CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT CONCLUDES ITS 2019 SESSION
The Conference on Disarmament today concluded the third and last part of its 2019 session. The first part of the session was held from 21 January to 29 March. The second part was held from 13 May to 28 June. The third part started on 29 July and concluded today, 13 September.
During the session, the presidency of the Conference was successively assumed by Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe, each of which held the presidency for four weeks, in line with the rotation principle. Throughout the 2019 session, successive Presidents of the Conference conducted intensive consultations with a view to reaching consensus on a programme of work. However, despite these efforts, as in previous years, the Conference was unable to agree on a programme of work.
The annual report will be available on the webpage of the Conference.
Opening the 2019 session, Mr. Michael Møller, then Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, said it was his sincere hope at this critical and historical juncture that the work of the Conference would play the bold and pivotal role that it had played in the past.
During the session, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, addressed the Conference via a video link from New York. Ms. Nakamitsu urged States to exert every effort to burnish the credibility of this forum for multilateral engagement at a time in which no discernible alternatives were in sight and disarmament efforts were so sorely needed.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the Conference on Disarmament during its high-level segment in February 2019. He said key components of the international arms control architecture were collapsing. A new vision for arms control was needed in the current complex international security environment, and the international community had to take great care to preserve the existing frameworks which continued to bring the world indispensable benefits. He urged the Conference to prove that it could add value to the multilateral system.
The following dignitaries addressed the Conference During the high-level segment of the Conference: Mr. Yerzhan Ashikbayev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom; Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea; Mr. Mevlüt Çavuþoðlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey; Andrei Dapkiunas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus; Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia; Mr. Simon Coveney T,D, Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland; Ms. Simona Leskovar, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia; Mr. Fabio Marzano, Vice-Minister for Sovereignty and Citizenship of Brazil; Ms. Emanuela Claudia Del Re, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy; Mr. Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary; Mr. Miroslav Lajèák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic; Mr. Josip Brkiæ, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Mr. Paul Teesalu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia; Mr. Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands; Mr. Edgars Rinkçviès, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia; Mr. Jacek Czaputowicz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland; Mr. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, and of Defense in charge of Beliris and of the federal cultural institutions of Belgium; Mr. Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt; Mr. Luwellyn Landers, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa; Mr. Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia; Mr. Audun Halvorsen, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway; Mr. Mohamed Ali Al-Hakim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq; Mr. A.L.A. Azeez, Ambassador of Sri Lanka; Mr. Kiyoto Tsuji, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan; Mr. George Chacallis, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus; Mr. Marcelino Medina, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba; Mr. Kyaw Tin, Union Minister for International Cooperation of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; Mr. George Ciamba, Minister Delegate for European Affairs of Romania; Mr. Yuri Sterk, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria; Mr. Félix Plasencia, Deputy Minister for Multilateral Affairs of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela, Ms. Yleem D.S. Poblete, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance of the United States; Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; and Mr. Alexander Schallenberg, Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria. Mr. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Mr. Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization also addressed the Conference.
In his last address to the Conference on Disarmament in June, Mr. Michael Møller, the outgoing Secretary-General of the Conference, underlined that although progress in the form of a concrete negotiation mandate had been elusive, it was important not to detract attention or resources from the unique and important place that the Conference still occupied in the disarmament universe. Over the past five years, it had become under-utilized and under-prioritized, as it was not immune from broader geostrategic and political trends - the difficulty of reaching consensus on deeply rooted national security priorities was understandably difficult even in the best of times.
Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, the newly appointed Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, addressed the Conference on Disarmament for the first time on 14 August, reaffirming her unwavering commitment to supporting the critical work of the Conference and its important mandate.
“I am proud to be the first woman appointed to this position,” she said, stressing that disarmament was a field where more gender balance was needed. While negotiations were indeed the cornerstone of its mandate, the Conference could not be impervious to the geopolitical dynamics of the day, Ms. Valovaya said. To move forward and get things done to deliver on the important mandate bestowed on this body, the Conference must do what it was intended to do: negotiate and agree new instruments governing complex, sensitive and urgent issues of national and international security, issues that impacted on every living being on this planet. The Conference had been a key instrument of multilateral disarmament and arms control for 40 years, but its success depended on the will and commitment of its Member States.
Details and documents related to the 2019 session can be found on the webpage of the Conference, while summaries of all public meetings of the 2019 session are available here.
The 2020 session of the Council will be held in three parts: from 20 January to 27 March, from 25 May to 10 July, and from 3 August to 18 September. Under the rotating presidency system, Algeria will hold the presidency of the Conference when it starts its 2020 session.
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