Outgoing President tells the Conference on Disarmament that Despite Consultations, there is no Consensus on a Programme of Work and the Thematic Discussions on the Agenda Items will Continue
Ambassador Yuri Borissov Sterk of Bulgaria, outgoing President of the Conference on Disarmament, this morning told the Conference that despite his efforts and following consultations, it was clear that the Conference would not reach the necessary consensus on a programme of work for yet another year and therefore the thematic discussions on the agenda items of the Conference would continue.
Ambassador Sterk said the Bulgarian Presidency had sought to go the extra mile to help Member States reach agreement on a programme of work. Regrettably, following a series of consultations with regional groups and numerous bilateral meetings, it had become clear that, for yet another year, it would not be possible to reach the necessary consensus to allow the Conference to proceed in a structured manner with the fulfilment of its mandate. Bulgaria, no less than any other delegation in the Conference, deeply deplored this state of affairs. After two and half months of relentless work by three presidencies to reach an agreement on the programme of work, the Bulgarian Presidency, in agreement with its P6 colleagues and the membership of the Conference, had concluded that the meaningful manner to conduct the Conference’s work in the time remaining in the session was to launch thematic debates on the agenda items.
The President said he was convinced that in the absence of an agreed upon programme of work, discussions on all relevant topics were the right way to reach out to each other and provide for a growing and mutual understanding. He expressed hope that this would eventually allow for substantive progress in fulfilling the mandate of the Conference.
A delegate from Cameroon, speaking on behalf of Ambassador Salomon Eheth, incoming President of the Conference on Disarmament, congratulated the outgoing President on his excellent work, which had fostered a work spirit toward timely thematic discussions. He also thanked the presidencies of Belgium and Brazil. Cameroon would continue in the same line as the Bulgarian Presidency and would focus on agenda items 3, 4 and 5. It would then conclude with a general thematic session before it handed over the presidency to Canada on 18 June. An introductory meeting would be held on 25 May, and the P6+2 and the regional coordinators would meet this afternoon in the presence of Ambassador Eheth.
Speakers thanked the outgoing Bulgarian President for his laudable efforts to foster consensus and agreed that diplomacy was the “art of the possible”. Sooner or later, the Conference would have to take its responsibilities. Speakers pledged to actively participate in the work the new Presidency would steer.
Speaking were Pakistan, Chile and China.
The Conference will next meet in public on Tuesday, 25 May at 10 a.m. for the first plenary meeting under the Presidency of Cameroon. Addressing the Conference at this meeting will be Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.