Seventy-seventh Session,
4th Meeting (AM)

‘False Logic’ of Deterrence Elevates Role of Nuclear Weapons in Security Doctrines, First Committee Hears as General Debate Continues

International Community Urged to Double Down on Life-Saving Conventions

It was deeply disturbing that nuclear-weapon States and States under extended nuclear‑deterrence guarantees had increased the salience of nuclear weapons in their security and nuclear doctrines, policies and postures, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today as it continued its general debate.

Egypt’s representative, speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, said nuclear disarmament was a legal obligation and an urgent — though still unfulfilled — moral and ethical imperative.  On behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, which also includes Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa, he condemned unequivocally any and all nuclear threats, explicit or implicit, regardless of the circumstances.

The trend to adhere to the “false logic” of deterrence was rejected by Mexico’s representative, who stressed the critical need to avoid the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of a nuclear detonation.  Nuclear disarmament, 77 years after the founding of the United Nations, remained unfinished business.

New Zealand’s representative said that the only way to guarantee that people would be safe from the devastating consequences of those weapons would be their elimination.  Pivoting to the situation in Ukraine, she said the Committee was meeting under a “dark cloud” as the Russian Federation attempted to change Ukraine’s borders and territorial sovereignty illegally.

The representative of Norway said the Russian Federation’s unprovoked ruthless military attack against Ukraine and its continued reckless rhetoric on nuclear weapons was a direct threat to international security.  He urged the international community to “double down” on the implementation of life-saving conventions.

The Russian Federation had failed its obligations as Permanent Member of the Security Council, Latvia’s speaker asserted.  He cited the occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the intended transfer of nuclear-capable ballistic‑missile systems to Belarus.  The compromise regarding the final document at the tenth Nuclear Non‑Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference collapsed because of one State party — the Russian Federation.

Other speakers were preoccupied with the threat of conventional weapons.  Cambodia’s representative called for close cooperation between countries to combat the smuggling of small arms and light weapons, which threatened international peace, security, stability and socioeconomic development.  The representative of Côte d’ivoire said conventional weapons and munitions posed an “immediate and daily threat” to many around the world.  They were the main challenge to the stability and development in Africa.

Also speaking were representatives of Thailand, Iraq, Bangladesh, Argentina, Tajikistan, Gabon, Japan, Armenia, Libya, Canada, Sweden and Egypt (national capacity).

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were representatives of Iran, Russian Federation, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ukraine, Japan, Italy, Germany and Latvia.

The First Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 7 October, to continue its general debate.

General Debate

THARARUT HANLUMYUANG (Thailand), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the rise in military spending, modernization and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the advancement of relevant technology and the growing risks of cybersecurity had increased the complexity of the global security environment.  Noting Our Common Agenda and New Agenda for Peace, he said the United Nations was not short on ideas, but sustainable collective political will to act together was needed.  Failing to adopt an outcome at the tenth Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference was a disappointment, but positive developments in the framework of the nuclear prohibition Treaty were encouraging.  He urged the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty’s (CTBT) Annex II States to ratify without delay.

She called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cease all ballistic‑missile tests.  She also voiced Thailand’s full support for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Her country promoted confidence‑building measures and preventive diplomacy based on the Charter’s and ASEAN’s fundamental principles.  It also supported the establishment of nuclear‑weapon-free zones around the world. In that regard, she welcomed the decision of the General Assembly to move towards such a zone in the Middle East.  She was concerned about the proliferation of all mass destruction weapons, as well as of small and light weapons, which caused a significant number of casualties requiring international attention.  Thailand, in line with the anti-personnel mine ban had returned 98 per cent of safe land back to its people.

JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) said it was imperative to avoid the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of a nuclear detonation.  Nuclear disarmament, 77 years after the founding of the United Nations, remained unfinished business.  He rejected the trend to adhere to the “false logic of deterrence”.  Weapons of mass destruction did not protect humanity.  They endangered it.  He regretted the inability of the tenth NPT Review Conference to reach agreement on a final document.  Notwithstanding the outcome, the NPT regime remained in force, and he called on its universality, as well as that of all other relevant instruments.  Similarly, he hoped the CTBT would enter into force as soon as possible.

