chemical weapons by Syria and Da’esh.  He also welcomed the peer review approach to preventing the proliferation of biological agents.  In all areas, he added, multilateral initiatives must be supported, best practices disseminated and all sectors of society brought into efforts to prevent proliferation.

ABDERRAZZAK LAASSEL (Morocco) said there was an “endless spiral” of terrorist attacks by groups that were constantly taking advantage of the latest technology and strategies.  Prevention efforts must stay a step ahead of them to keep them from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.  The implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), however, was a challenge for many countries, particularly those in Africa, he said.  It was also difficult to monitor the effectiveness of measures undertaken as reports represented them, he said, suggesting that the 1540 Committee help countries to assess their state of implementation, noting that Morocco would be hosting an event to help African countries enhance the evaluation of their implementation measures.

DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons continued to lag behind the prohibition of chemical and biological weapons.  South Africa joined the vast majority of the international community in advocating for efforts to ensure that nuclear weapons were never used again under any circumstances, he said.  In that context, the Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons was a “bold and positive step” that would help to stigmatize and delegitimize such weapons on a global scale.  While echoing concerns about the threat posed by non-State actors, he nevertheless underlined that efforts to deal with such challenges must avoid imposing unwarranted restrictions on the inalienable right of Member States — and developing countries in particular — to use nuclear materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.  He also drew attention to South Africa’s efforts to implement global control regimes, including by strengthening national legislation and through cooperation with international organizations, regional actors, civil society groups and the private sector.

PHILIPP CHARWATH (Austria) said his country considered export controls an important tool for preventing proliferation and was an active participant in the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.  On the national level, Austria had legislation in place to implement its international non-proliferation commitments effectively.  Urging the redoubling of efforts to prevent the occurrence of a nuclear terrorist attack, he also called for reinforcement of existing nuclear non-proliferation regimes.  A major obstacle was the continued existence of nuclear weapons, he said, emphasizing that as long as a number of States possessed such weapons, others would be tempted to develop or otherwise obtain them as well.  Real progress on nuclear disarmament was therefore crucial in the context of today’s discussion, he said.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (Guatemala), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004) and the Non-Aligned Movement, noted that the face and methods of terrorism had changed in recent years.  The preventive and cooperative nature of resolution 1540 (2004) meant that it aimed to strengthen commitment to non-proliferation without affecting peaceful uses of nuclear energy, he said.  As such, it provided a platform for cooperation, but would be counter-productive if its implementation turned into a coercive imposition of sanctions.  Implementation, therefore, must be adapted to the reality of the threats it aimed to prevent.  The recent review process and the adoption of resolution 2325 (2016) had achieved that delicate balance, he said, emphasizing that balanced implementation would only be possible if all States had the resources to play a role.

LOUAY FALOUH (Syria) said the worst violations of resolution 1540 (2004) were the assistance, support and training of terrorist groups to the point of giving them toxic chemicals to use against military personnel as well as civilians.  Certain countries had raised topics outside today’s agenda in order to impede the Council’s efforts and prevent it from holding a true and serious debate on the resolution.  The same countries opposed efforts to make the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone in order to protect Israel, he said, describing that country as an occupying Power that continued to support terrorist groups — Al Nusrah Front in particular — and possessed a biological and chemical weapons arsenal.  Syria had constantly warned of the danger posed by terrorist groups — including Al Nusrah, ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Qaida — acquiring weapons of mass destruction by sending messages to various Security Council subsidiary bodies, he said, adding that the documented information pointed out countries providing chemical weapons to terrorist groups.

He went on to recall intelligence reports to the effect that Turkey had provided such chemicals to groups in Syria and facilitated their distribution, which constituted serious violations of resolution 1540 (2004).  Syria was still waiting for that information to be reflected in reports on chemical weapons and their use by terrorist groups, he said.  Today’s accusations against Syria were part of a “political blackmail war” that systematically accompanied every success of the Syrian army and its allies in the war against terrorism.  Syria condemned the use of chemical weapons and any use of weapons of mass destruction, having ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention and ended its chemical weapons programme “in record time”, he emphasized.  Damascus had always rejected allegations by certain Western Administrations that its military forces had used chemical and toxic weapons, he said.  However, Syria had cooperated with inquiries carried out since 2014 and had provided any and all information needed to ensure the impartiality of those investigations.

