13 May 2014
The Conference on Disarmament this morning held the first public plenary of the second part of its 2014 session, hearing statements by its President, Algeria and Kyrgyzstan.
Ambassador Toshio Sano of Japan, President of the Conference on Disarmament, said during the previous session, the Conference had agreed on two initial steps for this year: the re-establishment of the informal working group on a programme of work and an agreement on a schedule of activities. Whether the Conference on Disarmament could respond to expectations from the outside depended on its Member States making the best use of these instruments. The President said he had held consultations with the Ambassador of Ecuador, co-chair of the informal working group, and with the Ambassador of Australia, vice-co-chair of the group, during the intersessional period. The P6 also met with the co-chair and vice-co-chair yesterday. Afterwards, the co-chair and vice-co-chair circulated their ideas for the consideration of the Conference in search for a compromise regarding a programme of work, and these ideas would be discussed at the open-ended meeting of the informal working group, which would be held on Monday, 19 May, at 3 p.m.
As for the schedule of activities, Ambassador Sano said the informal substantive meetings on various topics would start next week. To guarantee an environment for the delegates to speak with maximum frankness, the discussion would be conducted among the Member and Observer States in a closed meeting. The meetings would be held in the Council Chamber and would be chaired by the various coordinators. The discussion on the first topic, nuclear disarmament, would commence on Wednesday, 21 May, and would be chaired by the Ambassador of Egypt who would circulate a work plan.
Algeria said it wished the Conference could have agreed on a more ambitious programme of activities, but still welcomed the adoption of the decisions to establish the informal working group and the adoption of the informal timetable of activities. The President had indicated that only Member and Observer States would attend the meetings, but as they would be informal, Algeria believed it would be useful to bring in civil society and non-governmental organizations which were active in this area and authorize them to attend these meetings, in order to benefit from their wisdom and expertise.
Ambassador Sano of Japan said that in principle, he wanted to respect each of the coordinators’ views on how to structure each discussion. He was not yet aware of the coordinators’ work plans, and he did not have the total picture. At this moment, he did not feel it necessary to make a general rule regarding the participation of civil society, but he believed that this might be useful or helpful to stimulate the discussions. He would rely on the decision of each coordinator on this matter.
Kyrgyzstan, speaking on behalf of the five State parties to the Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty, said on May 6, in the margins of the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, France, China, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States signed the legally binding Protocol to the Treaty on Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia, thus providing security assurances not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the Treaty parties: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This would serve the purpose of fostering the nuclear disarmament process and promoting global security. The Treaty on Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia complemented the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and enhanced the international non-proliferation regime by prohibiting, among other things, the development and testing of nuclear weapons within Central Asia. This was another landmark accomplishment in the global non-proliferation regime and disarmament. This was the first time in history that the Protocol to the Treaty had been signed by all nuclear-weapon States simultaneously, and it was hoped that the P5 States would ratify the Protocol to the Treaty in the nearest future.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Conference agreed to a request from Costa Rica to attend the meetings of the 2014 session of the Conference as an observer.
The second part of the 2014 session of the Conference opened on Monday, 12 May and will continue until 27 June.
The next public plenary of the Conference will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 20 May, during which it will hear statements by Michael Møller, Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva; Canada on the work of the group of governmental experts on possible aspects that could contribute to but not negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear weapon explosive devices; Costa Rica on the work of the open-ended working group to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons; France on the work of the Convention on Conventional Weapons informal meeting of experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems; and Russia on the work of the group of governmental experts on transparency and confidence building measures in outer space activities.
For use of the information media; not an official record