Conference Unable to Reach Consensus on Draft Programme of Work
12 February 2013
The Conference on Disarmament this morning held a public plenary in which many States condemned today’s nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The draft programme of work presented by the President of the Conference, Ambassador Andras Dekany of Hungary, did not receive consensus.
Ambassador Dekany, President of the Conference, officially introducing the draft programme of work contained in CD/1948, reiterated that the principles of consensus and multilateral negotiations had been reflected in the draft using agreed language, and urged delegations to move beyond their comfort zones: even if they were not completely pleased with the text the need not to stand against it. When Ambassador Dekany asked if there were objections to the adoption of the draft programme of work, Pakistan reiterated its concerns expressed during the debate and said that at this stage the language used made the programme of work unacceptable.
Other States expressed their concerns, but the majority of them said explicitly that they were nevertheless willing to support the draft.
In concluding remarks, Ambassador Dekany said that the Conference on Disarmament’s responsibility to promote disarmament had been highlighted by the latest nuclear test in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and lamented that one more item had been added to the list of un-adopted programmes of work.
The Conference also accepted requests by Denmark, Guinea and Thailand to attend the 2013 session of the Conference as observers.
Addressing the conference today were Nigeria, Iraq, Tunisia, United States, Canada, Republic of Korea, Japan, Finland, Tunisia, Ireland on behalf of the European Unions, Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, Pakistan, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Brazil, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Russia, China, France, Australia, Indonesia, Egypt, Algeria, Iran, and South Africa.
The next public plenary of the Conference will be held on Tuesday, 19 February at 10 a.m.
ANDRAS DEKANY, President of the Conference on Disarmament, introducing draft programme of work CD/1299, said that consultations with delegations and regional groups carried out in recent weeks were reflected in the text. He said that the document emphasized the multilateral character of nuclear disarmament negotiations, and, as an additional guarantee, the possibility of the changing of mandates, if decided by the Conference by consensus, had been incorporated into the preamble, using the agreed language of resolution CD/1864, as requested by some delegations. In relation to concerns expressed by Members of the Group of 21 regarding the need to emphasize nuclear disarmament as a separate issue from the negotiation of an instrument on fissile materials, Ambassador Dekany said that during the consultations it became clear that putting the issue of the ban on fissile materials under the umbrella of nuclear disarmament emphasized the importance of nuclear disarmament. He added that it was important to leave comfort zones behind and as such this paragraph did not fall within the comfort zone of many but it should be clear that the text was balance. The President thus asked delegations while not completely pleased with the text, not to stand against it.
Nigeria welcomed the extensive consultations carried out by the President and the efforts put into coming up with a draft programme of work. Nigeria reiterated the President’s hope that the Conference would be able to agree on a package acceptable to all. Of the core issues in the Conference, the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) was one that seemed to be at the centre of the stalemate witnessed for close to two decades. A common thread in the President’s draft programme of work and documents CD/1864 and CD/1933, was a reference to CD/1299 as the basis for negotiating a treaty banning the production of fissile material. In 18 years the Conference on Disarmament had been unable to come up with anything different to deal with Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) other than what Ambassador Gerarld Shannon presented in his report in March 1995. CD/1299 was significant today as it had then been.
A positive aspect of CD/1299 which could form the basis for negotiating a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) was the fact that the mandate for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee left the door open for all delegations to raise within the Committee all issues of concern to them relating to fissile material. According to the Shannon report, this included issues pertaining to the scope of the treaty. Anything and everything should be on the negotiating table. Nigeria therefore called on all delegations to show flexibility and support this aspect of the draft programme of work. As the President had suggested, this may be a make or break year for the Conference and, past successes notwithstanding, it risked becoming insular and disconnected if it continued to act in a manner that ran counter to the legitimate expectations of the global public.
