Divergent views on how to rid the world of nuclear weapons dominated discussions in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) today, as it reflected on action taken on several draft resolutions and decisions.
Highlighting a broad range of views on disarmament, delegates explained their delegations’ positions and what made them decide to support, vote against or cast an abstention in recorded votes on most of the 24 nuclear-weapon-related draft resolutions and decisions the Committee approved on 1 November. (For more information, see Press Release GA/DIS/3615.)
Many delegates explained their national positions on the issue of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Austria’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said member States of the bloc abstained on the draft decision Convening a Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction (document A/C.1/73/L.22/Rev.1), put forward by the Arab Group. She said the draft decision seeks to use the United Nations General Assembly to vote to convene a treaty-making conference for an instrument whose scope is not intended to be universal.
Some representatives also said their delegations voted against or abstained on L.22/Rev.1 for a variety of reasons. Argentina’s representative said his delegation abstained because while anticipating the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East as soon as possible, his delegation supports the participation of all States in order to reach broad consensus on the matter.
Delegates also shared their positions on the draft resolution The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/73/L.2). By this text, the General Assembly would urge all parties directly concerned seriously to consider taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East. In addition, it would reaffirm the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and call upon that State to accede to the Treaty without further delay.
Echoing a common view, Switzerland’s representative said her delegation voted in favour of the draft resolution, but remains disappointed the text only includes one dimension and singles out one State.
Meanwhile, India’s delegate said that his delegation could not support the draft resolution The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/73/L.2), as his country is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The positions of nuclear-weapon States were also explained with reference to a raft of texts. The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking also on behalf of France and the United States, said that while their three countries seek a safer world for all and they continue to take concrete steps towards that end based on the principle of undiminished security for all, elements of the draft resolution Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free-World (document A/C.1/73/L.46) contains several assertions that are incompatible with their national security doctrines.
In addition, he said, the three countries voted against the draft resolution Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (document A/C.1/73/L.64), as it welcomes the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which they oppose. This Treaty will only take Member States farther away from nuclear disarmament and create divisions that could make further progress on disarmament even more difficult, he said.
Similarly, other delegates chose to vote against or abstain from any draft text referring to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Sweden’s representative, among others, said his Government is currently analysing the instrument and the ongoing inquiry affected his country’s vote on other drafts mentioning the Treaty. As such, he said Sweden abstained on the draft resolution Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (document A/C.1/73/L.24), which would have the General Assembly welcome the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 7 July 2017 and call upon all States that have not yet done so to sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to the Treaty at the earliest possible date.
Speaking in explanation of position were the representatives of Bulgaria (for Greece, Iceland, Norway, Portugal and Spain), Qatar (for Arab States), Brazil, Pakistan, Egypt, Venezuela, China, Mexico, France, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Australia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russian, Federation, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, El Salvador, Algeria, Thailand, Spain, Japan, Ecuador, Israel, Republic of Korea, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Cuba and Costa Rica.
The representatives of Syria, Canada, Iran, United States and Russian Federation spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 5 November to continue its consideration of all draft resolutions and decisions before it.
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to take action on all draft resolutions and decisions before it. For background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3597 of 8 October.
Action on Draft Texts
At the outset of the meeting, delegates explained their positions on nuclear weapon-related draft resolutions the Committee approved on 1 November. (For details on voting results, see Press Release GA/DIS/3615.)
The representative of Bulgaria, speaking on behalf of Greece, Iceland, Norway, Portugal and Spain, said their delegations were not in a position to support the draft resolution Follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament (document A/C.1/73/L.14). Highlighting the fundamental role of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, she said nuclear disarmament is directly linked to the strengthening of this regime. While sharing the concern of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will not contribute to their elimination. Only by recognizing both the security and humanitarian dimensions of nuclear weapons will a world free of nuclear weapons be attained.
The representative of Qatar, on behalf of the Arab States, said members voted in favour of the draft resolution Nuclear disarmament (document A/C.1/73/L.28), as they are committed to supporting the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Referencing Myanmar, one of the draft resolution’s co-sponsors, he highlighted that the Arab States are concerned about the situation of the Rohingya people in the country.
The representative of the United Kingdom, also speaking on behalf of France and the United States, said that with regard to L.14, nuclear proliferation and non-compliance to commitments were a serious threat to international peace and security. Unfortunately, L.14 does not address these threats. Addressing the international security environment is crucial to make progress on nuclear disarmament. The Non-Proliferation Treaty is an essential foundation for such efforts. Indeed, the draft resolution takes notes of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which his delegation strongly opposed. On the draft resolution Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free-World (document A/C.1/73/L.46), he said the group of States seeks a safer world for all and continues to take concrete steps towards that end based on the principle of undiminished security for all. However, L.46 contains several assertions that are incompatible with their national security doctrines. Meanwhile, the countries voted against the draft resolution Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments (document A/C.1/73/L.64), as it welcomes the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which they oppose. This Treaty will only take Member States farther away from nuclear disarmament and create divisions that could make further progress on disarmament even more difficult.
The representative of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the member States of the bloc abstained on the draft decision Convening a Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction (document A/C.1/73/L.22/Rev.1), put forward by the Arab Group, which seeks to use the United Nations General Assembly to vote to convene a treaty-making conference for an instrument whose scope is not intended to be universal.
The representative of India said that his delegation could not support the draft resolution The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/73/L.2), as his country is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. India welcomes the adoption of the draft decision on Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status (document A/C.1/73/L.19) due to its close ties with the country, but abstained on L.22/Rev.1 because the process of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East must be agreed upon among all States in the region. India also could not support the draft resolution Humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/73/L.23). It did not support the draft resolution Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (document A/C.1/73/L.24), as a nuclear ban treaty should be established in the Conference on Disarmament. India abstained on L.28, but supported the draft resolution African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (document A/C.1/73/L.33). India could not support the draft resolution United action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/73/L.54), voting against operative paragraph 5 and abstaining on operative paragraph 21. India withdrew from co-sponsorship and abstained on the draft resolution Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/73/L.57/Rev.1). In addition, India could not support the draft resolution Ethical imperatives for a nuclear-weapon-free world (document A/C.1/73/L.62) and voted against operative paragraph 15 of L.64.
The representative of Brazil, referring to L.22/Rev.1, said his Government recognizes the importance of a conference towards the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and has been actively supporting efforts to address the issue. Nonetheless, the proposed process runs parallel to the Non-Proliferation Treaty framework. On the draft resolution The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (document A/C.1/73/L.25), he said that while Brazil does not adhere to this measure, it voted in favour out of respect for the many States that subscribe to it. Broadly speaking, Brazil supports regional and international efforts to curb ballistic missile systems and hopes The Hague Code of Conduct evolves into a solid framework for a universal instrument that outlines clear obligations for all States. On the draft resolution Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (document A/C.1/73/L.26), he said that while Brazil supports the Treaty as an important nuclear non-proliferation measure, it opposes the mention of Security Council resolution 2310 (2016), as it unduly encroaches on the responsibility of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. Furthermore, L.26 does not mention new nuclear-weapon-related technologies.
The representative of Pakistan, referring to L.28, said that while his delegation supports several elements, including the conclusion of a legally-binding instrument on negative security assurances, it abstained because his country is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pakistan voted in favour of the draft resolution Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons (document A/C.1/73/L.44), as it does every year. The right of each State to security should be kept in mind at each stage of the disarmament process. Meanwhile, Pakistan abstained from L.54 and regrets the unrealistic call on his country to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Furthermore, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards only apply to those who subscribe to it under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In addition, Pakistan voted against the draft resolution Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (document A/C.1/73/L.58), as such an instrument would not serve the objectives of disarmament or non-proliferation and would be detrimental to regional stability. In Asia, it would worsen the strategic imbalance already in place because of double standards. While Pakistan values certain aspects of L.64, it cannot accept the unrealistic call for the country to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon State. It abstained on the draft as a whole and voted against operative paragraph 15.
