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Meeting Summaries

Hears From Brazil, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Tunisia and Cuba

Speaking were Paulino Franco de Carvalho Neto, Ambassador Secretary for Multilateral Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil; Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control of New Zealand; Nikolay Milkov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria; Nabil Ammar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad; and Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba.

The Conference will next meet in public tomorrow at 10 a.m. to continue the high-level segment.

High-Level Segment Statements

PAULINO FRANCO DE CARVALHO NETO, Ambassador Secretary for Multilateral Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, said the Conference on Disarmament had begun its work this year in an even more challenging security environment than in 2022. The erosion of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime had proceeded perilously unabated. Over the past two decades, the web of bilateral and regional arms control treaties binding the two main nuclear powers had been continuously degraded. Last week, such processes culminated with the suspension of the New START Treaty. The second consecutive failure of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in adopting a final consensus document was another disturbing development. States needed to establish mechanisms for transparency and accountability to strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty in the upcoming ad-hoc working group. A powerful political signal against that threat of nuclear war had been conveyed by the final declaration of the first Meeting of the States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, held in Vienna last June. The prompt ratification of that treaty was a priority for Brazil. Brazil had been advocating for the convening of the fourth special session of the United Nations General Assembly dedicated to disarmament. There was no reason to further delay the beginning of substantive discussions on a treaty on fissile materials. The establishment of a multilateral forum under the Conference dedicated to nuclear disarmament verification might pave the way for future progress in this area. The Conference should be ready to help building a bridge between the results of the ongoing Open-Ended Working Group on responsible State behaviour in outer space and those of the upcoming meeting of the Group of Governmental Exerts on further effective measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

NANAIA MAHUTA, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control of New Zealand, said that on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, New Zealand continued to condemn the invasion unequivocally. Russia’s nuclear threats had raised the risk of nuclear war to its highest level in many decades. This risk was further aggravated by the recent suspension of Russia’s participation in the New START Treaty, and Russia’s efforts to undermine other disarmament fora, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference held last year. International aggression should be resisted. Strong multilateral institutions were required to underpin a peaceful global order. Noting the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes in contravention of Security Council resolutions, she urged the State to abide by its international obligations and engage in constructive dialogue towards a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. She regretted that negotiations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme had stalled, and encouraged all parties to try and find an effective way forward. She called on Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The world was on the precipice and did not have the needed guardrails. A Pacific nation, New Zealand was in a region where weapons of war were tested, leaving a permanent mark on people, lands and waters. New Zealand urged universalisation and full implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It was also committed to achieving a meaningful outcome from the forthcoming Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The use of chemical weapons in Syria and other locations had reinforced the urgency of their elimination and ensuring that there was no impunity. New Zealand also remained committed to the Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas and to addressing the challenges posed by autonomous weapons systems. More should be done to ensure the Conference on Disarmament fulfilled its mandate.

NIKOLAY MILKOV, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, aligning himself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union, said his country continued to uphold its disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation agreements and commitments. A year and a week after the brutal military invasion of Ukraine, he noted this war had shattered the peace in Europe. Reiterating his country’s support for Ukraine, he said all possible war crimes and other most serious crimes committed during this war of aggression should be prosecuted. Bulgaria was extremely concerned by President Putin’s announcement to suspend Russia’s participation in the New START Treaty and by Russia’s recent threats of resuming nuclear tests. He called on Moscow to act responsibly, to immediately return to compliance with the New START Treaty. Bulgaria remained strongly committed to the full implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to a meaningful outcome at the next Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Instead of a ban on nuclear weapons, States should focus their efforts on the universalisation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, on nuclear risk reduction, on the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, on the early commencement and conclusion of negotiations on a future Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, and on the various nuclear-weapon-free zones. Russia should return the full control to the Ukrainian authorities over all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders. Bulgaria remained committed to the full and effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and all decisions taken by its State parties. It would continue supporting the efforts of the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons, aimed at ensuring that all those involved in the use of chemical weapons were identified. Russia’s illegal, unjustified and unprovoked war of aggression, which Belarus was complicit to, had had disastrous consequences for international peace and security and global disarmament efforts, including the Conference. Bulgaria called for peace.

NABIL AMMAR, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad of Tunisia, said hard-won gains after World War II enshrined in the United Nations Charter and in the global disarmament, arms control and non–proliferation architecture, were being reversed and challenged. There was geopolitical competition, conflicts and arms races were resurging, and fundamental norms against weapons of mass destruction were being eroded by State and non-State actors. The results of the Conference on Disarmament during the past year as well as those of some other fora should be regarded as a wake-up call for the international community to reinvigorate multilateral action. Tunisia reiterated its unwavering commitment to the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Africa and the Arab World should remain on top of international priorities. The potential and actual possession and use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist groups remained daunting threats that required continued attention and action from the international community. Tunisia reiterated its support for the establishment without further delay of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. A mechanism for coordination between all concerned international fora needed to be developed. It was important to continue consultations on the expansion of the membership of the Conference on Disarmament. Promoting the work of the United Nations disarmament machinery required collective action on the basis of political will and good faith, particularly in fulfilling the commitments on nuclear disarmament as the highest priority. Working to promote transparency where applicable was key. Tunisia further supported making use of confidence-building, negotiation and mediation measures to prevent and solve disputes and maintain the stability and predictability of the disarmament regime. It also supported an early convening of the fourth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to Disarmament.

BRUNO EDUARDO RODRÍGUEZ PARRILLA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, said States were facing serious security challenges weaking multilateralism, and the disarmament machines of the United Nations were being eroded. Global military spending had been rising over the last seven years, exceeding the alarming record of 2.1 billion United States dollars in 2022. Exorbitant resources were being spent on sophisticated killing machines, while millions of people continued to suffer from hunger and poverty. Cuba supported the important mandate of the Conference on Disarmament and called on it to resume its substantive work and fulfil its negotiating mandate. The State would continue to support the adoption of a comprehensive programme of work for the Conference that promoted peace and stability. Making progress towards nuclear disarmament in a transparent, verifiable, and irreversible was a top priority. He expressed regret that the 10th Review Conference of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons had concluded without any result for the second year running. The First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons did not bring the international community closer to a world free of nuclear weapon. Cuba belonged to the region with the highest number of State parties to that Treaty. Heads of state and Governments had signed a declaration in Havana in 2014 proclaiming Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace. Cuba called for justice, dignity and peace, which was only possible through respect for the United Nations Charter and international law. He rejected the use of unilateral coercive measures and the criminal blockade imposed on the Cuban people for over six decades, and condemned the United States Department of State’s inclusion of Cuba in its list of countries that sponsored terrorism. There was no alternative to peaceful coexistence and disarmament, if the wish was to protect humanity.


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