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

CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT HEARS ADDRESS BY HEAD OF DISARMAMENT DEPARTMENT AT MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF JAPAN

CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT HEARS ADDRESS BY HEAD OF DISARMAMENT DEPARTMENT AT MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF JAPAN
Also Hears Statements by the Netherlands, China and the United Kingdom
5 February 2013

The Conference on Disarmament this morning held a public plenary it which it heard an address by the Director-General of the Disarmament, Non Proliferation and Science Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mitsuru Kitano, as well as statements by the Netherlands, China and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Kitano said that although every item on the agenda of the Conference was important, Japan attached its highest priority on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), which in their view should be the next step in the process of nuclear disarmament. In this context, Japan supported the idea of the President and requested every delegation to show its utmost flexibility as they needed to move ahead before Member States shifted away from the Conference. Japan placed great emphasis on maintaining and strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime as a key multilateral instrument in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The Second Session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) would be held in Geneva from 22 April and Japan was working closely with its partners in the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative to put forward specific and practical proposals for the steady implementation of the 2010 NPT action plan.

Ambassador Andras Dekany of Hungary, President of the Conference, updating the Conference on the status of the consultations that he had been conducting on his proposed draft programme of work, said regional coordinators had received the draft last week and since then he had continued bilateral consultations on the text with individual Member States, including members of the P6. He had been invited by the Group of 21 to meet with the Group and explain the rationale behind his proposal as well as to answer any questions that may arise. He would be meeting with them this week. Mr. Dekany said that according to the rules of procedure, it was his obligation to submit before the end of his tenure a draft programme of work, an obligation that he intended to fulfill. In light of the outcome of his further consultations, he would eventually circulate the draft programme of work as a document of the Conference on Disarmament accompanied by an implementation plan as an annex. It was his hope that as a result of their common efforts, they would be able to agree on a package acceptable to all. He reiterated that he was available to further consult with all groups and delegations.

The Netherlands said that the President, in his draft programme of work, had clearly made a serious attempt in trying to accommodate the different positions. For the Netherlands starting negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) was their first priority. However, in the draft programme of work FMCT negotiations were no longer a separate item, but were now part of the nuclear disarmament paragraph. In their search for pragmatic ways to achieve progress on disarmament issues, the Netherlands was willing to make that compromise and it called upon other delegations to do the same.

China said the rules of procedures of the Conference with the consensus principle at the core could protect the legitimate security concerns of the Member States. Recently, especially during last year’s United Nations General Assembly First Committee, various views and proposals were put forward on how to promote the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) negotiations and the nuclear disarmament process. China believed that the Conference was the only appropriate venue for the FMCT negotiations. China did not support the removal of such core issues as nuclear disarmament and FMCT out of the Conference.

The United Kingdom said a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) was the next logical step and the United Kingdom wanted FMCT negotiations to begin as soon as possible. They should not attempt to put in place pre-conditions but explore all of the issues as part of the negotiations themselves. It might take a leap of faith by some, but as consensus was a requirement of that work the risks to any State were minimal.

The Conference also accepted requests by Kuwait, Malta and Montenegro to attend the 2013 session of the Conference as observers.

The next public plenary of the Conference will be held on Tuesday, 12 February at 10 a.m.

Statements

MITSURU KITANO, Director-General of the Disarmament, Non Proliferation and Science Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, said the high
priority placed on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in Japan’s foreign policy
remained steadfastly the same. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida noted in his rst speech that the new government would continue to engage actively in these fields.
With its historical background, Japan had placed importance and attachment to
nuclear disarmament. Multilateral consultations should produce tangible results to come closer to a world without nuclear weapons. It was for this reason that Japan continued to find value in the Conference on Disarmament, since it was deemed to be the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body of the international community. At the same time, he was truly saddened that the Conference had remained ineffective for so long. Japan welcomed the efforts of the President and other Member States of the Conference dedicated to seeking agreement on a programme of work that would pull the Conference out of its years of deadlock.

Although every item on the agenda of the Conference was important, Japan attached its highest priority on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), which in their view should be the next step in the process of nuclear disarmament. In this context, Japan supported the idea of the President and requested every delegation to show its utmost flexibility as they needed to move ahead before Member States shifted away from the Conference. Although the Conference was the best venue to negotiate multilateral instruments, they did not need to limit their endeavors to advance nuclear disarmament to just this body. Japan was ready to contribute to the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty that the United Nations General Assembly decided to set up. The GGE should produce tangible outcomes and give added value to past discussions. In addition, an open ended working group was also planned to be held in Geneva and Japan hoped the participants would undertake constructive discussions that would develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Japan placed great emphasis on maintaining and strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime as a key multilateral instrument in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The Second Session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) would be held in Geneva from 22 April and Japan was working closely with its partners in the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative to put forward specific and practical proposals for the steady implementation of the 2010 NPT action plan. Japan and its partner countries would also submit to the Second PrepCom six joint working papers on non strategic nuclear weapons, the reduction
of the role of nuclear weapons, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty CTBT, export controls, nuclear weapon free zones, and the wider application of safeguards in nuclear weapon States. Japan sincerely hoped that the Conference would revitalize its work and once again fulfill its mandated role.