The representative of Egypt said it abstained L.54 as a whole and on many paragraphs, as the draft resolution implies that nuclear disarmament is a responsibility that should be shared equally between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon States. Meanwhile, some paragraphs continued to weaken language regarding the outcomes of the Non-Proliferation Treaty review conferences. On operative paragraph 20, for instance, the language does not meet the minimum criteria envisioned for a fissile material cut-off treaty.
The representative of Venezuela said his delegation abstained on L.54, including on some of the various paragraphs, as they dilute the responsibility of nuclear-weapon States and makes no reference to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The representative of China said his delegation did not participate in the negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and voted against all texts that support this instrument. China voted against L.54, as it failed to draw lessons from history. China always sympathizes with survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but these incidents should not be singled out. China also voted against L.23 and L.62.
The representative of Mexico said her delegation abstained on L.54 due to some newly introduced changes and a deviation in interpretation from language of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The representative of Argentina said his delegation abstained on L.22/Rev.1. Argentina supports the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone contributes to peace and security and is part of a region that has been at the forefront of this issue. While anticipating the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East as soon as possible, his delegation supports the participation of all States in order to reach broad consensus on the matter. Argentina abstained on L.24, as his delegation has a clear commitment to disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, attested to by its membership in the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlateloco). However, it has not yet signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and continues to conduct analyses on its impact on the non-proliferation regime.
The representative of France, referring to L.54, said that despite efforts to strike a balance on various sensitivities, his delegation could not support it and voted against several paragraphs which included language that establishes a link between the catastrophic use of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament. The draft resolution also highlights other concepts, such as unattended detonation, which have not garnered consensus. For France, nuclear weapons are a means of deterrence aimed at protecting State interests. France is concerned by the current emotional and divisive approach to nuclear disarmament, which is disconnected from today’s strategic context. In this vein, the commitments made towards disarmament need to take into account security threats. However, his delegation welcomes references in the text to the work of the Group of Governmental Experts, High-level Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Expert Preparatory Group and discussions on verification of nuclear disarmament.
The representative of Liechtenstein abstained on L.54 because of several substantial changes made in the text since 2016. The draft resolution should at least make a reference to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was the outcome emanating from negative developments in nuclear disarmament.
The representative of Singapore, referring to L.24, said his country is committed to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, the only guarantee against their use. However, his Government’s position on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons remains clear and, as such, his delegation abstained on paragraphs mentioning the instrument. Singapore regrets that concerns it has about the Treaty were not taken into account when the instrument was negotiated. While there are multiple pathways towards a nuclear-weapon-free world, all parties must be involved in the process, he said, adding that Singapore will continue to work constructively toward that goal.
The representative of Switzerland, also speaking on behalf of Sweden, said they voted in favour of L.54 as a whole, as their delegations share the objective of the draft resolution and welcome some of the changes made during the Committee’s current session. However, he expressed concern about several provisions, including paragraphs that include language deviating from agreed provisions of the outcome document of the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. In addition, there is no explicit call to urge Annex II States to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. States need to stand by agreed road maps and principles.
In her national capacity, she said Switzerland voted in favour of L.2, but remains disappointed that the draft resolution only includes one dimension of the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and singles out one State. At the same time, her delegation abstained from L.22/Rev.1. While sharing disappointment that work towards the establishment of such a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East has not advanced, she said the process must be inclusive. Her delegation is also concerned about the significant resources involved in convening a conference on the issue due to its current open-ended nature. Meanwhile, Switzerland abstained from L.24 as it has decided not to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at this juncture and continues to analyse its impact on other disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.