CHO TAE-YUL (Republic of Korea), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said chemical attacks on civilians in Syria and Iraq underlined the urgent threat of non-State actors using weapons of mass destruction.  In order to meet emerging challenges, a multi-layered prevention mechanism that was as tech-savvy and capable of crossing borders as the non-State actors would be needed, he said, emphasizing also that national, regional and global export-control regimes must include the sharing of information on dual-use items and new proliferation techniques.  Public and private sector focal points must be mobilized more actively, as had been done during the Republic of Korea’s hosting of the Pacific regional Wiesbaden conference on industry outreach.  In addition, national capacity must be built through “tailor-made matchmaking” of partners.  He concluded nu underlining the importance of implementing all measures to stem the threat posed by the proliferation activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), associating herself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the risk of non-State actors acquiring dangerous weapons demanded a concerted international response.  Viet Nam was in full compliance with its obligations under numerous international non-proliferation instruments thanks to appropriate legislation and effective action, he said.  At the same time, progress must be made on international disarmament, including a ban on nuclear weapons and the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  In addition, developing countries must be helped to implement international instruments, she said, underlining the need for large-scale cooperation by all States to ensure complete fulfilment of the non-proliferation and disarmament agendas.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, given the severity of the threat posed by non-State actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction, there was a need for greater sharing of best practices in order to build upon implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).  Noting the rapid advances in modern technology, he called for enhancing the knowledge base relating to emerging risks and for making that information available to Member States.

CHARLES NTWAAGA (Botswana), associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that growing international terrorism and the rising willingness of terrorist group to use weapons of mass destruction should challenge the international community to ensure that such groups do not gain access to those devastating weapons.  Further implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) required deepening international cooperation strengthening international mechanisms, he said, expressing support, in that light, for negotiations towards a ban on nuclear weapons.  While outlining Botswana’s anti-terrorism measures and efforts to prevent sensitive materials from reaching non-State actors, he underlined the inherent right of sovereign States to the peaceful use of nuclear and other dual-use technologies.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, noted that at the Movement’s recent Summit on Margarita Island, its member States had reiterated their ongoing concern about the complicated disarmament and security situation.  They had called for efforts to be stepped up in resolving the current stalemate in nuclear non-proliferation.  They had also underscored the importance of carrying out parallel efforts towards non-proliferation and disarmament.  Member countries which were parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention) acknowledged that its lack of verification systems continued to pose a challenge to its effectiveness.

He went on to note that the most effective way to prevent terrorists’ procuring weapons of mass destruction was the total elimination of such weapons.  That question was of particular concern since terrorists had used chemical weapons in the past, including in member countries of the Movement.  He urged countries to  adopt national measures when appropriate to prevent terrorists from procuring such weapons and their delivery systems.  The adoption of resolution 1540 (2004) and others underscored that no action by the Council should undermine the Charter, existing multilateral treaties established in those areas or the role of the General Assembly.  He cautioned against the Council’s recurring practice of defining legislation requirements to implement its decisions.  It was important that the question of non-State actors acquiring weapons be considered inclusively, taking into account the perspectives of all Member States.

KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), stressed that reaching full, worldwide implementation of the resolution by 2021 required tremendous work by Member States, international and regional organizations, and industry.  Considerable coordination was needed to ensure efficient and effective implementation and prevent overlap or competition.  National action plans were a great instrument to help Member States approach implementation in a comprehensive manner, helping them improve the effectiveness and efficiency of technical assistance.  In addition, nuclear security was critical, he noted, stressing that the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was indispensable and deserved the international community’s full support.

EMMANUEL ROUX, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), said that in 2010, the agency had launched a strategy in support of its 190 member countries that included the collection and sharing of intelligence, analysing data and building capacity, all entailing training courses in a wide range of areas.  INTERPOL could also provide investigative and operational support to member countries on request, in the form of teams that would respond to terrorist incidents and initiatives that would support the international law-enforcement community.  Given the need for a multidisciplinary, inter-agency approach to preventing the proliferation of dangerous weapons, INTERPOL worked globally to connect its worldwide network of member countries and maintain close partnerships with multiple other international agencies, he said.

