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28 October 2013 - General Assembly - First Committee - Statement by Ambassador Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva

“Other weapons of mass destruction”
(Unofficial translation)
(New York, 24 October 2013)

Mr Chairman,

France fully associates itself with the statement of the European Union.

I would, however, like to make some additional remarks from a national perspective.

The issue of “other weapons of mass destruction” is of fundamental importance to my delegation. Current events bear this out.

The use in Syria of a weapon of mass destruction by a government against its own people is intolerable. The firm and determined reaction of several countries, including France, permitted the adoption of the decision of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on 27 September and UN Security Council Resolution 2118. This Resolution clearly condemns the chemical attack perpetrated on 21 August. It refuses impunity and calls for those responsible to be tried. It acknowledges the existence of a threat to international peace and security and imposes important, legally binding decisions, with a view to destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stocks. It also decided that the Security Council, in case of non-compliance, would impose new measures under Chapter VII.

Furthermore, we welcome the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. France calls on all States which have not yet done so to join the 190 States which are already Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). We would also like to welcome Somalia’s accession.

The third CWC Review Conference was held last April and was a great success. At the Conference, France defended ambitious positions aiming to support the OPCW’s transition from a disarmament regime, which has already made strong progress, to a regime against proliferation. This is mainly achieved by strengthening the regime of industrial verification and national implementation.

Mr Chairman,

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Seventh Review Conference of which took place in December 2011, is another central component of the international regime against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. France calls on all States which have not yet done so to ratify or accede to this treaty. France welcomes the accession of Cameroon, Nauru, Guyana and Malawi in 2013.

At the Seventh Review Conference, France proposed establishing a peer-review mechanism to consolidate the BWC regime by strengthening the trust between the States parties and enabling detailed exchanges of information and best practices on the issue of the Convention’s implementation.

Mr Chairman,

France would like to recall its commitment to 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons in war, of which it is the depositary. This instrument remains essential as the major conventions prohibiting the two abovementioned weapons have not yet been universally adopted. France thus calls on all Member States which have not yet done so to accede to this Protocol and for States that continue to maintain reservations to withdraw them.

Nobody must think that use of these weapons of mass destruction will remain unexplained or unpunished. To this end, France continues to fully support the investigation mechanism which could be used by the Secretary-General in the event of their alleged use. It recalls that based on its capabilities, it will contribute to a specific request for help in implementing this instrument.

Mr Chairman,

Finally, the issue of delivery systems of weapons of mass destruction is also central to the debate. On several occasions, the United Nations Security Council, in particular via Resolutions 1540, 1887 and 1997, has described the proliferation of missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction as a threat to international peace and security.

We are all aware that the Iranian and North Korean ballistic programmes in particular continue to make progress. The continuation of Syrian government activities linked to the development of its missiles, with the probable support of third countries, is also a major cause for concern, in particular in the context of revelations regarding its weapons of mass destruction programmes. France condemns North Korea’s new long-range missile launch on 12 December 2012, which constitutes a further violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The missiles are thus an increasingly-urgent issue of concern for all parties, which must be addressed. We must step up our efforts to increase the effectiveness of multilateral arrangements, particularly the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Major challenges remain ahead. In particular, we are supporting efforts towards the universalization of the HCOC. We are committed to continue making the international community aware of this threat and to promoting transparency on ballistic missiles.

Mr Chairman, thank you very much.

Learn more on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.



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