20 August 2019
Ambassador Taonga Mushayavanhu of Zimbabwe, during the first plenary of the Conference on Disarmament under the presidency of his country, outlined his vision and plans for this last presidency of the 2019 session, which he said would focus on the adoption of the annual report.
Zimbabwe took the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament very seriously because of its avowed commitment to ridding the world of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, stressed Ambassador Mushayavanhu. Coming from a nuclear free continent – Africa - Zimbabwe was committed to building bridges in the Conference that found itself at a critical juncture, after far too long a paralysis.
The Conference, he continued, could and must negotiate treaties to eliminate and prohibit nuclear weapons, to prevent an arms race in outer space, to provide effective security assurances to non-nuclear States such as Zimbabwe, to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, and to negotiate treaties on many other disarmament matters.
“All we need to do is summon the political will, for without it, the Conference on Disarmament risks losing the characteristics of being the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum of the international community,” stressed the President.
Ambassador Mushayavanhu paid tribute to the previous presidencies on their sterling efforts to come up with an agreeable programme of work in 2019. The proposal by the Netherlands (Working Paper “Back to Basics: A Programme of Work”) seemed to have opened a pathway for the work of future presidencies, while thematic discussions on agenda items that previous presidents had organized would hopefully help to identify zones of commonality among the Member States, he said.
The focus and the ambition for the remainder of the Zimbabwean presidency would be on the adoption of the annual report, said the President, announcing a series of informal consultations to find a common ground on the report’s form and content. He said the draft annual report would be discussed in a public plenary on Tuesday, 3 September.
Venezuela, China, South Africa, Japan, Viet Nam, Russia, Cuba, Algeria and Egypt congratulated Zimbabwe on assuming the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament and reiterated their full support and cooperation to ensure the adoption of the annual report
The Conference on Disarmament will hold its next plenary at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 27 August. The third and last part of the 2019 session of the Conference on Disarmament will conclude on 13 September.
For use of the information media; not an official record