Seventy-seventh Session,
11th Meeting (PM)

Non-Nuclear-Armed States Get Nothing in Return for Fulfilling Commitments Except Threat of Potential Annihilation, First Committee Told

World Slipping towards Cliff’s Edge with Nuclear War Back in Realm of Possibility

Nine nuclear-armed countries had claimed the right to determine the life and death of everyone on Earth, but all Member States had a voice and the vote to protect the world from catastrophe, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today as it began its thematic segment.

Speaking during the first cluster on nuclear weapons, Mexico’s representative said that the 184 non-nuclear-weapon States fulfilled their international non-proliferation and disarmament commitments, day after day, without getting anything in return, except a vision of potential annihilation.

The assertion that nuclear weapons guaranteed security was unsustainable, intrinsically immoral and “an insult to our intelligence”, he said.  Nuclear Powers had a responsibility “proportionate to the infinite madness of their doctrines of dissuasion and their incessant arms race”.

Indonesia’s representative said the nuclear weapon States’ lack of commitment was apparent:  they rejected times and benchmarks and justified the international security environmental as a pretext to retain possession of their arsenals.  But, the security environment should not justify continued possession of those weapons or the threat of their use.

Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the representative of Barbados said that, despite declared intentions by nuclear-weapon States that nuclear war could not be won and must never be fought, the world was no closer to the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons.  Even more worrying was that the world did not appear to be in a state of stasis, but, rather, slipping towards a cliff's edge.

Similarly, Pakistan’s speaker said nuclear war was back within the realm of possibility.  Nuclear disarmament remained largely unfulfilled as evidenced by the constant shifting of goal posts towards additional non-proliferation measures.  Militarily significant States should pursue disarmament in an equitable manner and in a way that ensured no State obtained advantages over others and achieve undiminished security at the lowest possible level of military force.

To that end, the representative of France said her country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament could only be achieved through a progressive approach, based on the principle of undiminished security for all.  She condemned in the strongest terms the Russian Federation's provocative, dangerous and irresponsible attitude, in particular, the aggressive nuclear rhetoric it was using to support its war in Ukraine.

The United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, addressed the Committee, as did the Secretary-General of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, Flávio Roberto Bonzanini.

Also speaking were the representatives of Indonesia (on behalf the Non-Aligned Movement), Nigeria (on behalf of the African Group), Viet Nam (on behalf of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Iraq (on behalf of the Arab Group), Canada, Thailand, Egypt, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Malaysia, Poland, Norway, Italy and Nigeria, as well as the European Union in its observer status,

Exercising the right of reply were representatives of the Russian Federation, Egypt, Syria, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Netherlands.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 17 October, to continue its thematic discussion on nuclear weapons.

Opening Remarks

IZUMI NAKAMITSU, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said that divisions were deep, rhetoric was inflammatory, and tensions were high.  Throughout the general debate, many delegations expressed concern over the deteriorating security environment, and many said the risk of nuclear weapons was unacceptably high.  Others referred to a lack of trust and transparency as stumbling blocks to disarmament, while several regretted unconstrained military spending and its opportunity cost for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  As the Committee moved to action on draft resolutions, she urged delegations to proceed constructively and purposefully towards tangible solutions.  The troubling developments — not least the unnecessary and devastating war in Ukraine — demanded urgent and meaningful responses.  “Complacency is not an option,” she stressed.

The High Representative then followed up on previous sessions’ resolutions and decisions, expressing disappointment at the low level of response to the 18 Secretary‑General reports that included a mandate to request information from Member States.  The low numbers raised questions regarding interest and utility, and she asked delegations to reflect on what would best facilitate effective discussions.

The Committee’s work could not be separated from people, she said, calling for women’s equal, full and effective participation.  The world could not afford to leave parts of its populations behind when negotiating its common future.  “Gender mainstreaming is not an option; it is a necessity,” she said, also recognizing the important role of civil society, as well as the private sector, industry and young people.  Diversity contributed the innovative and creative approaches needed to tackle the world’s most difficult security challenges, she concluded.

FLÁVIO ROBERTO BONZANINI, Secretary-General of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, addressing the Committee via a pre-recorded video statement, expressed concern over the threat posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and their modernization.  “We should not take as normal the current international context,” he stressed, noting that the current risk of nuclear weapons use had not been seen since 1962 when the Latin America and Caribbean region almost became a scene of nuclear confrontation.  That situation caused the States of Latin America, and later, the Caribbean, to establish the first nuclear-weapon-free zone through the Treaty of Tlatelolco.  The Treaty has become an essential component of the international nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.

He said that the Treaty established a series of precedents that inspired relevant provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), including those concerning the development of nuclear energy, nuclear disarmament and the establishment of other nuclear-weapon-free zones.  He also spotlighted the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation education.  Stressing the need to ensure equal, full and effective participation for all in disarmament processes, he recalled the 2021 resolution on gender, non-proliferation and disarmament, which recognized women’s valuable contribution.  He added that the Agency was committed to working towards a world free of nuclear weapons by including new perspectives and promoting joint efforts beyond the region.


MOHAMMAD KURNIADI KOBA (Indonesia), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, was concerned about the continued existence of nuclear weapons and the lack of progress by nuclear-weapon States to eliminate them.  Also concerning was their modernization and development.  He called on nuclear-weapon States to comply with their legal obligations and eliminate their nuclear weapons in a transparent, irreversible and verifiable manner.  He supported the establishment of a Middle East zone free of those weapons, and called on Israel — the only country in the region that had yet to join the NPT — to renounce possession of those weapons, accede to the Treaty, place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards and conduct its nuclear-related activities in conformity with the non-proliferation regime.  Non-proliferation policies should not undermine States’ inalienable right to use nuclear material for peaceful purposes.  The primary responsibility for nuclear safety and security rested with individual States, and multilateral norms in that regard should be pursued within the IAEA framework.  The international community must work towards universal adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).  The Movement would table a draft resolution titled “Follow-up to the 2013 High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament”.

FRANÇOIS JACKMAN (Barbados), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), recalled the position reaffirmed by the five nuclear-weapon States at the beginning of 2022 that a nuclear war could not be won and must never be fought.  However, despite declared intensions, the world  was no closer to the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons.  Even more worrying was that the world did not appear to be in a state of stasis, but rather slipping towards a cliff's edge.  He urged all nuclear-armed States to reaffirm their assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of those weapons and to resume in earnest effective steps towards denuclearization.

He lamented the undue and unconscionable expenditure made on nuclear weapons and systems, while the development goals and pledges remained unfulfilled.  The Sustainable Development Goals were underfunded and climate financing was scarce.  He viewed the nuclear disarmament imperative through the humanitarian lens.  The consequences of intended or accidental use or detonation were incalculable.  There remained today so many who continued to suffer from the effects of testing and use.  To think that modern weapons were up to 30 times more destructive than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki should give more than pause — it should compel to a halt.  "Imagine the unfathomable destruction and harm to life."

MUHAMMAD ZAYYANU BANDIYA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that nuclear weapons were an existential threat to humanity.  Regrettably, progress was slow.  Two failed NPT Review Conferences had plunged the Treaty into uncharted waters, risked its  credibility and sustainability, and jeopardized the world’s collective peace.  Reaffirming the central role of nuclear-weapon-free zones and the group’s commitment to the Treaty in Africa (Treaty of Pelindaba), he called on all parties to engage in good‑faith implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East.  He applauded the central role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its technical support for maximizing the use of science and technology for socioeconomic development.  He urged nuclear-weapon States to consider the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons on human health, the environment and economic resources.  He also urged States under the umbrella of those who had nuclear weapons, to sign the treaty on their prohibition.  The continued existence of those weapons was not a security guarantee, but an affirmation of the risks of their potential use.

DANG HOANG GIANG (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the heightened tensions between major Powers, and the modernization and expansion of nuclear arsenals sparked new concerns of an arms race.  Against that unsettling backdrop, solidarity in efforts to ensure the total elimination of nuclear weapons should remain a paramount priority.  Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were best addressed through multilateralism, with all countries fulfilling their obligations and commitments responsibly.  He was concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and the risks posed by their continued existence.  Of paramount concern were the dangers of nuclear testing.  Nuclear-weapon States must provide unconditional, legally binding negative security assurances against the use or the threat of use of nuclear weapons to all States in the nuclear-weapon-free zones, and reduce and eliminate the risk of the unintentional and accidental use of those weapons, pending their total and complete elimination.  Every State had the right to the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology, in particular, for its economic and social development.

MOHAMMED BAHR ALULOOM (Iraq), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group and associating with Non-Aligned movement, said that the NPT Review Conference’s second failure reflected adversely on the non-proliferation regime.  He called on States to work together to guarantee the NPT’s success, credibility and sustainability.  The Group urged the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.  It had actively participated in the process leading to adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) whose entry into force would bridge important gaps.  The TPNW did not run counter to the NPT, it complemented it, he said.  He supported international efforts promoting the universality of multilateral agreements on nuclear disarmament and called on all States to join the TPNW, as well as the CTBT, including the Annex II States.

He said that nuclear-weapon States wanted to avoid time frames to comply with their obligation for the total elimination of those weapons.  He objected to  nuclear threats against non-nuclear-weapon States and the revision of nuclear doctrines.  The NPT must be adhered to in a verifiable manner.  The establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was the world’s collective responsibility.  He called for practical steps and referred to a draft resolution on the dangers of non-proliferation the Middle East.  Israel’s failure to join the NPT and put its nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguard regime was concerning.  Continued delay in the 1995 resolution’s implementation obstructed progress in nuclear non-proliferation and regional and global peace and security.

The representative introduced the Arab Group’s resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East (document A/C.1/77/L.2).

VIKTOR DVOŘÁK, representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said that the current security environment underscored the need to further strengthen arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.  He strongly condemned the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine and deplored its threatening statements and raising of nuclear alert levels.  All States should join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States and advance towards the ultimate goal of those weapons’ total elimination.  Welcoming the extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty by the United States and Russian Federation, he encouraged arsenal reductions, confidence-building, transparency and risk reduction.

The European Union supported a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, as well as negative security assurances to strengthen the nuclear non‑proliferation regime, contribute to disarmament and enhance regional and global security, in line with the NPT.  He also voiced support for the CTBT, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and Syria’s implementation of the IAEA’s Additional Protocol.  The Union condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s illegal intermediate-range ballistic missile launches.  In addition, it sought an early conclusion at the Conference on Disarmament of a fissile material ban treaty.  The role of verification in nuclear disarmament was vital, he added.

JUAN MANUEL GÓMEZ-ROBLEDO (Mexico) said that the uncertainty, insecurity and threats of all kinds, the distrust and the breakdown in communication channels among nuclear Powers show the dangers that loom over humankind.  Those Powers had a responsibility “proportionate to the infinite madness of their doctrines of dissuasion and their incessant arms race”.  Despite those States’ arguments that they were acting responsibly, they were announcing increased arsenals, improved weapons and their readiness to use them.  The other 184 States, however, were fulfilling their international non-proliferation and disarmament commitments without getting anything in return — “just a vision of the potential annihilation of all life on Earth”.  The only guarantee against the use of nuclear weapons was their elimination, and the assertion that nuclear weapons guarantee world security was unsustainable, intrinsically immoral and “an insult to our intelligence”.  Nine States had claimed the right to determine the life or death of all, but other Member States had a voice and would continue to promote the TPNW.  That Treaty was complementary to the NPT.  The nuclear Powers had been unable to show otherwise despite their attempts to do so.

