Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar Addresses the Conference
12 September 2013
The Conference on Disarmament this morning adopted its annual report to the General Assembly and heard a statement from Wunna Maung Lwin, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Myanmar.
In his statement, Mr. Lwin reiterated Myanmar’s long-standing commitment and support to the Conference and noted that, as one of the original members of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, Myanmar continued to attach great importance to the Conference as the single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament. Myanmar would not single out the Conference on Disarmament for lacking progress, in fact, the United Nation’s disarmament machinery as a whole had been stagnant. In Myanmar, a new era had been ushered since the formation of the new Government 30 months ago and many key reforms had been successfully undertaken and, with the increasing support and cooperation from the international community, Myanmar was confident that many development goals would be achieved. Mr. Lwin also announced that Myanmar was making serious efforts to conclude a protocol additional to the safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the application of safeguards in connection with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Ambassador Gerard Corr of Ireland, President of the Conference on Disarmament, speaking in concluding remarks before the end of the last plenary of the 2013 session of the Conference, which also marked his own tenure as Ireland’s Ambassador to the Conference, thanked all colleagues in Geneva for their support. The Conference on Disarmament mattered a great deal and Mr. Corr looked forward to the day when it would be able to resume negotiations.
The delegations of Venezuela and Finland also took the floor during the meeting.
The adopted annual report will be presented to the sixty-eight session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The 2013 session of the Conference on Disarmament will conclude on Friday, 13 September. The dates for the three parts of the 2014 session of the Conference are 20 January to 28 March; 12 May to 27 June; and 28 July to 12 September.
WUNNA MAUNG LWIN, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, reiterated Myanmar’s long-standing commitment and support to the Conference and noted that, as one of the original members of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, Myanmar continued to attach great importance to the Conference as the single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament. The central role played by the Conference in producing several important multilateral disarmament treaties in the past was remarkable. Myanmar shared the disappointment of many in this chamber about the continued stagnation of the Conference for the past 17 years but continued to believe that its existence and the unique composition of its membership still was an important asset in the quest for peace and security through disarmament. Nuclear disarmament remained the highest priority on Myanmar’s disarmament agenda, as the continued presence of nuclear weapons and their deployment stood as one of the most serious security challenges and posed the greatest threat to the very existence of mankind. Myanmar was also committed to other important issues on the disarmament agenda such as a treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, the prevention of an arms race in outer space and negative security assurances, and welcomed the call for the appointment of a special coordinator on the expansion of membership and, in keeping with the nature of the Conference as a negotiating forum, supported the strengthening of its interaction with civil society.
Myanmar would not single out the Conference on Disarmament for lacking progress. In fact, the United Nation’s disarmament machinery as a whole had been stagnant. Myanmar supported an early convening of a Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, which would have the authority and legitimacy to comprehensively review the functioning of the entire disarmament machinery. A new era had been ushered since the formation of Myanmar’s new Government 30 months ago and many key reforms had been successfully undertaken. With increasing support and cooperation from the international community, Myanmar was confident that it would be able to achieve the goals of democratic transformation, job creation, income generation and poverty alleviation. Myanmar was also reviewing domestic legislation that was not in line with international norms and practices and was also taking progressive steps to further enhance its status in connection with disarmament-related conventions. Myanmar welcomed the establishment of an Informal Working Group to produce a Programme of Work and looked forward to seeing a fruitful outcome from the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament. This year Myanmar would table its traditional resolution on nuclear disarmament and had been making serious efforts to conclude a protocol additional to the safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the application of safeguards in connection with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Venezuela congratulated Ambassador Corr on his assumption of the Presidency of the Conference and noted that, despite efforts made to take the Conference out of the deadlock, this in fact had not been achieved. Venezuela valued the efforts made by previous Presidents in order to advance the search for results and noted that during 2013 the Conference had achieved some progress towards overcoming its obstacles, as demonstrated by the meetings of the Informal Working Group on a programme of work. It was imperative to achieve gradual and systematic efforts to reduce nuclear weapons with the objective of complete elimination under strict international monitoring. Negotiations on a fissile material treaty should be undertaken as one of the steps towards disarmament, including specific measures on verification and taking care of stocks. Substantive discussions without limitations on negative-security assurances and on the prevention of an arms race in outer space should also be undertaken. This was one of the priorities of the Conference and it was important to reinforce the legal regime to ensure that this was achieved. Venezuela reiterated its commitment to existing disarmament institutions and commitments, arms control and non proliferation, as well as to the principle of multilateralism.
Finland said that this year had been reasonably active in the Conference, with several attempts to start substantive work but unfortunately none of the attempts had been successful so far. Many of the questions posed by the President in the “Challenges and Future Direction” paper remained open, including those regarding the rotation of the presidency, the consensus rule, membership expansion, and civil society participation. One step already taken had been the adoption of CD/1956/Rev.1, in order to consider the programme of work in the Informal Working Group, and to search for ways out of the Conference deadlock. After so many years of deadlock a consensus programme of work would not emerge easily and increased flexibility was needed. The Conference should render its support to the Co-Chairs of the Informal Working Group. Finland stood ready to continue consultations and discussions in an informal or any setting, and would try to be as flexible and forward looking as possible.
AMBASSADOR GERARLD CORR of Ireland, President of the Conference on Disarmament, in concluding remarks, thanked all colleagues in Geneva for their support. The Conference on Disarmament mattered a great deal and Mr. Corr looked forward to the day when it would be able to resume negotiations. Mr. Corr also thanked the Conference’s Co-Presidents for all the work and the support of the Secretariat, interpreters and others involved in the work of the Conference.
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