I welcome our new colleagues from the Netherlands and Slovakia. I also welcome Ms. Kasperson as the Deputy Secretary General of the CD. I look forward to working with all of them very closely.
We appreciate the substantive activities undertaken this year by the Working Group on the Way Ahead under the leadership of Ambassador Lynn of Myanmar, ably supported by the co-facilitators: Ambassadors of Germany and Belarus and our colleague from Chile. The discussions on all agenda items of the CD were highly useful for deepening our collective understanding and for exploring common ground for further progress. We look forward to the smooth and early adoption of the Working Group’s report.
We welcome the convening of a plenary meeting after an interval of four weeks. My delegation is pleased to note that the regular meetings of the CD and the customary consultations with individual members as well as the regional groups have been resumed. This allows many national delegations and regional groups that have been waiting to address important issues, to do so. We hope that the CD’s established practice of holding at least one formal plenary meeting every week, as well as the weekly meetings of the regional groups, will not be discontinued by any President arbitrarily and arguably not in consonance with the Rules of Procedure and established practice.
While we completely share the common goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, we were surprised by a unilateral decision to set aside the responsibilities of the CD President.
Despite all our frustrations and disappointment with the slow pace of progress in the CD, and our differences of opinion, we simply cannot give up on this forum. The CD is a vital and indispensible part of the UN disarmament machinery. As the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body, operating by consensus with the participation of all the relevant stakeholders, the CD helps shape the international security architecture in a manner that results in equal and undiminished security for all States. Lets be clear, its unravelling is no solution and no achievement regardless of lofty idealism.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement on 7 August 2017, regarding the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. I quote:
“Pakistan is committed to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world through the conclusion of a universal, verifiable and nondiscriminatory, comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons. The Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD), the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body, remains the most ideal forum for concluding such a convention.
The United Nations General Assembly, at its first special session devoted to nuclear disarmament in 1978, had agreed by consensus that in the adoption of disarmament measures, the right of each State to security should be kept in mind, and at each stage of the disarmament process the objective would be undiminished security for all States at the lowest possible level of armaments and military forces.
Pakistan believes that this cardinal objective can only be achieved as a cooperative and universally agreed undertaking, through a consensus-based process involving all the relevant stakeholders, which results in equal and undiminished, if not increased security for all States. It is indispensable for any initiative on nuclear disarmament to take into account the vital security considerations of each and every State.
The Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by a vote on 7 July 2017 in New York, did not fulfill these essential conditions – both in terms of process and substance. Treaties that do not fully take on board the interests of all stakeholders fail to achieve their objectives. Pakistan, therefore, like all the other nuclear armed states, did not take part in its negotiation and cannot become a party to this Treaty. Pakistan does not consider itself bound by any of the obligations enshrined in this Treaty. Pakistan stresses that this Treaty neither forms a part of, nor contributes to the development of customary international law in any manner.
Pakistan reaffirms its commitment to nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes peace, security and stability at the regional and global levels.” End of quote.
Turning over to another issue that has been addressed by many delegations today. In reaction to the ballistic missile test conducted by the DPRK on 28 July 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan issued a statement, expressing concern over this action. The full text of our unambiguous statement is available on our Ministry’s website. It underscored the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and called on all relevant parties to pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy to reduce tensions and work towards achieving a comprehensive solution.
I thank you, Mr. President.