I am pleased to send greetings to all delegations on the opening of the 2012 session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission, and wish at the outset to congratulate Ambassador Enrique Román-Morey of Peru as he assumes his duties as Chairman.
This is a very important year for the Commission, and not just because 2012 marks the 60th anniversary of its establishment. The Commission is commencing a new three-year cycle of deliberations and is expected to consider profoundly important issues relating to nuclear disarmament and the regulation of conventional armaments.
The existence of differences in policies and priorities of Member States is not a new challenge facing this Commission, which has a long history of overcoming such obstacles, even in times of great instability in international relations. Though the Commission rarely met between 1959 and 1978, it was later able to adopt various guidelines and recommendations until 1999, its last truly productive year of consensus.
So the Commission today has only one responsible course to follow. It must focus its deliberations on finding common ground for addressing current and emerging global challenges, ranging from the elimination of the deadliest weapons of mass destruction, to the reduction and limitation of conventional arms.
I remain personally committed to doing all I can to advance disarmament goals. Progress is vitally needed because -- directly or indirectly -- it has the potential to benefit all other goals of the United Nations, just as the failure of disarmament efforts would jeopardize the security and prosperity of all.
My commitment is reflected not only in my past efforts to revitalize multilateral cooperation on disarmament, but also in the five-year action agenda that I outlined this year. I have full confidence that Ms. Angela Kane, the new High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, will build on the accomplishments of her distinguished predecessors as we implement the agenda.
Please accept my very best wishes for a productive session.