Netherlands said many speakers had spoken about 2013 being the
last chance for the Conference. The views of the Netherlands on the lack of progress in the Conference were well known. He hoped that this sense of urgency that was expressed would be translated into flexibility and into real willingness to compromise so that they ended this negative spiral and prevented the Conference from fading away completely. The Netherlands had always held a pragmatic and flexible approach to the programme of work, which was not a goal in itself but a means to start substantive work, including negotiations, in the Conference. Their main objective was to reach progress on priority disarmament issues by means of starting negotiations and not the survival of the Conference itself. Their first priority was to start negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) an indispensable first step towards a world free of nuclear weapons. This priority was shared by an overwhelming majority of delegations. In pursuing this goal, the Netherlands was willing to look creatively at all possibilities that would enable them to start such negotiations, inside but also outside of the Conference.

The Netherlands looked back with satisfaction at the outcome of last year’s First Committee and the adoption of three important resolutions with large majorities on the establishment of a Group of Governmental Experts with the task to draft aspects for inclusion in an FMCT, on the establishment of an Open Ended Working Group on
Nuclear Disarmament, and on holding a High-Level Meeting on nuclear disarmament.

Turning to the draft programme of work that the President had presented, the Netherlands said he had clearly made a serious attempt in trying to accommodate the different positions. However, in order for this effort to succeed all sides would have to be willing to compromise. For the Netherlands starting negotiations on an FMCT was their first priority. However, in the draft programme of work priority was given to the issue of nuclear disarmament negotiations. FMCT negotiations were no longer a separate item, but were now part of the nuclear disarmament paragraph. The President was therefore asking them to make a major concession on this point. In their search for pragmatic ways to achieve progress on disarmament issues, the Netherlands was indeed willing to make that compromise and it called upon other delegations to do the same.

China said it supported the Conference to adopt as soon as possible a comprehensive and balance programme of work and start its substantive work accordingly. A programme of work would not only guarantee the orderly conduct of the work of the Conference, but would also demonstrate the dedication by all Member States to take forward the multilateral disarmament process. China appreciated and supported the efforts by the President in promoting the adoption of a programme of work and was carefully studying the relevant proposal. China hoped that the President would carry out further consultations to accommodate concerns of different parties and bridge the differences. China had always supported the authority and role of the Conference as the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. The rules of procedures of the Conference with the consensus principle at the core could protect the legitimate security concerns of the Member States. Therefore the authority and advantages of the Conference were irreplaceable.

Recently, especially during last year’s United Nations General Assembly First Committee, various views and proposals were put forward on how to promote the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) negotiations and the nuclear disarmament process. China believed that the Conference was the only appropriate venue for the FMCT negotiations. It could ensure the participation of all major parties in the negotiations so as to achieve a treaty which would fulfill its dual objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. China did not support the removal of such core issues as nuclear disarmament and FMCT out of the Conference, which would undermine the authority of the Conference as well as the overall international arms control and disarmament process.

Prevention of an arms race in outer space was one of the core issues in the Conference and was also a high priority for China. China had always advocated the peaceful use of outer space and opposed the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space. The draft Treaty on Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects was introduced by China and Russia in 2008. The draft treaty was the most mature proposal on prevention of an arms race in outer space that had so far been presented to the Conference and China hoped that the Conference would start substantive discussions on this agenda item as soon as possible and begin negotiations on the basis of the draft treaty.

United Kingdom said it remained absolutely committed to achieving their long-term objective of a world without nuclear weapons. Words alone were not enough and the United Kingdom had a strong record of taking unilateral action on disarmament, and in meeting its international and legal obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The United Kingdom knew what they had agreed to do in the last Action Plan in 2010 and it would rededicate efforts to implementing that plan, which covered all three pillars as well as the Middle East. The United Kingdom was behind on some commitments but it had not abandoned them.

A Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) was the next logical step and the United Kingdom wanted FMCT negotiations to begin as soon as possible. They should not attempt to put in place pre-conditions but explore all of the issues as part of the negotiations themselves. With an FMCT in place, they would be a significant step closer to their goal of a world without nuclear weapons. Without an FMCT, they would still have no legally binding way of putting a stop to the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. The United Kingdom welcomed the Canadian initiative to establish a Group of Governmental Experts that would explore the issues around an FMCT to feed into negotiations within the Conference. The Conference remained the best option for FMCT negotiations. There was little point in trying to develop a treaty not based on consensus or in a forum without all the key players. At the same time, frustration was mounting. They must be able to demonstrate progress if the value of the Conference was not to be called into questions and rival initiatives put forward that would undermine it. It was in all their interests to start work on the four Conference on Disarmament agenda items. It might take a leap of faith by some, but as consensus was a requirement of that work the risks to any State were minimal.



For use of the information media; not an official record

DC13/004E