CARLOS ARTURO MORALES LÓPEZ (Colombia) said national efforts to implement resolution 1540 (2004) were of critical importance, but emphasized that they must be accompanied by international cooperation in strengthening security measures at all levels of the creation and transfer of dangerous materials, and have strong controls with which all stakeholders would comply.  Enforcing border controls, as well as identifying and tracking the final users, was particularly necessary, he added.  Modern standards stipulated by the World Customs Organization must be instituted universally, he said, stressing that his country was moving forward in all relevant areas of strategic trade.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country had instituted comprehensive measures to counter the development, acquisition, manufacture, possession, transport, transfer or use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their delivery systems.  Underlining the 1540 Committee’s role in “match-making” and extending extra support to those countries that lacked capacity, he pointed out that 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals had direct relevance to nuclear science and technology.  It was therefore crucial that the discourse of weapons of mass destruction did not impinge on States’ inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  Additionally, action to avert the acquisition of such weapons by non-State groups must flow from multilaterally-negotiated instruments and the Council must be “principled and clear” as it tackled threats to global peace.  “Let us be on the right side of history” in protecting humankind from the threat of nuclear explosions, he stressed, urging reluctant States to heed the calls for a ban on — and total elimination of — all nuclear weapons.

JULIO CÉSAR ARRIOLA RAMÍREZ (Paraguay), recounting the visit by the 1540 Committee to Paraguay, said that the Committee had observed his country’s efforts to adapt to international standards in the fight against terrorism and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors, particularly in border areas.  A new follow-up mission had been planned to hold meetings with legislative and judicial branches of the Government.  Stressing that the fight against terrorism must contribute to maintaining international peace and stability within the framework of rule of law and respecting fundamental individual freedoms, he called upon Member States to transfer resources currently allocated to the modernization of their arsenals into the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in particular the Goal to curb illicit arms flows.

THOMAS SCHIEB (Germany), associating himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), underscored the repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria by both the Syrian regime and ISIL — as well as the latter’s use of such weapons in Iraq.  Holding the perpetrators of those heinous acts accountable remained a major challenge.  As preventing non-State actors from accessing such weapons or their precursors was the most effective way to avert their use, his country had offered a specialized facility to assist international efforts to remove and destroy the remaining stock of chemical weapons precursors in Libya.  It also played an active role in the Group of Seven efforts to strengthen the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention.  In addition, Germany was pushing for a treaty to end fissile material production and had initiated the Wiesbaden Process, which sought to increase private sector engagement in the context of resolution 1540 (2004).

ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain), speaking for the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540, pledged the efforts of all 51 members of the Group to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in all its forms.  In that context, he condemned in the strongest terms the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Furthermore, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Iraq and Malaysia undermined the hard-won taboo against those atrocious weapons.  He strongly condemned the use of the weapons by ISIL and Malaysia and urged Syria to fully cooperate with OPCW. 

He voiced support for the full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) as set out in resolution 2325 (2016).  Prioritization of activities was essential.  The chemical and biological sectors required more attention, particularly in relation to securing materials.  It was also critical for States to criminalize all forms of financing of proliferation activities, even those that occurred through negligence.  Best practices in legislation, enforcement and domestic controls should be shared, and reporting should be increased and augmented.  He stressed the importance of assistance in capacity-building to implement the resolution and welcomed increased cooperation between the United Nations and other relevant international and regional organizations.

ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the only effective way to prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, including by terrorists, was their total elimination in a transparent and verifiable manner.  Her country neither possessed nor planned to acquire nuclear weapons.  Furthermore, it had participated actively in negotiations under way in the General Assembly on a convention to prohibit nuclear weapons with a view to their total elimination.  With regards to the Biological Weapons Convention, she called for the resumption without delay of negotiations for a legally binding protocol on verification.  The fight against terrorism must be based on the effective implementation of the United Nations global strategy and the Charter.  Actions taken by the Council must not undermine existing multilateral treaties on weapons of mass destruction nor the role of the General Assembly.

