Conference on Disarmament Holds Last Plenary under the Presidency of Cameroon
The Conference on Disarmament this morning held its last plenary meeting under the Presidency of Cameroon.
Ambassador Salomon Eheth of Cameroon, outgoing President of the Conference on Disarmament, recalled that nine plenary meetings had been held under his Presidency, all of which had given rise to rich, dense communications and, above all, been expressive of the dynamics of scientific and technological progress in the field of so-called weapons of mass destruction and related equipment. These exchanges had served as a reminder of the urgent need to revive negotiations on disarmament. The President noted with satisfaction the need expressed by all delegations that had taken the floor to preserve atmospheric space from military use; only a legally binding instrument, in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 75/36, was in the view of the majority the best way to guarantee security in space. Many statements had stressed the importance, and the urgency, of establishing effective international arrangements to guarantee non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. They also said that the creation of several nuclear-weapon-free zones, which included many States, should be promoted.
With regard to new types and systems of weapons of mass destruction and radiological weapons, the President said it had become clear to all that the international community should emphasize the role of science and technology in strengthening international security. It was urgent that the Conference on Disarmament played its part, that it emerged from the lethargy into which it had been plunged for several years, and that those present reactivate the negotiations, taking into account all the issues, including "disarmament and development".
Ambassador Leslie Norton of Canada, incoming President of the Conference on Disarmament, told the Conference that Canada would follow the footsteps of previous presidencies. Canada would circulate its programme in writing shortly, which may still be amended in the upcoming months. On Tuesday, 22 June, it would organize a general discussion on agenda item 6, which would not be limited in any way, nor include any guest speakers. An open discussion on item 7 would take place in the same format on 3 August. A youth event would be held on 27 July, and in that context Jayathma Wickramanayake, the United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth , Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs, as well as young people from five countries would address the Conference. Canada would also propose a linguistic update to the rules of procedures to reflect the equality between men and women. An opportunity would also be provided to Member States to discuss the report CD/2197 put together by the Australian Presidency, which drew from consultations held during its presidency.
Speakers thanked and congratulated the Cameroonian Presidency, notably for organizing thematic discussions at the Conference. Speakers also welcomed the integration of gender equality into the work of the Conference. In light of the sanitary situation in Switzerland, speakers expressed hope that meetings in person would resume soon at the Palais des Nations.
Speaking were Chile, China, Egypt, and Kenya.
The Conference will next meet in public at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 22 June for the first plenary meeting under the Presidency of Canada, during which a general discussion on agenda item 6 on a comprehensive programme on disarmament will be held.