THOMAS FETZ (Canada) said that action on verifiable progress towards nuclear disarmament had remained elusive for a long time now.  China was rapidly increasing its nuclear arsenal, and the Russian Federation’s threats concerning the use of nuclear weapons in the context of its war of aggression against Ukraine were reckless.  That said, everyone shared a vision of a world without nuclear weapons, even if opinions differed markedly on how to achieve that.  Those differing perspectives should be acknowledged.  The NPT continued to unite Member States and command overwhelming support.  He reaffirmed the importance of the CTBT and called for a treaty banning fissile material production for nuclear weapons and other explosive devices.  While not a substitute for nuclear disarmament, nuclear risk reduction measures should be taken immediately.  States possessing those weapons had a special responsibility to take credible and progressive steps towards their disarmament.  More diverse perspectives led to more innovative ideas that could help overcome obstacles to solving some of the most intractable international problems, such as how to achieve real and lasting disarmament.

SURIYA CHINDAWONGSE (Thailand), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said there was a growing question about the effectiveness of agreements regarding nuclear weapons.  He spotlighted the failure of the tenth NPT Review Conference to adopt an outcome document, as well as the inability of the CTBT to enter force after almost three decades.  The only guarantee for humanity’s safety from the dangers of nuclear weapons was their complete elimination, he stressed, adding that his country would promote the TPNW and its complementarity with the NPT and other relevant frameworks.  The various initiatives should be seen as complementary rather than mutually exclusive.  He cited the Secretary-General’s “New Agenda for Peace” and the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, among others.  Regional action also should be promoted in a complementary manner, and he voiced support for the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, as well as such treaties in other regions, and the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.

Mr. KOBA (Indonesia), speaking in his national capacity, associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that the risk of nuclear war had become ever present.  Nuclear-weapon States’ lack of commitment was apparent:  they rejected times and benchmarks and justified the international security environment as a pretext to retain possession of their arsenals.  The adoption of the outcome document at the TPNW’s first meeting offered hope in the nuclear disarmament landscape.  The current challenging situation should not justify continued nuclear‑weapon possession, nor the threat of their use.  Urgent and concrete actions were needed towards nuclear disarmament.  The international community should reignite efforts to advance long‑overdue issues, such as a comprehensive convention banning nuclear weapons, binding assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States against their use or threat of use, a treaty banning fissile material production for nuclear weapons, creation of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones, the CTBT’s entry into force and verification and transparency measures.  The nuclear disarmament machinery had suffered enough.  “We cannot afford another setback.”  The Committee should reverse the trend and mitigate the risks in the interest of humankind’s very survival.

OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) said that the rising global tensions coupled with rapid technological developments made the risk of intentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons at one of its highest levels since the cold war.  The intensified competition among a number of States to develop, test and deploy faster and more powerful delivery systems, such as hypersonic missiles or nuclear-powered missiles, in combination with the rising levels of malicious uses of cyber and outer space technology, exponentially raised the risk of triggering a nuclear war, either intentionally or by mistake.  The stalemate in the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East was eroding the credibility and sustainability of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime, as well as multilateral norms and the rule of law at the global level.  In fact, it was among the root causes of the instability and insecurity in a region already suffering from chronic military conflict and an arms race.  The Conference on establishing a zone free from nuclear and other mass destruction weapons in the Middle East was an important step towards the full and effective implementation of the 1995 resolution, and a genuine attempt to achieve a longstanding agreed international commitment, which did not aim at singling out any State in the region.

CAMILLE PETIT (France) condemned in the strongest terms the Russian Federation's provocative, dangerous and irresponsible attitude, in particular, the aggressive nuclear rhetoric it was using to support its war in Ukraine.  She remained fully committed to the implementation of the NPT as it was one of the most universal treaties in the world.  France would continue to fight against all attacks on the Treaty’s authority and primacy.  Within its framework, particularly under the Article VI obligations, France had taken considerable and unparalleled unilateral steps towards disarmament.  It intended to pursue that commitment around a concrete and ambitious agenda for nuclear disarmament:  preserving the primacy and centrality of the NPT for its international security architecture, the entry into force of the CTBT and the launch at the Conference on Disarmament of negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty.  Pending such negotiations, she called on all States concerned to implement a moratorium on the production of that materials.  She added that France's unwavering commitment to nuclear disarmament could only be achieved through a progressive approach, based on the principle of undiminished security for all.