The representative of Australia maintained his delegation’s position and voted in favour of L.1 and L.2, but abstained on L.22.Rev.1, as the latter does not enjoy universal support by all States in the region.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his delegation abstained on L.64, as his country is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. His delegation also voted in favour of L.2. and L.28, but disassociated itself from references to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation could not co-sponsor the Australian-sponsored L.26, on the Test-Ban Treaty because the draft resolution does not reflect critical developments over the past year that have changed the situation, including negative actions taken by the United States and positive steps taken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that shifted the situation on the Korean Peninsula. In addition, the draft resolution’s author did not consult with the Russian Federation. Regarding L.22/Rev.1, the United Kingdom, France and the United States are undermining the process towards establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. The three countries disregarded the Arab Group’s proposal, forcing their allies to vote against it or abstain on it, he said, urging other delegations to support the Arab proposal in the General Assembly.
The representative of Malaysia commended Japan for tabling L.54 and its efforts to consult with Member States and forge common ground. As in previous years, his delegation voted in favour of the draft resolution as a whole, but has concerns on particular paragraphs. On operative paragraph 2, the undertaking of nuclear-weapon States relates to the achievement of the elimination of their arsenals, as per article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, the text does not represent the risks undermining their prior commitments. Accordingly, Malaysia has abstained. On operative paragraph 3, Malaysia abstained, as it does not support the inclusion of new language making commitments conditional on developments in the international security landscape. On operative paragraph 7, his delegation also abstained because of the attenuation of the language compared to previous versions of the draft resolution. On operative paragraph 18, it abstained, as Malaysia only acknowledges that Annex II States have not yet ratified the Test-Ban Treaty, instead of urging them to do so.
The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, referred to L.14, saying that the countries share a long-term goal of the draft resolution and supported holding a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament in 2013. However, various proposals were not captured in the draft resolution. While the Non-Proliferation Treaty is the international legal instrument for achieving and maintaining a nuclear-weapon-free world, L.14 fails to recognize its central role.
The representative of Sweden said his delegation abstained from L.24. Following negotiations that led to the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Sweden put together an inquiry to analyse the instrument, the results of which will form the basis of the Government’s consideration of the matter. The ongoing inquiry also affects Sweden’s vote on other drafts mentioning the Treaty.
The representative of the United Kingdom, explaining his delegation’s abstention on L.1, said his Government remains committed to establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East that is freely arrived at from all States in the region. However, L.1 no longer has the support from all States in the region. Aligning with the European Union on L.22/Rev.1, he said the United Kingdom remains fully committed to creating a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone and is prepared to consider all suggestions on the way forward, but a conference on the issue can only succeed if all States agree to it. Furthermore, the draft decision isolates one State, does not address the financial viability of such an initiative and is a poor use of Member contributions.
The representative of New Zealand said her delegation abstained on L.46, as it is unclear how the Declaration could get us to a world free of nuclear weapons. It also abstained on L.22/Rev.1.
The representative of El Salvador said his delegation voted in favour of L.54 and co-sponsored this text, because the draft resolution remains realistic despite the changes made to the text.
The representative of Algeria said his delegation adheres to the United Nations Charter and to collective multilateralism. Therefore, it abstained on L.25 on The Hague Code of Conduct, a measure adopted outside the United Nations that is unbalanced and selective. His delegation also abstained on L.54, as it does not reflect the principles Algeria subscribes to.
The representative of Thailand said her delegation abstained on L.44, as the only way to eliminate the risk of use of nuclear weapons is their total elimination.
The representative of Spain said on the draft resolution African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (document A/C.1/73/L.33) L.33 said the instrument, known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, is an important contribution to international peace and security. Spain maintains close relations with African countries and has helped to promote sustainable development on the continent. It has also helped States parties acquire capacities needed for its effective implementation. Nevertheless, Spain did not sign Protocol 3 of the Treaty because the instrument contains no obligation or safeguard which Spain has not already adopted. All of its territory has been declared denuclearized since 1976. Indeed, Spain has already taken measures so that the Treaty’s content applies throughout its territory. Concerning paragraph 5 of L.33, Spain hopes that future versions of the draft resolution will have more balanced language.