The impact of the high availability of small arms and light weapons on societies was unquestionable, as those fuelled such phenomena as organized crime, and exacerbated violence.  The greater those weapons’ availability, the more attractive violence would become as an alternative to peace.  He recognized he work being carried out in the area of ammunition, which was an indivisible component of any deliberations on small arms and light weapons.  Despite broad agreement on the need to preserve the peaceful uses of both outer space and cyberspace, it was troubling that they were once again seen as viable and legitimate arenas for confrontation and deterrence.  In closing, he said that disarmament was not an end in itself, but a means to a more secure and peaceful world.

CAROLYN SCHWALGER (New Zealand) said the Committee was meeting under a “dark cloud”.  She strongly condemned the Russian Federation’s actions and did not recognize its illegal attempts to change Ukraine’s border or territorial sovereignty.  She called on Russian President Vladimir V. Putin to cease the invasion and return to diplomatic negotiations as a pathway to resolving the conflict.  The recent ballistic‑missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea demonstrated a “reckless disregard for international rules”.  Its nuclear tests were also deeply troubling.  Her country had pursued the fight against nuclear weapons for decades and would continue to do so.  The only way to guarantee that people would be safe from the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of those weapons would be their elimination.  In that vein, she urged all countries to join the nuclear weapon prohibition Treaty.  Additionally, she was disappointed that the Russian Federation had blocked consensus on an outcome text at the most recent NPT Review Conference.

New Zealand, she said, was active in the negotiations on a political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.  It also encouraged the universalization and full implementation of conventional weapons treaties.  The review conferences on biological and chemical weapons were opportunities for States to recognize their value to the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime and to step up and defend them.  She urged accountability and justice regarding chemical weapons use, and deplored efforts to undermine OPCW.  New Zealand would continue to play its part in pursuit of global safety and security, despite the present pessimism.

OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, condemned unequivocally any and all nuclear threats, whether they be explicit or implicit, and irrespective of the circumstances.  Against that backdrop, he deeply regretted the lack of any substantive outcome at the tenth NPT Review Conference.  He was gravely concerned about the impact of that on the Treaty’s credibility and on nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation regime.  With respect to the nuclear-weapon States, that lack of consensus did not excuse them from fulfilling their obligations.  It was deeply concerning that they, along with those States under extended nuclear‑deterrence guarantees, had increased the salience of nuclear weapons in their security and nuclear doctrines, policies and postures.  Nuclear disarmament was a legal obligation and an urgent — and as yet unfulfilled — moral and ethical imperative.  In addition to the failure of another NPT Review Conference, the continued stagnation in the Conference of Disarmament was untenable.

He expressed the Coalition’s full commitment to the NPT, and recalled that the basis for its adoption was a “grand bargain” between those States that had nuclear weapons and those that did not.  That was reconfirmed at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.  He meanwhile affirmed the significant contribution of nuclear-weapon-free zones to nuclear disarmament and achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world and encouraged the nuclear-armed States to take all measures necessary to bring into force the protocols to these treaties, and to review them, with the aim of withdrawing any reservations or interpretive declarations.  He emphasized the importance of the full implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East towards the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and all other mass destruction weapons.

MOHAMMED BAHR ALULOOM (Iraq), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, under today’s heightened tensions, strengthening the disarmament conventions, particularly those involving nuclear and other mass destruction weapons, were the only guarantees against their catastrophic effects on the environment and humans.  Nuclear disarmament should be put at the top of the Committee’s agenda.  He was disappointed at the failure of recent NPT Review Conferences and called for political will and flexibility to overcome the obstacles.  “We must fully eliminate these destructive weapons,” he said.  Further, the “twisting” of the resolution on the Middle East would lead to a reduction in the NPT’s credibility.  He pledged his support for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, noting that the first two conferences on the issue were promising, and he looked forward to the third this month.

In Iraq, he said, mines and other explosives endangered the lives to thousands of people, with detrimental economic, social and environmental effects, including on agricultural land and resources.  His country’s institutions were doing their utmost to overcome those challenges, including dismantling explosive remnants of war and providing victim assistance, and he thanked all States parties to the relevant instruments for their support in that regard.  In other matters, he hoped the challenges, especially for developing countries, in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) could be overcome.  On conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons, he welcomed efforts under way to strengthen capacity to curb their spread.  He reiterated the need for multilateral efforts aimed at disarmament and spurring results at the Conference on Disarmament.

MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHIT (Bangladesh) said that the ultimate guarantee of international peace and security lay in the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  The NPT was the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the fundamental foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.  He was deeply disappointed over the consecutive failures of the ninth and tenth NPT Review Conferences to adopt a consensus outcome document.