CHO YI TING (Singapore), associating with ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed disappointment at the inability of the tenth NPT Review Conference to have agreed on a consensus outcome document. The international community must continue to engage in constructive dialogue and advance all three NPT pillars.  Highlighting the importance of safeguarding the Treaty as the cornerstone of the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, she urged all States to fulfil their obligations, and particularly, for the nuclear‑weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals and end the testing and qualitative improvement of those weapons.  She urged the remaining Annex II States to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay, and called for the start of negotiations on a fissile material ban for nuclear weapons without delay.  Expressing support for the establishment and maintenance of nuclear-weapon-free zones, she reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.  She further called on all Member States to support IAEA in its efforts to discharge its mandate effectively, which was indispensable, not only in verifying that non-nuclear-weapon States abided by their obligations but also in ensuring high standards of nuclear safety and security.

KHALIL HASHMI (Pakistan) said that nuclear disarmament obligations remained largely unfulfilled as evidenced by the constant shifting of goal posts towards additional non-proliferation measures.  The build-up of strategic arms was on the rise.  Nuclear dangers were increasing and the prospects of a nuclear war were “back within the realm of possibility”.  A handful of States seemed determined to perpetuate the status quo to their continued strategic advantage.  The effects of those developments in South Asia were clear:  they were eroding strategic stability in the region, abetting the hegemonic ambitions of the largest State, aiding its relentless pursuit of strategic domination and aggressive designs to operationalize its dangerous doctrines and enable its defiance of international law, including Security Council resolutions.

He said that nuclear weapons and their delivery systems no longer existed in isolation.  The need for rebuilding a more enduring and equitable international security architecture was obvious.  Pakistan remained committed to the goal of a world free from nuclear weapons in a universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory manner.  That objective could only be advanced via faithful adherence to and implementation of the cardinal principles enshrined in in the first special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, namely, that it was the primary responsibility of militarily significant States to pursue disarmament in an equitable and balanced manner and in a way that ensured that no individual State or group of States obtained advantages over others at any stage, and to achieve undiminished security at the lowest possible level of armaments and military forces.

FÉLIX BAUMANN (Switzerland) condemned the multiple nuclear threats emanating from the Russian Federation, as Switzerland did in response to all nuclear threats. He stressed the need to avoid provocative, unacceptable rhetoric.  He also expressed concern over the failure of the tenth NPT Review Conference to adopt a final document, in light of one delegation’s obstruction of consensus.  He nevertheless welcomed the efforts to reach a compromise.  He noted, at the same time, that there had been no progress in nuclear disarmament.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was developing its missile programme with the possibility of further nuclear‑weapon tests.  He condemned that and underscored that the full elimination of nuclear weapons was the only way to eliminate their risks.  Agreeing on specific measures towards that goal was vital, as was tracking progress on States parties’ fulfilment of their NPT obligations.  He was concerned over the safety and security of Ukrainian nuclear sites, spotlighting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and he called on the Russian Federation to withdraw its forces from the surrounding area.

ROBERT IN DEN BOSCH (Netherlands) said that the only road forward was one towards a nuclear-weapon-free world and its only vehicle was consensus.  The arms control architecture was unraveling.  While the agreement at the tenth NPT Review Conference had not materialized, 190 State parties remained committed and had been willing to compromise for the sake of the Treaty and multilateralism in general.  The Netherlands would continue to build bridges and search for common ground.  All nations should return to responsible behavior, including in their messaging. Inclusive dialogue on nuclear doctrines was needed, he said, pointing to the special responsibility of nuclear-weapon States in that regard.  He welcomed the proposals related to the peaceful use of nuclear technology and the Sustainable Development Goals.  As the global community worked towards eliminating nuclear weapons, interim measures were needed, such as strong safety standards, nuclear risk reduction, a return to the norm of non-use of nuclear weapons and nuclear-weapon-free zones.  We need to create a safer world, free from the risk of nuclear warfare, now more than ever.

