Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Andrey Belousov, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the Russian Federation, at the Thematic Debate on «Disarmament Machinery» in the First Committee of the 78th Session of the UNGA

Mr. Chair,

We are convinced that the leading role in addressing arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation issues, as well as issues of international peace and global security, should be played by the United Nations, as was intended when the Organization was established. The strengthening of existing arms control regimes and the development of new ones should be carried out either through active conventional mechanisms or through the UN disarmament machinery. Only such a principle can ensure genuine multilateralism in disarmament and take into account the security interests of the stakeholders.

It is necessary to intensify the progressive and constructive work of all elements of the unique disarmament "triad" – the First Committee of the UN GA, the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC), and the Conference on Disarmament (CD). To this end, Member States should strictly adhere to the mandates and rules of procedure of these structures and avoid politicization, which severely affects the search for consensus solutions to the pressing arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation problems.

In this regard, the ongoing attempts by Western States to undermine multilateral disarmament forums and to use the United Nations to serve their own vested ambitions without taking into account the interests of other Member States, primarily developing countries, require special attention of the international community. Western States continue to politicize the activities of the First Committee of the UN GA, the UNDC and the CD. They openly call for the revision of the current architecture of arms control, disarmament and non‑proliferation, which is based on the norms and principles of international law, and for its replacement with some non-binding rules designed to ensure further dominance of this group of States.

We deem such actions absolutely unacceptable, fraught with confrontation, divisions of the international community, increased tensions, loss of trust and distraction of its attention from the real international security problems. Such steps provoke further erosion of the existing international legal system in the field of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, undermine international security in general and make any movement towards complete and general disarmament impossible.

The activities of the CD are an illustration of all the above-mentioned destructive tendencies. In violation of the Conference's mandate, Western States use this forum to settle political scores and consolidate their non-core preferences on the disarmament platform. At the CD, there are attempts to introduce issues that are not directly related to its mandate and agenda.

The cause of this state of affairs lies not in the principles of the CD's work, but in the unwillingness of Western colleagues to engage in the implementation of the tasks assigned to this forum by the decisions of the First Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Disarmament: namely, to negotiate international legally binding instruments on arms control and disarmament. This is the cause CD’s low effectiveness.

Mr. Chair,

Russia will continue its efforts to improve the effectiveness and coherence of the disarmament triad. It is important to oppose any attempts to revise the UN disarmament machinery. The work of the First Committee of the UN GA, the CD and the UNDC should be result-oriented and carried out in full compliance with the UN Charter, other norms of international law and the powers assigned to them. Ideas to reform the fundamental working methods and rules of procedure of the UN disarmament forums seem counterproductive.

We would like to recall the still relevant Russian initiative presented in March 2016 to overcome twenty years of stagnation in the negotiating work of the CD. We renew the call to start drafting an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, which would help overcome stagnation and launch the negotiation process at the Conference in accordance with the existing mandate. The Russian-Chinese draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects still remains on CD's table.

We are convinced that the Conference, owing to its unique status as a single negotiating forum in the field of disarmament, can make a significant contribution to normalizing the international security situation and enhance confidence among States.

Thank you.