The representative of Japan said his delegation abstained on L.22. While his delegation shares the goal of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, it believes the entire Non-Proliferation Treaty community must encourage that decisions are freely arrived at by all States in the region. Japan supports and is prepared to facilitate efforts based on the agreement of all States. Meanwhile, his Government is concerned about the related conference and its financial implications. On L.24, he said that while Japan suffered from the consequences of nuclear weapons, Member States must recommit to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in the two years leading up to its 2020 Review Conference and work on concrete and practical steps to advance nuclear disarmament, regardless of differences in approaches towards common goals.
The representative of Ecuador, referring to L.26, said his country ratified the Test-Ban Treaty and complied with its obligations. His delegation voted to retain preambular paragraph 4, but regrets that the text mentions Security Council resolution 2310 (2016). The inclusion of this reference was the Council’s attempt to interfere in the Treaty. No provision of the United Nations Charter gives the Council a mandate to interfere in the functioning of international instruments. The Test-Ban Treaty’s entry into force will happen when Annex II States ratify it. Any distractions from this reality cannot be accepted. On L.44, his delegation voted in favour and supports efforts to eliminate such nuclear weapons, however, the way forward to achieve that objective is the universalization of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. On L.54, he said that while important concepts have been introduced, Ecuador is concerned that some paragraphs have been changed in a manner that weakens the draft resolution and makes it unambitious in efforts towards achieving the goal of its title, United action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons. It hopes future version of L.54 encompass all progress made in nuclear disarmament, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The representative of Israel said his delegation has traditionally supported the draft resolution L.1 on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East for the sake of consensus. But, consensus has just been broken by the Arab Group, which altered the status quo by submitting L.22/Rev.1. Therefore, Israel could not support L.1. Israel voted against L.2 as it neither serves the interests of the region nor the international community and curtails a chance for real dialogue between States in the region. It voted against the draft decision on Missiles (document A/C.1/73/L.10), as the author, Iran, is a violator of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has a clandestine nuclear programme that contributes to missile proliferation. Israel voted against L.22/Rev.1, as it creates another platform to single out his country with no respect for its national security. The Arab Group chose this course intentionally knowing that Israel cannot take this path. He also expressed reservations about L.24. Israel voted in favour of L.26 despite the fact that it cannot support some paragraphs. Regarding L.58, it is questionable that a fissile material cut-off treaty would be effective in the Middle East.
The representative of the Republic of Korea said his delegation abstained on L.54 because his Government believes that the tone of the draft resolution could have been phrased more appropriately to consider the suffering of atomic bomb victims regardless of their nationality.
The representative of Turkey said her delegation abstained on L.22/Rev.1, as the process contained in this text could not generate an effective outcome.
The representative of Syria said his delegation voted in favour of L.1, L.2 and L.22/Rev.1. Syria is among the first in the region to call for a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons. Syria sought to adopt a resolution in the Security Council in 2003 on that matter, but the United States vetoed it. Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, their delivery system and its chemical and biological arsenal are real threats to the regional security. In addition, the United States protects Israel. Syria voted in favour of L.46, but abstained on a paragraph that refers to the action plan of the Secretary-General which contains allegations against his country. His delegation abstained on L.26, he said, expressing reservations about all paragraphs referring to the Test-Ban Treaty. Syria also abstained on L.58, as his country does not address the issue of fissile material stockpiles. His delegation also abstained on L.25.
