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PRESIDENT OF CONFERENCE SAYS DRAFT DECISION TO BE CIRCULATED TO RE-ESTABLISH THE INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON A PROGRAMME OF WORK

PRESIDENT OF CONFERENCE SAYS DRAFT DECISION TO BE CIRCULATED TO RE-ESTABLISH THE INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON A PROGRAMME OF WORK
Brazil, Iraq and Algeria Address the Conference
25 February 2014

The Conference on Disarmament held a public plenary this morning, hearing the President say that a common will had clearly emerged to re-establish the Informal Working Group on a programme of work and a draft decision would be circulated by the end of this week, to be adopted next week.

Ambassador Vinicio Mati of Italy, the President of the Conference,  updated Member States on progress of the dual-track approach he was taking, namely the renewal of the Informal Working Group on a programme of work and the appointment of coordinators on certain topics by regional groups.  He said an informal meeting was held yesterday afternoon and during the discussions the common will had clearly emerged to have the Informal Working Group re-established and to bring the Conference back to work as soon as possible.  There were different views on whether to reference CD/1864 in the draft paper on the Informal Working Group, but finally an agreement was reached.  The President said a draft decision would be circulated by the end of this week in order to be adopted next week.  Regarding the second track, the President said he had invited the regional groups to a presentation of the proposals made to them and had asked them to appoint coordinators for each topic.

Brazil spoke about disarmament activities in Latin American and Caribbean States, which were pioneers in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.  The cooperation and commitment to disarmament goals demonstrated it was possible to live safely without nuclear weapons, as long as countries agreed that peace and cooperation were goals to be pursued above all other considerations.

Iraq said the Conference on Disarmament was going through a very critical time and Member States had to double their efforts to agree on a comprehensive and balanced programme of work, in order to accomplish progress similar to that of the past, when the Conference made landmark achievements.  Iraq strongly supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, and regretted that a conference had not been held to that end, especially given the current conditions in the region.

Algeria said it fully supported the President in all of his efforts in the dual-track approach.  Algeria said using language and words that had already been adopted by the Conference, particularly regarding fissile materials, would really help the adoption of the decision on the re-establishment of an Informal Working Group. 

The Conference on Disarmament will hold its annual high-level segment.  The first public plenary will take place on Monday, 3 March at 11 a.m. with an address by the  President of the United Nations General Assembly, John William Ashe, and other dignitaries.  Public plenaries would also be held at 3 p.m. on 3 March, and on Tuesday, 4 March at 10 a.m. and on Wednesday, 5 March at 10 a.m.  

The programme and list of speakers will be available on the website this week. 

Statement by the President of the Conference on Disarmament

Ambassador VINICIO MATI of Italy, President of the Conference on Disarmament, gave an update on recent developments, saying he would continue along the path taken by previous presidents towards the implementation of the dual-track approach.  The first track was the renewal of the Informal Working Group.  The President said the draft paper circulated by the previous President among Member States had been returned with amendments, as some States found some of the wording – particularly references to a past programme of work (CD/1864) - unacceptable.  An informal meeting was held yesterday afternoon and during the discussions the common will clearly emerged to have the Informal Working Group re-established and to bring the Conference back to work as soon as possible.  There were different views on whether to reference CD/1864 in the draft paper on the Informal Working Group, but finally an agreement was reached.  The President said a draft decision would be circulated by the end of this week in order to be adopted next week.  Regarding the second track, the President said he had invited the regional groups to a presentation of the proposals made to them and had asked them to appoint coordinators for each topic.  The presentation would be made under the responsibility of the President, accompanied by the other members of the P6.  The presentation would be conducted by the Presidency with the accompanying support of the P6 in order to show continuity between the rotating presidents.

Statements

Brazil referred to the Second Summit of the Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held in Havana in January 2014, and the Second International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons held earlier this month in Mexico.  The Nayarit Conference had reinforced the perception that urgent action was needed to prevent a global humanitarian catastrophe which would result from any nuclear detonation, accidental or deliberate.  Brazil believed it was high time to declare both the use and the possession of nuclear weapons as unacceptable.  A comprehensive assessment of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons would only confirm that those weapons were illegitimate and should be outlawed, and eliminated.  In that context Brazil welcomed the announcement by the Government of Austria that it would hold the Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons later this year.  Latin American and Caribbean States were pioneers in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, and the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in their region in 1968 inspired other global regions to follow suit.  That cooperation and commitment to disarmament goals demonstrated by Latin American and Caribbean States showed it was possible to live safely without nuclear weapons, as long as countries agreed that peace and cooperation were goals to be pursued above all other considerations.

Iraq said the Conference on Disarmament was going through a very critical time and Member States had to double their efforts to agree a comprehensive and balanced programme of work, in order to accomplish progress similar to that of the past, when the Conference made landmark achievements.  In 2012 Iraq had ratified the Additional Protocol related to the Safeguards Agreement of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and in 2013 it had ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.  Iraq emphasized the need to start negotiations on a phased programme for the total elimination of nuclear weapons within a specific time frame.   Iraq supported efforts to ban the production of fissile material used to produce nuclear weapons and other explosives, and said the Conference had a responsibility to prevent the militarization of outer space by establishing an international instrument.  The expansion of the membership of the Conference was fully supported by Iraq, especially as that was how Iraq itself became a member.  Iraq strongly supported the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, and regretted that a conference had not been held to that end, especially given the current conditions in the region.  In concluding remarks, Iraq regretted that the draft programme of work CD/1955, put forward under its presidency last year, did not win consensus, but was encouraged by the adoption of CD/1956.Rev.1 in August 2013 which established the Informal Working Group, described by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as an innovative attempt to take modest steps forward.  Iraq offered its full support to efforts to renew the Informal Working Group mandate.

Algeria echoed its support for all efforts that would lead the Conference on Disarmament to a balanced and comprehensive programme of work that would address the security concerns of its Member States.  Algeria said its position was well known to everyone.  It fully supported the President in all of his efforts in the dual-track approach.  Algeria said it believed that the schedule of activities should be an official decision of the Conference on Disarmament and the wording of the different questions should be on its agenda.  Algeria said using language that had already been adopted by the Conference, particularly regarding fissile materials, would really help the adoption of such a decision.  The work of the coordinators should be the subject of an official report which should also be adopted as an official document, Algeria added. 


For use of the information media; not an official record

DC14/007E