Speaking Notes of Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, President of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) – Conference on Disarmament – Concluding Remarks – Plenary Meeting, 24 May 2016
I want to convey my appreciation on the attendance and level of participation at last Thursday’s informal plenary on women and disarmament. We had an engaging and substantive discussion. This subject is close to my heart and clearly to many other delegations. I thank you all for your active participation and the very positive feedback.
As mentioned by Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs last Tuesday – both in his statement at the plenary in the morning and in his remarks at the reception in the evening – facilitating consensus on the resumption of substantive work in the CD has been the top priority of our Presidency. I have been in regular contact with different delegations since the last plenary regarding a programme of work for this session. I shall continue to use the remaining time available to me as the CD President in the most productive manner and try to bring us closer to consensus.
As this is the last formal plenary meeting under the Presidency of Pakistan, I would like to make some concluding remarks and share some of my reflections with you.
We have witnessed a number of proposals for programme of work this year. They reflect the serious desire of the CD membership to resume substantive work in the Conference. In fulfilling my task as the CD President, I tried my utmost to listen to each one of you and be guided by your advice. I met with all the regional groups and held separate meetings with the proponents of the programme of work proposals. Besides our regular plenary meetings, we also held two open-ended plenaries of the CD on 24 March and 31 March to discuss the programme of work, and on 19 May to discuss women and disarmament. During the six-week recess, I held targeted consultations in small groups and with individual CD members.
It was clear to me that we cannot exclude or ignore anyone in a forum that operates by consensus and deals with very serious issues that directly impact on the vital national security interests of its member states. In my view, there is room for progress if we respect each others’ redlines and focus on the issues that unite us.
While adoption of a programme of work should continue to be our first priority, in case we are not able to agree on one soon, I feel that we should move towards putting in place a Schedule of Activities for structured informal discussions on substantive issues. The experience from the previous two years has been very positive in that regard. The Conference held in-depth discussion during the last two years that were of great value and substance.
In promoting a Schedule of Activities, I am not suggesting that we abandon our efforts for agreement on a programme of work. Those efforts can continue in parallel, and as soon as we are in a position to implement a programme of work, the Schedule of Activities can be terminated to make way for the implementation of the PoW.
During the last few years, some delegations have commented upon the duration of the Presidency, arguing that four weeks are not sufficient for the job. In my opinion, based on my experience, the duration of the presidency is not at all an impediment as it hardly impacts upon substantive work in the CD. The CWC and the CTBT were successfully negotiated under the same Rules of Procedure and duration of Presidencies. Member States would not change their positions even if the duration of the CD Presidency was increased.
The key to progress in the CD is the need to respect the right of all States to equal and undiminished security. It is simply not realistic to expect States to enter into negotiations on treaties that would negatively affect their national security interests. The disarmament and non-proliferation agenda can only be advanced on the basis of a non-discriminatory, equitable and inclusive approach, and not by creating exceptions.
I take this opportunity to thank each one of you for the support and cooperation that was extended to me and to my delegation. My colleagues in the P-6 were a particular source of strength for me. I tried to advance the useful work initiated by Mr. Peters Emuze of Nigeria and Ambassador Steffen Kongstadt of Norway who had set the stage for this year’s CD session. I have full faith in the ability of Ambassador Luis Enrique Chavez, the distinguished Permanent Representative of Peru, to continue this work more productively. I wish him and the succeeding Presidents, the distinguished Ambassadors of Poland and the Republic of Korea, the best of luck in their endeavours for achieving our collective goal. My delegation would continue to support their work actively and constructively.
I also wish to thank Mr. Michael Moller, our Secretary General and his very able team including Ms. Mary Soliman, the Deputy Secretary General of the CD, and Mr. Marco Kalbusch, our Secretary, for the valuable support that they have extended to me. Marco has been of great assistance and his support was critical in making sure that all the meeting arrangements were flawless and the conduct of meetings was smooth.
I also express my gratitude to the other colleagues of UNODA, the Conference Services staff, the interpreters, technicians and all others working behind the scenes.