UN - United Nations

10/17/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/17/2019 15:39

First Committee (Disarmament and International Security)

Note: A complete summary of today's First Committee meeting will be made available after its conclusion.


The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to continue its general debate. For background information, see Press Release GA/DIS/3624 of 10 October.


LUIS GALLEGOS (Ecuador), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, highlighted his country's adherence to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Underscoring the connection between non‑proliferation and disarmament, he said it is sad to see that those States that possess nuclear weapons are not meeting their obligations. With the approach of the seventy‑fifth anniversary of the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the best tribute States can make to the victims would be to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as his country has done. For its part, Ecuador totally rejects the planning and execution of nuclear tests. Indeed, world peace requires a change in the security doctrines of States that possess nuclear weapons.

NAME TO COME (Bulgaria), associating herself with the European Union, underlined the importance of the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, expressing hope for a successful outcome at its 2020 Review Conference. The only feasible way to achieve universal verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament is through a progressive approach based on practice steps that considers the complex security environment and the strategic context. The Comprehensive Nuclear‑Test‑Ban Treaty's entry into force would be another building block in the construction of a nuclear‑weapon‑free world. She urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to return to compliance with the Non‑Proliferation Treaty and to sign and ratify the Test‑Ban Treaty. She also expressed concern about Iran's decision to suspend the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action on its nuclear programme. On the issue of future weapon‑related technologies, the 11 guiding principles agreed on by the Group of Governmental Experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems can serve as an excellent basis for developing an effective and comprehensive normative and operational framework to control their production, use and transfer.

PETER MATT (Liechtenstein) said key elements of the nuclear disarmament and non‑proliferation architecture are lost or eroding, pointing at the 'defunct' Intermediate‑Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the lack of effort to extend the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, known as the New START Treaty. Liechtenstein considers abandoning the latter agreement without attempting to resolve disputes is inconsistent with article VI of the Non‑Proliferation Treaty obligations of both the Russian Federation and the United States. At the same time, the outlook for the Non‑Proliferation Treaty Review Conference is not promising. However, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has the potential to restore the original balance enshrined in the Non‑Proliferation Treaty, drawing a clear legal line against attempts to justify the use of nuclear weapons. There is also a need to further define a common understanding that international law fully applies to cyberspace, adding that the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace and the International Partnership for Information and Democracy could benefit further from expert views.

NOA FURMAN (Israel), highlighting a persistent lack of commitment among States to fulfil their arms control obligations, said that the Middle East has a culture of non‑compliance and disregard for international obligations. Offering several examples, she highlighted the use of chemical weapons, serious Non‑Proliferation Treaty violations and the transfer of rockets and missiles to terrorist organizations. Iran has violated Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), testing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and attempting to destabilize the region, she said, calling on the international community to condemn such activities and demonstrate zero tolerance towards Tehran's behaviour. Turning to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons, she expressed hope that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation and identification team will succeed in attributing those attacks to their actual perpetrators. However, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction does not create, contribute to the development of, or indicate the existence of customary law related to the subject or the content of that instrument. Turning to regional concerns, she said the idea of establishing a comprehensive security architecture in the Middle East without direct engagement with Israel is 'untenable'. Moreover, initiatives by the Arab Group, such as a conference on a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, to be held at Headquarters in November, go against the guidelines and principles of establishing such zones, as agreed by consensus by the Disarmament Commission in 1999. As such, Israel will not cooperate with such counterproductive initiatives nor will it participate in the upcoming conference and will also refrain from other fora dealing with regional arms control topics.

NAME TO COME (Ethiopia), associating himself/herself with the African Group and Non‑Aligned Movement, said the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is an important milestone towards achieving the goal of a world without such arsenals and complements and reinforces the Non‑Proliferation Treaty, which remains the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime. His/Her delegation supports the convening of a conference on the establishment of a Middle East nuclear‑weapon‑free zone. The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, reaffirms the continent's status as an area that prohibits research on atomic bombs, dumping of radioactive waste and the stationing and testing of related explosive devices on its territory. His/Her country attaches importance to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mandates enhancing the peaceful use of nuclear energy, while seeking to meet its international and regional commitments to combating illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons.

MODEST JONATHAN MERO (United Republic of Tanzania), aligning himself with the African Group and Non‑Aligned Movement, said 'there would always be no winners in nuclear warfare'. As such, he joined other Member States in calling for nuclear‑weapon States to fully comply with legal obligations to accomplish the total elimination of those weapons unconditionally, in a transparent, irreversible and internationally verifiable manner. Expressing regret that the ninth Non‑Proliferation Treaty Review Conference was unable to release a final outcome document, he encouraged the peaceful use of related technology, urging the IAEA to continue providing scientific and technical support to Member States. He cited the proliferation of conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons, landmines and cluster munitions, as the most immediate security challenge to individuals, societies and States, as they fuelled civil wars, organized crime and terrorism. In this vein, he reiterated his Government's commitment to support international efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in these weapons.

MAHMADAMIN MAHMAAMINOV (Tajikistan), emphasizing that the threat of nuclear proliferation remains a serious concern, said strengthening existing multilateral agreements is key for global security and stability. Because the Non‑Proliferation Treaty remains a cornerstone for the global non-proliferation regime, its 2020 Review Conference is an 'excellent opportunity' for its further implementation. Supporting the idea of a world free of nuclear weapons, he called on all parties, especially nuclear‑weapon States, to cooperate in achieving this goal. He also called for a global enforcement of Test‑Ban Treaty. Underlining the importance of nuclear‑weapon‑free zones for global disarmament goals, he declared that Tajikistan is a 'proud part' of the Treaty on a Nuclear‑Weapon‑Free Zone in Central Asia, known as the Semipalatinsk Treaty. He also pointed out the importance of implementing necessary measures against the proliferation and manufacturing of anti‑personnel mines and hoped that Central Asia would become a zone free of these destructive weapons.

MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) called the Non‑Proliferation Treaty the cornerstone of international efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and strengthen the nuclear security architecture. A number of on‑site IAEA inspections have reaffirmed Armenia's commitment in implementing its international obligations with the highest level of transparency. In the same vein, he highlighted the importance of counter‑proliferation initiatives like the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the Proliferation Security Initiative. In addition, international cooperation is required to effectively implement the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. Concerning regional disarmament, he said implementation of all legally binding obligations under the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe is key to ensuring transparency, predictability and military balance. Armenia views its participation in peacekeeping operations as an important contribution to the preservation of international peace and security, he said, adding that his country is mainstreaming the role of women in the security sector.

VIRGILE N. AKIAPO (Côte d'Ivoire), associating himself with the African Group and Non‑Aligned Movement, emphasized the degree to which the proliferation of small arms and light weapons is fuelling conflict, terrorism and organized crime. Despite the numerous mechanisms and forums established to address the problem, it is proving difficult to curb the illicit worldwide circulation of 800 million small arms and light weapons that are responsible for half a million fatalities every year. Current strategies must be redefined, he said, adding that Côte d'Ivoire is putting its hopes on the seventh Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, to be held in New York from 15 to 19 June 2020. Hopefully the issue of ammunition will be integrated into the Programme of Action on Small Arms, he added. He drew attention to steps taken by his country, including modernizing armouries and digitizing its arsenal. He went on to call on nuclear‑weapon States to draw down the operational status of their related weapons systems and extend assurances to non‑nuclear‑weapon countries.

JAIME HERMIDA (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and Central American Integration System, said ballooning military spending worldwide just four years before the deadline of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be justified. The international community must direct its efforts towards peace and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. He emphasized that the only guarantee against the use or threat of use of weapons of mass destruction, and to ensure non‑proliferation among non‑State actors, is to eliminate nuclear weapons completely. Nicaragua looks forward to the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which it has ratified. He also called on the eight countries on which the entry into force of the Test‑Ban Treaty depends to sign and ratify that instrument as soon as possible. Outlining steps the Government is taking with regard to small arms and light weapons, he noted that Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in its region.