Although the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime had faced a “plethora of obstacles” over a number of years, there was no reason to lose faith, the Chair of the Disarmament Commission told members today, stressing that progress was possible if each State demonstrated the requisite political will.
Closing that body’s three-week substantive session for the year, Fodé Seck (Senegal) said that, although the discussions had been unable to produce consensus documents, they provided fruitful exchange of views. On the inclusion of a third item on the agenda, consultations would continue with the aim of producing something concrete for the seventieth session of the General Assembly, he said.
In her brief remarks, Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said the Commission had undertaken intensive work on the eve of the ninth review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Before concluding the session — which had inaugurated the Commission’s 2015-2017 triennial cycle — delegates approved by consensus that body’s draft report to the Assembly, as well as the reports of its two working groups.
Introducing the draft report of Working Group I, “Recommendations for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, Chair Kairat Abdrakhamanov (Kazakhstan) pledged to work resolutely for a compromise during the inter-sessional period. Not every delegation would achieve all it wanted, but there could be sufficient progress to advance the discourse.
Introducing the report of Working Group II “Practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons” on behalf of its Chair, Bouchaib Eloumni (Morocco) said that, although members could not reach consensus, the discussions were substantive and drew active participation. He hoped the Commission would be able to make further progress next year as there was much agreement in many areas.
Introducing the draft report of the Commission, Rapporteur Lachezara Stoeva (Bulgaria) said the four-section text provided a factual description of that body’s work. Despite the broad recognition that a different agenda was needed to move forward, it had not been possible to achieve consensus on what that should include. Still, there was a sense that the deliberations and negotiations had helped to clarify positions. While the agenda might be the same as that of the previous cycle, the approaches adopted by the Commission in addressing the issues could be different. “Members would just need to find the right ones.”
Delegates also shared their views on how the 2015 session had proceeded. The delegate of China said the Commission, as the sole deliberative multilateral disarmament body, was irreplaceable, and urged all parties to take the documents of the working groups as the basis for further inclusive efforts. Incorporating as a third agenda item the prevention of an arms race in outer space would give vitality to the Commission’s negotiations, he said.
The representative of Niger, speaking for the African Group, regretted the lack of consensus resulting from “rigid attitudes”. He reaffirmed the need to universalize the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to implement it in a balanced and integrated manner in each of its three pillars. Calling on all parties to honour their irrevocable commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, he said the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was an important measure for the attainment of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Any attempt to improve nuclear weapons or develop new ones would run counter to the Treaty, he said, stressing that complete and total elimination of those weapons was the only way to prevent their use.
The representative of the Russian Federation said the fact that the Commission had not been able to elaborate concrete recommendations for several years was not the fault of the forum. The responsibility lay with every participating State, he said, stressing that concrete disarmament was inextricably linked to the prevention of armed conflict. Strategic stability and predictability were necessary conditions for every country and only by recognizing that reality could further steps be taken on arms control.
* The 351st Meeting was not covered.