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5 april 2011 - Disarmament Commission - Statement by Mr Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

Mr. President,

Dear Colleagues,

My country supports the EU’s speech and the congratulations that it extended to you personally. I would like to make a few points regarding France’s position.

France would like this session of the Disarmament Commission, which concludes a 3-year series, to be helpful and to be part of the new momentum demonstrated by the international community for more than a year now.

Whether it’s the adoption of a comprehensive action plan at the NPT Review Conference, the entry into force of the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions, or more recently the entry into force of the New START agreement or the constructive spirit in which the second session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2012 Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty: the achievements of the past year are all signs that we can make progress on disarmament and on arms control when an open-minded and constructive spirit prevails.

This new momentum also demonstrates that the pursuit of a more secure world is an issue that should be dealt with in a comprehensive, balanced and concrete manner. Indeed, mobilization remains necessary in all areas: nuclear, biological, chemical, conventional, ballistic proliferation and space.

France believes that this comprehensive approach should be central to our discussions on the draft Declaration on the Fourth Disarmament Decade.

We also welcome the creation this year, in accordance with resolution 65/86, of a third working group devoted to concrete confidence-building measures in the area of conventional weapons. The work of this group should be substantial and should not in any way be postponed based on the progress made by the other two working groups.

Mr. President,

In the nuclear field, our road map now consists of action plans, adopted by consensus following the most recent NPT Review Conference, which address the nuclear issue in a comprehensive and balanced way. It is up to each Member State to fulfill its part of the bargain in order to make progress towards achieving a safer world.

The P5 is ready to assume its responsibilities in this respect. That’s why, at France’s invitation, the first P5 follow-up meeting to the NPT Review Conference will take place in Paris on 30 June. This initiative demonstrates France’s commitment to make progress; it demonstrates the P5’s determination to pursue the implementation of concrete actions aimed at ensuring full compliance with their commitments to the NPT. This meeting will also be consistent with the transparency advocated by President Sarkozy in Cherbourg in 2008, which became a reality in London in September 2009 among the P5 partners.

We must also strengthen the multilateral framework, by calling on all States that have not yet done so, notably the Annex 2 States, to promptly ratify the CTBT, by immediately negotiating a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons (known as the Cut-off Treaty). This final negotiation should be conducted within the Conference on Disarmament, established for this purpose, and thus with all of the stakeholders concerned. With this goal in mind, we remain open to innovative methods that could help move the process forward. We also call for the immediate establishment of a moratorium on the production of this fissile material.

All States should contribute to disarmament by establishing the necessary security environment. That means, above all, stopping proliferation. I am thinking in particular of North Korea and Iran. France continues to make, in all forums, including with the G8, the presidency of which we currently hold, a special effort to prevent and reduce this serious threat to international security. The strengthening of the non-proliferation regime is, in this respect, an absolute priority, through the strengthening of the IAEA safeguards and the generalization of the Additional Protocol.

Furthermore, France supports the efforts relating to the implementation of resolution 1995 on the Middle East. The NPT Review Conference last year allowed us to make significant progress. We must all work together in order to establish the conditions that will allow the Conference scheduled for 2012 to take place, with all of the stakeholders concerned. With this in mind, we support the EU’s initiative to organize a seminar on this issue.

Mr. President,

As I underlined, France is working in all the areas that can contribute to comprehensive and complete disarmament. It continuously strives to achieve the implementation, the universalization and the strengthening of the multilateral instruments in this area.

The 7th Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons in December is a key event for us. The G8 Foreign Ministers have just adopted, on March 15, under French presidency, a statement with this objective in mind. We call for the strengthening of the BWC through the development of a new 5-year work program, the pursuit of more effective methods of ensuring compliance with the Convention, the improvement of confidence-building measures and the renewal of the Implementation Support Unit’s mandate. We also invite all States that have not done so to accede to the Convention, which is a key instrument in terms of our collective security. The Preparatory Committee for the Review Conference, which will take place from 13 to 15 April in Geneva, will enable us to prepare an appropriate framework for an in-depth examination of the functioning of the Convention in these areas.

France also supports, notably within the framework of its presidency of the G8, all concrete efforts to fight against the proliferation of ballistic missiles which are a major cause of concern for the international community in view of the increased development of ballistic programs over the last few years. During our presidency of the Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC), we wanted to focus our action on two priorities: promoting the universalization of the Code through new ratifications and improving its functioning and the implementation of its provisions. In this respect I would like, Mr. President, to welcome the accession of your country, Iraq, to the HCOC; this a concrete measure likely to further advance the goal of creating in the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their vectors.

We would also like the plenary meeting of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which will take place in a few days in Buenos Aires, to be an opportunity to adopt a final declaration likely to strengthen the regime.

I now come to conventional arms control. France welcomes the positive and constructive atmosphere that prevailed in the work that has taken place until now with respect to the negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty. The list of equipment being considered for inclusion in the scope of the treaty seems to be sufficiently broad and operational. We continue to believe that respect for human rights, international law and economic and social development should be included in the evaluation criteria of the transfers. France will continue its action in a spirit of cooperation and transparency. It will continue to strive to reconcile positions in order to achieve a legally binding instrument, while also seeking to ensure that as many States as possible accede to the treaty.

Furthermore, we were in Vientiane in November in order to welcome the entry into force of the Oslo Convention and to start to work on its effective implementation. In Geneva, we resumed the negotiation process of a sixth protocol to the CCW relative to cluster munitions. We would like this negotiation to succeed. We are optimistic that the Review Conference in November will enable the adoption of a new protocol.

Similarly, we would like increased efforts to be focused on small arms and light weapons, the illicit trafficking and excessive accumulation of which is affecting international security and stability, fueling armed violence and considerably curbing development in many countries. We hope that the next meeting of governmental experts of the UN Program of Action on marking, tracing, record-keeping of small arms and light weapons will prompt a productive exchange likely to strengthen the implementation of the program of action and its marking and tracing instrument adopted on the initiative of France and Switzerland in 2005.

These few initiatives demonstrate what we can do, not in the distant future, but in the months and years to come in order to create, together, a more secure world. We hope that our discussions during this session will reflect the challenges that are ahead. You can count on our delegation to participate in the debate in this constructive spirit.

Thank you for your attention.

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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