Statement by Mr. Andrey Belousov, Deputy Head of the delegation of the Russian Federation in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on “Disarmament machinery” cluster
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Distinguished Mr. Chairman,
The Russian Federation believes that the leading role in considering the issues of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation (ACDN), as well as the issues of international peace and global security must belong to the United Nations. The tasks of strengthening the existing and developing new regimes in the area of arms control must be addressed either in the framework of already existing convention mechanisms or within the UN disarmament machinery. This is a guarantee of the principle of multilateralism in disarmament.
Each of the components of the disarmament “triad” – the UNGA First Committee, the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) and the Conference on Disarmament (CD) must responsibly and effectively fulfill the specific functions entrusted to them. We as the UN member states must ensure the necessary environment. In order to do this we must strictly follow the mandates of these important fora and avoid its politicization to the detriment of the work in search for consensus solutions of the topical problems of the ACDN.
Unfortunately, recently, some disarmament fora apart from having its own problems witnessed overpoliticization of the discussions. It distracts the attention of their participants from the agenda and generally is reformatting their work.
We confronted such a situation last year at the CD where due to the position of certain states we were not able to get the maximum benefit from the work of its subsidiary bodies. We consider this position counterproductive and contravening the traditions and spirit of the Conference. It prevented the normal performance of the President’s functions, based on rotation, by one of the CD member - states. We consider as unacceptable any attempts to depart from the established practice of the CD. Moreover, we witness in the activity of this forum a clear trend to consider the issues that are important from the viewpoint of international security but go beyond the agenda and the mandate of this forum. The clear consequences of this situation is the adoption by the CD of a strictly technical procedural report for the first time in the last twelve years.
We also observe the same situation also in the First Committee. Of course, the signs of politicization, which leads in its turn to polarization, and thus the difficulties in achieving the consensus decisions, were manifested earlier here in New York. However, during the current session this trend has acquired a full amplitude. A clear evidence to this is the vote last week on the issue of potential consideration by the First Committee of the Russian resolution in support of the INF Treaty.
There is no doubt that there are also some positive elements in the work of disarmament fora. For example, the UNDC has been demonstrating certain progress recently. Last year, for the first time since 1999 states managed to adopt by consensus the recommendations on confidence building measures in the area of conventional arms. This year at the joint initiative of China, US and Russia a new item was added to the UNDC agenda dealing with the preparation of recommendations on transparency and confidence-building measures in the outer space activities to address the task of prevention of an arms race in outer space. The meaningful discussion of this issue at the UNDC under the able chairmanship of Belgium held this April allow us to hope for results at the end of the new cycle of the Commission.
The substantive discussions held in the five CD subsidiary bodies of established this year have also become an encouraging element. These discussions allowed us all to try and define potential commonalities on the agenda items and single out the specific issues for the CD to focus on in the future.
We intend to continue all the efforts to improve the work of the disarmament “triad”. I cannot but mention in this connection the Russian proposal made in March 2016 to draft at the CD an International Convention to Combat the Acts of Chemical and Biological Terrorism (ICCBT). This initiative does not infringe upon the interests of member states and its implementation makes it possible to elaborate a new instrument to counter the WMD terrorism and strengthen regional and international security. The Russian proposal remains “on the table” of the Conference on disarmament.
In conclusion, let me say a few words regarding the UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda prepared this year. On the whole, we welcomed this document and actively participated in its preparation. Nevertheless, we have to recognize that despite the fact that the publishing of this agenda was preceded by a number of consultations of the UN Secretariat with individual states, the Russian position actually was not reflected there. We will actively follow the process of its implementation. We come from the understanding that it is precisely the states who should define the agenda in such a sensitive area as ACDN.
Thank you for attention.