8160th Security Council Meeting: Non-Proliferation

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SIX OFFICIAL 18-Jan-2018 02:40:52
Upholding international treaties, greater trust among political leaders in Korean Peninsula, Middle East key to nuclear non-proliferation, Security Council told at 8160th meeting.
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Speakers highlighted the importance of nuclear non‑proliferation treaties and of strengthening confidence and trust among political leaders of the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East, as the Security Council held a high‑level briefing today on preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres noted Kazakhstan’s tradition of support for the global non‑proliferation regime. He also underscored that engagement in disarmament, non‑proliferation and arms control measures built confidence. However, that confidence could be undermined by bellicose rhetoric and confrontational approaches, he cautioned.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear programme was being questioned, he said. The multilateral agreement, which was in the best interest of the Iranian people and the international community at large, should be preserved. Meanwhile, the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict seriously challenged the “global taboo” against those weapons of mass destruction. If it was again determined that chemical weapons had been used in Syria, the international community must find an appropriate way to identify those responsible and to hold them to account.

The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, pointed to his own country’s renunciation of nuclear weapons as an example to other countries, and underscored that an atmosphere of mutual trust could foster a new model of international cooperation. Non‑proliferation was a matter of humanity’s survival, he said, noting that as the number of countries with weapons of mass destruction increased, so did the risk of such weapons falling into the hands of destructive forces. To that end, it should be made more difficult to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a good example of the return of systemic dialogues in international affairs and confidence in political institutions, he said, spotlighting that it was only possible thanks to an atmosphere of trust. A similar approach could be applied to resolve challenges concerning the Korean Peninsula and to restore trust among the parties concerned.

Andrzei Duda, President of Poland, said that the provocative actions of the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea undermined non‑proliferation efforts. The stockpiling of chemical weapons and its ballistic missile programmes were a clear violation of international law and showed that a policy of aggression had overshadowed one of open dialogue and trust.

Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, said that the Middle East was unfortunately still a flagrant example of threats facing the non‑proliferation system. He also noted the selectivity of the Security Council in dealing with those threats. Further, he condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, highlighting that the inability of the Council to keep the mechanism to determine which party was using those weapons meant that party had impunity.

The representative of the United States said that States must comply with their international obligations and demand that Iran, a country that supported terrorism and murderers, fulfil its obligations. That was not because the United States wanted the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to fail, but because it wanted non‑proliferation to succeed, she said. On the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, she said that the Russian Federation had vetoed resolutions on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons‑United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, and urged unity on that issue through constructive, effective actions.

The Russian Federation’s representative said that the United States and the United Kingdom had erroneously complained that his country had closed the Joint Investigative Mechanism and vetoed its extension. In fact, it was his country that had proposed the resolution to extend the Mechanism and improve its impartiality, but those Member States had not allowed that resolution to pass.

Several delegates stated their views on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, with the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific of the United Kingdom, Mark Field, noting that while the Non‑Proliferation Treaty remained a cornerstone, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons did not offer tangible benefits to signatories, and that was the reason why his country would not sign on to that instrument.

Offering a different view, the representative of Equatorial Guinea noted that the Treaty was a way to move forward, given that despite a common desire to eliminate nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, tangible results had been elusive.

As a member of the world’s first nuclear‑weapon‑free zone, Bolivia also subscribed to the implementation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and was firmly against any form of nuclear testing, that country’s representative said. Cooperation among States was a powerful tool to bring about non‑proliferation, he added.

Sergey V. Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, also made a statement during the meeting.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Peru, Sweden, France, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, China and Netherlands.

The meeting began at 10:19 a.m. and ended at 12:59 p.m.
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