Allow me to begin by congratulating you on your appointment as the Coordinator of Subsidiary Body 1. We thank you for your letter proposing a structure for these meetings. Given your vast multilateral experience and diplomatic skills, we are confident of reaching substantive outcomes under your guidance. You can rest assured of my delegation’s full cooperation and constructive participation.
The very first resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1946 established a commission with the task to make proposals for “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.”
Subsequently, in 1978, the first special session of the UN General Assembly devoted to disarmament, SSOD-I, recognized nuclear disarmament as the highest priority and the raison d’être of the CD. The Final Document of SSOD-I established general and complete disarmament under effective international control as the final objective, and recognized the time-bound elimination of nuclear weapons as the immediate goal. SSOD-I 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.
Over time, however, there has been a progressive erosion of the international consensus on nuclear disarmament. The grand bargain of the non-proliferation regime remains unfulfilled. The prime objective of the disarmament process – the attainment of equal and undiminished security for all States – is being ignored. A select few States are persisting with the goal of perpetuating the unequal status quo to their continued strategic advantage. They carry on with diverting attention from the non-fulfilment of their obligations and commitments on nuclear disarmament to the conclusion of additional, self-serving non-proliferation measures under the so-called step-by-step, progressive and building blocks approach.
These same States continue to undermine the non-proliferation regime by exercising double standards and applying the established rules and norms in a discriminatory manner, suiting their political objectives, thus harming regional and global strategic stability and undermining progress in the CD.
On the other end of the spectrum lies the more recent initiative that trivializes national security concerns. In highlighting the humanitarian and moral imperatives, it ignores the vital strategic considerations that underpin nuclear disarmament. While we completely understand and sympathize with the frustrations and disappointments that propel such initiatives, the fact remains that, whether we like it or not, nuclear disarmament cannot progress without addressing the security concerns of States possessing nuclear weapons. We need approaches that unite us in our common endeavour towards a nuclear weapons free world, and not those that create additional fissures.
Pakistan believes that nuclear disarmament can only be achieved as a cooperative and universally agreed undertaking, through a consensus-based process involving all the relevant stakeholders, resulting in equal and undiminished, if not increased security for all States. The eventual objective must be the total elimination of nuclear weapons within a reenergized collective security system.
We will have to recognize and address the three key motives that drive States like Pakistan to possess nuclear weapons: one, threats from larger military forces – both nuclear and conventional; two, the existence of disputes with more powerful States; and three, discrimination in the application of international law and norms including the failure of the UN collective security system to guarantee the peaceful co-existence of all States. These legitimate motivations are different from those States that retain nuclear weapons as a matter of prestige, either to maintain or to attain the status of a global power.
Pakistan remains committed to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world through the conclusion of a universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory, comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons in the CD. We have not wavered from this objective and reaffirm our commitment to this goal today. A comprehensive nuclear weapons convention would prohibit the possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, and provide for their destruction. The UN General Assembly embraced this approach at a High Level Meeting held in 2013, as reflected in resolution 68/32 and its subsequent iterations.
We hope that the discussions in this Subsidiary Body would facilitate the start of negotiations in the CD on nuclear disarmament. We could begin by identifying and examining the various existing proposals on nuclear disarmament, in order to identify the common elements that might provide the initial basis for our work. We should also explore new ideas in order to arrive at a common approach. We remain ready to enter into this exercise in a sincere and earnest manner.
I thank you, Mr. Coordinator.