Iraq welcomed the efforts of the President to take the Conference on Disarmament out of its current impasse and to move towards serious steps for success. The President’s draft programme of work contained new ideas and attempted to bring the Conference out of deadlock by striking a balance among different concerns and the effort reach solutions backed by consensus. This effort was positively reflected in the number of amendments made to the draft programme of work and the consideration to different positions with regards to the election of the heads of working groups.
Weapons of mass destruction continued to threaten the very existence of humankind; nevertheless, the Conference had been unable to break out from stagnation while the threat of weapons of mass destruction continued to increase. As the world’s sole disarmament multilateral body, it was the responsibility of the Conference to free the world from the threat posed by these weapons. The very credibility of the Conference on Disarmament was at risk and it was unacceptable that it remained unproductive.
United States said that the draft programme of work was not ideal as the dedicated working group on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty had been lost. In the view of the United States, it was not possible to achieve disarmament without cutting up the production of fissile material and a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty remained essential to the vision of a world without nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the United States appreciated the efforts made by the President to move forward and was ready to accept the draft. While some States mentioned that the draft represented a step back this showed that it constituted a compromise. The United States was not sure whether the President should be congratulated on the success or condoled on the failure of yet another effort to move forward, since it was not clear how Member States would react to the proposal, but the United States thanked the President for his efforts to draft a Programme of Work.
The United States expressed concern about the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that another nuclear test had been conducted and quoted a statement made by President Obama on this regard. The test constituted a highly provocative act that, following the December ballistic missile launch, violated numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions and contravened the Democratic People's Republic of Korea international commitments. Its nuclear and ballistic missile programme also constituted a threat to the security of the United States, which remained committed to international security and to that of its allies in the region. Far from achieving the goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had increasingly impoverished its people by pursuing a nuclear weapons programme and the means of delivery. The United States would continue to take steps necessary to defend itself and its allies, including through strong cooperation with partners, the United Nations Security Council and other Member States.
Canada said that the draft programme of work represented a creative attempt to overcome the current impasse and hoped that a viable consensus could be found. Compromise was needed and many States would have to make concessions on their priority issues. Canada would have preferred to have a separated working group dedicated to a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty; however, Canada looked forward to see the Conference back to work on the core issues. The General Assembly had called on the Conference not only to agree on a programme of work but to implemented it and Canada believed that if this programme of work could be agreed upon and implemented with a view to achieving progress on the four core issues. It was incumbent on all Members to ensure that this programme of work was pursued.
Canada also expressed deep concern about reports that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had carried out another nuclear test, as this challenged efforts to strengthen nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts and was in violation of its non-proliferation obligations. She added that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must immediately end nuclear testing, return to compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and cooperate with international entities such as the IAEA and the CTBTO.
Republic of Korea condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea third nuclear test on 12 February in Pung-gye-ri, North Hamgyong province, in disregard of the repeated warnings of the United Nations Security Council and the international community. The irresponsible behavior went against the common goal of halting nuclear proliferation and promoting nuclear disarmament. Recently the United Nations Security Council had adopted Resolution 2087, in which expressed its determination to take significant actions in the event of a further launch or nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the immediate breach of the Security Council resolution was no less than a direct challenge to the international community and its non-proliferation and disarmament regime.
For the last two decade the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had posed a serious threat to the international nonproliferation and disarmament regimes and despite multiple resolutions condemning the missile launches and nuclear tests adopted by the United Nations Security Council, including resolutions 1695 and 1718 in 2006, resolution 1874 in 2009 and resolution 2087 this year. The Republic of Korea deeply regretted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had continued to detract from concerted efforts. In fact, in the Joint ministerial Statement on the CTBT of September 2012, foreign Ministers and high-level representatives from across the globe reaffirmed that the voluntary nuclear test moratorium had become a de facto international norm. Repeated nuclear tests posed a serious threat not only to the Korean Peninsula but also to global peace and stability.
Japan said that while Japan was not completely happy with the draft programme of work, it was ready to accept it as a compromise solution. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had reportedly carried out a nuclear test despite United Nations Security Council resolutions. This nuclear test was totally unacceptable as it constituted a threat to Japan’s security, challenged the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime centered on the NPT, and undermined the peace and security of North East Asia and even international security, given efforts to develop ballistic technology. Japan strongly condemned the nuclear test, conducted against Security Council resolutions. Japan renewed its strong demand that Democratic People's Republic of Korea fully implemented relevant Security Council resolutions. In addition, Japan strongly urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to take concrete action towards resolving outstanding issues of concern including those related to its nuclear missile programmes.
Finland stressed that the Conference on Disarmament should remain the key multilateral forum for disarmament in accordance to its mandate. The Conference remained a priority and the introduction of this draft programme of work, skillfully drafted after consultations, constituted another opportunity to kick out its work. While Finland saw a possible Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty as a priority, it understood that other States had different priorities and was ready to accept the draft in a spirit of compromise. Finland also condemned the nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a violation of international commitments and the United Nations Security Council resolutions. Finland called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with its international obligations and to refrain to taking any further measures which could compromise the security of the region.
Tunisia said that during the last 15 years the Conference had seemed at times close to achieving a consensus that would make it possible to carry out its objectives, for instance when CD/1864 had been adopted. The President had revived hope by proposing an original draft programme of work. Attempts to negotiate outside of the Conference on Disarmament, lacking the necessary legitimacy and legal authority, would rather undermine the multilateral framework for disarmament. The stalemate was the result of the lack of political will and differences in interests and perceptions of national interests. Tunisia believed that the efforts of the international community should focus on nuclear disarmament. Negative attitudes had led to the postponement of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon free zone in the Middle East and Tunisia called upon the facilitator-designate and other convoking States to ensure that the Helsinki Conference would take place without delay.
Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, read the declaration made by the High representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union, on the nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in which the European Union expressed concern about the nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in flagrant violation of its international obligations and United Nations Security Council resolutions. The test constituted a threat to a lasting peace in the Korean Peninsula and peace and stability in North East Asia more generally. The European Union remained seized of the matter and would work with partners and the international community to build a common response and to show the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that there would be consequences from violating United Nations Security Council resolutions. The European Union strongly urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon its nuclear weapon programme and to engage with the international community, including in the framework of the Six-Party talks.
Germany condemned the nuclear test carried out by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the strongest terms as a direct violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and urged the international community to adopt a clear response. Germany commended the President for the courageous efforts to awake the Conference on Disarmament after over 15 years of sleep and noted the signs of rising frustration and anger over the deadlock. The international community wanted the Conference on Disarmament to do better and recent resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations had sent a clear message: the international community expected the Conference to get its act together. The draft programme built on previous attempts and contained new elements which should make it easier by States to support it. For example, the joint treatment of nuclear disarmament and of the issue of banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes, as well as the fact that the draft programme of work only spoke about “beginning substantive work towards a treaty banning the production of fissile material”, whereas CD/1864 spoke of “negotiating” such a treaty, were significant moves which should not go unnoticed. If the programme of work was adopted today the Conference could begin substantive work next week. Nuclear arms races made no one more secure but represented a colossal waste of resources. Negotiations on a possible treaty on fissile materials were necessary for achieving disarmament and, even though it would take time, they should not continue to be postponed. Joining in consensus did not necessarily mean saying yes, but refraining from standing in the way and saying no.
Sweden joined in condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear test, conducted in clear violation of several Security Council resolutions and with disregard for the disarmament and nonproliferation regimes. The test was a serious affront to the international norm established by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It was difficult to find a formula that would command consensus and there would never be a draft programme of work considered perfect by all Member States of the Council. Sweden hoped for a situation in which all Members, more or less reluctantly, could refrain from opposing the proposal. The proposal contained in CD/1948 was balanced and fair, and it represented an effort to accommodate all sides. A step by step approach to nuclear disarmament and a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty was essential in such a process, and the proposal reflected this idea. Sweden had registered the calls from the General Assembly, the Secretary-General and many others for the Conference to get back to work, and supported the adoption of this proposal and urged Members to show flexibility.
Slovakia said that the Conference on Disarmament could not continue its business as usual. The adoption of a programme of work would reaffirm its credibility and reiterate the relevance of the Conference. Starting negotiations and substantive work on pressing issues that had been before the Conference for a long time would not only be a step in the right direction but was an obligation that had to be met. Proposals in the draft programme of work were worth studying. Slovakia had noted with interest the suggestion to merge two of the core issues of the agenda. The continued stalemate was unsustainable and the Conference could not afford to wait any longer. The Conference on Disarmament had to fulfill its commitments to disarmament and nonproliferation.
Pakistan recalled Ambassador Dekany’s call for States to move out of their comfort zones and show flexibility but which State ever moved out of its comfort zone when issues of national security were involved? While the General Assembly called on the Conference to adopt and implement a balanced and comprehensive programme of work, however, so far a programme of work that was truly balanced in its propositions and recommendations was not present. This was the real problem. Pakistan had expressed its views in several meetings and had proposed certain amendments to the current text of the draft programme of work on the basis of the instructions received from its Government and in an effort to protect its legitimate national security interests. Pakistan had in past occasions expressed very clearly the reasons why it could not agree on negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) in an environment of asymmetry of fissile material stockpiles. Conducting such negotiations to cut-down fissile material without simultaneously engaging in negotiations to reduce stockpiles would compromise its security.
While the draft programme of work presented by the President was seemingly balanced and acceptable to a number of delegations, nevertheless, Pakistan needed to be certain that this draft would not lead to direct or indirect pre-negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). These concerns were substantiated since the same language of possible negotiations was not used to refer to other core issues of the agenda. Pakistan wanted to make sure that it was not the case that this reference implied an attempt to set out pre-negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). Developments in the past few years left no room for ambiguity, Pakistan needed to be certain that a programme of work would not lead to negotiations on fissile material reduction without addressing the issue of stockpiles. Other States within the Group of 21 had raised other common concerns, such as the combined treatment of nuclear disarmament and fissile materials, which was seen as undermining the importance of the former; or the consideration of a possible Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) as a necessary first step towards nuclear disarmament. Pakistan did not see it this way. In fact this view made nuclear disarmament hostage to the conclusion of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) and, at this stage, this language used made the programme of work unacceptable.
Cuba said that recent statements attested to the importance States conceded to the Conference and reiterated its concern with efforts to bypass the Conference and take negotiations elsewhere. These efforts constituted a dangerous step backwards. The Conference should adopt as soon as possible a wide and broad programme of work which took into account the real priorities in the field of disarmament. The President’s proposal introduced as a novel element the merging of nuclear disarmament and fissile material, considering the latter to be a first step. However, nuclear disarmament was the highest priority for Cuba and should be considered as such in the programme of work. The language of the new proposal seemed to make nuclear disarmament conditional to progress achieved in the negotiation of an instrument on fissile materials
Democratic People's Republic of Korea said that the scientific field for its national defense had succeeded in carrying out a third underground nuclear test in the north of country. This test was carried out as part of a set of practical measures to ensure its security and sovereignty in the face of a ferocious attack by the United States and the violation of its legitimate right to launch satellites for peaceful purposes. The test was carried out in a safe way, it had employed an A-bomb placed on a high ground, and without any adverse effects to the surrounding environment. The specific functions of the explosion of the a-bomb coincided with the design and confirmed the capacity of the nuclear deterrent of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and would encourage its army and people to build a thriving nation. It provided an important occasion to ensure peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region. Bearing in mind the fierce standoff between Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States, parties interested in the peace and stability of the region, such as the European Union, should urge the United States to change its policy towards the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Recently, Japan had fired another space satellite into outer space. As a matter of fact it was not proper for Japan to have a spy satellite and this went against treaties on the outer space. Japan was trying to disguise its attempt to become a military giant. The United States and its allies had miscalculated if they thought that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea would accept the entirely unreasonable resolutions against it.
