16 June 2015
The Conference on Disarmament this morning held a brief plenary in which it heard from Myanmar as the President of the Conference, South Africa and Finland.
Ambassador Muang Wai of Myanmar, President of the Conference on Disarmament, informed about the discussions which had taken place on agenda items 1 and 2, and the activities of the informal working group on the programme of work.
South Africa emphasized that if the ongoing stalemate was due to the absence of political will of certain States to negotiate, perhaps it was time to consider suspending the work of the Conference until such political will existed.
Finland, as the Co-chair of the informal working group on the programme of work, said that the meeting of the Group would be held on 19 June at 10 a.m., and invited all interested delegations to actively participate.
The President said the next public plenary will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 23 June.
Ambassador MAUNG WAI of Myanmar, President of the Conference on Disarmament, stated that last week, following the decision on the schedule of activities taken under the Moroccan Presidency, Member States of the Conference had intense structured and substantive discussions on agenda items 1 and 2, with a general focus on nuclear disarmament. Those discussions had been coordinated by the Permanent Representative of Egypt. The President informed about his discussions and consultations with Member States over specifics on how best to address the programme of work of the Conference. The Permanent Representative of Finland, as the Co-chair of the informal working group on the programme of work, had met with many delegations and would continue to do so in the coming days ahead of the meeting of the group on 19 June at 10 a.m. The President also informed that he had also met with interested delegations to discuss methods of work. While the results were not encouraging, the process would nonetheless continue.
South Africa said that it was concerning that since the use of nuclear weapons 70 years earlier, those destructive and indiscriminate weapons had yet to be prohibited and eliminated. That was why South Africa, ever since joining the Conference, had consistently expressed concern about the lack of agreement on key issues on the Conference’s agenda, which had resulted in a prolonged stalemate. South Africa was disappointed that some delegations were still not willing to discuss the working methods of the Conference. If the stalemate was indeed due to the absence of political will of certain States to negotiate, perhaps it was time to consider suspending the work of the Conference until such political will existed. South Africa was refraining from blocking consensus on decisions on the schedule of activities, but saw no benefit in further participating in those activities and repeating its well-known positions. Following the failed outcome of the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the international community could no longer be complacent about the lack of movement within the Conference. The only thing that undermined the credibility of the Conference of Disarmament was its continued failure to negotiate.
Finland, speaking as the Co-chair of the informal working group on the programme of work, said that the meeting on 19 June would first hear from the Secretariat, and then from Australia on their informal consultations in 2013 and 2014. The floor would then be opened to all delegations to express their views. Finland encouraged all interested parties to take active participation.
President invited all delegations to share their views on the programme of work of the Conference in a subsequent informal session.
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