Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy in the First Committee of the 75th session of the UNGA on cluster 7 "Disarmament machinery"
We believe that the UN and its multilateral disarmament machinery plays the central role in addressing issues, related to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation (ACDN), as well as to the international security – as envisaged by the founding fathers 75 years ago. Each of the three components of the disarmament “triad” – the UNGA First Committee, the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) and the Conference on Disarmament (CD) is principal for the global discussion on these matters.
We regret that the work of a fundamental pillar of the disarmament mechanism, the UNDC, has been blocked for two years by now. The reason for that is the stance of the United States that seeks to politicize New York-based disarmament platforms and attempts to exert gross procedural pressure on the “unhandy” delegations instead of having a matter-of-fact conversation.
For several years on end, US authorities have been denying visas to the leading Russian experts in this area, and to delegations of a number of countries. In doing so, Washington crudely violates its obligations under 1947 Headquarters Agreement and ignores key provisions of UNGA resolution 74/195. However, this is the legal aspect of the matter, whereas in terms of politics this is a pennywise and futile approach, unworthy of such a great power as the United States. Does arrival of our experts frighten Washington so much that it would rather year-by-year lose its face in the First Committee than have them come here?
We call on the US colleagues to get back on track of respectful inter-state dialogue and interaction in accordance with the UN Charter and the Headquarters Agreement. References to this issue being on the agenda of the Host Country Committee do not work. The United States would torpedo any substantive discussion there either.
The US has no grounds, let alone legal rights, to block the participation of representatives of UN Member States in the events on the UN platform or to decide for them who should be part of, or even more so head of, national delegations. Through their destructive actions, the Americans are undermining the credibility of the United Nations Secretariat and Secretary-General of the Organization personally, who are obliged to ensure resolution of all organizational issues for the normal functioning of the United Nations bodies, regardless of the country in which the event is held.
Russia like no one else is interested in restoring the normal functioning of the UN disarmament mechanism. Guided by these considerations, we have put forward draft First Committee decision “Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission in 2021”.
We would like to underscore that the draft is very constructive. It has the sole goal to boost the UNDC work, and it fully rests upon consensual non-confrontational language of the 2019 decision on the UNDC and consensus UNGA resolution 74/195. Our document almost totally reproduces an analogous 2019 UNGA decision authored by Australia and Hungary. But unlike the draft that Australia proposes this year, our draft stipulated all substantive provisions that address prospects of UNDC work in the upcoming year.
As for the addendums to the draft, they all base on UNGA decisions that directly have to do with the work of UNDC. The question of ensuring participation of all delegations in the UNDC work is more than legitimate, and it touches upon the essence rather than procedure. Unless it is solved, we will raise all organizational aspects, i.a. visa-related, at all available levels as issues that have a direct bearing on the UNDC operation. Without a solution to this, no “technical” decisions like the one drafted by Australia make any sense. This is our principled position.