Conference on Disarmament Hears Updates from Coordinators of its Five Subsidiary Bodies on Reports
The Conference on Disarmament today held a public plenary in which it heard updates by the coordinators of its five subsidiary bodies on the status of each of their reports.
Ambassador Paul Empole Efambe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President of the Conference on Disarmament, noted that the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was currently being held in New York, and he wished success to those participating. On the subsidiary bodies’ reports, he said that there were less than six weeks left to complete work, and consensus needed to be reached to adopt the reports of all five bodies.
During the plenary, Austria reported on the 2022 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which had been held in June and had attracted over 800 participants. Presenters and conference delegates had shown that a nuclear winter would likely affect the entire globe, leading to blocked sunlight, food shortages and starvation in many parts of the world. They had argued that more research and discussions were necessary, upon which a fact-based policy on nuclear weapons could be developed.
The following countries spoke in the meeting: Algeria, Spain, Chile, Indonesia, Belarus, Austria, United States, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea and Iran.
The next public plenary of the Conference is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 11 August. The third and final part of the 2022 session of the Conference on Disarmament is being held from 1 August to 16 September.
Ambassador PAUL EMPOLE EFAMBE of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President of the Conference on Disarmament, said that the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was currently being held in New York, and he wished success to those participating in the review. There were less than six weeks left to complete work; a consensus needed to be reached to adopt the reports of all five subsidiary bodies. This was not an easy task, but was not impossible if there was a collective will and effort. Important progress had been made in the revised drafts of the reports, however none had been met with consensus. Mr. Empole Efambe called for flexibility from all parties; it was not easy to make concessions, but it was not impossible. He thanked the coordinators of the subsidiary bodies for their efforts in achieving consensus.
Algeria , speaking on behalf of LAZHAR SOUALEM, Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations Office at Geneva and coordinator of subsidiary body one on the cessation of the arms race and nuclear disarmament, said that a second draft of the report was now available. The draft had been circulated via the Secretariat on 19 July, and an informal meeting and discussion had been on 28 July where delegations had been given an opportunity to express their views. A third draft was currently being prepared, bearing in mind all the different opinions and aiming to strike compromise. It was important to achieve consensus to serve the collective interests and safeguard national interest.
Spain , speaking on behalf of IGNACIO SÀNCHEZ DE LERÍN GARCÍA, Deputy Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ambassador for Disarmament, and coordinator of subsidiary body two on the prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters, thanked all delegations who had constructively taken part in the sessions and those who had submitted proposals and comments regarding the draft report. A final draft of the report, which aimed to express the different opinions in a balanced and constrictive fashion, was expected to be shared in the coming days. Significant effort had been put into this draft and it was hoped that it would be met with the approval of all delegations. The draft would be subject to a silence procedure. Spain counted on the flexible approach of all delegations to achieve consensus and allow the forum to adopt the report.
PAMELA MORAGA, First Secretary of Chile at the Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations Office at Geneva and coordinator of subsidiary body three on the prevention of an arms race in outer space, said that since the submission of the first draft of the subsidiary body’s report, around 10 written submissions had been received and the issues posing the greatest difficulty had been recognized. Delegations needed see their positions reflected in the report; this was the premise that subsidiary body three was working on. Ms. Moraga said that she counted on the cooperation of all delegations.
Indonesia , speaking on behalf of FEBRIAN RUDDYARD, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Geneva and coordinator of subsidiary body four on effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, said that the third draft of subsidiary body four’s report had been circulated in mid-July, and input had been received from several colleagues. It was hoped that the final draft would be submitted during the current presidency for adoption. Indonesia would only put forward a report that each member of the Conference was comfortable with.
ALEKSANDR PYTALEV, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Belarus to the United Nations Office at Geneva and coordinator of subsidiary body five on new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons, radiological weapons, a comprehensive programme of disarmament and transparency in armaments, said that written suggestions had been received from delegations following the last meeting of subsidiary body five. These had been compiled and distributed to delegations for their feedback. After receiving all comments and holding discussions this week, Mr. Pytalev said he would do his best to prepare a new version of the text, with the hope of achieving agreement and consensus.
Austria thanked the President and coordinators for their valuable work and guidance. Nuclear disarmament and the prevention of nuclear war remained the core tasks on the Conference’s agenda. To advance this issue, Austria had organized in June the 2022 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. More than 800 delegates and representatives of international organizations and civil society organizations had participated in the conference. Presenters and conference delegates had stated that a nuclear winter would likely affect the entire globe, leading to blocked sunlight, food shortages and starvation in many parts of the world. More research and discussions were necessary, upon which a fact-based policy on nuclear weapons could be developed. Even the detonation of a small nuclear weapon would have devastating, compounding effects.
Leading Russian politicians’ threats of nuclear weapons use underscored how real this risk was today. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlighted that nuclear weapons did not prevent wars, but rather emboldened nuclear weapon States to start wars. Only the elimination of nuclear weapons offered effective protection. When nuclear deterrence failed, it would fail with catastrophic impacts. The humanitarian perspective had unifying potential for the reinvigoration of nuclear disarmament.
United States said that while the year began on a hopeful note with the joint statement of the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon States on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races, this was now the sixth month of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which was a brazen violation of international law. The United States would continue with efforts to isolate Russia and build support to help Ukraine, and remained hopeful that other countries would do the same.
Regarding the subsidiary bodies’ reports, the United States had kept an open mind to substantive suggestions by member States, and sought the adoption of the reports in a timely manner.
Pakistan welcomed the encouragement of the President to all subsidiary bodies to finalize their reports in a timely manner. It was clear the five reports were at different levels of progress, which was understandable. Pakistan continued to remain constructively engaged to finalize all five reports by consensus. All subsidiary bodies should be able to agree on balanced reports. Pakistan shared concern around the mode of agreement on the reports, and said they were not able to support arbitrary processes such as establishing a silent procedure. Pakistan said it was necessary for all members of the Conference to demonstrate flexibility and looked forward to finalizing the reports as soon as possible.
Spain said that the most contentious views of delegations regarding the report of subsidiary body two had become clear, and further consultations would not help to reach consensus, therefore Spain had no intention of holding such consultations. Spain was prepared to not submit a report by the proposed deadline if consensus was not reached.
Pakistan said they were surprised by the statement by Spain, representing subsidiary body two. Subsidiary bodies operated on the rules of procedure of the Conference. Pakistan urged all coordinators of subsidiary bodies to exert all efforts to ensure that reports were finalised as soon as possible.
Russian Federation said that a special military operation was being conducted in Ukraine that was in line with the sovereign requests of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic. Russia was protecting these people and helping to restore their territorial integrity.
Russia expressed support to the work of the coordinators of the subsidiary bodies, and would continue to show flexibility and cooperation as the Conference moved towards consensus on the draft final reports.
Republic of Korea said that additional subsidiary body meetings could be held, however official consensus could not be reached in these informal meetings. The Korean delegation therefore believed that a silence procedure was the only way that the bodies could achieve consensus.
Iran said the silence procedure was new to the Conference, and was against its established practice. Iran requested that subsidiary body coordinators held informal consultations to ensure consensus was reached for all the reports.
Ambassador PAUL EMPOLE EFAMBE of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President of the Conference on Disarmament, thanked all delegations for the fruitful dialogue exchanged. The coordinators of the subsidiary bodies would be available to continue their work, and would circulate new versions of draft reports shortly. There was a need for delegations to show the greatest flexibility possible to reach consensus. The plans made for the meeting on 8 August could be used by the coordinators to provide and receive information. In concluding remarks, Mr. Empole Efambe thanked the Secretariat and interpreters for facilitating the plenary.
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