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

(Unofficial translation)

My country of course takes responsibility for the speech delivered yesterday on behalf of the EU. I want to add a few thoughts at the national level.

I/1/ Like others we welcome the considerable progress seen in the last 12 months: the conclusion of the New START agreement, the NPT Review Conference, the Summit on Nuclear Security, the first PrepCom of the Arms Trade Treaty, the entry into force of CASM.

In short, all bodies concerned by disarmament and non-proliferation have made major progress, with the notable exception of the Conference on Disarmament.

However, we were very close, in May 2009, to reviving this forum through the adoption of a new work program aimed at initiating negotiations on a "cut-off" treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

We share the legitimate frustrations of everyone resulting from the deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament. We must reflect together on the real reasons for this 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. 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. 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.

2/ The nuclear issue should obviously not overshadow the other multilateral negotiations on disarmament. Mobilization is still required in all areas: biological, chemical, conventional, ballistic missile proliferation and space. It’s not just a matter of international security but also a matter of preventing nuclear disarmament being offset by a new arms race in these areas.

Three negotiations have been concluded during the last 15 years and France welcomes this - and all the more so since it played an active role in the negotiations. The Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War, the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions do have, for all that, one thing in common: they relate to conventional weapons which are not critical to the outcome of conflicts but lead to the greatest humanitarian destruction of the populations. The beneficial influence and mobilization capacity of civil society are needed here; we must allow civil society to play an even greater role in the multilateral system.

Lastly, we welcome the successful start here in July of the preparatory work for the adoption of an Arms Trade Treaty. Admittedly, this will not focus on disarmament but on regulation. However, the fact that the UN is finally debating this extremely sensitive topic in a constructive way there again reflects an improvement of the international climate and the emergence of serious concerns regarding the protection of the populations.

II/ Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me tell you about the actions that France is planning to carry out in the coming months.

1/ Our nuclear roadmap is now the document adopted by consensus at the end of the last NPT Review Conference. The success of that event showed that for the first time, the international community was ready to deal with the nuclear issue in a comprehensive, global manner. Let us ensure that each state-party does its part to carry out the action plans that were adopted; we will then have collectively moved toward a more secure world.

To this end, as you know, we invited our P5 partners to Paris in 2011 for the first Review Conference follow-up meeting. This approach illustrates the resolve of nuclear nations to continue implementing concrete actions aimed at ensuring the full respect of their treaty commitments. The meeting will also demonstrate the concern for transparency instituted by President Sarkozy in Cherbourg in March 2008 and made concrete a year ago at the London meeting of P5 partners.

2/ On the national level, France will make a special effort in all forums—including the G8, which we are chairing next year—to reduce the greatest danger facing our planet today, i.e., nuclear proliferation, as demonstrated by the current proliferation crisis, most particularly in Iran and North Korea. For us, the strengthening of the nonproliferation regime is an absolute priority, notably with the reinforcement of the IAEA’s guarantees, the generalization of the Additional Protocol, the entry in force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the opening of negotiations on a cut-off treaty. Let me remind you that we want the cut-off negotiations to be carried out by the DC, which has the vocation to do so.

III. Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to conclude by discussing our role during this session of our Commission. This year, France will present three resolutions:

1/ The Hague Code of Conduct, which to date comprises 131 Subscribing States, is one of the rare multilateral instruments that combats the proliferation of ballistic missiles. Through trust-building and transparency measures, it is helping strengthen international and regional security. France, which originated this initiative, is committed to making the HCOC and its concrete implementation universal. It has made this dual aim the special objective of its presidency, which continues to May 2011. Mandated by the member states in its capacity as acting president, France will present this draft resolution, which is already being co-sponsored by its European partners.

2/ In line with the Washington summit on nuclear security, it is important to continue focusing the international community’s attention on keeping terrorists from acquiring radioactive sources. To mark the EU’s interest and role in this area, Germany and France are jointly presenting an updated version of the text first introduced before the UNGA in 2005. Recalling the central role played by the IAEA with regard to the safety and security of nuclear sources, this project takes into account recent initiatives carried out in this area. It also emphasizes the need to strengthen national measures to prevent and monitor this risk and, in this regard, the importance of developing collective efforts, notably in the framework of existing partnerships such as the G8 and the GICNT.

3/ This year, the UN Institute for Disarmament Research is celebrating its 30th anniversary. An independent establishment, it occupies a unique place within the UN system, contributing through the quality and independence of its work to member states’ thinking and analysis. Its publications are a significant source for the diffusion and exploitation of knowledge in the fields of disarmament and nonproliferation. At a time when the international community is considering how to strengthen the effectiveness of multilateral disarmament bodies, France would like to underscore the importance of a continuous commitment to UNIDIR in order to preserve the quality of its expertise and its motivating role.

* * *

Mr. President, dear colleagues, these are a few of the thoughts I wanted to share with you, as well as the actions that France plans to carry out—its contribution toward a safer world, and toward the world governance based on universal peace and security that my country is so strongly encouraging.

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