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CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT DISCUSSES 2018 NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW OF UNITED STATES

Also Addresses Update by Canada on the High-Level Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Expert Preparatory Group
6 February 2018

The Conference on Disarmament this morning heard a presentation of the United States’ 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, debated the work of the High-Level Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Expert Preparatory Group after an update by Canada, and continued the discussions on the possible ways of moving ahead toward agreement on a programme of work.

The President of the Conference, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha of Sri Lanka, informed the Conference that he had met with a number of States last week to find synergies between different approaches presented during the formal and informal plenaries, which were focused on finding a common ground and approach to a programme of work in a meaningful and credible way.

Canada spoke as Chair of the High-Level Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Expert Preparatory Group tasked with making recommendations on substantive elements of the Treaty, and stressed that given the continued production of fissile materials in some parts of the world, no doubt should be cast on the value of such a treaty. Acknowledging the deep divisions within the membership on the basic purpose of the Treaty, Canada underlined that it was possible to make progress towards preparing negotiations, including on what type of fissile materials could and should be restricted by a treaty, institutional arrangements and the verification approaches.

The United States presented its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review which reflected the strategic priority to maintain a safe and effective nuclear arsenal that would successfully deter nuclear and non-nuclear attacks, assure its allies, respond should deterrence fail, and hedge against potential risks and uncertainties. Of particular concern was the development of new nuclear capabilities and increased prominence of nuclear weapons in the security strategies of Russia, China and “North Korea”. The fundamental role of nuclear weapons remained the deterrence of nuclear and non-nuclear attacks against the United States and its allies and partners. The 2018 Review did not in any way lower the nuclear threshold but had rather increased it by making clear that it was not in others’ interest to use nuclear weapons.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that the United Nations should not turn a blind eye to the United States dangerous game of driving the whole world into a possible disaster of nuclear war, and that States members of the Conference should call for the immediate halt of the military provocations by the United States. Colombia said it was timely and urgent to broaden the membership of the Conference and establish ways in which civil society could meaningfully participate. Bulgaria said on behalf of the European Union that there was a broad support within the international community for a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty as it would represent a significant practical contribution to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and urged States to take immediate confidence-building measures without waiting for the commencement of formal negotiations.

Poland said that the exchange of views last week allowed for many observations, comments and ideas to be presented in an open and sincere manner, and it was important to be fully aware of the preferences or even red lines concerning substance that had been stated. Hungary emphasized that the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons could only be achieved through a gradual and inclusive process which engaged nuclear States; starting negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty would be a step forward towards nuclear non-proliferation. Pakistan reiterated its well-known position on the High-Level Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Expert Preparatory Group, whose restrictive mandate and basis of work skewed it towards an outcome that would contribute little to nuclear disarmament and prove detrimental to regional and international security, and stressed that Pakistan would not accept any conclusion or recommendation produced by this Expert Group, including any attempt to force its report on the Conference on Disarmament.

Netherlands was grateful for Canada’s long-time leadership with respect to the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty to which the Netherlands attached great importance as it would effectively and verifiably halt the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons and other explosive devices, serve to cap nuclear arsenals, and help put an end to nuclear arms races. China said that the United States 2018 Nuclear Posture Review reflected the outdated mentality of a zero-sum game mind set and was against the dominant themes of peace and development of our times. France agreed on the importance of ensuring greater continuity between successive presidencies of the Conference on Disarmament and said that it was not necessary to open up the rules of procedures - it could be achieved through increased coordination between the P6 or by establishing subsidiary groups to the Conference with annually renewable mandates.

Republic of Korea said it was making efforts to keep the momentum in the inter-Korean dialogue and would work with the international community to establish lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. Australia strongly supported the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and would continue to work with international parties, including the United States, to promote meaningful disarmament objectives, which should be based on an objective assessment of the international security environment. United Kingdom thanked Canada for its leadership on the issue of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, which was a priority for the United Kingdom.

