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CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT HEARS STATEMENTS FROM MYANMAR AS PRESIDENT, MALAYSIA ON BEHALF OF ASEAN, PAKISTAN, BRAZIL AND FINLAND

9 June 2015

The Conference on Disarmament this morning heard statements from Myanmar as incoming President of the Conference, Malaysia on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Pakistan, Brazil and Finland.

Ambassador Maung Wai of Myanmar, incoming President of the Conference on Disarmament, said he would work closely with the co-chair of the informal working group on the programme of work for the early commencement of the work of the working group and would also work closely with the coordinators of the respective agenda items to ensure achieving fruitful outcomes.  He intended to carry on consultations with interested delegations on the establishment of a working group on methods of work of the Conference. 

Malaysia, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reiterated that nuclear disarmament had always been their utmost priority and reaffirmed the importance and validity of the Conference on Disarmament as the single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament.  It was regrettable that the 19-year stalemate had prevented this body from commencing negotiations on substantive issues and ASEAN called on the Conference to establish as the highest priority an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament. 

Pakistan wished to address some of the points raised by France on 5 June regarding the draft Treaty Banning the Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices prepared by France.  Pakistan had been deeply disappointed with the draft’s treatment of the fundamental issues of scope as well as definitions, verification and entry into force.  A treaty that did not cover past production and existing stockpiles of fissile materials would be detrimental to Pakistan’s security and regional stability in South Asia.  Pakistan was left with no option but to continue opposing negotiations on a cut-off only treaty in the Conference. 

Brazil, speaking about the outcome of the Ninth Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, deeply regretted the lack of consensus on the adoption of the final substantive document of the Review Conference and that States parties were not able to overcome their differences with respect to the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.  In spite of the fact that there was no agreement, Brazil considered that the final draft should be considered an important referential on its own merit for discussion in the Conference and other fora.
 
Finland said as co-chair of the informal working group on a programme of work, Finland looked forward to working with the President and the whole of the Conference in order to find a way forward with the programme of work.  Regarding the draft decision on the informal working group on working methods, Finland had been ready to adopt the proposal last week.  While this had not been possible, Finland stood ready to support all the President’s efforts in order to find a suitable proposal to be adopted as soon as possible. 

On Thursday, 11 June, the Conference will hold informal plenaries on agenda items 1 and 2, with a general focus on nuclear disarmament.  The next public plenary would be held on Tuesday, 16 June at 10 a.m.


Statements

Ambassador MAUNG WAI of Myanmar, incoming President of the Conference on Disarmament, said Myanmar was committed to disarmament, including of weapons of mass destruction.  Myanmar continued to believe that the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones was imperative for realizing a world without nuclear weapons, thereby ensuring regional and international peace and security.  Myanmar had participated in the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and although it had placed high expectations on it, they were eventually proved to be false hopes.  Still, Myanmar reaffirmed its commitment to the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Myanmar continued to attach great importance to the Conference as the single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament.  The Conference had been in a state of almost continued stagnation for almost two decades.  Nuclear disarmament remained the highest priority for Myanmar, which was also committed to the other core issues in the Conference.  He would work closely with the co-chair of the informal working group on the programme of work for the early commencement of the work of the working group and would also work closely with the coordinators of the respective agenda items for achieving fruitful outcomes.  He intended to carry on consultations with interested delegations on the establishment of a working group on methods of work of the Conference. 

Malaysia, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said ASEAN Member States reiterated that nuclear disarmament had always been their utmost priority and reaffirmed the importance and validity of the Conference on Disarmament as the single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament.  It was regrettable that the 19-year stalemate had prevented this body from commencing negotiations on substantive issues and ASEAN called on the Conference to establish as the highest priority an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament.  To ensure that the Conference was able to fulfil its purpose and objectives, it needed to have a clear timetable.  A positive step in this direction would be for the Conference to consider working on the programme of work for 2016 during the remaining session.  Multilateralism and multilaterally agreed solutions provided the only sustainable method of addressing disarmament and international security issues.  ASEAN regretted that the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference was not able to come to consensus, but reaffirmed its commitment to the principles and objectives of the Treaty.  Nuclear weapon free zones contributed significantly to strengthening global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.  However, the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones was not a substitute for nuclear disarmament.  ASEAN underscored the importance of the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones where they did not exist, especially in the Middle East region, and stressed the importance of strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime to maintain peace, security and prosperity in the region.