MARÍA PAULA MAC LOUGHLIN (Argentina) noted that the use of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors had highlighted the need for Member States to step up disarmament efforts.  Since the adoption of resolution 1540 (2004), Argentina had tackled implementation by balancing disarmament efforts with the peaceful use of technology.  Since presenting its first national report, as well as successive updates, her country had shown unwavering commitment to the resolution, becoming a member of the Proliferation Security Initiative.  Argentina had also provided assistance within the resolution’s framework, including training activities and with African countries in the area of South-South cooperation.  It was crucial to guarantee that dual-use materials were protected and beyond the hands of terrorists.

TANMAYA LAL (India), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed concern over the possibility of “collusion” in assisting terror networks and non-State actors in accessing weapons of mass destruction.  Fully conscious of India’s responsibilities as a country with advanced nuclear technologies, he outlined its participation in the many international nuclear summits and agreements, including the Missile Technology Control Regime.  As well, his Government planned to host an international workshop in cooperation with the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs and the 1540 Committee.  Clandestine proliferation networks that had been unmasked revealed non-State actors could exploit weak links in global supply chains and export controls and undermine international security.  All States must therefore assume their responsibly to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors.

ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia) said capacity-building and the strengthening of international setup at the national level were the necessary prerequisites to address the existing and emerging threats associated with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the risks of their falling in to the hands of terrorists and non-State actors.  Describing a broad range of national legislation to those ends, he encouraged the 1540 Committee to continue its cooperation with relevant international and regional organizations based on comparative advantages and best practices developed on the ground.  He also pointed to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Global Initiative to Combat Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, in particular, as important platforms for the promotion of relevant cooperation.

MICHAEL BONSER (Canada), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), announced funding for the Stimson Center to implement a 1540 Assistance Support Initiative.  Among other things, the initiative would create a new website with a comprehensive list of assistance providers.  His country was also providing new funding for several other projects related to the resolution, including continued support for the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) regional 1540 coordinator.  Domestically, Canada was strengthening its counter-proliferation capabilities by increasing funding and amending legislation to better control brokering activities and exports related to weapons of mass destruction.  Internationally, under Canada’s chairmanship, the Nuclear Security Contact Group was working to identify and address new and emerging challenges to nuclear security.  In addition, Canada would chair the High-Level Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Expert Preparatory Group to prepare the way to negotiate a treaty to end fissile material production for nuclear weapons.

DIONYSIOS KALAMVERZOS (Greece), associating himself with the European Union, said the world was confronted with a multitude of challenges, from economic development issues to the spread of weapons of mass destruction.  Technological advances and instability had only worsened that landscape.  Addressing root causes of instability, supporting multilateral agreements and institutions and the full implementation of Council resolutions were part of the solution to tackling those challenges.

NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed deeper cooperation among Member States to build capacity that would prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists and other illegal armed groups.  He reaffirmed, however, the sovereign right of Member States to the development of advanced technologies in the nuclear, chemical, biological and pharmaceutical sectors to achieve industrial development.  In the area of weaponry, his country continued to participate in disarmament activities with a view to achieving a world free of weapons of mass destruction and the complete prohibition of their acquisition, development, stockpiling, transferring and modernization.

TIJJANI MUHAMMAD BANDE (Nigeria), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled that resolution 1540 (2004) had been the second Council resolution to invoke Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter outside a country-specific context.  That filled a gap in international law by addressing the unacceptable risk of non-State actors obtaining and using weapons of mass destruction.  The emergence of extremist groups had introduced a sense of urgency in the international community’s need to take stock of the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).  No State was immune from the threat and consequences of weapons of mass destruction attack by such groups.  “This should serve as a clarion call for us to vigorously confront one of the key security challenges of our time,” he said, citing a “yawning compliance gap” on the part of many Member States with limited resources and technical capabilities.  Expressing concern about the slow pace of progress towards nuclear disarmament on the part of the nuclear-weapon States, he called on them to fulfil their relevant legal obligations and spotlighted multilateralism as the core platform for negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), aligning himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540, said that his country’s efforts to implement the resolution included the submission of four reports to the Committee, the development of regional counter-terrorism initiatives in the Western Balkans and participation in the IAEA Board of Governors.  His Government attached great importance to nuclear security and was working with other countries in that area.  As cyber terrorism was directly related to the matter at hand, Slovenia was also reviewing its national legislation and policies in that area.  The county, he pledged, would continue to implement the resolution as well as the recommendations of the comprehensive review and he called on all Member States to do the same.

KIM IN RYONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) condemned and rejected remarks by his counterparts from the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and France, saying they had called his country’s self-defensive deterrent measures into question.  Recalling that those “hostile forces” had spread a story about use of chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction in order to create an atmosphere of international criticism against his country, he said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as a responsible nuclear-weapon State, would observe all its commitments to nuclear non-proliferation.  The root of the situation on the Korean Peninsula rested in the hostile United States policy and manoeuvres — including the military exercises conducted in March and April —intended to provoke war, he said.

Turning to recent discussions about sanctions imposing on his country, he said it was a fatal miscalculation if countries which had had a hand in the frame-up of the “sanctions resolution” would even think they could delay or hold in check the eye-opening development of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear forces even for a moment.  “No matter what others say, whatever sanctions, pressure and military attack may follow, we will not flinch from the road to build up nuclear forces which was chosen to defend the sovereignty of the country and the rights to national existence,” he stressed.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s self-reliant nuclear force served as a guarantee and an absolute strength for peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world.

KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia), associating himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said the threat posed by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons and materials, as well as technologies related to weapons of mass destruction, were of serious concern to the Government of Georgia, partly because the country’s neighbouring regions were at high risk for proliferation.  Several attempts to smuggle nuclear and other radioactive materials through Georgia’s occupied regions had been recorded in recent years, he noted.  However, in the absence of an international presence in those regions, it had become virtually impossible to conduct any kind of verification activities on the ground, which had raised the risk of proliferation.  The Government had formed a national chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear council which, in consultation with others, had elaborated a threat reduction strategy and national action plan for 2015-19.  A new legislative base for regulating Georgia’s strategic export control in full compliance with European standards had also been developed.  In addition, Georgia had formed, with Morocco and the Philippines, the United Nations Group of Friends of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation and Security Governance.

TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) said that countering dangerous proliferation of weapons was among the priority areas of his country’s bilateral relations and international cooperation.  It had long supported a world free from weapons of mass destruction, including by universalizing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the establishment of zones free of weapons of mass destruction.  Border control was particularly important in countering proliferation, but despite strong efforts in that area, Azerbaijan was hobbled by continued military occupation of its territories, he said.  That had created conditions suitable to the cross-border activities of terrorists and other criminal groups.  Efforts to counter such activities must observe strict respect for international law, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, he stressed.  Primary attention should also be given to countering the practices of States that instigated, supported and directed non-State actors who might seek to acquire dangerous weapons.

KENNEDY MAYONG ONON (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country continued to meet its international obligations by further enhancing the enforcement of effective measures to improve domestic controls and preventing the proliferation of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials.  He also outlined recent amendments to national export, transhipment, transit and brokering procedures — including of arms and related materials — such as the Strategic Trade Act that levied severe penalties for the misuse of those items.

JAVAD SAFAEI (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled that his country had suffered chemical attacks by Iraq, yet the Council had remained silent.  As for comments by Israel’s representative, he rejected them as unsubstantiated allegations aimed at advancing “an Iranophobic agenda” and at covering up and justifying its own aggressive and unlawful policies and practices against the entire region.  The Israeli regime continued to flout Council resolutions and international instruments governing weapons of mass destruction, while remaining the only obstacle blocking the establishment of a Middle East zone free from those armaments.  The regime’s possession of nuclear weapons made it the most serious threat to the security of all States in the region and to non-proliferation principles, he said, emphasizing that, as such, the Council had a responsibility to address that threat effectively.  In addition, evidence showed that Israeli agents had tended to Da’esh operatives active on the Syrian territory, he said.

Iran, situated in an unstable and volatile region, was entitled to build a credible conventional capability to deter and defend against any aggression, he affirmed.  “Iran won’t start a war,” he emphasized.  “We don’t intend to attack any country, but if we come under attack, it is our legitimate right, under the Charter of the United Nations, to be able to use our national conventional defence capabilities to counter any aggression against our national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”  He recalled that his country had always warned against the expansion of terrorism in the region while basing its policies on cooperation with regional countries and the international community in order to uproot terrorism in the region and around the world.

The representative of Turkey took the floor a second time, refuting allegations by his counterpart from Syria.  The use of chemical weapons flouted international law and perpetrators must be held accountable, he stressed.

For information media. Not an official record.