Since this is my first time taking the floor under your Presidency, allow me to begin by congratulating you on your appointment as the President of the Conference on Disarmament. You can rest assured of my delegation’s full support and cooperation.
Since you have asked us to discuss at the plenary meeting today the United Nation’s Secretary General’s agenda for disarmament, that he unveiled at Geneva University in May earlier this year, I shall briefly outline our views on it.
We welcome the personal interest and engagement of the Secretary General in placing disarmament at the centre of the work of the United Nations. It is ever more pertinent to seek multilateral solutions to the global and regional security challenges in the contemporary setting, rightly termed by the UNSG as “dangerous times”.
We share the Secretary General’s hope that his agenda will reinvigorate dialogue and negotiations on international disarmament, stimulate new ideas and create new momentum.
We are pleased to note that the Secretary General has attached the highest priority to the disarmament of nuclear weapons and other WMDs. At the same time, he also devoted equal attention to two other very important elements: the “over-accumulation of all other types of arms”; and the need to “prevent the weaponization of new technologies”.
We laud the Secretary General’s call on Member States to re-energize disarmament discussions. We appreciate his appeal to Member States to acknowledge and respect each other’s legitimate security interests and find a way to ensure security for all.
Pakistan remains committed to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world that is achieved in a universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory manner through negotiations in the CD. This goal can only be pursued as a cooperative 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 – as well as from new types of destabilizing weapon systems; 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 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.
Any arms control, non-proliferation or disarmament treaty that diminishes the security of any State would be a non-starter, as evidenced by the failure to kick off negotiations on a treaty cutting off the production of fissile material. No country can be expected to enter into negotiations on a treaty that would be detrimental to its national security, as was the case when a large group of countries refused to engage with the nuclear weapons Ban Treaty negotiations last year.
Real progress on disarmament can only be achieved by addressing the security concerns of all States. We also need to reconsider the negative effects generated by misguided policies of discrimination and double standards driven by strategic and commercial considerations.
The threats to regional and international peace, security and stability are on the rise. Mistrust between states is growing. Old disputes continue to fester while new conflicts are constantly emerging. The quality and quantity of armaments is steadily increasing. More sophisticated and deadly weapons are being regularly developed and deployed.
In this situation, we find both timely and necessary the call on the Member States by the Secretary General to: prevent the emergence of new domains of strategic competition and conflict; to ensure the security and sustainability of outer space activities; to rein in new types of destabilizing strategic weapons; to address the excessive accumulation and illicit trade in conventional arms; to rethink unconstrained military spending; to understand the implications raised by new weapon technologies and their impact on international security and disarmament matters; to keep humans in control of weapons and artificial intelligence; and to prevent malicious activity in cyberspace.
Ultimately, the responsibility for taking cognizance of all these urgent and important issues falls upon us, the Member States. The Secretary General can only help us in pointing out the risks and challenges, and make us aware of the grave consequences associated with them. We have to take charge of addressing these matters ourselves, by optimally utilizing the tools and forums available to us such as the unparalleled Conference on Disarmament, and by steadily building the foundations of a just world order where all nations can live side by side in peace and harmony without threats or fear. Pakistan would never be found lacking in that endeavour.
I thank you, Mr. President.