Where global solutions are shaped for you | News & Media | PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT PRESENTS DRAFT PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR THE 2018 SESSION

ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT PRESENTS DRAFT PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR THE 2018 SESSION

Conference Hears Statements by Venezuela and Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 21
12 June 2018

Ambassador Hussam Edin Aala of Syria, the President of the Conference on Disarmament, today presented a draft programme of work for the 2018 session.  The Conference also heard statements by Venezuela and Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 21 that called for an urgent establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and addressed the issue of negative security assurances.

The President of the Conference presented a draft programme of work which took into account the outcomes of bilateral consultations and built on the work of previous presidencies of the Conference.  Its aim was to encourage further consultations which would be held bilaterally and informally during the following week.

Taking into account the decisions of the Conference CD/2119 of 19 February and CD/2126 of 27 March 2018, the draft programme of work proposes the establishment of five working groups, including on cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament, one on nuclear disarmament and the other on fissile material for nuclear weapons; prevention on an arms race in outer space; negative security assurances; and on new types of weapons of mass destruction, with the aim to take into consideration all relevant views and proposals, past, present and future, and report to the Conference on Disarmament before the conclusion of the current session.

In a statement delivered by Venezuela, the Group of 21 (G-21) welcomed the formal historic proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace in 2014 and the 1996 African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (the Treaty of Pelindaba), and stressed the importance of establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.  In this context, the G-21 reaffirmed the urgency of Israel’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons without further delay and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under the comprehensive safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.  

Pakistan also spoke on behalf of the G-21.  Reiterating that the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, the Group urged the Conference to start negotiations on a phased programme for their complete elimination.  While nuclear-weapon-free zones were positive steps towards strengthening global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the Group emphasised the urgent need to reach an early agreement on a universal, irrevocable and legally binding instrument to effectively assure non-nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under all circumstances, as a highest priority.


The next plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament will take place on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 at 10 a.m.


Statements

Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Group of 21 (G-21), stressed that the Conference on Disarmament was the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum and emphasised the importance of preserving it by strengthening its nature, role and mandate.  The G-21 was deeply concerned at the danger posed to the survival of humankind by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and their possible use, and underscored the urgent need to commence negotiations on this issue in the Conference on Disarmament without further delay.  The G-21 further welcomed the formal historic proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace in 2014, which included the commitment of all States in the region to further nuclear disarmament as a priority goal and to contribute to general and complete disarmament.  The Group also welcomed the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, the Treaty of Pelindaba, signed in 1996, which sought to prevent the stationing of nuclear explosive devices, the testing of nuclear weapons, and the dumping of radioactive waste on the continent.

The G-21 reaffirmed the absolute validity of multilateral diplomacy in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, and welcomed the establishment of 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and the annual high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate and promote this International Day.  The G-21 also took note of the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 7 July 2017, and reaffirmed that the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  Despite the commitment of the nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, no tangible progress had been achieved in receiving legally binding assurances, and it was a matter of concern that non-nuclear weapon States had been – implicitly or explicitly – subject to nuclear threats by some nuclear weapon States contrary to their obligations under the United Nations Charter.  Expressing its concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, the G-21 called on all parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to implement their unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament.

The G-21 stressed the urgency for the Conference on Disarmament to adopt and implement a balanced and comprehensive programme of work and expressed its deep concern over the persistent lack of consensus on the implementation of the multilateral disarmament agenda in the United Nations disarmament machinery.  Stressing the importance of establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, the G-21 reaffirmed the urgency of Israel’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons without further delay and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under the comprehensive safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.  Finally, the G-21 recognized the importance of continuing consultations on the question of the possibility of expansion of the membership of the Conference on Disarmament and enhancing engagement with civil society.

Pakistan, also speaking on behalf of the Group of 21 (G-21), addressed the issue of negative security assurances, and reaffirmed that the total elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.  As long as nuclear weapons existed, the risk of their use and proliferation persisted, stressed the G-21.  The Conference on Disarmament should start negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.  Pending the achievement of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, the G-21 reaffirmed the urgent need to reach an early agreement on a universal, irrevocable and legally binding instrument to effectively assure non-nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under all circumstances, as a highest priority. 

The negative security assurances provided under such an instrument should be without any conditions, underlined the G-21, and recalled the unanimous conclusion of the International Court of Justice that there existed an obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.  Further, the G-21 underscored the need to eliminate the role of all nuclear weapons in strategic defence doctrines, security policies and military strategies, and believed that, pending the total elimination of all nuclear weapons, the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was a positive step and important measure towards strengthening global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  In this context, it was essential that nuclear weapon States provided unconditional assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons to all States of the zones. 

The G-21 reiterated its strong support for the early establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of all nuclear weapons, and in this regard expressed deep concern that three States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons had blocked consensus on the draft outcome document of the ninth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty, including the process to establish the Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons as contained in the 1995 resolution on the Middle East.  While the G-21 believed that the nuclear-weapon-free zones were positive steps towards strengthening global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, it did not subscribe to the arguments that declarations made by nuclear weapons States were sufficient, or that security assurances should only be granted in the context of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Given their geographical limitations, security assurances guaranteed to States members of nuclear-weapon-free zones could not substitute for universal legally binding security assurances.

HUSSAM EDIN AALA, Permanent Representative of Syria and President of the Conference, briefed the Conference on consultations he had conducted on a programme of work, and said that the bilateral consultations which were ongoing parallel to the work of subsidiary bodies had a common objective of agreeing on a programme of work.  The countries that had participated in bilateral consultations had welcomed the President’s approach to reaching a programme of work in parallel with the work of subsidiary bodies, said the President. 

Mr. Aala then proposed a draft programme of work contained in document CD/WP.608 which took into account the outcomes of bilateral consultations and also built on the work of previous presidencies of the Conference.  Its aim, said the President, was to encourage further consultations with Member States of the Conference, which would be held bilaterally and informally during the following week.  Finally, the President stressed that the consensus on the draft programme of work was a collective responsibility of all Member States, in a spirit of genuine cooperation.


For use of the information media; not an official record

DC18.30E