Pakistan wished to address some of the points raised by France on 5 June regarding the draft Treaty Banning the Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices prepared by France.  Pakistan had carefully examined the French draft with an open mind and without any pre-conceived notions, in the hope that it might offer some innovative alternative for dealing with existing stocks or at least a feasible middle ground between the various positions.  Unfortunately it was deeply disappointed with the draft’s treatment of the fundamental issues of scope as well as definitions, verification and entry into force.  Pakistan was opposed to the commencement of negotiations on a treaty that only banned the future production of fissile materials without addressing the asymmetries in fissile material holdings between States.  A treaty that did not cover past production, existing stockpiles of fissile materials, would be detrimental to Pakistan’s security and regional stability in South Asia.  Pakistan was left with no option but to continue opposing negotiations on a cut-off only treaty in the Conference.  The Conference did not need draft treaties based on maximalist national positions to make progress on the issue of fissile materials.  What was required was the genuine political will to address the concerns of all States that opposed the start of negotiations that did not address the issue of existing stocks.  Pakistan was ready to join efforts for finding a new compromise to arrive at an acceptable basis, or mandate, to commence negotiations on a fissile material treaty in the Conference.  The Conference should not be made hostage to one issue, and they should devote equal, if not greater, attention to the commencement of negotiations on other issues on the Conference’s agenda, including nuclear disarmament, the raison d’être of the Conference, negative security assurances and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.  Pakistan did not see the French draft treaty as having any potential in addressing its core national security concerns, or even as a bridge between the Conference Members’ fundamental divide on the issue of a fissile material ban.   

Brazil said it would like to make a few remarks about the outcome of the Ninth Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.  Brazil’s participation at the Conference was guided by the general objective to give new impetus to the implementation of Article VI of the Treaty, which referred specifically to the commitments of States parties regarding nuclear disarmament.  Unfortunately, the Review Conference had not adopted any decisions that would give effect to the provisions contained in Article VI, or alternatively, would urge the General Assembly to take action on the issue, in particular with regard to effective measures leading to the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.  Brazil deeply regretted the lack of consensus on the adoption of the final substantive document of the Review Conference and that States parties were not able to overcome their differences with respect to the establishment of a Middle East Zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.  In spite of the fact that there was no agreement, Brazil believed that the final draft should be considered an important referential on its own merit for discussion in the Conference and other fora.  Brazil considered as a priority the launching of multilateral negotiations on a comprehensive convention on nuclear disarmament and supported the establishment of an open-ended working group in the General Assembly to identify and elaborate effective measures for the full implementation of disarmament commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  It also believed that other options being brought to the table, such as a legal ban on nuclear weapons, deserved full consideration.

Finland said as co-chair of the informal working group on a programme of work, Finland looked forward to working with the President and the whole of the Conference in order to find a way forward with the programme of work.  Regarding the draft decision on the informal working group on working methods, Finland had been ready to adopt the proposal last week.  While this had not been possible, Finland stood ready to support all the President’s efforts in order to find a suitable proposal to be adopted as soon as possible.  The informal working group on working methods could provide space for much needed discussions on how they conducted their work in the Conference on Disarmament.  While knowing that this would not solve all of their problems, it could provide discussions on issues that were hindering or slowing down the ability of the Conference to work.  Any proposals that might come up during these discussions would be naturally considered by the Conference under the consensus rule.  It would be beneficial for all to reflect on how they worked in the Conference.

Ambassador MAUNG WAI of Myanmar, incoming President of the Conference on Disarmament, said he had taken note of all views expressed during the meeting and would keep them in mind during the consultations.  On Thursday, 11 June, informal plenaries would be held on agenda items 1 and 2, with a general focus on nuclear disarmament.  The next public plenary would be held on Tuesday, 16 June at 10 a.m.


For use of the information media; not an official record

DC15/027E