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23 October 2008 - First Committee "Disarmament machinery" - Statement by Mrs Sophie Moal-Makame

63th session of the United Nations General Assembly
Statement by Mrs Sophie Moal-Makame, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on behalf of the European Union

Mr Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

1. The Candidate Countries Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia2, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration

2. The European Union strongly believes that a multilateral approach to security, disarmament and non-proliferation is the best way of maintaining international order. The EU, as a strong supporter of effective multilateralism, considers that the General Assembly and its First Committee, the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) and the various international treaties, together with their bodies and review processes, are mutually reinforcing.

3. In view of the new threats to security, the disarmament machinery has an increasingly important role to play and we should make every effort to preserve and, where possible, further strengthen it.

4. Given its universal nature, the First Committee is one of the most important fora for discussing non-proliferation and disarmament issues. We would like it to foster a shared understanding of the current threats to peace and security and enable the international community to address them effectively in all the relevant bodies.

5. The EU fully supports the activity of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, under the authority of Ambassador Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, in implementing the mandates, decisions and relevant resolutions of the General Assembly.

6. The European Union would emphasise the importance of the Conference on Disarmament as the single multilateral forum available to the international community for disarmament negotiations. The EU has stated that it can accept proposal CD/1840 as it stands, showing its goodwill and determination to overcome the current stalemate. The EU has constantly sought to secure the adoption of a programme of work for the CD and will spare no effort to revitalise this single forum so that it can resume negotiations and substantive work.

7. The European Union is encouraged by the informal discussions which took place during the 2008 session of the Conference on Disarmament and by the statements made by high-level personalities this year.

8. The European Union welcomes the momentum developed by the CD since the establishment of the Six Presidents’ (P6) platform at the beginning of 2006 and the continuation of the same approach by the P6 in 2007. This momentum resulted, on 13 March 2008, in a proposal by the 2008 P6 platform for a programme of work for the CD, in the form of document CD/1840.

9. The European Union has stated that it can accept proposal CD/1840 as it stands. The EU would prefer a text with a stronger emphasis on the negotiation, without preconditions, of a non-discriminatory multilateral treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices, but considers this document to be a compromise which reflects concessions by all parties. The European Union has called on all delegations to show flexibility and support the consensus on document CD/1840 which is beginning to take shape.

10. The EU wishes to take this opportunity to reiterate its desire to see the CD enlarged, in particular to include those of its Member States which are not yet members of the Conference.

11. The UNDC is also a part of the disarmament machinery. We regret that an agreement could not be achieved during the three-year cycle which has just ended. We hope that the UNDC will in future be able to resume its role in promoting the objectives set out in its mandate.

12. The existing machinery has produced significant obligations and commitments in the disarmament field. However, some problems relating to its functioning remain. Given the dynamics of today’s international relations, it is essential for us to resolve them. What is essential for any machinery of this kind to function properly is political will, good faith and full compliance by States with their obligations and commitments.

13. The EU will continue to work constructively to achieve this aim.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU