Seventy-seventh Session,
3rd Meeting (AM)

General Assembly President Urges First Committee to ‘Flip the Paradigm’ by Reversing Trend to Acquire Even More Devastating Weapons

Russian Federation, European States Expose Fundamental Divisions

Our times are far from ordinary, with the world confronted by unprecedented, interlinked crises, the ramifications of which profoundly affect all aspects of our lives, the General Assembly President told the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) today, as it continued its general debate.

The consequences of the war unleashed on Ukraine had touched nearly every country, Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary) said.  Governments were increasing military spending while people struggled to buy food, educate their children and heat their homes.  States would say they must invest in defence now because war and annexing the land of one’s neighbour had apparently returned to the tool-box of settling disputes.

But, in the long run, he said, arming with new, even more devastating and expensive weapons was a path to self-destruction.  That trend must be reversed, and it was within the First Committee’s power “to flip the paradigm”.  He urged the disarmament community to ensure that the deadliest creations of humanity were never used or produced again.

The representative of the Russian Federation agreed that the Committee’s session was taking place during a difficult crisis in international security, but believed that was due to the failure of countries to cope with the “phantom pains” of their colonial past.  The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, headed by the United States, were seeking confrontation with the Russian Federation, even to the point of a military clash of nuclear Powers, laying down an important task for permanent members of the Security Council to adhere to the postulate of the inadmissibility of any war between nuclear-weapon States.

Ukraine’s representative said the Russian Federation had put the whole world on the brink of nuclear catastrophe.  He described indiscriminate attacks against his country, its civilians and civilian infrastructure.  Spotlighting the 223 days of unprovoked aggression, he said the so-called “referenda” in occupied Ukrainian territories gave his country every right to restore its territorial integrity by military and diplomatic means.  Ukraine had been consistent in its call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and had made unprecedented contributions by abandoning the world’s third largest arsenal.

“War has returned to Europe,” Austria’s representative said.  A nuclear‑armed State was conducting an unprovoked aggression against its sovereign neighbour and trying to justify its ambitions of territorial expansion through illegal referenda.  This year’s review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) failed, not just because the Russian Federation blocked consensus on the final document, but because geopolitical tensions, serious trust deficits and fundamental divisions within the Treaty’s membership dominated negotiations and exposed the unwillingness of nuclear-armed States to move forward on nuclear disarmament.

Also speaking today were representatives of Costa Rica, Yemen, Namibia, Ecuador, France, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Chile, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Nepal, Ethiopia and the Philippines.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were representatives of India, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Poland, Ukraine, Pakistan, Republic of Korea and the United States.  A representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, also spoke in right of reply.

The First Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 6 October, to continue its general debate.

Opening Remarks

CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, said that the world was confronting unprecedented interlinked crises, whose ramifications profoundly affected all aspects of our lives.  Governments continued to increase military spending while people struggled to buy food, educate their children, and heat their homes.  Many States would say they were compelled to invest in defence now because war and annexing the land of one’s neighbor had emerged.  In the long run, however, the path to more weapons was, quite frankly, one to self-destruction.

That trend must be reversed, he said, adding that it was in the First Committee’s power to flip the paradigm.  In a year increasingly marked by deadlock, the world was looking to us to find solutions.  “We need a UN that is better prepared for transformation and crisis management, and more effective in those fields than it used to be.”

He was aware the Committee had a lot on its plate, from the immediate threat of nuclear disaster to surmounting dysfunction plaguing the disarmament machinery.  The Committee was tasked with safeguarding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force and addressing both cybercrime and an outer space arms race.  During its session, it would also address landmark legal frameworks, including the Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

On nuclear disarmament, “we simply must not allow international tensions to escalate to the point of no return”, he said.  Too many lives were at stake.  After decades of promoting disarmament, it was unimaginable that weapons of mass destruction remained an impending threat.  He called on the Committee members to ensure that “these deadliest creations of humanity are never used or produced again, and that they never land in the hands of rogue users or terrorists”.

He also drew attention to the dangers of small arms and light weapons, which he said caused nearly half the world’s violent deaths each year.  He understood how quickly a local threat could turn global.  In fact, true security would never be attained without adequate transparency and oversight over those weapons.  The world was expecting action and tangible solutions.  In that critical moment, he was asking the First Committee to lead the way in solving the most pressing problems of the day, of breaking the deadlock and moving forward together.

General Debate

MARITZA CHAN (Costa Rica) said that applying a gender perspective meant understanding the different ways that men, women, boys and girls, and people of other genders engaged in, were affected by, and responded to armed violence.  Women accounted for only 2 out of 10 cybersecurity professionals, despite representing almost half of the global workforce.  It was essential for all to work together to provide gender-sensitive capacity-building, overcome the gender digital divide, establish links with the women, peace, and security agenda, and develop a gender and cybersecurity tool-kit for all cybersecurity stakeholders.

She noted that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the final report of the first meeting of States parties, including the Declaration and Action Plan, placed gender-sensitive considerations firmly in spaces that historically had not allowed them.  The process had been markedly more inclusive than most other international peace and security processes, both with respect to gender inclusion and the inclusion of civil society.  Those documents should serve as useful models for other undertakings.

For the seventh consecutive year, global military spending surpassed $2 trillion, she said, attributing that to a patriarchal mindset.  She urged a feminist perspective on the consequences of ever increasing military spending, adding that a gradual and sustained reduction in that expenditure was crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  In closing, she said that violence was a gendered phenomenon.  It was not inevitable, but rather, it was a product of gendered social norms, which could be triggered and exacerbated by weapons.  That, however, could be prevented through good policies, robust implementation and appropriate funding.

KONSTANTIN VORONTSOV (Russian Federation) said that the current session was taking place during a difficult crisis in international security, brought on by countries failing to cope with the phantom pains of their colonial past.  That, he added, was directly impacting developing countries.  The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, headed by the United States, were seeking confrontation with the Russian Federation, even to the point of a military clash of nuclear Powers, laying down an important task for permanent members of the Security Council to adhere to the postulate of the inadmissibility of any war between nuclear-weapon States.  In that regard, he expressed his country’s full commitment to the January joint statement.

In violation of the NPT, NATO continued “nuclear-sharing” by having United States nuclear weapons stationed in Europe, he said, stressing the need for those to be returned to United States territory.  The world was thrown back 30 years by the United States’ withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. He called on Washington, D.C., to assume its obligations, similar to those assumed by the Russian Federation.  The absence of constructive dialogue would lead to escalation and worst-case scenarios.  Thus, he urged  the convening of consensus‑based discussions, considering all parties’ legitimate interests, and for shaping a more viable international security architecture grounded in genuine multilateralism.

Regarding the lack of a final document at the tenth NPT Review Conference, he said the Conference was not a failure, as States had been able to exchange opinions.  Turning to chemical weapons, he said the once‑authoritative and purely technical Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had become a tool for Western countries to pursue their interests in the Middle East and beyond.  He highlighted the need for a strengthened Biological Weapons Convention, in light of the United States and Ukrainian armies’ biological activities and the absence of explanations on the specific claims his country presented.  Regarding the Secretary‑General’s Mechanism for Investigations of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons and the prevention of an arms race in outer space, he welcomed Member States’ support and co-sponsorship for the Russian Federation’s draft resolutions.  He looked forward to the adoption of his country’s initiatives, in order to have constructive cooperation on the whole range of international peace and security issues.

MARWAN AL-DOBHANY (Yemen) reaffirmed his country’s commitment to disarmament, international security and non-violence.  He supported all initiatives aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons and establishing areas free from all weapons of mass destruction, especially in the Middle East.  While all Arab States acceded to the NPT and affirmed their permanent readiness to take measures to establish a zone free of mass destruction weapons in the Middle East, Israel, however, still refused to accede to the NPT.  Still, he welcomed the first session of the United Nations conference to establish such a zone, held in November 2019 and its outcome.  He deeply regretted the failure of the NPT’s tenth Review Conference to reach consensus.  In that connection, he called on all to overcome differences and strengthen multilateral action towards a world free of nuclear weapons for the sake of future generations.

NEVILLE GERTZE (Namibia), associating with the African Group and Non‑Aligned Movement, said that the global community currently had several opportunities to bring the disarmament agenda into force.  He expressed firm resolve to play his part in advancing the principles of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the central tenets in the world’s collective ambition of promoting international peace and security.  He drew attention to the increase in military spending, favouring instead a reallocation of resources to development, especially in the global South.

He called for the swift entry into force of the CTBT and the speedy ratification of the Annex 2 States.  He was disappointed at the failure of the tenth NPT Review Conference, but encouraged by the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the progress in its implementation.  He called for the ratification of both instruments, noting that none of the nuclear-weapon States yet joined the prohibition Treaty.  Its universalization was the world’s common responsibility.

He highlighted the importance of nuclear-weapon-free zones, detailing the success of the African zone, and he advocated for the immediate implementation of the 1995 resolution for such a zone in the Middle East.  He also called for the  inclusion of women and youth in the disarmament agenda to ensure a holistic approach in line with the goal of leaving no one behind.

CRISTINA ESPINOSA (Ecuador) said that frustration increased among the Member States due to the current global situation.  Ecuador defended an international system based on rules, under the sovereign equality of States and the prohibition of the use of force in any form that was incompatible with the Charter’s purposes.  No nuclear weapon was good because of the catastrophic humanitarian impact it entailed.  The existence of those weapons defied humanity’s survival.  The world needed to continue to seek an order of peace and prosperity without weapons of mass destruction.  Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation must proceed simultaneously, as they were interrelated and converging principles.  Compliance with non-proliferation obligations was the responsibility of all States.

She reaffirmed the importance of the CTBT and reiterated the need for its prompt entry into force.  She regretted the lack of consensus in the Conference on Disarmament.  Consideration must be given to consider possible elements of reform, so that the Conference might regain true relevance as a multilateral forum and fulfil its objective.  As Conference President this year, Ecuador would present the draft resolution on the body’s report.

On cybersecurity, she expressed the need for the future development of a solid and binding framework.  Until then, it was necessary to implement existing norms to promote the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for peaceful  purposes.  She supported the development of a permanent action-oriented platform.

CAMILLE PETIT (France) associating herself with the European Union, said that the Russian Federation was in violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.  It  directly undermined the security of the European continent, and more broadly, global stability.

She reiterated her commitment to the NPT, which remained the cornerstone of the non-proliferation and disarmament regime, and deplored the Russian Federation's blocking of consensus on a final document at the Review Conference in August.  The threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was acute.  France also was concerned about the erosion of the norm against the use of chemical weapons, which, over the years, had been used in Syria, Malaysia, United Kingdom and the Russian Federation.  She denounced unfounded statements by Russian Federation officials regarding alleged chemical weapons provocations in Ukraine.  The instrumentalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention and OPCW was unacceptable.

In the field of conventional weapons, she reaffirmed France’s commitment to strengthening efforts to implement international humanitarian law.  She said France would actively contribute to the First Committee’s work and carry the annual resolution on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.  It would also work on the establishment of a future cyberagenda for action to support Member States’ efforts in implementing the norms of responsible behaviour in cyberspace.  France would also support a resolution on the prevention of the acquisition of radioactive sources by terrorists, and it would defend the resolution on the fight against the threat posed by improvised explosive devices.

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the world was facing multiplying risks and crises, including the havoc of climate change, on display with the floods in his country.  Conflicts that threaten peace and security were ongoing in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere around the world.  Additionally, a global arms race was boosting  military expenditures, which now surpassed those of the cold war.  There were new nuclear weapon doctrines and unfulfilled nuclear disarmament obligations.

He called for a more equitable international security architecture based on the Charter’s principles, particularly the non-use of force.  Every State had an equal right to security and the need to utilize the United Nations’ potential to promote peace.  War would never bring durable peace, as it was always the product of compromise and negotiations.  In South-East Asia, he said, peace and security was threatened by the extremist ideologies of Hindutva.  The Indian Government sought to establish an exclusive Hindu State, crushing the legitimate Kashmiri quest for self-determination and intimidating Pakistan by the annexation of land and the adoption of several doctrines.  India was promoting its great power aspirations in the region a and beyond by building up its conventional- and nuclear-weapons capabilities to threaten its neighbours.  In dismissing the Indian nuclear missile launch on 9 March as an accident, he said Pakistan had practised self-restraint, but questions should be  answered regarding India’s responsibility.  He called for negotiations with India to settle their outstanding disputes, which would also positively influence regional trade and investment.  Reiterating his call for a nuclear-weapon-free world, he stressed the need for negative security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of those weapons.  In closing, he voiced his continued opposition against a discriminatory fissile material cut-off treaty.

JOONKOOK HWANG (Republic of Korea) expressed his strong belief in the values of a rules-based international order and the role of the United Nations in addressing global challenges, as those could be solved by a nation alone.  He regretted the failure of the tenth NPT Review Conference, but said that the inability to have reached consensus did not mean a failure of the Treaty itself.  He called on the Russian Federation to assume its responsibilities, translate the “P5 Leaders’ Joint Statement” into action, and cease all military actions.

He drew attention  to development by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of its nuclear and missile capabilities, its new law lowering the threshold for nuclear weapon use and yesterday’s firing of an intermediate-range ballistic missile.  He condemned such activities and expressed deep concern about the unprecedented level of paranoid aggressiveness.  Moreover, he warned that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s readiness to conduct its seventh nuclear test would critically undermine the fundamental credibility of the international non-proliferation regime.  He urged Member States and the Security Council to respond strongly, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to dialogue and respond positively to his country’s “audacious initiative”.

In the global sphere, he called for progress towards a fissile material cut-off treaty and the entry into force of the CTBT.  He noted the significance of the Stockholm Initiative and the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament, and pledged his commitment to the Conventional on Certain Conventional Weapons, Arms Trade Treaty and the Biological and Chemical Weapons Treaties.  Moreover, he welcomed the work towards reducing space threats, and pressed States to join his country’s commitment to not conduct destructive direct-ascent, anti-satellite missile testing.  He favoured the responsible use of ICT and stressed the applicability of international law in cyberspace.  The international community must not sit idly by watching universal values break apart.

PAULA NARVAEZ (Chile), said that maintaining international peace and security without resorting to nuclear deterrence was, in addition to an ethical imperative, an achievable goal.  She said that the nuclear prohibition treaty supported the multilateral system.  Chile invited those Member States non-party to the NPT to sign and ratify it.  Chile also attached the utmost importance to the early entry into force of the CTBT, as a fundamental instrument of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and therefore reiterated its call to redouble diplomatic efforts for its ratification.

Drawing attention to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, she said that was a cornerstone of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and urged its universalization.  It was disturbing that no final document had been agreed at the tenth NPT Review Conference, she said, calling for multilateral efforts towards disarmament, non-proliferation and the prohibition of the use and possession of all weapons of mass destruction.

In related matters, she condemned the use of biological and chemical weapons in all circumstances, and recognized that the need to stem the scourge of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition.  Those weapons’ destructive effects were immeasurable and went beyond the sphere of international security.  Cyberspace demanded responsibilities with respect to its risks, particularly considering its global and cross-border nature, and Chile welcomed by consensus the first Annual Progress Report of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Security of Information and Communications Technologies and Their Use.

LEONARDO BENCINI (Italy), aligning with the European Union, said that the Russian Federation’s aggression and resulting crises made it imperative for the global community to find answers.  He condemned irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, and expressed  unwavering support for Ukraine.  With the NPT the only legal framework for a world free of nuclear weapons, he urged all States to join, and regretted that the Russian Federation had blocked consensus at the last review.  He urged States to join the Test-Ban Treaty and respect the moratorium on nuclear tests in the meantime, as well as to abide by a moratorium on fissile material production.

He urged Iran to return the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to take concrete steps towards denuclearization.  He voiced his strong commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention and OPCW, stressing that it was imperative to identify and hold perpetrators of chemical attacks responsible.  He touched on topics of anti‑personnel mines and cluster munitions, and underlined the need for international cooperation and victim assistance.  He also drew attentional to conventional weapons instruments, including the Arms Trade Treaty, as well as the importance of preventing an arms race in outer space and ensuring a free and secure cyberspace.  The pandemic had shown the importance of improving biosecurity and biosafety, he said, drawing attention to the Biological Weapons Convention and the impact of fast-paced scientific and technological developments.  He emphasized the need to include civil society and women in all those issues.

SYED MOHAMAD HASRIN AIDID (Malaysia) expressed deep concern at the qualitative improvement of and quantitative increase in nuclear weapons, and the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, as well as the lack of progress in diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in security policies.  He condemned unequivocally any and all nuclear threats, both explicit and implicit, and irrespective of the circumstances, and reaffirmed Malaysia’s commitment to the full and effective implementation of the NPT.

Malaysia, he noted, had been Chair of Main Committee I of the tenth NPT Review Conference, but, despite exhaustive deliberations by States parties, the Review Conference had been unable to adopt a final document.  The continued effectiveness of the NPT should not be taken for granted and might well be called into question unless States parties redoubled their efforts to strengthen its integrity and credibility.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was a landmark instrument in the common advance towards a world free of nuclear weapons, and he said Malaysia, together with South Africa, was proud to co-chair the informal working group on its universalization.  The Treaty was fully compatible with, and complementary to, the NPT, as well as the various treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones.  With regard to the latter, Malaysia reaffirmed the central role of the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and its Protocol in safeguarding its region against the scourge of nuclear weapons.  As in previous years, Malaysia would present its traditional resolution entitled “Follow-Up to the Advisory Opinion of the ICJ on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons”.

MARCIN WROBLEWSKI (Poland), aligning with the European Union, said that the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine had challenged the global security architecture.  Foreseeing long-lasting implications for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, he detailed the Russian Federation’s violations of the Budapest Memorandum and other existing confidence-building measures and arms control commitments and rejected its nuclear threats and military activities against nuclear power plants.  He urged the international community not to forget the Russian Federation’s proven record of non-compliance, including with  Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.  Belarus’ recent renouncement of its nuclear-weapon-free status and the consequent possibility that it would host Russian nuclear weapons on its territory left the world with few illusions:  “Russia is currently destroying the rules-based international order, with multilateralism at its core.”  He urged the Committee to condemn the country’s aggression in the strongest terms.

He called on the international community not to lose sight of security threats in other regions.  He highlighted the need to denuclearize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and to reach consensus on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s reactivation.  He also stressed the importance of upholding the NPT and other existing bans, saying the future of the arms‑control global system depended on it.  He regretted the failed tenth NPT Review Conference, owing to a veto of an outcome text by the Russian Federation.  Preserving humanitarian law would be high on Poland’s agenda as Chair of the Meeting of High Contracting Parties of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal) said the Committee was meeting at a challenging time.  The arms race was surging “as if there was no tomorrow”, and the annual global military expenditure had surpassed $2 trillion.  The elimination of nuclear weapons was the only guarantee of their non-use.  As a State party to the NPT and a signatory to Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the CTBT, Nepal strongly supported the general and complete disarmament of nuclear weapons in a time-bound manner.  The NPT was the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament, but, regrettably, the last Review Conference had been unable to reach consensus on a substantive outcome.

He said Nepal was committed to ratifying the nuclear prohibition Treaty at the earliest possible date.  It also fully supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, which were building blocks of disarmament and a path to a world free from nuclear weapons.  There was an urgent need for a universal, non-discriminatory and legally binding mechanism to tackle the issue of biological threats.  On other matters, he said the illicit trade of small arms posed a persistent threat to global peace and security, outer space and cyberspace were under the threat of becoming arenas of conflict, and there was a prospect of the malicious use of ICT, with frontier technologies also at potential risk.

YOSEPH KASSAYE (Ethiopia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the world was facing complex challenges, and nuclear catastrophe could not be ruled out.  Underscoring the primacy of diplomacy to ease tensions, he called on the nuclear Powers to deescalate and come together to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.  He stressed the importance of the Committee’s work.  He reaffirmed his support for the NPT and expressed regret at the inability to reach consensus at the tenth NPT Review Conference.  He was confident that advancing global peace and security was possible.  He pointed to the African continent’s adoption of the Pelindaba Treaty.

He underlined the vital role of the Conference on Disarmament and emphasized the need for it to do its job as the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum.  He called for greater flexibility and the start of substantive work without delay.  Touching on related matters, he was greatly concerned at the illicit small arms and light weapons trade, particularly in Africa where they fuelled conflict and terrorism.  He urged the implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons.  He meanwhile welcomed efforts by the Open-Ended Working Group on safeguarding cyberspace, and underlined the need for preventing an outer space arms race.  In closing, he said it was vital that the necessary support be provided to developing countries.

ALEXANDER MARSCHIK (Austria) said that, since the last meeting of the First Committee, war had returned to Europe.  A nuclear-armed State was conducting an unprovoked aggression against its sovereign neighbour and trying to justify its ambitions of territorial expansion through illegal referenda.  The Russian Federation’s brutal invasion of Ukraine had been accompanied by nuclear blackmail and the occupation by its armed forces of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant — the largest in Europe.  While the current crisis exposed the fractures, those cracks were indeed long‑standing.  This year’s NPT Review Conference failed, not just because the Russian Federation decided to block consensus on the final document, but because geopolitical tensions dominated the entire negotiation process, demonstrating serious trust deficits and fundamental divisions within the NPT membership.  That revealed the unwillingness of nuclear-weapon States to move forward on nuclear disarmament.

He said a new momentum was needed, as well as a paradigm shift, and a clear majority of States were pursuing just that through the nuclear weapons prohibition Treaty.  The first meeting of States parties in Vienna had delivered concrete results:  a strong political declaration with a clear condemnation of all nuclear threats, irrespective of the circumstances, as well as an ambitious Vienna Action Plan to implement the Treaty.  The common thread running through all disarmament efforts was putting people at the centre.  He was particularly pleased, therefore, that the long-standing work on eliminating explosive weapons in populated areas had culminated in a collective commitment with ambitious and forward‑looking actions to better protect civilians and strengthen compliance with and improve the application of the law of peace and security and human rights law.

ANTONIO M. LAGDAMEO (Philippines), aligning with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), expressed concern about the dangerous nuclear rhetoric and continued expansion of nuclear arsenals.  Quoting Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., he said:  "We must reject the notion of deterrence and remain committed to decreasing the global stockpile of nuclear weapons."  The NPT remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non‑proliferation regime, he said, expressing regret that its tenth Review Conference last month had concluded without a consensus outcome.  He called on the remaining CTBT Annex 2 States to ratify the Treaty without further delay.  He also expressed commitment to the effective implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Anti-Personnel Mines Convention and the Cluster Munitions Convention.  A legally binding instrument was needed to prevent an arms race in outer space.

ANATOLII ZLENKO (Ukraine), spotlighting the 223 days of unprovoked aggression by the Russian Federation, said the so-called “referenda” on the occupied Ukrainian territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia had no implications for Ukraine’s territorial system or internationally recognized borders.  Ukraine had every right to restore its territorial integrity by military and diplomatic means.  It had been consistent in its call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and had made unprecedented contributions by abandoning the world’s third largest arsenal, he stressed, voicing his full support for the NPT.  The Russian Federation had undermined the NPT, as well as other treaties with its occupation of Crimea and its blocking of consensus at the tenth NPT Review Conference, thereby raising alarm about the heightened risk of nuclear war.

He detailed the ways in which the Russian Federation had indiscriminately attacked Ukraine, its civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as residential buildings, schools, hospitals and kindergartens.  He was especially concerned about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and the use of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as a military target, as well as the terror and torture inflicted on its employees.  The Russian Federation had put the whole world on the brink of nuclear catastrophe.  He appreciated the bravery and professionalism of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts.  To remove all nuclear threats, the Russian Federation must demilitarize, withdraw its troops from Ukraine and hand over the power plant.

Regarding biological and chemical issues, he said that the Russian Federation had targeted chemical enterprises, made false allegations against OPCW and used the Biological Weapons Convention as propaganda and a diversion from its own atrocities, he said.  He hoped the Committee would be able to properly address the most serious challenges to international security since the end of the Second World War.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, denounced the aggressive anti-Russian policy of the United States and its allies in defence of Kyiv's neo-Nazi regime.  The Russian Federation had done the utmost to resolve the conflict diplomatically, but the West had been exacerbating tensions, given the de facto refusal of the Kyiv authorities to implement the Minsk agreements.  The United States and its allies had ramped up Ukraine's weaponry and sent their fighters into the conflict, creating numerous victims and bringing the world closer to a direct clash between the Russian Federation and NATO.  The United States had been encouraging militarization, and Kyiv’s regime, in a desire for revenge, had been using United States weapons to attack deeper sites in the Russian Federation.

With help from the West, the aim was to defeat the Russian Federation on the battlefield and attempt to dismantle it, he said.  They put ammunition depots in schools, attacked nuclear power plants, used civilians as human shields and even executed refugees.  The Russian Federation trusted the experts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) so they could see on the ground the cruel methods being used by Kyiv.  The Americans turned a blind eye to that inconvenient truth and had become a party to the conflict in Ukraine.  The Russian Federation rejected the accusation from all delegations, as they were absolutely unfounded and divorced from reality.

The representative of India, also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, expressed its sympathy to the people and Government of Pakistan due the suffering caused by the flood.  He said that the representative of Pakistan had made untrue accusations against India.  It was well known that the Government of Pakistan hosted terrorists, as well as oppressed women and minorities, while India, on the other hand, exported vaccines during the darkest time of the pandemic.  Pakistan was disguising the predatory nature of its State, which promoted terrorism and insecurity.  India was a secular democracy.  Pakistan’s allegations against it were not rooted in fact and did not merit a response.  India advised the delegation of Pakistan to look at the conditions of minorities and women in their country.  India strictly abided by its obligation under international law, approaching such issues in a global context.  India was one of the fastest growing global economies.  The First Committee was not a place to address bilateral issues.  Pakistan's obsession with India continued with a litany of untrue accusations.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in exercise of the right of reply, responding to several European countries and the Republic of Korea, said he completely rejected their statements and warned that was deeply alarming that European countries were still dancing to the tune of the United States.  It was his country’s sovereign right to build up its military capabilities in response to the United States effort to stifle it.  He detailed the United States joint military drills and the dispatching of strategic assets, not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also throughout the rest of the region.  It was only the United States and its vasal States that posed grave danger to the global non-proliferation regime and peace and security in the Indo-Pacific.  He pointed to “AUKUS” and nuclear-powered aircrafts.  The more the United States clung to the anti-campaign against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the more his country would accelerate its military self-defencive measures.

Spotlighting the importance of addressing root causes, he asked the European Union countries why they kept silent on the United States’ actions, especially when the “AUKUS” partnership was undermining the non-proliferation regime.  He urged them to listen to States calling for dismantlement of nuclear weapons and ending NATO missions in Europe.  If the European Union countries stuck to their cold war mentality and double standards, tensions would deepen in the region.

He said that the conservative new Government of the Republic of Korea was resorting to extreme confrontational policies, which would drive the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war.  The Republic of Korea designated his country’s Government and army as the “archenemy”, advocated peace through strength and claimed it would launch a pre-emptive strike to neutralize the Democratic Republic of Korea’s war‑deterrent force.  The Republic of Korea was growing more frantic in developing weapons, strengthening its defence industry, bringing United States nuclear assets to the Korean Peninsula and launching joint military drills.  It had already crossed the line by its rhetoric and military actions with the United States.

If the Republic of Korea continued taking offence at the Democratic Republic of Korea’s exercise of its legitimate right to self-defence, and if it continued to aggravate military tensions threatening his country’s security, it would inevitably pay a high price for it.  The Republic of Korea was strongly urged to refrain from finding faults with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and more importantly, to not deal with it, once for all.

The representative of Poland, exercising his right of reply in response to the Russian Federation, said that several million Ukrainians, including many women and children, had crossed Poland’s border.  Calling the brutal aggression “a de-Nazification operation” was not only an insult to those refugees, but also to the collective memory of the Nazi horror occupation in the whole region, as well as to Holocaust survivors and to their descendants.  The international community must not be fooled by the Russian Federation’s narrative as it was raging its brutal war of aggression.  The Soviet Union had collapsed, but its methods of lies, murders, intimidation and deportation to Siberia were still being applied by the Russian Federation.

The representative of Ukraine, exercising his right of reply, said that the Russian Federation’s aggression had started in 2014, when it occupied Crimea and launched its aggression against Ukraine in the Donbass region.  From the very beginning of its aggression, the Russian Federation had been committing crimes against the Ukrainian population, namely numerous abuses and violations of human rights, especially against the Crimean Tatars.  Those crimes had been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly.  The Russian Federation's membership in the Human Rights Council had been suspended and it was no longer part of the European Council.

In 2022, he said, the Russian Federation launched its full-scale aggression against Ukraine.  It had been attacking the Ukrainian population, as well as its civilian infrastructure from the first days.  As a result, Ukraine was today investigating more than 30,000 war crimes, among them, the killing of 7,000 civilians, including women and children.  Those figures were growing daily.  Some 1,000 of Ukrainian educational and medical institutions had been damaged or destroyed.  The Russian invader had turned many flourishing Ukrainian cities into ashes.  It had also destroyed water and electric supply systems.  There also was a complete absence of epidemiological control in the areas controlled by the Russian occupiers.  That country was also using different conventional weapons, including those prohibited under international law.  All military support provided to Ukraine was aimed at repelling that brutal aggression.  The pressure on the Russian Federation should continue, including the imposition of new sanctions.  He appealed for additional military aid to Ukraine in order to repel the aggression.

The representative of Pakistan, speaking in right of reply, said that deflection and disinformation defined Indian diplomacy today.  The biggest falsehood just heard was that Jammu and Kashmir were part of India.  In all its resolutions on the subject, the Security Council decided that the final disposition of Jammu and Kashmir should be determined by its people through a United Nations supervised plebiscite.  India had accepted the decision and was bound to comply with it.  United Nations maps also showed Kashmir as a disputed territory.  The Council itself considered it a disputed territory.  If India had any respect for international law, and moral courage, it would withdraw its troops and let the Kashmiris freely decide their own future.  India did not address the facts presented by the Pakistani delegation regarding its destabilizing arms build-up and aggressive military policies, which carried grave implications for regional and international peace and security.  Pakistan had been and would continue to highlight those issues.  India would do well to reflect on the deeply troubling trajectory that it was embarked upon rather than indulging into falsehoods about Pakistan.  India was guided by an ideology that had mainstreamed Islamophobia and bigotry against minorities, particularly Muslims, destroying India’s rich Muslim heritage.

The representative of the Republic of Korea, exercising his right of reply, said that the Democratic People’s Republic Korea had launched 39 missiles this year, including yesterday’s intermediate-range ballistic missile, in violation of Council resolutions, to which the international community had agreed in compliance with Article 25 of the Charter.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was all but ready to conduct its seventh nuclear test, and in its open pursuit of its nuclear ambitions, had significantly lowered the threshold to use nuclear weapons pre-emptively.  The Republic of Korea’s defence cooperation with the United States, including on joint exercises, constituted a response to those military threats and should be considered duties by a responsible government.  Any attempt by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to justify its potential use of nuclear weapons, including the new law of 8 September, would not be recognized by the international community.  He urged that country to stop all provocations and return to the denuclearization talks.

The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, responding to the Russian Federation, categorically denounced the horrible accusations spread by that county’s officials to legitimize their illegal war against Ukraine, as well as any questioning of the very existence of Ukraine as an independent and sovereign State.  She urged the Russian Federation to stop its propaganda and disinformation campaigns, as well as its cyberattacks against Ukraine and other States.  She reiterated the Union’s resolute support for Ukraine’s right to self-defence and Ukrainian efforts to defend its territorial integrity and its population, in accordance with the Charter’s Article 51.  The Union demanded that the Russian Federation immediately cease its military actions, withdraw all military troops and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognized borders.  The use of military force and coercion to change borders had no place in the twenty‑first century.

The representative of the United States, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the comments of the Russian Federation were full of outright lies and increasingly delusional threats.  The United States would continue its unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and would stand by Ukraine as it defended its sovereign, internationally recognized territory.  Neither Ukraine nor the United States nor NATO were to blame for the Russian Federation’s destruction of Ukraine and its destabilization of world security and the international rules-based order.  The Russian Federation, alone, was to blame.  It was ironic that the same Russian Federation that asserted its own sovereignty yesterday in this room under the banner of multipolarity had shown no qualm about violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a neighbouring country or annexing part of that country, and was claiming it was prepared to defend that by any means, including the potential use of nuclear weapons.  That was simply unacceptable.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, responded to the provocative statement made by the Republic of Korea.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had never acknowledged the United Nations resolution because it encroached upon the sovereignty and the right to development and existence of his country.  No matter how hard the Republic of Korea tried to conceal the aggressive nature of its joint exercises with the United States, they were clearly aimed at toppling the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Government through the use of force.  The Republic of Korea’s reckless behaviour and offensive remarks were vividly remembered.  The Republic of Korea would be well advised to weigh the consequences of its reckless behaviour in the future and to not forget the advice of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that it would be preferable for it to no longer deal with his country.

For information media. Not an official record.