Russia was concerned by Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach to the use of nuclear weapons, and by the fact that its military scenarios were so undefined and vague that they allowed the United States to use nuclear weapons against anyone they considered an “aggressor”, and by the much lower threshold for the use of nuclear weapons which could trigger a nuclear war even in lesser conflicts. Ukraine expressed appreciation for the way in which the United States presented its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review in the Conference, and its commitment to the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and arms control.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Conference agreed on requests by a number of countries to participate in the 2018 session of the Conference as observers.

The next public plenary of the Conference on Disarmament will be held on Thursday, 8 February at 10 a.m.

Statements

RAVINATHA ARYASINHA, President of the Conference and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked the delegations for the constructive exchanges during formal and informal plenaries last week and their willingness to advance on the Conference’s agenda, and said that he had met with a number of States to find synergies between different approaches. The focus was not on having a programme of work, but given a great degree of divergence on the matter, to find a common ground and approach a programme of work in a meaningful and credible way. The President would continue the consultations in the coming days.

Canada, also speaking as Chair of the High-Level Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Expert Preparatory Group tasked with making recommendations on substantive elements of the Treaty, said that the group had first met in Geneva in July and August 2017. Since it was not negotiating a treaty, the group remained focused on distilling a concise, plain-language menu of potential treaty provisions, including on definitions, scope, verification and legal and institutional framework. As experts were not expected to make concessions on their national positions, this had created the freedom to openly debate the merits of all options and examine how they would relate to one another as part of a future treaty’s architecture. Unexpected substantive progress had been made during the first session, including on a list of potential treaty elements and strides in mapping out concrete institutional models. Canada stressed that the group was doing everything possible to facilitate the negotiating work once it occurred, while such a dialogue built trust and confidence among States. Canada hoped for a clear articulation of options for treaty elements – in plain language – across all treaty aspects and believed that this would provide future negotiators with an excellent point of departure for their work. The second Informal Consultative Meeting would be convened in New York on 15 and 16 February 2018.

Canada stressed that no doubt should be cast on the value of such a treaty, given the continued production of fissile materials in some parts of the world. The world was at a crossroads: the cooperative spirit that had led to the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s 64-point action plan in 2010 had mostly dissipated, and there was a real doubt about the ability of States to work together toward a shared goal of a nuclear weapon free world. There remained deep divisions within the membership on the basic purpose of the Treaty: for some, it was vital that the Treaty made a direct contribution to disarmament and others saw it primarily as a non-proliferation tool. How this was ultimately resolved would have a major impact on the Treaty’s content. It was possible to make progress towards preparing negotiations, and regardless whether the international community chose a narrow treaty or a broad one, there was a need for a clear sense on what type of fissile materials could and should be restricted by a treaty, and why. Member States must explore the possibilities of institutional arrangements and the verification approaches still needed to be elaborated and understood. Canada firmly believed that the process of Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty negotiations would lend itself to finding approaches and solutions that would help blunt concerns that the Treaty was inimical to security interests. It was essential to move past the tit for tat conditionality between those negotiations and other core issues, said Canada and reaffirmed that, together with Germany and the Netherlands, it was deploying considerable resources to make a real push for progress. But getting to negotiations in the Conference could not be delivered by Canada alone, and States with direct interest in the negotiations needed to ensure that the necessary diplomacy was conducted to bring the key players to the table.

