Let me begin by expressing our appreciation and gratitude for all the hard work and sincere efforts undertaken by you and your team in order to operationalise the decision adopted by the CD on 16 February 2018 to establish five subsidiary bodies. We acknowledge your extensive consultations for identifying and proposing to us the appointment of five Coordinators on the basis of equitable geographic distribution. My delegation engaged with you in a very constructive manner throughout this process. We thank the distinguished Ambassadors of Indonesia, Netherlands, Brazil, Germany and Belarus for volunteering to act as Coordinators and assure them of our full cooperation and support.
There is an important detail in which the draft decision circulated by you, contained in document CD/WP.606, deviates from the decision contained in document CD/2119. The decision adopted by the CD was to establish subsidiary bodies, I quote, “on agenda items 1 (one) to 4 (four), and one on agenda items 5 (five), 6 (six) and 7 (seven)”, unquote. It was generally understood to mean that four separate subsidiary bodies will be established to cover respectively agenda items 1, 2, 3 and 4, and a fifth subsidiary body will be established to encompass agenda items 5, 6 and 7 combined.
The decision did not stipulate any sort of combining or fusing together of agenda items 1 and 2. Where the decision wanted certain agenda items considered together, that is in the case of items 5, 6 and 7, it explicitly said so.
The draft circulated by the President has inexplicably clubbed together agenda items 1 and 2 for both the first and the second subsidiary bodies – in other words, you have proposed that two subsidiary bodies be established with the exact same title and scope. This is not acceptable to my delegation as it deviates significantly from the decision that has already been adopted by the CD, and carries implications for the substantive work of these two formal subsidiary bodies.
You would recall that in your very first bilateral meeting as the CD President with me, I had stressed on the need to follow the adopted decision in full letter and spirit. And I was satisfied with your assurance that you had no intention to digress from it.
The titles of the first two subsidiary bodies should strictly conform to the respective items on the CD’s agenda as contained in document CD/2116, adopted by consensus on 23 January 2018. The first Subsidiary Body, proposed to be coordinated by the distinguished Ambassador of Indonesia, should be limited to agenda item no. 1, i.e. “Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament”; and the second Subsidiary Body, proposed to be coordinated by the distinguished Ambassador of the Netherlands, should be exclusively focused on agenda item no. 2, i.e. “Prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters”. These changes would make the draft decision consistent with the decision already adopted by the CD, and avoid any after-thoughts and re-interpretations.
Unless this anomaly is rectified and the two corrections just pointed out by me are duly incorporated, I regret to state that my delegation would not be in a position to join consensus on the approval of the draft decision circulated by you, contained in document CD/WP.606 dated 12 March 2018.
Before concluding, let me assure you that my delegation remains ready and committed to engage with you and with the other delegations in a constructive spirit for the early resumption of substantive work in the CD on the basis of the decision contained in document CD/2119. Let me re-emphasize that it is not our intention to derail that decision, which was adopted with our wholehearted support. Our aim is simply to ensure that the operational framework to implement that decision is fully consistent with it.
I thank you, Madam President.