He underlined the importance of the United Nations Disarmament Commission, as the sole specialized and deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery.  The protracted impasse in the Conference on Disarmament, owing to a lack of consensus on a work programme for over two decades, was unacceptable.  Bangladesh recognized the inalienable right of all States to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including in power‑generation, health care and agriculture.  On that premise, the country was constructing the first nuclear power plant, in Rooppur.  He reiterated his support to the Chemical Weapons Convention and underscored that there could be no impunity for those weapons’ use.  He further reaffirmed his full support for the Biological Weapons Convention.

He shared the international community’s concern that the illicit transfer, accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons posed a serious threat to global security and stability.  On other matters, he strongly rejected the illegal and malicious use of ICT.  He emphasized the inalienable right of all Member States to the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.  Based on that conviction, Bangladesh last year had become a member of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

MARIA DEL CARMEN SQUEFF (Argentina) said that her country had built a two‑level policy of international security and non-proliferation.  The first related to the right to peaceful use of advanced technology, and the second, to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  With the strictest respect for the norms enshrined in the NPT, Argentina’s nuclear programme was exclusively for peaceful purposes.  She deplored that, for the second time in a row, that Treaty’s Review Conference had been unable to adopt a consensus text.  She called on nuclear-weapon States to comply with their obligations in accordance with article 6, while underlining that the NPT did not provide a right to the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons for any State.

The risk of the situation in Ukraine was high, and she called on all parties to put an end to the hostilities.  She supported IAEA, particularly in times of international conflict and the threat of nuclear weapons.  Their use would be a crime against humanity and a violation of international humanitarian law and the Charter.  In that vein, she reiterated her call to initiate negotiations to adopt a universal and legally binding document on negative security assurances, as those were the legitimate right of all non-nuclear-armed States.  Additionally, she said that an outer space arms race would constitute a threat to international peace and security and would affect sustainable development.  On biological weapons, Argentina would work to strengthen the Treaty.  It would similarly strive to strengthen instruments involving conventional weapons regulations, including for autonomous weapons.  She noted the joint proposal put forward by her country on a legally binding instrument on certain conventional weapons.

JONIBEK HIKMAT (Tajikistan) said that the elimination of the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction remained one of the most important issues of the modern world, and disarmament and non-proliferation were key to mitigating it.  Tajikistan attached great importance to strengthening the disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, and to establishing nuclear‑weapon-free zones, an essential component of those regimes.  Tajikistan was among the five countries of Central Asia that had created such a zone in the region, however, no nuclear disarmament mechanism could be effective without the accession of all concerned parties.  He called for the implementation of all NPT provisions, as well as a speedy enforcement of the CTBT.

He said that the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances, anywhere, at any time, and by anyone, was a violation of international law.  Tajikistan wished to see Central Asia free from landmines and called on international partners to contribute to that noble goal.  The country further supported the United Nations’ leading role in combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  It also recognized the Organization’s leading role in promoting dialogue among the Member States on ICT.  Threats such as terrorism, extremism, drugs and arms trafficking, cybercrime and other forms of cross-border organized crime had a tendency to increase exponentially.  Tajikistan, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and partners would be holding a high-level international meeting to counter terrorism and prevent the movement of terrorists, in Dushanbe, on 18 and 19 October.

ALFRED MOUNGARA MOUSSOTSI (Gabon), aligning with the African Group and Non-Aligned Movement, said that the hopes to see a world free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction were becoming more remote.  There was no significant progress.  In fact, there was a disturbing backslide.  The failure to substantially reduce nuclear arsenals showed a lack of will to advance implementation of the pillars of non-proliferation and disarmament.  Gabon was fully committed to vertical and horizontal disarmament, but he warned against prioritizing vertical disarmament.  He pointed to a lack of respect for the universal values of peace and security, and the lack of ability to ensure protection of health, agriculture and the economy, and urged Member States to pursue achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  He reminded them that the world was still confronting the pandemic.

He said his country condemned the use of chemical weapons due to their devastating effects and supported the Geneva Conventions and their Protocols.  Gabon was a State party to the Chemical and Biological Weapon Conventions.  He hailed progress on instruments to prevent the trade of conventional weapons, specifically, small arms and light weapons, and noted Gabon’s accession to the Arms Trade Treaty, stressing that his country would strengthen advocacy efforts to defeat weapons proliferation.  All impediments should be lifted towards that Treaty’s full implementation, such as identification of the weapons, marking and tracing, and information‑sharing.  Today’s global challenges were immense, and the international community must come together, he concluded.

OGASAWARA ICHIRO (Japan) said that, ever since the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 77 years ago, Japan had assigned to itself the mission of taking the lead in international efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.  It was regrettable that the final document of the tenth NPT Review Conference had not been adopted, owing to the objection of only one country. He called on the nuclear-weapon States to declare or maintain moratoria on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.  He urged all States to ensure that nuclear weapons were never again used and to refrain from any inflammatory rhetoric concerning their use.

He was deeply concerned about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s continued development of nuclear and missile capabilities and condemned the series of the recent launches, including the one on 4 October, which flew over the Japanese territory for the first time in five years, as well as another missile launch the following day.  He called on all Member States to reaffirm their strong commitment to the goal of achieving complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all that country’s nuclear weapons, programmes and ballistic missiles.

The risk of the use of biological and chemical weapons was increasing, he said, underlining the vital importance of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions.  He deplored the use of conventional weapons in actual warfare, which was causing many civilian casualties.  That highlighted the urgency of the universalization and implementation of the conventional arms‑control and disarmament frameworks.  Japan, alongside Colombia and South Africa, would submit to the Committee a draft resolution on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) said the NPT remained the cornerstone to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy and furthering the goal of achieving complete disarmament.  Throughout the years, Armenia had remained committed to the Treaty and to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and Vienna Document, however, the integrity of arms‑control regimes had been undermined through massive violations by certain parties.  The international community should resolutely reject the use of threat of force and strengthen the monitoring, fact-finding and reporting capacities of the United Nations to timely identify risks and dangerous escalations to prevent atrocities.

The speaker said that recent military offensive unleashed by Azerbaijan against Armenia had caused more than 200 deaths, including civilians, and displaced 8,000 people.  In flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, Azerbaijan had captured, tortured and killed Armenian service personnel, including by using sexual and gender-based violence against women.  Videos of barbaric extrajudicial executions of Armenian prisoners of war were rampant on social media.  That Government’s criminal conduct was undeniable.  He called for investigations and bringing the perpetrators to justice.  Last week, another military provocation with mortars and large‑caliber weapons had occurred.  Azerbaijan had indicated its intention to instigate further military aggression.  Inadequate reaction by international and regional structures had allowed that to happen further.  He had urged the Security Council to resolutely condemn the criminal attacks and for international structures to be resolute in the face of flagrant violations and condemn the use of force to capture territories.

ODD INGE KVALHEIM (Norway) said that the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and ruthless military attack against Ukraine and its continued reckless rhetoric on nuclear weapons was a direct threat to international security.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear‑weapons development was destabilizing and deeply disturbing, and he urged the country’s complete abandonment of that programme and a return to the negotiating table.  Similarly, he urged Iran to return to compliance with its nuclear-related commitments.  “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” he emphasized.

Noting the NPT’s foundational instrument in nuclear disarmament efforts, he regretted that the Russian Federation had blocked consensus at the tenth Review Conference.  He called for a rapid entry into force of the CTBT and ratification by the Annex II countries.  He welcomed the work done on cyberspace issues and reducing space threats.  The world had witnessed a recurring use of chemical weapons, and the Russian Federation had established a false narrative about biological weapons production in Ukraine.  There should be no impunity for those who used chemical or biological weapons.  He reaffirmed Norway’s support for OPCW and of the Secretary‑General’s Mechanism for investigating the alleged use of those weapons.  Norway also supported the universalization of The Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, Arms Trade Treaty and the Mine Ban and Cluster Munitions Convention.  The international community should double down on the implementation of those life-saving conventions.

DINA PHAT (Cambodia) urged all sides of a conflict, anywhere in the world, to exercise the utmost restraint, use diplomatic means and return to negotiation, and to absolutely avoid the use of all types of weapons of mass destruction.  Failure to adopt an outcome document at the tenth NPT Review Conference indicated the need for greater efforts.  She welcomed the successful conclusion of the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty for Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  It also was important for the CTBT to enter into force as that would help thwart the nuclear arms race and mitigate the risk of nuclear war.  It was imperative, therefore, for the 44 Annex II countries to sign and ratify it.

Regionally, she noted, Cambodia had joined fellow ASEAN member States in implementing the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and its extended Plan of Action (2023-2027).  She fully supported the Secretary‑General's call for the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction and a New Agenda for Peace.  Close cooperation between countries was necessary to combat the smuggling of small arms and light weapons since those seriously threatened international peace, security, stability and socioeconomic development.  Cambodia highly valued the Ottawa Convention.  Millions of anti-personnel mines, cluster bombs and explosive remnants of war had been destroyed on its territory, for which it thanked the international community for their contribution and continued support.

ESAM BEN ZITUN (Libya), associating with Iraq, Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the First Committee bore a major historical responsibility to the people who believed in the Charter to reach its objective of eliminating weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.  While the NPT has proved effective in containing proliferation, the lack of implementation remained a source of deep concern, as had become clear during the tenth Review Conference.  Nuclear-weapon States ignored the efforts by the international community and had not complied with agreements, but, instead, continued to develop their weapons, leading to new arms races and tensions.  Those countries must exert all efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons and render the NPT successful.  Non-proliferation was the responsibility of all States, and the elimination of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee against their use and threat of use.

Libya, he said, had denounced its nuclear weapon programme in 2003, and hoped that others would follow suit.  The world continued to witness armed conflicts, materiel and humanitarian losses, instability and flagrant violations of human rights as a direct result of foreign intervention.  Moreover, foreign intervention led to prolonged crises and impeded efforts to achieve resolution, such as in Libya.  Due to a lack of sanctions, States continued that practice.  The establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East would be a step in the right direction, he said, pointing to proven successes in other parts of the world.  He called attention to violence carried out by small arms and light weapons, and reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations’ Programme of Action.

LESLIE NORTON (Canada) deeply regretted that consensus could not be reached on an outcome document at the tenth NPT Review Conference, largely due to Russian Federation obstructionism.  Despite a disappointing outcome, the large majority of States parties reaffirmed the Treaty’s validity and integrity as the foundation for the global pursuit of disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  She called on the Russian Federation and the United States to develop a follow-up treaty for strategic arms control and urged the adoption of further risk reduction measures, as well as advancements in nuclear disarmament verification.  Canada continued to advocate the entry into force of the CTBT and the launch of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.

She said she stood firmly against the Russian Federation’s disinformation campaigns targeting the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions.  The Russian Federation’s claims of provocation by Ukraine with regard to those weapons, as well as allegations of the OPCW’s unprofessionalism and bias with respect to Syrian chemical weapons use, had no basis in fact.  In other matters, Canada promoted the peaceful and sustainable use of outer space for all States and hoped that agreements, such as the United States’ commitment not to conduct destructive direct‑ascent anti-satellite missile tests could be codified into a legally binding instrument.  She called for the universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and of the Mine Ban Convention, as well as for a framework for responsible State behaviour in cyberspace.  She referenced the public gender pledge by the United States’ Permanent Mission in New York, as well as Canada’s continued engagement with civil society.

ANNA KARIN ENESTROM (Sweden) reiterated in the strongest terms Sweden’s condemnation of the Russian Federation’s illegal aggression against Ukraine.  The Russia Federation’s threats to use nuclear weapons was completely unacceptable.  Sweden deeply regretted that the tenth NPT Review Conference was not able to adopt an outcome document due to the Russian Federation blocking consensus.  The NPT remained the cornerstone of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation architecture and obligations and commitments.

She said the lack of transparency by some States and the continued erosion of trust made it increasingly difficult to achieve disarmament and non-proliferation progress.  Sweden urged all States to ensure the entry into force of the CTBT and called for immediate negotiations and the establishment of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons and other explosive devices.  She underlined the indispensable role of IAEA and highlighted the importance of its safeguards system.  The international norm against chemical and biological weapons was also indispensable for collective security.  Any use of those weapons was a violation of international law, and perpetrators must be held accountable.  Now more than ever, key conventional arms control instruments should be strengthened.  Outer space was to be used for the benefit of all, and Sweden was strongly committed to preventing an outer space arms race, which was essential for safeguarding the long-term use of the that realm for peaceful purposes.

Mr. MAHMOUD (Egypt), speaking in his national capacity, said that the rising tensions in the international arena emphasized the urgent need for the total, irreversible and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.  It was more important than ever for the nuclear-weapon States to implement NPT article VI.  The failure of the tenth NPT Review Conference for the second time to agree on an outcome text put more pressure on the ability of the Treaty to handle the challenges it faced in terms of implementation of article IV.

He said that the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament and implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East remained the most pressing priorities.  The Committee had before it the annual resolution tabled by Egypt on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, as well as the resolution tabled by the Arab Group on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.  In that connection, he welcomed the successful convening of the first session of the Conference to establish a zone in his region free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

Regarding the prevention of an arms race in outer space, Egypt and Sri Lanka tabled their annual resolution, which stressed the need for practical measures, dialogue and negotiations on that increasingly important subject, while underscoring and reiterating the need to observe all previously agreed commitments in that strategic domain.

ANDREJS PILDEGOVIČS (Latvia), aligning with the European Union, said that the Russian Federation had chosen a path of violence, in complete disrespect for its international obligations and outright contempt towards the General Assembly and the Council resolutions.  Latvia deplored the illegitimate annexation of Ukrainian territory and condemned Belarus’ continued support.  He reiterated his country’s full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  Existing obligations and instruments could not be blamed for creating the deadlock in global security, it was obstruction by certain actors.  The Russian Federation had failed its obligations as permanent member of the Council and as a nuclear Power, he said, pointing to the occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the intended transfer of nuclear-capable ballistic‑missile systems to Belarus. The compromise regarding the final document at the tenth NPT Review Conference was broken only by the Russian Federation.  The international community should reject that country’s targeted disinformation.

He urged a strong commitment to the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions and emphasized the essential and independent role of IAEA.  He urged Iran to return to the full implementation of its agreement.  He condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent launch of a ballistic missile over Japan.  In addition, he urged the entry into force of the CTBT and the conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty.  The increase in malicious cyberactivities also required additional action.  He voiced support for the Programme of Action to Advance Responsible State Behavior in Cyberspace, complementarity with the Open-Ended Working Group, for efforts in tackling new technologies security challenges, and for strengthening conventional arms‑control instruments and multilateral export‑control regimes.  Bolstering societal resilience and ensuring the equal participation of women and youth in those matters are priorities.

GBOLIÉ DÉSIRÉ WULFRAN IPO (Côte d’Ivoire) said that the work of the Committee was arduous and its responsibility great, especially with the failure of the tenth NPT Review Conference.  He called for the full implementation of all international instruments that contributed to a world free of nuclear weapons, and on the nuclear-weapon States to comply with their obligations under the NPT.  The principle of complete elimination was equally applicable to biological and chemical weapons.  It was vital to prevent their use and control their re-emergence by improving the implementation of existing legally binding instruments that prohibited their production and possession.

Conventional weapons and munitions continued to pose an immediate and daily threat to many populations around the world, he said.  They fuelled conflicts, terrorism, transnational crime and represented the main challenge to the stability and development of the African continent.  Outer space presented an undeniable scientific, technological and socioeconomic development challenge for humanity and the planet.  It was imperative, therefore, to act to prevent its weaponization and the realm from becoming a new theatre of military confrontation.  The security challenges related to digital technologies were another source of concern for Côte d'Ivoire, which was taking numerous actions to guarantee the security and reliability of its national cyberspace.  The country was firmly committed at the regional and international levels to collective efforts for a safe, stable and peaceful global cyberspace.  It co-authored the resolution on the Advancement of Information and Communication Technologies in the Context of International Security.

Right of Reply

The representative of Iran, taking the floor in exercise of the right of reply, reminded speakers that it was the United States, and not Iran, that had unilaterally and illegally withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reimposed sanctions and started a maximum‑pressure campaign.  Moreover, it was the European Union, and not Iran, that had abandoned its obligations under the Plan of Action and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015).  His country had fully implemented its obligations, confirmed by 15 consecutive IAEA Director General reports.

He said that, only after more than one year of strategic patience and full implementation had Iran gradually resorted to the only available remedy, namely withholding the performance of reciprocal commitment, which was a general rule of law and enshrined explicitly in the Plan of Action.  The talks in Vienna were a unique opportunity, particularly for the United States, to return to the full implementation by lifting sanctions.  The United States needed to address concerns regarding previous malpractice.  While his country had engaged seriously in negotiations with Plan of Action participants, delegations had failed to address the United States’ responsibility in withdrawing from the action plan.  Iran spared no efforts to enable IAEA to carry its verification activities.

Denying the claim of Ukraine’s delegate on the delivery of drones to the Russian Federation as baseless, he said the unjustifiable role France had played since 1957 in the Middle East proliferation crisis by assisting the Israeli regime to acquire nuclear weapons.  He would not waste this Committee’s precious time by dignifying some accusations made regarding Iran’s position in the region.

The representative of the Russian Federation, also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, called all anti-Russian Federation statements and accusations baseless and unfounded.  Regarding the 23-27 September referenda in the people’s republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, as well as the provinces of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, he said people were not afraid to come out to the polls and express their will, despite the provocations of the Ukraine regime, which ordered mass shelling on civilian sites.  The residents availed their themselves of their legitimate right to self-determination and made a conscious choice for the Russian Federation.  They had the opportunity to be free and independent in expressing their opinion, which was confirmed by international observers, in full compliance with the Charter and the 1970s Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations in Cooperation Among States.  People were also given the right to take measures against forcible action and to receive support from the international community.

He said that the Charter’s principle of territorial integrity did not have absolute priority over the right to self-determination.  The declaration also set forth a duty to respect the territorial integrity of States that observed the principle of equality and self-determination.  The Kyiv regime had for many years massively violated those requirements.  For the residents of Ukraine, it had become a hostile and foreign regime, and they could not imagine not belonging to the Russian Federation civilization.  The Russian Federation was compelled to assist the long-suffering people of Donbass and defend the residents of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson provinces.  International observers, including from Italy, Germany, Venezuela, Latvia and other countries, totaling over 130 people, tracked the referenda and had acknowledged its results as legitimate.  Member States should accept the new and inevitable reality, which was the free expression of the people’s will.  “Truth will find a way, regardless of whether the West wants it or not.”  All attempts to deny the new reality would be consigned to oblivion, for only the will of the people would apply.

The representative of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, resolutely rejected the provocative statements made by some Western countries and Japan, as an outrageous infringement of his country’s legitimate right to self-defence and an intolerable interference in its internal affairs.  This year alone, the United States had recklessly deployed numerous strategic cutting-edge military hardware around the Korean Peninsula.  Last August, it conducted the largest‑scale joint military exercises with the Republic of Korea by mobilizing 10,000 troops for the first time ever since 2017.  Against a hostile policy and the nuclear blackmail of the United States, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s strength was bound to grow proportionally.

The United States posed a serious threat to the Korean Peninsula.  Against that backdrop, it was ridiculous for New Zealand to turn a blind eye to the awkward partnership that was happening before its eyes and was undermining the global non-proliferation regime.  Western countries were well advised to invest time and energy in ending joint NATO nuclear missions instead of pointing fingers at others.  A cold war mentality and double standards would only trigger confrontations and tension.

Japan’s allegations against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were aimed at justifying their attempts at becoming a military Power by amplifying so-called external threats and preventing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from enhancing its defensive capabilities.  In recent days, Japan had been sounding the alarm bell more loudly, which only showed how desperate it was to rationalize the urgency and legitimacy of its moves, such as increased defence spending and acquisition of counterattack capabilities in order to realize its wild ambition.  Japan’s move to revise its Constitution was a great threat undermining regional peace and stability.  Japan had no justification or qualification to find fault with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s self-defensive measures in view of its history as it had occupied Korea by force.  Japan should reflect on making a sincere apology for its past, which had inflicted immeasurable suffering on people in Korea and the rest of the Asian region.

The representative of Ukraine, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, reminded the international community that the Russian Federation had recently organized a propaganda show called referenda in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine.  That was another Russian Federation crime in its aggression against Ukraine.  Such actions severely violated Ukraine’s laws and multiple norms of international law, as well as the Russian Federation’s own international obligations.  That performance had nothing to do with an expression of will and had no implication for Ukraine’s administrative territorial system and internationally recognized borders.  Ukraine had every right to restore its territorial integrity by military and diplomatic means.  Ukraine would never agree to any Russian ultimatums.

He said that Moscow’s attempts to create new alliances to weaken international support for Ukraine were doomed to fail.  By organizing sham referenda in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, the Russian Federation demonstrated that all their signals for negotiations were only meant to provide cover for its armed aggression and helpless attempts to hold onto the temporarily occupied territories.  The Russian Federation was talking about international laws, but, by launching its aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and by invading Ukraine in 2022, it had violated norms and principles of all fundamental documents.  The United Nations resolution adopted by the General Assembly deplored in the strongest terms the aggression against Ukraine in violation of the Charter.  International law guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine and confirmed its right to self-defence.  The most important pillar of peace and security was the territorial integrity of States.  No country was allowed to change internationally recognized borders by force.  Urgent and decisive actions were needed, he said, adding that Ukraine would fight against the occupiers.  The liberation of Ukrainian territories was now well under way.  By killing Ukrainian people, including women and children, the Russian Federation was committing war crimes.

The representative of Japan, exercising his right of reply, said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear and missile development was a clear violation of Council resolutions that urged it to abandon all such programmes.  Japan had adhered to basic principles of maintaining an exclusive defence‑oriented policy of not becoming a military Power and of not posing threats to other countries.  Japan would never change its course as a peace-loving nation.  It would ensure transparency regarding defence-related expenditure, and it would adhere to strict civil control over the military.

He said that, concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s remarks on Japan’s past behavior, his country regarded the facts of history in the spirit of humility.  It has consistently respected democracy and human rights, and contributed to peace and prosperity in the region since the end of the Second World War.

He said that the Advanced Liquid Processing System-treated water would only be discharged into the sea when Tepco complied with the regulatory standards based on the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection.  The Advanced Liquid Processing System-treated water would be discharged in line with international practice.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea responded, saying that Japan was obsessed with the habit of pursuing its own interests and picking on others.  It had trumped its self-initiated threats with the sole purpose of realizing its ambition for overseas reinvasion.  In 2015, Japan had revised the guiding principles of Japan-United States defence cooperation to provide a legal framework to stretch out its aggressive tentacles to the Korean Peninsula.  Besides that, it had overtly clamoured for automatic and conventional defensive forces in case of emergency, scheming to revise its defence strategy and institutionalize pre-emptive strike capability as a national policy.  There had been sharp increases in its defence expenditure to develop offensive military equipment.  Worse still, Japan had ulterior motives and justified its preparation for reinvasion by inciting hostile feelings against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as an insecure consciousness in the minds of Japanese people.  He would closely watch Japan and urged it to reflect on the consequences of its moves in pursuit of becoming a military Power.

The representative of Japan declared that his country’s defence policy was exclusively for defence purposes.  Moreover, it had never launched a missile over another State’s territory.  He stressed the importance of compliance with international law and relevant Security Council resolutions and hoped that the problems would be solved through diplomacy.

The representative of Italy, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the Russian Federation mentioned that there were Italian observers present at the so-called referenda in the Ukrainian regions occupied by the Russian Federation armed forces.  There were procedures for recognized legitimate observer missions and that was not the case. Italy considered the referenda to be illegitimate.  There could be no reference to any presence of Italian individuals in that context.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that the remarks by the representative of Ukraine were “absolutely off the scale” and lacked foundation.

As for the remarks made by the representative of Italy, he said he wished to bring “final clarity” regarding the referenda.  The referenda were held in full compliance with international standards and fully under international observation from various citizens of other States, in particular, Italy, Germany, Latvia, Venezuela and of a number of other countries.  In total, more than 130 people tracked how the population of the four regions voiced their will.  The statements of several delegations negated the ability of the people of those regions to avail themselves of the right to self-determination, rights which were enshrined in the Charter.  “This is lamentable.”  However, reality was reality, and as he had said before, it was not going to work out.  Some States wished to ignore the will of those people, block the path of history and the path of expression of the peoples’ will.  Those four regions had become part of the Russian Federation.  That was a fact and a genuine reality.

The representative of Germany, speaking in exercise of the right of reply and aligning with the intervention by Italy, underlined that there was no officially recognized observer at the so-called referenda in Ukraine.  He condemned not only the brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, but also the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, as well as the so-called referenda.  “International law is clear:  these so-called referenda are null and void.”

He said the Russian Federation, as a permanent member of the Council, shared a particular reasonability to respect the Charter.  Any decision to proceed with the annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia would have no legal ground, deserved to be condemned and could not be reconciled with the Charter.  That breach of the Charter by a permanent member set a dangerous precedent and no Member State could feel safe within its borders unless it spoke out now, loudly and clearly.

The representative of Latvia, also in exercise of the right to reply, refuted the statements made by the Russian Federation.  He deplored the Russian Federation’s announcement of its illegitimate annexation of the occupied territories of Ukraine.  It was a gross violation of international law, as mentioned by the Security-General.  Those sham referenda held against the barrel of a gun were null and void.

For information media. Not an official record.