Conference on Disarmament
Plenary Meeting, 16 May 2017
Statement by Ambassador Farukh Amil
Permanent Representative of Pakistan
As this is the first time that my delegation is taking the floor under your presidency, let me begin by congratulating you on assuming this important responsibility. You can rest assured of our unstinting support and cooperation.
We commend the excellent manner in which your two predecessors, the Permanent Representatives of Romania and the Russian Federation, steered the Conference earlier this year. We also thank the Permanent Representative of Myanmar, Ambassador Htin Lynn, for his sterling work as the Chairman of the Working Group on the way ahead.
We also appreciate the invaluable support provided by the Secretariat, ably led by Mr. Michael Moller, Secretary General of the CD, and assisted by his remarkable team including Ms. Mary Soliman, Mr. Marco Kalbusch and many others working dedicatedly behind the scene.
Today, in this beautiful Council Chamber, I am taking the floor for the first time as the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN and other International Organizations based in Geneva and the Ambassador to the CD. It is a matter of great honour and privilege for me to represent my country in this august body. I seek the support of all fellow delegations in fulfilling this task, and assure them of my cooperation. I look forward to working closely with all of you as we continue to grapple with the crucial issues on our agenda.
Pakistan views the CD as a critical component of the international security architecture. As the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body, the CD is a vital and indispensible organ of the UN disarmament machinery. We attach very high importance to the CD and remain firmly committed to its effective functioning. The CD is an unparalleled forum where all militarily significant states of the world participate on an equal footing to find truly sustainable solutions to the myriad of issues associated with the ultimate goal of general and complete disarmament, in a manner that promotes international and regional peace and stability. It is only through adherence to the cardinal principle of equal and undiminished security for all States that we can achieve this goal.
The current direction, Mr. President, is not promising. We need to be working towards cooperative multilateralism enabling all nations to co-exist in peace, harmony and prosperity, true to the noble ideals of the United Nations. What we are observing, however, is the continued quest for regional and global hegemony. The discriminatory revisionism of the global nuclear order, driven by strategic and commercial considerations, as against the building of a truly equitable rules-based disarmament and non-proliferation regime, is raising tensions and fuelling instability. As noted by us on many occasions in the past, it is highly unrealistic to aspire for absolute security and unrestrained freedom of action for oneself, while expecting others to compromise on their peaceful existence by circumscribing their legitimate security interests.
One of the unfortunate victims of this situation is the Conference on Disarmament. A multilateral forum where all Member States are expected to cooperate for building the foundations of a world free from nuclear weapons is falling prey to the continuing competition in the security domain. The few and mighty are focused on preserving and enhancing their military dominance at the cost of others’ security. The only result of such policies can be a deadlock. The impasse of the CD is a reflection of this prevailing strategic reality.
Pakistan does not blame the CD’s working methods for this stalemate. If we, the Member States of the CD, exercise the requisite political will to rise above our narrow self-interests, it is only this forum that has the right setup to help us in reaching at a viable solution. We witnessed that in the case of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The CD’s membership encompassing all the relevant stakeholders, and its rules of procedure allowing each one of us to safeguard our vital interests, are essential pre-requisites for concluding disarmament treaties.
We understand the frustration that is arising from the CD’s stalemate. The solution, however, does not lie in abandoning the CD and forcing so-called progress outside this forum – and that too on a non-consensus basis and without all the major stakeholders onboard. Trivialising security concerns, denying the contribution of nuclear deterrence towards ensuring regional and international strategic stability, and recasting the discourse in exclusively humanitarian terms is not the panacea. There simply can be no real progress on nuclear disarmament without addressing the concerns of States that rely on nuclear weapons for their security.
Similarly, rather than addressing the real issues preventing the start of negotiations on other agenda items in the CD, seeking pseudo-progress in limited-membership expert groups outside the CD, again without all the stakeholders onboard and on the basis of tried and tested approaches that have failed in the past, will not lead to any breakthrough.
Let me briefly outline Pakistan’s position on the CD’s agenda items. Pakistan supports the negotiation of a universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable, comprehensive nuclear weapons convention in the CD. As recognized by SSOD-I, the objective of this convention should be equal and undiminished security for all States at the lowest possible level of armaments and military forces.
Pakistan also supports the commencement of negotiations in the CD on an international treaty on Negative Security Assurances (NSAs) and the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS). The draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space (PPWT), jointly tabled by China and Russia, provides a useful basis for the latter.
Pakistan also stands ready to join substantive work in the CD on legally binding instruments on other contemporary issues affecting international peace and security. These include chemical and biological terrorism, cyber security, Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), and other types of destabilizing weapon systems.
As for the issue of fissile material, Pakistan believes that a treaty ignoring the asymmetries in fissile material stocks would be detrimental to international and regional stability, and adversely affect our national security. A cut-off only treaty envisaged under the Shannon Mandate would freeze the status quo to the perpetual strategic advantage of a select few, and make no contribution to nuclear disarmament. The asymmetries in our region are being accentuated by the discriminatory policies of certain major nuclear suppliers. Pakistan, therefore, supports a Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) that covers existing stocks. Our Working Paper with concrete proposals for dealing with the various categories of existing stocks, contained in document CD/2036, remains on the table. Pakistan is also ready to engage in a process that discards the defunct Shannon Mandate with the aim of concluding a new negotiating mandate that broadens the proposed treaty’s scope to cover existing stocks, applying equally to all States without discrimination.
In the absence of consensus on the commencement of negotiations on any issue on the CD’s agenda, we could productively utilize the time available in the CD for structured discussions. The informal in-depth discussions held under the 2014 and 2015 Schedule of Activities were of great value. They allowed an interactive and substantive exchange of views to help build a better understanding of the various perspectives.
In this regard, we welcome the approach undertaken by the Chairperson of the Working Group on the way ahead to propose the establishment of various sub-Groups to undertake discussions on all relevant issues. It offers a platform for building on the convergences and narrowing down of differences, with the aim of forging consensus on an acceptable basis for commencing negotiations under a balanced and comprehensive Programme of Work.
The recent success of the UN Disarmament Commission in New York to agree by consensus on a set of recommendations for the first time since 1999 is a significant achievement. It underscores the potential and the continued validity of the consensus-based UN disarmament machinery. There is no reason why we cannot emulate the UNDC’s success in the CD.
Before concluding, I wish to add that Pakistan shares the international concern regarding the recent ballistic missile test conducted by the DPRK. It is regrettable that the DPRK has ignored UN Security Council resolutions. While deploring this act, Pakistan reiterates its call upon the DPRK to abide by its international obligations and avoid any measures that undermine regional peace and stability, and run counter to the objective of reaching a peaceful solution within the framework of the Six Party Talks.
Finally, Mr. President, I re-emphasize that my delegation will continue to be an active and constructive participant in the work of the CD. We recognize the benefits of cooperative multilateralism in the CD to build an equitable and stable global security architecture. I look forward to listening and benefitting from the professional advice and wise counsel of all colleagues in this chamber. I would rely on your assistance as I bring myself up to speed on the various issues. You can count on my cooperation and close engagement.
I thank you, Mr. President.