Conference on Disarmament continues high-level segment, hearing statements from 10 dignitaries
The Conference on Disarmament this morning continued its high-level segment, hearing statements by dignitaries from Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Republic of Korea, Greece, Malta, Moldova, Latvia, and Qatar.
Speaking were Ivan Korčok, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia; Dmytry Kuleba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine; Zbigniew Rau, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland; Dan Neculăescu, State Secretary for Strategic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania; Choi Jong Kun, First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea; Nikolaos Dendias, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece; Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta; Gheorghe Leucă, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova; Edgar Rinkēvičs, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia; and Ahmed Bin Hassan Al Hammadi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar.
The Conference will next meet in public tomorrow at 10 am, to continue its high-level segment.
Ambassador GONÇALO MELLO MOURÃO of Brazil, President of the Conference on Disarmament, presented condolences to Italy for the death of the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
IVAN KORČOK, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, said the international community should embrace the unprecedented situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity, and cited the extension of the New START Treaty as a possible impetus for other States to continue the dialogue on future arms control arrangements. On the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference, Slovakia supported a balanced approach to all three pillars, as well as, inter alia, an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty in the Conference on the basis of the Shannon mandate. All interested United Nations Member States should be allowed to participate in the work of the Conference as observers.
DMYTRO KULEBA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, urged the resumption of the substantive work of the Conference, including work on a legally binding instrument on negative security assurances. When a country violated basic United Nations norms, viable progress in the field of disarmament was not possible. Russia continued to illegally occupy Donbass, and Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and city of Sevastopol. It was even more concerning that Russia had been upgrading its military presence in Crimea with nuclear capabilities, undermining the non-nuclear status of the Ukrainian Peninsula. Ukraine planned to hold an inaugural Crimea Platform Summit, an initiative that was vital to improve the security situation in Europe. Ukraine recognized the Conference’s tasks regarding the negotiation of new instruments but noted that due attention must be paid to adherence to existing arrangements such as the Budapest Memorandum and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
ZBIGNIEW RAU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, said the agenda of the Conference should follow rapid technological progress, especially in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems or cyber capacities. He praised the extension of the New START Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation but added that the parties should conclude a broader follow-on agreement covering all nuclear weapons including non-strategic nuclear weapons and new types of nuclear armament. Poland hoped the upcoming Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference would lead to further progress in nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The international community should not lose sight of the nuclear threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The chemical attacks in Syria and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in Russia were disturbing developments.
DAN NECULĂESCU, State Secretary for Strategic Affairs of Romania, said Romania stood ready to work with partners for a successful tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. All its three pillars were equally important and mutually reinforcing. The Treaty had so far delivered on its promises and remained the best route towards a world without nuclear weapons. It was Romania's established position that the next logical step for advancing nuclear disarmament and preventing proliferation was the start of negotiations at the Conference on a fissile material cutoff treaty. Romania welcomed efforts to enhance the common understanding between nuclear weapons States and non-nuclear weapons States, such as through the initiative on “Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament.”
CHOI JONG KUN, First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, said that as a nation striving to achieve denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, the Republic of Korea hoped the extension of the New START Treaty would revive arms control. Welcoming the P6’s initiatives, he called on Member States to take a practical, flexible and realistic approach to advance substantive discussions on key deliverables including the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. The Republic of Korea had tirelessly and without hesitation initiated diplomatic ventures engaging the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States and other relevant parties. It had chosen its route vis-à-vis the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea not because it wanted to, but because it had to, and would continue to work with friends and partners to achieve denuclearization through peaceful means.
NIKOLAOS DENDIAS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, underscored Greece’s commitment to a treaty-based, legally binding, viable and functional arms control system. On the issue of enlargement of the Conference, he noted that Greece was the longest-standing observer that had formally expressed interest in joining. Greece saw no legitimate reason or justification to prolong the limbo. It was an anachronism that the disarmament forum had not evolved beyond the post-Cold War international system, and it was equally outdated for observers' participation to be held hostage to bilateral issues. Those issues were not relevant to the Conference, which could not afford to remain in negotiating deadlock. If it could not start substantive work, the Conference should restart deliberation in subsidiary bodies aimed at building convergence on all agenda issues.
EVARIST BARTOLO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta, welcomed the extension of the New START Treaty, without which the two biggest possessors of nuclear arms risked having no legally binding, verifiable limits on each other’s' arsenal for the first time since 1972. The START Treaty was thus a crucial contribution to international and European security, including through its verifiable, legal limits set on the numbers of deployed strategic nuclear weapons and on deployed and non-deployed missiles, bombers and launchers. Malta equally embraced the extension in terms of its contribution to the implementation of both States' nuclear disarmament obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. Malta welcomed the incoming United States administration and hoped major powers would generate a wind of change that would strengthen international peace.
GHEORGHE LEUCĂ, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova , said that Moldova understood the urgency of disarmament notably because it had more than 20,000 tons of ammunition stockpiles from Soviet times on its territory that were outside of the control of the Moldovan Constitutional authorities. It was a clear example of the need to start practical work and reduce delays caused by protracted procedural debates. Moldova had ratified the Arms Trade Treaty, which should also help prevent illicit trafficking of arms, particularly to separatist unrecognized entities. Ensuring the participation of women in decision-making processes related to disarmament, peace and security required the common efforts of the international community, and Moldova called upon all to fully engage in promoting Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
EDGAR RINKĒVIČS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, said the attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny showed that international hostile-minded actors were not inactive even if attention had been focused on COVID-19. Armed clashes had continued throughout the pandemic, and international instruments for transparency and confidence building, such as the Open Skies Treaty, had suffered setbacks. Along with progress in fighting the pandemic and addressing climate change, the trend needed to continue in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference offered the opportunity to be proactive, imaginative and bold. For arms control and disarmament to be effective, all parties needed to abide by the rules. Yet, to counter malicious actors, the international community needed to further develop those rules.
AHMED BIN HASSAN AL HAMMADI, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, said disarmament was essentially a humanitarian issue related to the protection of people. Qatar supported convening this year a new session of the United Nations Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction. Looking forward to the convening of the tenth Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference, he called on the international community to fulfil its responsibility towards the implementation of the 2010 Conference Resolution and other relevant resolutions. Qatar reaffirmed that all States had the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The time had come for the Conference to review the expansion of its membership, he added. Qatar was willing to become a member and in June 2012 had sent a request to join.