CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT HEARS STATEMENTS FROM GROUP OF 21 AND CHILE
Discusses Draft Annual Report to the General Assembly in an Informal Meeting
3 September 2013
The Conference on Disarmament this morning held a public plenary in which it heard statements by Bangladesh on behalf of the Group of 21 on negative security assurances and on the prevention of an arms race in outer space, and a statement by Chile on how to end the stalemate affecting the work of the Conference. The Conference then met in an informal meeting to discuss its draft annual report to the General Assembly.
Ambassador Gerard Corr of Ireland, President of the Conference, said that this morning’s session would be mainly devoted to the consideration of the draft annual report to the General Assembly at its sixty-eighth session. They would hear general statements in the plenary, and then meet informally to discuss the draft annual report.
The third and last part of the Conference on Disarmament’s 2013 session will conclude on Friday, 13 September. The next public plenary of the Conference is expected to take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 10 September.
Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the Group of 21 in a statement concerning negative security assurances, said the Group of 21 reaffirmed that the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Pending the achievement of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, the Group reaffirmed the urgent need to reach an early agreement on a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Such an instrument should be clear, credible, without any ambiguity, and should respond to the concerns of all the parties. Pending the total elimination of all nuclear weapons, the Group believed that the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned, was a positive step and important measure towards strengthening global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The Group of 21 welcomed the nuclear weapons free zones established, and reaffirmed the need for the speedy establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East. Security assurances guaranteed to States members of nuclear weapon free zones could not substitute for universal legally binding security assurances. The Group of 21 accepted that while other approaches existed, efforts to conclude a universal and legally binding instrument on security assurances to non-nuclear weapon States should be vigorously pursued.
Chile noted the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament which had exceeded 15 years and which was a matter of concern for his country. Chile had gone along with a number of initiatives to help break the deadlock. The recent establishment of the Informal Working Group proposed by the Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament was a positive sign. Chile acknowledged that it was difficult to come up with new and creative ideas to break the deadlock, but it had a few points that the Conference should bear in mind. Global civil society was disenchanted with the situation. Chile wished to suggest a few steps which needed to be taken. They should change the Conference into a body with a vision to the future and which responded to problems which were its raison d’être. The Conference needed the support and political will of all its Member States to strengthen the legitimacy of the Conference, which was being questioned by global civil society today. Member States should reconsider the rule of consensus, whose validity dated back to the cold war. They needed flexible bodies which could adapt to the twenty-first century approach. Considering the contribution of civil society was also something that they must respect. The Conference on Disarmament had to start negotiations on negative security assurances. Chile would continue to support ideas that supported multilateralism.
Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the Group of 21 in a statement concerning the prevention of an arms race in outer space, said the Group of 21 reiterated that outer space and other celestial bodies were the common heritage of humankind and must be used, explored and utilized for the benefit and interest of all humankind in a spirit of cooperation. The Group reaffirmed that the exploration and use of outer space and other celestial bodies should be for peaceful purposes only and should be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development. The Group of 21 stressed that the growing use of outer space increased the need for greater transparency, confidence building measures and better information on the part of the international community. The Group emphasized the importance and urgency of preventing an arms race in outer space. In this regard, the Group was deeply concerned over the negative implications of the development and deployment of anti-ballistic-missile defense systems and the pursuit of advanced military technologies capable of being deployed in outer space which had, inter alia, contributed to the further erosion of an international climate conducive to the promotion of disarmament and the strengthening of international security. The Group of 21 considered that the Conference on Disarmament should start negotiations on matters related to the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
For use of the information media; not an official record