Statement by Representative of the Russian Federation Mr.Andrey Belousov in the First Committee of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly at the Thematic Debate on "Disarmament Machinery"
The central role in addressing the issues related to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation (ACDN), as well as to the international peace and global security is played by the UN, as envisaged in its Charter. We see no alternative to the UN disarmament "triad". All its components are interlinked and complement each other, and have as foundation carefully elaborated mandates and rules of procedure.
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly hampered the work of international fora. Opportunities for face-to-face diplomatic communication have been severely curtailed affecting the efficiency of key disarmament platforms: the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) and our First Committee (FC) of the UN General Assembly.
The pandemic has coincided with growing destructive trends aimed at dismantling the existing international ACDN regimes, increased tensions and trust deficit between UN Member States. We are witnessing an upsurge in politicizing discussions within the UN General Assembly. There are continued attempts to use the UN to gratify ambitions without taking into account the interests of the rest of Member States. We believe that such actions are absolutely unacceptable. They carry a highly dangerous confrontational charge, and can further divide the international community thus distracting its attention from the real international security problems that require urgent joint solutions.
The Russian Federation believes that the matters related to strengthening current arms control regimes and elaborating new ones should be addressed within the existing conventional instruments or the UN mechanism. This is the only approach that can ensure effective multilateralism and advance disarmament. We should oppose any attempt, under whatever pretext it may be made, to revise the UN disarmament machinery. The work of the FC, the CD and the UNDC should be results-oriented. It should be carried out in full compliance with the UN Charter, other norms of international law and their specific mandates. Ideas to reform the fundamental working methods and the rules of procedure of the UN disarmament fora seem counter-productive.
We are convinced of the need to consolidate our efforts with a view to maintaining and improving the system of ACDN agreements. It is for these reasons that we submit the biennial UN GA resolution titled "Strengthening and developing the system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements". The 2020 document is consistent with the spirit of a unifying agenda on strengthening the existing global arms control architecture.
We propose draft resolutions on no first placement of weapons in outer space, transparency and confidence-building measures in space activities, further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space, as well as the UN Secretary-General’s mechanism for investigation of alleged use of chemical and biological weapons. We count on the co-sponsorship of and support for these draft resolutions.
At the Geneva Conference on Disarmament, the Russian Federation has been doing its utmost to facilitate an agreement on a comprehensive and balanced programme of work in accordance with the negotiating mandate of the forum. The inviolability of the fundamental principles of the CD work, primarily the rule of consensus should be ensured. We urge everyone to focus our efforts on getting back to substantive negotiations, rather than dwelling on matters of clearly secondary importance. Besides, it would be hardly possible to reach a common understanding on them at the moment. Russia’s initiative to elaborate an international convention on the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism aims to help the CD break the long-standing stalemate. The Russian-Chinese draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space, the threat or use of force against outer space objects is also on the table of the Conference on Disarmament.
We are convinced that the Conference, given its unique status of a single disarmament negotiating forum, is capable of making a meaningful contribution to the normalization of the international security situation and helping to build confidence between States.
The work of the UNDC can only be resumed if the inviolability of the principle of equality of States is guaranteed. Without the U.S. authorities ensuring, in fulfilment of their obligations under the 1947 Headquarters Agreement and UN GA resolution 75/146, that representatives of all Member States have unimpeded access to New York, a professional expert dialogue can hardly be expected. Use of visa bans as a political tool against opponents has affected the UNDC, whose work has been blocked since 2019.
We call on our U.S. colleagues to return to compliance with universally recognized norms of respectful interstate cooperation in accordance with the UN Charter and the Agreement regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations.