Statement by Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, Permanent Representative of Pakistan – Conference on Disarmament – Plenary Meeting, 14 June 2016
As this is the first time that I am taking the floor under your Presidency, I warmly congratulate you on assuming the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD). We have complete confidence in your diplomatic abilities and skills for guiding the Conference towards substantive work. I assure you of my delegation’s full cooperation.
We greatly appreciate the manner in which you are conducting your Presidency. Your extensive informal consultations are a testament to the sincere efforts that you are undertaking to develop consensus on a programme of work. We support your continued work in this regard.
We welcome your initiative for organizing substantive discussions on the CD agenda items in formal plenaries. We view this as a useful activity and a productive use of the time available in the CD. It would allow each one of us to elaborate our views on all agenda items of the CD. Hopefully, it would also facilitate the development of a better understanding of each others’ concerns and priorities on substantive issues.
Today’s meeting is the first in that series, devoted to a discussion on the first four items on the CD’s agenda pertaining to Nuclear Disarmament; Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space; and Negative Security Assurances. I will address each of these, and also say a few words at the end on the issue of fissile materials.
The Final Document of SSOD-I recognized nuclear disarmament as the highest priority of the international community and the raison d’être of the CD. Over time, however, there has been a progressive erosion of the international consensus on this issue. The prime objective of the disarmament process – the attainment of equal and undiminished security for all States – is being ignored by a select few to perpetuate the unequal status quo to their strategic advantage.
Attempts are continuing to divert the attention from the fulfilment of obligations and commitments on nuclear disarmament to the conclusion of additional non-proliferation measures under the so-called step-by-step, progressive, and building blocks approach.
The trend of granting waivers and creating exceptions in the multilateral export control regimes, above all in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), is undermining the global non-proliferation regime and complicating regional and global security. We continue to observe the operation of double standards and blatant discrimination for narrow strategic and commercial gains, driven by motives of power and profit.
The very States that claim to be the custodians of the international non-proliferation regime, and are self-proclaimed champions of a rule-based international order, are selectively applying and bending every norm in the rulebook for their narrow interests. Rather than making amends for the significant damage that has already been caused by their short-sighted and counter-productive policies in the past, they are persisting on a revisionist path of creating additional exceptions to favour one particular State.
This course is being followed despite the fact that the exception forced by them in 2008 only facilitated the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons and unsafeguarded fissile material production by that State, resulting in the fuelling of regional instability and seriously affecting substantive work in the CD. The carving out of additional exceptions, besides further damaging the non-proliferation regime, again would neither bode well for regional and global strategic stability, nor for progress in the CD.
There is still time to abandon and rectify the opportunistic policies of exceptionalism by building a cooperative, inclusive, criteria-based and non-discriminatory architecture that will strengthen a principles-based non-proliferation and disarmament regime. Pakistan’s readiness to play a constructive role in the mainstream, as a like-mined partner, on an equal footing, must be embraced. Pakistan possesses all the credentials to expect such treatment.
Another notable trend with a direct impact on our work in the CD is the movement to trivialize and exclude vital security considerations from the debate on nuclear disarmament, and to recast the discourse in exclusively humanitarian terms. We sympathize with, and understand the sense of disappointment and frustration that is propelling such activism. It is a clear rejection of the status quo and an indictment of the so-called progressive approach. But at the same time, whether we like it or not, the fact is that nuclear disarmament cannot progress without addressing the existential security concerns of States. We need approaches that unite us in our common endeavour towards a nuclear weapons free world, and not those that create additional fissures. Anything forced outside the CD on a non-consensus basis, without all stakeholders on board, would do just that.
Pakistan has consistently supported the goal of a nuclear weapon free world through the conclusion of a universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable, comprehensive nuclear weapons convention in the CD. I reaffirm today that Pakistan is ready to join negotiations towards this end in the CD. As recognized by SSOD-I, the objective of this process should be undiminished security at the lowest possible level of armaments and military forces.
Pakistan also supports the commencement of negotiations in the CD on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space. The draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects, commonly known as PPWT, tabled jointly by China and the Russian Federation in 2008, and subsequently updated in 2014, provides an excellent basis for the start of negotiations in the CD.
After being on the CD’s agenda for over three decades, the issue of PAROS is more than ripe for negotiations. The dominance enjoyed by certain countries in outer space owing to their current technological prowess cannot last forever. Other countries are catching up fast. And this time, the developing countries will neither carry the burden of non-proliferation, nor will they accept any discriminatory restrictions which hamper their peaceful pursuits in Outer Space.
The development and deployment of Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems and their integration into space assets has added another dangerous dimension to this issue. There is, therefore, an urgent need to address the issue of PAROS in the CD in order to prevent Outer Space from emerging as a new realm of conflict. We recognize the value of Transparency and Confidence Building Measures (TCBMs) as well as non-legally binding Codes of Conduct in promoting trust among States on Outer Space related issues. However, these voluntary measures cannot substitute the need for legally binding, treaty-based obligations.
Another issue that is definitely ripe for the commencement of negotiations in the CD is the issue of Negative Security Assurances. The UNGA had called on the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament in 1966, fifty years ago, to consider this issue urgently. It was part of the SSOD-I Decalogue and is on the CD’s agenda since its inception.
The responses of some of the nuclear weapon states to this long-standing demand of non-nuclear-weapon States, as contained in UNSC resolution 255 of 1968 and UNSC resolution 984 of 1995, are insufficient and partial. Apart from China, which has given unconditional negative security assurances, the other unilateral declarations contain qualifiers, the interpretation of which lies with the states giving or making those declarations. They thus cannot substitute the need for a credible and a legally binding instrument on NSAs.
In 1979, Pakistan tabled a draft “International Convention to Assure Non-Nuclear-Weapon States against the Use or Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons” at the CD, contained in Document CD/10. Since 1990, Pakistan has annually introduced a resolution on NSAs at the UN General Assembly. The most recent version, UNGA resolution 70/25 was adopted last year without a single negative vote. 127 states voted in favour while 55 countries abstained.
As long as the goal of nuclear disarmament eludes us, NSAs can bridge the security gap between nuclear and non-nuclear-weapon states. NSAs can also make a significant contribution to strengthening the international non-proliferation regime and constitute a major Confidence Building Measure between the nuclear and non-nuclear-weapon states thus leading to a genuinely conducive international environment facilitating eventual negotiations on nuclear disarmament.
Let me briefly turn, Mr. President, to the issue of fissile materials. A treaty that does not address the asymmetries in existing stockpiles of fissile material would adversely affect Pakistan’s vital security interests. A fissile material treaty that only stipulates a production cut-off, and does not include existing stocks, would merely be a partial non-proliferation instrument and make no contribution to nuclear disarmament.
The countries wishing to retain their respective strategic advantages, and hedge against future uncertainties through their huge holdings of fissile materials, are not willing to include existing stocks in the treaty’s scope. Almost all of them have already declared unilateral moratoria on further production; a production ban therefore will be a completely cost-free exercise for them. For Pakistan, however, it would have a direct impact on our national security. Such a treaty is not acceptable to Pakistan as it would freeze the status quo to our permanent strategic disadvantage. Pakistan’s Working Paper outlining concrete proposals for dealing with existing stocks, contained in document CD/2036 of 21 August 2015, remains on the table.
I thank you, Mr. President.