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15 October 2010 - 65th UNGA - First Committee- Statement by M. Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament

(Unofficial translation)

Mr. President,

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


My country of course takes responsibility for the speech delivered the day before yesterday on behalf of the European Union. I would like to add a few thoughts at the national level.

I/ The nuclear agenda has for a year now been particularly full and has been marked by a series of accomplishments which we have reason to be pleased about, notably the conclusion of the New START agreement, the Summit on Nuclear Security and the NPT Review Conference.

1/ Our road map for all nuclear issues is now the document adopted by consensus following the most recent NPT Review Conference.

Libran Cabactulan, who made a major contribution to this remarkable achievement, reiterated yesterday what he believed to be the specific obligations of the nuclear weapon States with respect to the RevCon Action Plan, beginning with actions 3, 5 and 21.

But this approach is too limited. The Action Plan is part of a "packet" focusing on the three pillars of the Treaty; by adopting it by consensus, the international community demonstrated that, for the first time, it was ready to tackle the nuclear issue in a comprehensive and balanced way. Each State Party must now assume its share of these jointly adopted actions.

I reaffirmed in my speech during the general debate that France was going to continue its resolute action in support of disarmament, the fight against proliferation and more effective use of civilian nuclear energy by everyone.

That being so, we will focus, in all forums - including the G8, the presidency of which we will assume next year - particular attention on reducing the greatest threat to our security today, i.e. nuclear proliferation. I reiterate that strengthening the non-proliferation regime is an absolute priority for us.

2/ Within the framework of our work today, I want to stress above all nuclear disarmament and the clear determination of the nuclear weapon States to continue implementing concrete actions aimed at ensuring full compliance with their commitments with respect to the Treaty.

No one can doubt France’s determination. We are one of the rare States that have taken irreversible disarmament measures. We have reduced by half, in nearly 15 years, the number of nuclear warheads and declared, in the interests of transparency, the total capacity of our arsenal (300 warheads). We have completely dismantled our ground-to-ground nuclear component and we have reduced by 30% our airborne component and our sea-based component. We ratified the Test Ban Treaty 12 years ago already, and dismantled our nuclear test sites. We stopped the production of plutonium and uranium for nuclear weapons and dismantled the associated facilities. Our purely defensive doctrine strictly limits the use of nuclear weapons, restricting their use to extreme circumstances of legitimate defense.

Our determination to work with the other nuclear weapon States is also perfectly clear. I reiterate that in this respect we have, as you know, invited our P5 partners to Paris for the first follow-up meeting to the Review Conference. We will start to examine how to achieve the three pillars of the Treaty by 2015. I also reaffirm that this meeting will fall within the framework of the principle of transparency established a year ago in London between the same partners.

3/ But I want to stress one thing: the success of the Action Plan concerns everyone.

Our joint success will depend on whether each State Party fulfills its responsibilities with respect to implementing the measures adopted; we will then progress together towards a safer world.

Having said that, I do not want the nuclear weapon States to shirk their individual responsibility, and especially not in the area of nuclear disarmament. France assumes its responsibility through concrete actions, as I reaffirmed. I am merely noting that the improvement of the strategic situation, which we all contribute to, always precedes each new step with respect to reducing nuclear arsenals. Thus, for example, the significant reduction in the number of warheads in the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and France that has taken place over the last 20 years was made possible by the fall of the Wall and the construction of a Europe that had finally been reunited.

In the same way, only a sustained momentum towards resolving the serious tensions that are affecting, in various ways, though always in very dangerous ways, the Middle East as well as the Indian subcontinent and the Korean Peninsula will allow us to make decisive progress in disarmament in these regions of the world.

We must therefore work simultaneously on the strategies aimed at resolving these tensions and on strengthening the mechanisms of collective security. By following this path, which is both narrow and realistic, we will make tangible progress towards genuine disarmament, and we will make it possible to eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.

Mr. President, dear Colleagues,

II/ I now come to the topic that has been mentioned many times here and which fuels, year after year, collective frustration: the deadlock in the multilateral disarmament negotiations.

1/ In May 2009, we were very close to relaunching the Conference on Disarmament with the adoption of a new work program aimed at initiating negotiations on a "cut-off" treaty.

As I said at the opening session of our Committee we must reflect together on the real reasons for this deadlock and, like the European Union, make constructive proposals to end the deadlock. We thank the Secretary-General for having taken the initiative to organize the high-level meeting of 24 September which helped to clarify the debate. We know that work on the CD was suspended as a result of political animosity and the procedural improvements will not be enough to end the deadlock situation of this forum.

2/ Above all, we must firstly together show the countries which think they can profit from this deadlock that they are now moving in the opposite direction to before.

Yesterday, Pakistan confirmed to us that it did not wish to participate in the next stage, deemed however by the entire international community necessary in order to collectively move forward towards the reduction of arsenals, i.e. the suspension of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. That comes under its responsibility.

However, it justified its choice by giving reasons, and this is not saying much, that did not convince us. Its analysis of the attitude and the vision of the nuclear States was marked by so many historical misinterpretations. Regarding the work of the Conference on Disarmament, its national concerns lead it to suggest to the international community the notion of changing the order of emergency priorities that it itself set. While we are on this topic, I am not going to make much of the offensive personal attacks that we heard at the end of the speech. I appeal for greater dignity in our debates.

Mr. President, dear Colleagues,

III/ I would like to conclude by discussing the work of our Committee.

The draft resolutions have now been submitted. We will discuss them and amend some of them. I would like to make two recommendations.

- Firstly, I feel it is important that the resolutions reflect, as far as possible in their content, the recent developments that we are all aware of. Too many resolutions, reaffirmed year after year, reflect situations that no longer exist.

- Secondly, I also feel it is important that certain resolutions should not try to reopen compromises that were hard to achieve, for example within the framework of the NPT Review Conference. The current content of certain resolutions thus tends to modify and, already, to intensify certain obligations entered into within the framework of the Action Plan adopted by consensus in May. That doesn’t seem very helpful to us. In May we jointly strived to achieve a consensus that would allow us to make progress towards increased security for everyone. Let’s endeavor to maintain the spirit that allowed us to make this multilateral progress.

Having said that, Mr. President, you can count on the wholehearted cooperation of my delegation in order to ensure the greatest success of the work of our Committee.

Thank you./.



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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU