Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative, at the Informal Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament, Geneva, 5 February 2008
It is a great pleasure to see Chile chairing the informal discussions on agenda item 1 and 2 with a general focus on nuclear disarmament. Chile has always supported disarmament objectives in various international fora. Your skills and diplomatic experience will enable us to have constructive debate on the way forward.
Last year, Coordinator - Ambassador Wegger Strommen of Norway, held a comprehensive informal debate in the CD on nuclear disarmament. His compilation of proposals is a good basis for follow-up.
Agenda item 1 “Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament” is the CD’s raison d’tere. This is the fundamental issue around which all other issues revolve.
The CD was conceived to pursue the disarmament agenda, to avert nuclear war and to seek measures for the security of all peoples. The security of over half of humanity is undermined and threatened by the presence of such huge stockpiles. Threat of nuclear weapons has no geographical boundaries. Total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee to secure durable peace and security for all. The principle of equal security for all states, established by the UN Charter and upheld by the General Assembly’s first session on disarmament, is paramount in our quest for security, nuclear disarmament and arms control in the CD.
The most effective and credible way to stop and prevent the nuclear arms race is transparent, irreversible and verifiable nuclear disarmament. The legal, political and moral imperatives for nuclear disarmament are apparent. The International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion of 1996, has called for negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention to secure complete and irreversible disarmament. Precarious security situation around the globe warrants immediate negotiations of a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international controls.
Today, despite substantial reductions in existing arsenals, nuclear disarmament remains an elusive objective. Recent trends have witnessed a progressive erosion of international arms control and non-proliferation structures. These trends are detrimental to the existing international security architecture.
Pakistan is fully committed to the goal of general and complete disarmament and will continue to strive for it. We believe that both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are important to international peace and security. Their simultaneous pursuit alone can erect effective barriers against risks of proliferation and acquisition of nuclear technology by terrorists. Vertical proliferation, or improvement in nuclear weapon systems, compounds uncertainties and instabilities, and spurs new strategic competitions.
For the past two years, Pakistan has called attention to the need to construct a new consensus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Such a new consensus will require a revival of commitment to a collective security architecture based on equity, balance, restraint and cooperation among States.
G-21, in its statement on 29 January 2008, has reiterated that “achieving total nuclear disarmament remains the highest priority” of the Group. The G-21 has put forward its views as contained in CD/1571 proposing the establishment of an ad hoc committee under agenda item 1 to start negotiations on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified framework of time, including a nuclear weapons convention. The principles of transparency, verification and irreversibility should be the parameters for such negotiations. We call upon the CD to take up this proposal in its programme of work for 2008.
Pakistan reiterates the following proposals to realize the objective of general and complete disarmament:
· Convening of a Special UN Conference would help to build new consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation;
· Negotiation of a nuclear weapons convention along with a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified time frame;
· Negotiation of a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable fissile material treaty should be commenced in accordance with the Shannon Mandate and Report (CD/1299).
· Maintenance of nuclear weapons on de-alert status;
· No operational deployment of nuclear ballistic missiles; and
· No acquisition or production or deployment of anti-ballistic missile system.
The CD should establish ad hoc committees to undertake these negotiations. It is imperative that we adopt a balanced and comprehensive programme of work to start negotiations on all core issues as early as possible.
I thank you, Mr. Coordinator.