United States said that the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review reflected the strategic priority to maintain a safe and effective nuclear arsenal that would successfully deter nuclear and non-nuclear attacks, assure its allies, respond should deterrence fail, and hedge against potential risks and uncertainties. The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review had the reduction in the number and role of nuclear weapons as a policy priority, but since then, other States had done the opposite and had vigorously pursued the modernization of their existing nuclear forces and developed new nuclear capabilities. Russia, China and “North Korea” were growing their stockpiles, increasing the prominence of nuclear weapons in their security strategies, and in some cases, pursuing the development of new nuclear capabilities to threaten other peaceful nations. As a result, today’s security environment was more dynamic, complex and threatening than any since the end of the Cold War, characterized by great powers and rogue States increasingly challenging international order. Of particular concern was the large disparity between the non-strategic nuclear arsenals of Russia and the United States; at the same time, China’s military modernization had resulted in expanded nuclear force with little to no transparency into its intentions. “North Korea’s” current and emerging capabilities and its extremely provocative rhetoric and actions posed an urgent and unpredictable threat to the United States and its allies and partners. The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review reaffirmed that “North Korea’s” illicit nuclear programme must be completely, verifiably, and irreversibly eliminated, resulting in a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. The Review reflected an overarching imperative to protect the United States and its allies, including by strengthening its nuclear deterrent, while renewing the commitment to non-proliferation.

The 2018 Review took the challenging realities fully into consideration and it was largely consistent with the United States’ nuclear policies and posture since the end of the Cold War. The fundamental role of its nuclear weapons remained the deterrence of nuclear and non-nuclear attacks against the United States and its allies and partners, and the policy stated that the use of nuclear weapons would only be considered in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States and its allies and partners. The Review also stated that the United States had never adopted a “no first use” policy; given the contemporary threat environment, such a policy was not justified today. Some ambiguity regarding the precise circumstances that might lead to a nuclear response continued to be retained. The 2018 Review did not in any way lower the nuclear threshold; rather, by convincing adversaries that even limited use of nuclear weapons would be costlier than they could countenance, it raised the threshold. The objective was to make clear it was not in others’ interest to use nuclear weapons. The United States remained committed to the long-term goal of disarmament as conditions permitted, and would continue to adhere to its New START Treaty obligations. It would also continue to abide by the commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and would work to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. Deterring nuclear attack and maintaining the nuclear capabilities to do so was the highest priority for the United States which would modernize its ageing infrastructure and command and control system to meet twenty-first century needs.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that recent dangerous moves by the United States ran counter to the current positive atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula. The United States was seeking to aggravate the situation by deploying huge nuclear assets nearby the Korean Peninsula, including nuclear aircraft carrier strike groups. Those were designed to make pre-emptive strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the United States had also announced its plan to conduct large-scale aggressive joint military exercises immediately after the Winter Olympic Games. The Washington regime was desperate to block the hard-won process of improved inter-Korean relations; it sought confrontation and tension that could drive the situation once again into an unpredictable phase. The United States-led joint military exercises threatened the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and caused extreme levels of mistrust and confrontation between north and south. The United Nations should not turn a blind eye to the United States dangerous game of driving the whole world into a possible disaster of nuclear war, and the States members of the Conference should call for an immediate halt of the United States military provocations in the light of promoting the current positive atmosphere and preventing the deterioration of the situation. The international community must be alert to the United States ambition to put the whole world under its control based on the “America First” doctrine and with nuclear superiority. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would not remain silent to any ill-intended attempt to throw a wet blanket over its efforts, said the Ambassador and urged the United States to give up its anachronistic hostile policy against his country and refrain from all military adventures that could jeopardize the current process of inter-Korean relations.

Colombia said it considered the Conference to be an ideal platform within the United Nations to address the issue of nuclear disarmament and stressed the importance of adopting a programme of work or a sustainable path, which would lead the Conference to results. It was timely and urgent to broaden the membership of this forum and establish ways in which civil society could meaningfully participate. The Conference was an ideal forum for future negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, Colombia stressed, noting that the Conference could produce results, which would make the world a safer place and free it from a threat of a possession of nuclear weapons.

Bulgaria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that for more than two decades it had been at the forefront of advocating the immediate commencement and early conclusion for the negotiation in civil society of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. There was a broad support within the international community for such a treaty, as it would represent a significant and practical contribution to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The European Union and its Member States were convinced of the continued importance and relevance of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty on the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament, and noted that confidence-building measures could be taken immediately, without the need to wait for the commencement of formal negotiations. As a powerful demonstration of its longstanding commitment in support of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, European Union Foreign Ministers on 11 December 2017 had decided to provide support to African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean countries to facilitate their participation in the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty consultative process.

Poland said that the exchange of views last week allowed for many observations, comments and ideas to be presented in an open and sincere manner, and it was important to be fully aware of the preferences or even red lines concerning substance that had been stated. Practical suggestions had been made on how to make progress on a programme of work and agree on a simple, procedural document, without adjectives but with Schedule of Activities, which would frame the debate in a way that would allow for the accommodation of preferences. Poland welcomed the confirmation of the central role of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the United States 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

Hungary emphasized that the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons could only be achieved through a gradual and inclusive process which engaged nuclear States; starting negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty would be a step forward towards nuclear non-proliferation. Hungary wondered how the Conference on Disarmament could contribute to the current state of play in a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, and encouraged all the delegations to work together to start negotiations on this treaty.

Pakistan stressed that a breakthrough in the Conference could only be achieved by exercising genuine political will to cooperatively advance the goals of international and regional peace and security, and disarmament, on a non-discriminatory basis. The overarching objective of this work should be the cardinal principle of equal and undiminished security for all States. Pakistan was ready to actively support any effort towards this end in the Conference on Disarmament, but like any other State, it could not be expected to join any endeavour that was detrimental to its legitimate national security interests. Disagreement over the start of negotiations in the Conference should not prevent it from undertaking substantive discussions on all agenda items, said Pakistan and urged the putting in place of a realistic and practical framework for substantive work in the Conference that could enjoy consensus. Pakistan reiterated its well-known position on the High-Level Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Expert Preparatory Group, noting that its restrictive mandate and basis of work skewed it towards an outcome that would contribute little to nuclear disarmament and prove detrimental to regional and international security. Pakistan would not be in a position to accept any conclusion or recommendation produced by this Expert Group, including any attempt to force its report on the Conference on Disarmament.

Netherlands was grateful for Canada’s long-time leadership with respect to the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty to which the Netherlands attached great importance. This was a treaty that would effectively and verifiably halt the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons and other explosive devices, serve to cap nuclear arsenals and help put an end to nuclear arms races. It was up to the Conference on Disarmament to take the needed action: to commence negotiations on a treaty without delay.

China said that the United States 2018 Nuclear Posture Review reflected the outdated mentality of a zero-sum game mind set and was against the dominant themes of peace and development of our times. The United States was still vigorously building its nuclear arsenals. By lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, it was jeopardizing the nuclear disarmament process. China was committed to common, comprehensive and cooperative security and it had – and would - never take part in any nuclear arms race of any kind. The United States should abandon the Cold War mentality, stop viewing countries with hostility, and continue to make deep and irreversible cuts in its nuclear arsenals and maintain international peace and security with concrete actions.

France agreed on the importance of ensuring greater continuity between successive presidencies of the Conference on Disarmament and said that it was not necessary to open up the rules of procedures for this end. It could be achieved through increased coordination between the P6 or by establishing subsidiary groups to the Conference with annually renewable mandates. It was necessary to better integrate and link up the work of the Conference with other groups in the international fora, for example the First Committee. The priority should be on establishing confidence-building measures and forging consensus. France would contribute to the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty through its support to the Preparatory Group, as it deemed that this treaty would wipe out, once and for all, the possibility of a new nuclear arms race restarting. France also raised the issue of technological and scientific progress, which offered new opportunities but also presented a security challenge.

United States, speaking in a right of reply, said that despite the claims by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the situation on the Korean Peninsula had not changed, as the regime continued to work on its ballistic missile and nuclear programme. The United States reiterated that it would defend itself and its allies and that this commitment to its allies was ironclad. It was the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that was seeking confrontation through its ballistic and nuclear tests, and if it was in favour of peace and security, it should end the nuclear test, stop the provocative behaviour and threats, and give its people the right to choose how they wanted to be governed.

Republic of Korea said that non-proliferation reaffirmed the commitment of extended deterrence to allies including the Republic of Korea, which would keep up the cooperation with the United States in this domain. The Republic of Korea was making efforts to keep the momentum in the inter-Korean dialogue; it would work with the international community in establish a lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.

Australia welcomed the release of the United States Nuclear Posture Review, which was indicative of a high level of transparency. Australian foreign and defence policy also acknowledged an increasingly complex security environment. Australia strongly supported the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and would continue to work with international parties, including the United States, to promote meaningful disarmament objectives, which should be based on an objective assessment of the international security environment.

Canada said that should the Conference agree on a balanced programme of work that would include negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, all the work achieved in the High-Level Preparatory Group would be submitted to the Secretary-General for forwarding to the Conference on Disarmament. What would happen once the Preparatory Group concluded its work was not only up to Canada, said the Ambassador who regretted that mechanisms outside of the Conference were needed to keep up the progress on this issue. Canada wished for the issue to revert to the Conference where it belonged at the earliest opportunity.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea urged the United States to refrain from aggravating the situation on the Korean Peninsula and stop interfering in internal affairs of the Korean nation. The Republic of Korea could not talk about the nuclear issue, which must be settled between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States.

United Kingdom thanked Canada for its leadership on the issue of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, which was a priority for the United Kingdom.

Russia said that the content of the new nuclear doctrine of the United States gave rise to great disappointment and concern. Its confrontational and anti-Russian nature was glaringly obvious, as the United States justified its course on the large-scale increase in nuclear weapons by the modernization of Russia’s armed forces and the increase of the role of nuclear weapons in its doctrine and policy. The United States accused Russia of aggressive strategy and this was far from truth: Russia’s nuclear weapons doctrine limited the use of nuclear weapons to only two highly hypothetical and extremely unlikely scenarios. The first was an aggression on Russia or its allies with the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and the second was an aggression by conventional weapons if it jeopardized the existence of the State. Russia was concerned by Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach to the use of nuclear weapons, and by the fact that its military scenarios were so undefined and vague that they allowed the United States to use nuclear weapons against anyone they considered as an “aggressor”. More dangerous was the belief of the American military in their ability to reliably shape the development of conflict by allowing the use of less powerful nuclear weapons - a much lower threshold for the use of nuclear weapons could trigger a nuclear war even in lesser conflicts. In line with the agreements, Russia had destroyed three quarters of its nuclear arsenal and had reviewed their place in the military doctrine. In contrast, the United States was modernizing its tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, not far from Russia’s borders. Russia called upon the United States to seek together solutions to the accumulated problems with a view to maintaining international peace and security.

United States, speaking in a right of reply, said that the nuclear issue in “North Korea” was not an issue between “North Korea” and the United States but between “North Korea” and the entire international community. The United States was aware that Russia would not like its Nuclear Posture Review and said that obvious problems had to be stated. Over the past ten years, the United States had reduced its nuclear arsenal to demonstrate its commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, but this had not been met by others. Low-yield missiles to be placed on submarines would not lower the threshold for nuclear war but would increase it. It was of concern that Russia had been unwilling to engage in discussions on non-strategic nuclear weapons for a long time. The United States was not in violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Republic of Korea, speaking in a right of reply, said that the Republic of Korea was a well-respected member of the international community, reflected in the fact that it was hosting the Olympic Games - a symbol of peace and friendship with everyone. The international community had stated, through multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, that it would never accept the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme and that this country must return to the path of denuclearization.

Ukraine expressed appreciation for the way in which the United States had presented its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review in the Conference, and its commitment to the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation and arms control. As for the statements that Russia was conformed to a non-aggressive doctrine, those were far from true as since 2014 Russia had been waging a hybrid war against Ukraine, occupying a part of its territory in the process. Russia regularly provided illegal armed groups in south-east Ukraine with sophisticated weapons and mercenaries. The militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, illegally occupied by Russia, was a source of concern, as there were reports of deployment of sophisticated arms systems there. Furthermore, Russia did not exclude the deployment of nuclear weapons there.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in a right of reply, said that the nuclear issue had come into existence because of the United States longstanding hostile policy towards this country, and urged the United States to recognize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a nuclear power and find a way to co-exist. The United Nations Security Council resolutions were politically motivated documents based on the hostility of the United States. The country’s nuclear force was a self-defensive deterrent to protect its people and existence against the United States military; this deterrent would never be placed on a negotiating table unless the United States dropped its hostile policy.

United Kingdom, speaking in a right of reply, recalled the commitment contained in its 2015 security review to work with allies to build partnership with Russia, and noted that since then Russia had become more aggressive and authoritarian. Its actions in Ukraine were a demonstration of its willingness to undermine international principles in pursuit of its national interest, and a possibility of an aggressive act against a NATO member could not be ruled out. Russia was a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and the United Kingdom would continue to work with Russia on threats to peace and security, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Russia, speaking in a right of reply, said that Russia had never used the term “aggressor” against another member of the Conference on Disarmament and that it did not start the hybrid information war in Ukraine. Russia had been qualified as an aggressor State in some official documents and even in legislation in some countries. Under the Budapest Memorandum, Russia’s obligation as a nuclear State was not to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, and nothing of this kind had ever happened. As for the situation in Donbas, this region did not want to live under new rules established by authorities in Kiev and that was the reason for this bloody civil war. Russia was involved in a political settlement in Donbas as a guarantor of the Minsk Agreement.

Ukraine, speaking in a right of reply, said that Russia read selectively the Budapest Memorandum. Indeed, it did not use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, but it blatantly violated its other commitments, such as to respect Ukrainian independence, sovereignty and existing borders, or to refrain from putting economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its internal situation. If Russia was indeed interested in stabilizing the situation in south-east Ukraine, why was it then blocking the sending of the United Nations peacekeepers in this region?

France said it had an independent nuclear arsenal but it considered that the United States nuclear deterrent was an important part of strategic stability, thus France was pleased to see that the new Nuclear Posture Review enshrined the role of NATO in ensuring peace and stability in the Atlantic area. It was a multipolar world in terms of nuclear threats and France was attached to the consolidation of nuclear deterrence in the new Nuclear Posture Review. Cooperation between France and the United States on nuclear dossiers was based on dialogue and trust, and would be pursued, while keeping in mind the responsibilities of nuclear States in maintaining international peace and security.

United States, speaking in a right of reply, said that United Nations Security Council resolutions were international law and not policy documents concocted by the United States or anyone else. The Nuclear Posture Review represented what the United States believed were the current threats facing it, and outlined the steps necessary to deal with those security challenges. The United States was not happy having to take a more difficult posture with regard to its nuclear engagement, but it felt it had no choice given the threatening environment. This document was based on reality and on the world as it was. The United States had to deal with those threats as it had a responsibility to provide security not only for its own citizens, but around the globe. It would guide the United States going forward concerning its engagement in the nuclear arena.

Russia, speaking in a right of reply, said that the deployment of a peacekeeping mission to south-east Ukraine was supported by Russia, recalling that it had been the President of Russia who had initiated it in autumn last year.

Ukraine, speaking in a right of reply, noted that the peacekeeping initiative had been launched in the United Nations Security Council by Ukraine and said that, as always, the devil was in the details. It was essential to start implementing the security components of the Minsk Agreement and to demonstrate the political will to start discussions in the United Nations Security Council and elsewhere on initiatives that could bring real peace and stability to south-east Ukraine.

RAVINATHA ARYASINHA, President of the Conference and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, invited the delegations to the Sri Lanka National Day reception at 6 p.m. today, which will include a performance by the National Sri Lanka Dance Troupe. He said the next public plenary will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 8 February 2018.


For use of the information media; not an official record

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