18 October 2011 - General Assembly - 1st Committee - Other weapons of mass destruction - Statement by Mr. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament
The segment of our debates devoted to "other weapons of mass destruction" is of critical importance for my delegation. WMDs constitute a threat that we cannot afford to treat as a secondary issue.
In order to address these threats, the international community has a certain number of legally binding instruments tailored to the specific requirements (or if necessary to the similarities) of the main types of weapons that we’re discussing here. All these instruments are essential, must be universalized and scrupulously complied with in order to constitute the best possible prevention system that can be implemented by the international community in order to deal with these multifaceted threats.
As a Depositary State of the 1925 Geneva Protocol on the prohibition of the use in war of chemical and bacteriological weapons, France wants to reaffirm its attachment to this instrument which, as far as possible, addresses the gaps in universalization of the major regimes attached to these two types of weapons. France urges all member States that have not yet done so to accede to this Protocol, and urges those who expressed reservations to withdraw them.
No one must think that the use of these weapons of mass destruction will go unexplained or unpunished. In this respect, France maintains its full support for the inquiry mechanism that the Secretary-General may initiate within the framework of an alleged use. It reaffirms that it will contribute, depending on its capacities, to a specific request for assistance in implementing this instrument.
2011 will be marked by the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) Review Conference. The Convention establishes a key principle for international peace and security : biological weapons must not be developed, produced or held for whatever reason. Thus, France urges all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify this treaty. It reaffirms that the provisions of the Convention must be effectively implemented. It will support the strengthening of all existing instruments and mechanisms to ensure the effective functioning of the Convention : confidence-building measures, assistance for affected States, intersessional work program, taking developments in science and technology into account through an approach based on regular follow-up.
We lend our full support to the appointed presidency and the approach that the Ambassador of the Netherlands has just set out.
The BTWC is the cornerstone of the international regime on combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It must remain an effective instrument. As such, the States Parties must set themselves the objective of making the Convention a central component of a more comprehensive architecture for combating the biological threat, whether this be deliberately provoked or not. Bio-safety and bio-security will be central to France’s concerns at the BTWC Review Conference in December.
The Chemical Weapons Convention is the other key pillar of the system prohibiting "other weapons of mass destruction." We believe that this essential treaty—the robustness, seriousness and suitability of which don’t need to be recalled here—must be fully implemented in order to remain fully pertinent. It is a unique text in the annals of disarmament: indeed, it is the only international convention that governs both the total eradication of a whole category of weapons of mass destruction and a binding verification system (statements, inspections, etc.) providing for action with respect to non-proliferation. It covers 98% of the global chemistry industry and organizes the destruction—both complete and ongoing—of the most significant chemical stockpiles. I would like to take this opportunity to applaud Ambassador Ahmet