Brazil recalled that negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) should be subsumed within negotiations of a broader nuclear weapons convention and such would contribute to the aim of a world free of nuclear weapons. In order to achieve progress in the direction of nuclear disarmament, existing stocks of fissile material must be included in the scope of any convention. If this programme of work was accepted Brazil would take it on this on the understanding that it required addressing the issue of existing stocks.
Bulgaria appreciated the efforts of the President to implement the rules of procedure. The programme of work approved in 2009 continued to be a gold standard, however, the Conference continued to be unable to deliver on its mandate. The proposal put forward by the President, which combined work on nuclear disarmament and discussions on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in a single working group, constituted a valuable step. Bulgaria was ready to make a compromise and support the draft decision and called on all delegations to act in a responsible way and to avoid disagreeing. Bulgaria also categorically condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s new nuclear test.
United Kingdom joined in the condemnation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s new nuclear tests and recalled the statement made by Foreign Secretary William Hague on this issue. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had a stark choice to make: it could either engage constructively with the international community and return to negotiations, or face increasing isolation and further actions by the international community and the United Nations Security Council.
Kazakhstan condemned the nuclear test carried out by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. This test would have adverse consequences to the international non-proliferation regime and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had once again challenged international law by conducting a third nuclear test. As a country which had voluntarily renounced to a nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon its nuclear program and to abide by all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Russia was ready to support the document submitted by the President as it opened the opportunity for substantive work and emphasized that the discussion of agenda items outside of the Conference did not have much future. The nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea constituted a demonstration of its disregard for international law and contempt for resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, both of which were incompatible with international coexistence and required a response. Russia insisted that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should stop carrying out prohibited activities and implement all resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, including renouncing to its rocket and nuclear programmes. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should come back to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and regime of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. This was the way forward in the interest of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The test, however, should not be used as a pretext for stepping up military activities in the Korean Peninsula. It was high time to implement an effective regional system to ensure peace on the basis of equal security and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Russia urged all parties to show restraint and to continue to collaborate with the Six-Party process.
China expressed appreciation and support for the President’s efforts and hoped that continued consultations would lead to the adoption of a comprehensive and balanced draft programme of work. Concerning the nuclear test carried out by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China recalled the statement made by its Foreign Ministry and said that ensuring peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and North East Asia was in the interest of all parties. China also called on all parties to act in a cool-headed manner.
France said that the current draft represented a step back from document CD/1864, adopted by consensus in 2009, as it lost a working group dedicated fissile materials which in previous documents had a specific mandate. The negotiation of a fissile material cut of treaty was a foremost priority and a substantive part at the heart of nuclear disarmament. While the current draft reflected some regrettable compromises, nevertheless, France would not oppose consensus on such a draft because it supported the Conference on Disarmament as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum and wished to see it come out of its stalemate. Concerning the nuclear test carried out by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, France reiterated the statement issued by President Francois Hollande, and called upon Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with international commitments and to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic programmes. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should refrain from taking any steps which would undermine the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region.
Australia said it would be disappointed if a mutually satisfactory outcome could not be found in the Conference on Disarmament. Australia also condemned the nuclear test conducted by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and recalled the statement made by its Prime Minister. The test violated United Nations Security Council resolutions and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s obligations under international law.
Indonesia responded to the test carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It was unacceptable for any State in any region to carry out this kind of act against international norms. It was unacceptable for it would negatively affect the stability of the Peninsula and the region.
Egypt reiterated the need to grant importance to nuclear disarmament and to deal with the issue of fissile material, including the questions of stockpiles. However, this was not mentioned in the current draft programme of work. A number of elements had not been agreed, for example concerning the process to achieve nuclear disarmament. Moreover, this draft programme of work mentioned a possible Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) as a first step to be taken towards disarmament. Since it was clear that at this point there was no consensus on the current draft, Egypt said that additional consultations were needed.
Algeria said it had previously expressed a number of reservations and put forward proposals about how to move forward with the draft programme of work, including on the idea of establishing different working groups on nuclear disarmament and fissile materials in order to avoid ambiguities. Despite positive elements in the draft proposal, given the remaining ambiguities in terms of the mandate and in view of comments made by other Members of the Group of 21, the Conference on Disarmament had not reached a point where this draft could be adopted. Algeria urged the President to bring positions as close together as possible in future consultations. Delegations argued that flexibility and concessions were necessary, but Algeria stressed that non-nuclear weapon States, particularly those in the Group of 21, had already made significant concessions such as foregoing the issue of negative security assurances.
Iran reiterated the importance it attached to the Conference on Disarmament and insisted on the need for balance among the core issues in a programme of work. As a member of the Group of 21 and of the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran’s foremost priority was nuclear disarmament. The issue of nuclear disarmament should not be narrowed down to a single issue; and a treaty on fissile material should contribute to the goal of nuclear disarmament and not vice versa. Iran had been positively engaged during consultations with the intention of helping find consensus on a draft text.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea said that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was impossible unless the denuclearization of the world was realized. It was clear that the hostile United States’ policy against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea remained unchanged. In this forum some delegations had mentioned the Six-Party talks on the situation of the Korean Peninsula. A statement adopted by the Six-Party talk on September 19, on the principle of respect for sovereignty and equality, had become defunct. Furthermore, the prospect for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula had become gloomier given the ever more pronounced hostility of the United States policy towards Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Ambassador ANDRAS DEKANY, President of the Conference, in concluding remarks, noted that in accordance with the goal of the Conference, extensive consultations had been carried out with the objective of drafting an agreeable programme of work. New language had been proposed but at this stage it was not possible to make further changes to the draft programme of work. Ambassador Dekany lamented that a new item had been added to the long list of un-adopted programmes of work. The Conference on Disarmament’s responsibility to promote disarmament had been highlighted by the latest nuclear test in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The President wished its successors success in pursuing this task and thanked coordinators for their support during consultations and the contributions of
Pakistan said that, as previously explained, its Government was not in the position to accept the current draft programme of work.
Egypt indicated that there was no consensus on the current draft and urged the President and subsequent presidencies to carry out further consultations.
South Africa said that it was unfortunate that a consensus formula could still not be found. South Africa had always sought to display the highest degree of flexibility concerning the adoption of a draft programme of work. It was deeply regrettable that the rate of flexibility displayed by the majority of Member States had not been reciprocated by all. South Africa did not believe that a treaty on fissile material was the only issue; neither did it believe that a treaty which excluded this issue would make a contribution to nuclear disarmament. The idea of combining nuclear disarmament and fissile materials was an innovative idea that South Africa was ready to accept, however, the linkage had introduced a concept which was not acceptable: the idea that fissile material constituted a necessary first step towards nuclear disarmament. While South Africa was ready to start negotiations on fissile materials, progress on this issue should not become a precondition for nuclear disarmament. The indiscriminate and humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons should lead towards their elimination under effective international control. A framework of mutually reinforcing instruments to ensure a world free of nuclear weapons was an urgent priority and should be sought on the basis of common security concerns, rather than the particular security concerns of some States, regions or alliances. Continued inertia in the Conference on Disarmament was unsustainable and would continue to affect the stature and relevance of the Conference as the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body. South Africa regretted the news of the nuclear test carried out by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Algeria said the lack of consensus did not necessarily mean the end of this draft programme of work. The document contained positive elements and it could be possible to achieve a consensus-based text that would respond to the concerns of delegations. Algeria called on successive presidencies to continue to carry out consultations to achieve a document that was acceptable to all.
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