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7 May 2014 - Security Council - Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction / Commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of Resolution 1540 - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United nations

(UN translation)

The adoption of resolution 1540 (2004), 10 years ago, on 28 April 2004, was a historic breakthrough in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. I wish to thank the Republic of Korea for having organized this high-level debate on the issue, as well as for submitting presidential statement S/PRST/2014/7, which we have just adopted.

Resolution 1540 (2004) was a historic step for several reasons. For the first time, the Council involved itself in the issue of the risk posed by biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups or other non-State actors, thus constituting a threat to peace and security. Moreover, by framing the resolution under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Naions, the Council decided to play its role as guarantor of international security and stability by demanding, in an unprecedented way, that Member States take concrete measures to prevent thе risk that weapons of mass destruction could fall into the wrong hands. Finally, by setting up the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), the Council gave itself the means to ensure ongoing follow-up to the resolution and to support cooperation among States to combat weapons mass destruction.

Ten years after its adoption, we can see undeniable progress in the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). Today, a majority of the countries of the world have adopted measures to enshrine the provisions of the resolution in their national laws. In that regard, I welcome the work of the South Korean chairmanship of the 1540 Committee and its experts aimed at encouraging the few countries that have not yet done so to submit their reports to the Committee on the implementation of the resolution in their national legislation.

Moreover, the main international, regional and subregional organizaions now have adopted strategies to implement and promote the measures set out in the resolution. Therefore, since 2004, the European Union has promoted the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). In July 2013, the Foreign Affairs Council of the Union adopted a new decision specifically addressing the resolution, allocating more than €1.5 million to supporting regional efforts to implement it.

France is also taking on its responsibilities. In the 1540 Committee, we coordinate the working group on assistance, which is an essential component of the work of the Committee. In that context, France, along with its partners, is continuing efforts towards the holding of a conference in Paris on this subject, as we said we would. In addition, in all forums in which we participate, we advocate for the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and for strengthening measures under resolution 1540 (2004), including strict implementation.

Despite the undeniable success of the past 10 years, much remains to be done. In order to address the issue of emerging technologies possibly being exploited by terrorists, all Member States should further strengthen export controls, prevent and suppress the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and secure sensitive goods and materials. In recognizing those challenges, at the Nuclear Security Summit held at The Hague at the end of March, France committed to launching an initiative aimed at strengthening the security of radioactive sources, including highly radioactive sources. Indeed, while fortunately infrequent, but nonetheless disturbing, cases of theft illustrate the need for better conceptualizing the security of such radioactive sources in order to avoid the fatal consequences of their possible use by groups or individuals. That is a matter of ensuring that such sources are not diverted for criminal purposes and that they continue to be used for purposes in which they render very important services — in industry, agriculture, medical and health areas, university settings and for scientific research. France’s efforts include working to strengthen the international rules pertaining to minimizing the use of highly radioactive sources and establishing a group of exporters of radioactive sources to strengthen international cooperation to prevent loss of Government control over such materials. The proliferation activites of North Korea and its nuclear and ballistics tests, which we strongly condemn, illustrate the need to ensure the full implementaiton of resolution 1540 (2004). In the event of new provocations, North Korea would expose itself to new Security Council sanctions. In that context, I would add that the Republic of Korea and our friends in the region can count on France’s solidarity.

Lastly, I would like to commend the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea for successfully energizing the work of the 1540 Committee since 2013, so as to guarantee the optimal implementation of the resolution throughout the world.

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