The representative of Iran said his delegation voted in favour of L.1 to support the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, which his country initially proposed. He condemned the United States for breaking the consensus on the draft, which he said proves that the country is not a reliable party. Iran also voted in favour of L.2 which reflects the concern that Israel, as the only non-party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, represents the biggest nuclear risk in the region. His delegation fully supports operative paragraphs 5 and 6, which call on Israel to accede to the Treaty and to put its facilities under IAEA safeguards. Iran also voted in favour of L.22/Rev.1 based on principled position, consistent with article 7 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The draft also recognizes the essential role of the United Nations in the convening of such a conference and calls for a consensus-based process. In rejecting L.22/Rev.1, the United States and Israel have shown hypocrisy on the issue. On L.25, he said that since The Hague Code of Conduct was first tabled in 2004, Iran has been consistent on its position and voted against the draft. The Hague Code of Conduct was adopted outside the United Nations in a non-transparent, unbalanced manner. In addition, L.25 is silent regarding real threats and fails to call an end to the nuclear-armed ballistic missiles of possessor States. Meanwhile, it discourages States from holding conventionally-armed ballistic missiles as part of their right to self-defence.
The representative of Cuba said her delegation will register its intention regarding the vote on separate paragraphs of draft resolutions and decisions approved by the Committee on 1 November and provide it general statements and explanations of vote.
The representative of Costa Rica, referring to L.54, said it abstained despite efforts made by the penholder, as the text was weakened with regard to provisions of the Test-Ban Treaty and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Costa Rica hopes it can support the draft in the future.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Syria said his counterpart from the United States levelled false accusations. The United States is undermining all international disarmament efforts and its Administration is doing everything to undermine international security, as it is expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal in breach of its commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Indeed, it would take months to mention all of the country’s violations of international instruments. The United States is helping Israel to develop its nuclear, chemical and biological weapon programmes, in breach of its commitments under relevant treaties. It is also supervising the transfer of chemicals onto Syrian territory and is cooperating with terrorists. Citing mass graves of Syrians found in Raqqa, he said the illegal global coalition operating in his country is responsible for killing thousands.
The representative of Canada, responding to comments made by several countries, said the scope of a future fissile material cut-off treaty should not be viewed as a precondition for its negotiation. Her delegation is looking to build upon the preparatory group’s work and supports the immediate commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament. Such a treaty would offer concrete benefits to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.
The representative of Iran said several delegations levelled allegations against his country. Iran fully cooperates with IAEA and is a responsible party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel cannot make a smokescreen for the fact that it is the only non-party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in the region. The officials of this regime continue to lie in international forums, he said, emphasizing that Iran is committed to its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The representative of the United States, responding to his counterpart from the Russian Federation, said that Moscow’s propaganda was in full display today. The Russian Federation violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. His delegation has provided information to the Russian side, but it continued to deny it and falsely claim that Washington, D.C. is in violation. After more than five years of trying to get the Russian side to return to compliance, the United States began to take steps to withdraw from the Treaty. But, based on the Russian Federation’s unwillingness, such a prospect is unlikely. Moscow’s violations of other treaties also have implications on strategic stability. The United States does not force its allies to take certain positions because they are democracies and they make their own decisions. The Russian Federation’s delegate should look very closely in the mirror. Regarding other issues, he said Syria violates the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. Syria’s representative said that the United Nations supports the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), he said, asking Who believes this guy? Iran is a sponsor of terrorism and has no credibility. The United States intends to re-impose sanctions on Iran.
The representative of the Russian Federation said the United States employed MK-41 system in Europe, which could launch intermediate-range missiles in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. He also warned against Washington, D.C. and its nuclear sharing in Europe. Irresponsible decisions taken by the United States are undermining international security, he said, wondering who had left the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty [Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems]. At the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the United States blocked consensus on the process of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and was not prepared to comply with its obligation under the 1995 Review Conference outcome document. A United States withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty would lead to a new arms race in direct violation of article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. To preserve the headway made over past decades, he said the Russian Federation is still optimistic that the United States will take the path of dialogue.
Source: United Nation