Statement by Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, Permanent Representative of Pakistan – Conference on Disarmament – Plenary Meeting, 26 January 2016
Congratulations on assuming the Presidency of the CD. I assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation. We are pleased to be working with you as part of the CD’s six Presidents for 2016 and look forward to a fruitful and substantive CD session this year.
We appreciate the excellent manner in which the outgoing President, Ambassador Dell Higgie of New Zealand, conducted the work of the CD including on the finalization of the CD’s report and the consensus adoption of the UNGA resolution on the report of the CD.
We welcome Mr. Kim Won-soo, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, for being here today. I would also like to thank Mr. Michael Moller, Secretary General of the CD, and his staff, including Mr. Marco Kalbusch, for the excellent secretarial support provided to the Conference. We also welcome CD’s new Deputy Secretary General, Ms. Mary Soliman, and wish her all the best as she takes up her new post.
I am taking the floor today for the first time as the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN and other International Organizations based in Geneva and Ambassador to the CD. I consider it an honour to represent my country in the CD and look forward to working with all fellow members of the Conference in the years ahead.
Pakistan attaches very high importance to the work of the CD and considers it to be a unique and unparalleled forum. As the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body, it is an integral and vital part of the UN disarmament machinery that needs to be preserved and strengthened.
Lately the CD has been the target of some misguided criticism. We understand and share the frustration emanating from the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament – the raison d’etre of the CD – which is a direct cause for most of the criticism. We, however, also realize that the CD does not operate in a vacuum. The CD is a reflection of the prevailing strategic realities. Simply condemning the CD, or trying to find ways around it, only amounts to addressing the symptoms without tackling the root causes.
The challenges facing the international disarmament agenda and the machinery are neither exclusive to the CD nor new. Other parts of the disarmament machinery confront similar difficulties. The UNDC has not been able to agree on any recommendations for more than a decade and half.
As long as the noble quest for attaining equal and undiminished security for all states is trumped by hegemonic designs at the regional and global levels, real headway will continue to elude us. Politically motivated, discriminatory revisionism of the global nuclear order will continue to stand in the way of genuine progress. We have to reconcile with the reality that discriminatory approaches and discriminatory treaties are a thing of the past and are doomed to fail in the contemporary environment. It is highly unrealistic to aspire for absolute security and unrestrained freedom of action for oneself, while expecting others to compromise on their peaceful existence by circumscribing their legitimate security interests.
It is only the CD where all militarily significant states participate on an equal footing and are able to protect their vital security interests under the consensus rule. The progress might be slow, and results few and far between, but the panacea for revitalizing the global disarmament agenda neither lies in abandoning the CD, nor in the pursuance of inequitable treaties that apply disproportionately to one or two states only. Real breakthrough can only be achieved by exercising genuine political will to cooperatively advance the shared goals of international peace and security, and disarmament, on a non-discriminatory and equitable basis. Progress in the CD would follow automatically.
Unfortunately, the situation in the CD today is such that there is no consensus on the commencement of negotiations on any issue on the CD’s agenda. In recent years some States have taken upon themselves to shift the goal post in terms of international security priorities. Their efforts to project FMCT as the “new” priority and the only “ripe” issue contradict ground realties. The fact is that for a vast majority of States, nuclear disarmament remains the highest priority on the international security agenda. Despite equivocation by some nuclear weapon states, the sheer number of General Assembly resolutions on this issue, over decades, speaks for itself.
Among the four core issues, while the vast majority supports substantive work on the over-ripe issues of Nuclear Disarmament, Negative Security Assurances (NSAs), and the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), certain powers are only prepared to advance a partial non-proliferation measure in the CD in the form of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). In order to retain their respective strategic advantages, they are not willing to include existing stocks of fissile materials in the treaty’s negotiating mandate. A treaty that does not address the asymmetry in fissile material stocks, while being completely cost-free for these powers, would adversely affect Pakistan’s vital security interests. Pakistan does not have any room for entertaining any ambiguities on this account. We need complete clarity.
Our Working Paper on Elements of a Fissile Material Treaty, outlining concrete proposals for dealing with existing stocks, contained in document CD/2036 of 21 August 2015, remains on the table.
While negotiations in the CD have been stymied for one reason or the other, the CD has also been prevented from carrying out substantive discussions on the core issues. Furthermore, the CD has also been denied the opportunity to discuss new issues, beyond the four core issues, that are of direct concern to international peace and security such as Cyber Security, new types of destabilizing weapon systems, Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, etcetera.
As witnessed during the last two sessions of the CD in 2014 and 2015, informal in-depth discussions held under the CD’s Schedule of Activities were of great value and substance. We see no reason why such discussions cannot take place in a formal setting, on all agenda items, allowing the possibility to raise and discuss contemporary issues outside the four core issues as well. In case formal discussions are not possible, a Schedule of Activities providing for informal discussions on all agenda items would be highly useful and must be pursued. We seek your leadership in this regard.
In addition to the Schedule of Activities, we also saw merit in the Informal Working Group (IWG) mandated to produce a Programme of Work during the last three CD sessions. It allowed the opportunity for all states to openly discuss the various options and to arrive at an acceptable compromise in a transparent manner. The IWG has not been able to achieve any big breakthrough, but the consensus adoption of the IWG’s report last year was a significant achievement. It was a tribute to the dedication and diplomatic skills of the last IWG Chair, Ambassador Kairamo of Finland. We need to build on that success and explore further incremental progress through the re-establishment of the IWG with a similar mandate again this year.
We acknowledge and recognize the responsibility of the CD President, in accordance with Rule 29 of the Rules of Procedure, to draw up a Programme of Work for consideration and adoption by the Conference. But we also recognize the daunting nature of this task and therefore feel that, for the time being, this responsibility can be delegated to the IWG to search for a consensus-based formula.
Such a dual-track approach whereby the CD is engaged in formal or informal discussions on all agenda items, coupled with parallel efforts to search for a consensus-based Programme of Work, not only offers the best prospects for progress, but also the best manner for utilizing the available time productively.
Let me hasten to emphasize that my delegation is only promoting this so-called dual track approach as a practical and pragmatic step. This is notwithstanding our readiness to join negotiations in the CD on Nuclear Disarmament, Negative Security Assurances (NSAs), and the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), as well as on other issues outside the four core issues such as Cyber Security, new types of destabilizing weapon systems, and Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems.
We also stand ready to join efforts in the CD for arriving at a new negotiating mandate for a Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) that addresses the asymmetry in fissile material stockpiles, and contributes to the goals of both disarmament and non-proliferation. The proposal that has been recently put forward by one member state for a revised FMT negotiating mandate, regrettably, does not meet these conditions and is therefore not acceptable to my delegation.
Mr. President, I would like to underscore that you will always find my delegation as an active and constructive participant in the work of the CD. Despite all our frustrations and disappointments, we, collectively, simply cannot give up on the CD. The lure of duplicating the CD’s work in some other forum outside the CD with the aim of seeking progress on a non-consensual basis might seem to be an attractive shortcut, but will eventually prove to be a mirage. It will forever lack the legitimacy that is accorded to a product of the CD. The highly ill-conceived Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on FMCT that will never be able to get such an endorsement is a case in point.
The exclusion or non-participation of key stakeholders that are directly affected by an arms control, non-proliferation or disarmament related process seriously undermines such processes. However painstaking and time-consuming, there is no shortcut to building consensus-based, cooperative and non-discriminatory approaches that lead to equal and undiminished security for all.
I thank you, Mr. President.