SYED MOHAMAD HASRIN AIDID (Malaysia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that the NPT was in a “state of crisis”, which might result in the erosion of its integrity and credibility if not remedied expeditiously.  States under extended nuclear‑security guarantees should not absolve themselves of the responsibility to eliminate the role of nuclear weapons in their military and security concepts, doctrines and policies.  Expressing concern over that qualitative improvement and quantitative increase of nuclear weapons, he condemned all nuclear threats, whether explicit or implicit, and irrespective of the circumstances.  Turning to the CTBT, he urged the remaining Annex II States to sign and ratify the Treaty to enable its entry into force as soon as possible.  Concerned over the over developments on the Korean Peninsula, notably the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent launch of a ballistic missile over Japan, he reiterated the importance of self-restraint by all relevant parties, as well as the need for resumption of dialogue to achieve the Peninsula’s complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

Mr. DZWONEK (Poland), associating with the European Union, said there were no reasons for optimism in light of the Russian Federation’s illegal and unjustified aggression against Ukraine, as well as its veto during the tenth NPT Review Conference.  The invasion was a blatant violation of the Budapest Memorandum and an open rejection of substantive dialogue on nuclear issues aimed at greater transparency and reduced risk.  He urged all to uphold and strengthen the NPT, and called for a stronger IAEA role and safeguards system.  The Russian Federation must immediately cease all aggression against nuclear installations and facilities and withdraw its military and other personnel.  On the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he called on the Government to engage in talks, abandon its nuclear and ballistic-missile programmes, comply with Security Council resolutions, return to full NPT compliance and sign and ratify the CTBT and Chemical Weapons Convention.  He spotlighted Iran’s actions, saying they violated its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action obligations.  He was concerned over the current state of the global arms control system but commended the extension of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty as a non-conventional arms control mechanism.  It should lead to a broader follow-on treaty which covered nuclear weapons and new types of those weapons.  In that matter, he urged China’s constructive engagement.

TOR HENRIK ANDERSEN (Norway) encouraged all nuclear-armed States to confirm their support for the statement of the permanent five Security Council members and urged the United State and Russian Federation to continue their strategic stability dialogue.  China should also engage in talks to reduce nuclear weapons in all categories.  As credible verification to support future disarmament agreements remained a high priority for Norway, it would continue its leadership on the United Nations Governmental Group of Experts and table a decision on nuclear‑disarmament verification.  Norway would also continue to actively participate in the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification and the Quad Verification Nuclear Partnership and had proposed with the United Kingdom a new initiative on nuclear warhead dismantlement verification.  Risk reduction was another priority.  Norway promoted a fact-based approach to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapon use as a guiding perspective.  He called for all States to ratify the CTBT without delay and to conclude a verifiable fissile material cut-off treaty, which addressed existing stocks.

LEONARDO BENCINI (Italy), aligning with the European Union, condemned the Russian Federation’s irresponsible use of nuclear rhetoric.  He considered the constitutional change in Belarus renouncing its nuclear-weapon-free status as an “unacceptable attempt to redefine the rules-based European security architecture”.  He regretted that the recent NPT Review Conference could not adopt an outcome document, but he stressed that the Treaty provided the only realistic legal framework to achieve a world without nuclear weapons.  As a staunch supporter of the CTBT, he invited all States that had not yet done so, particularly the remaining eight Annex II States, to sign and ratify it without further delay.  He urged the Conference on Disarmament to start negotiations on a treaty banning fissile material for nuclear weapons and other explosive devices.  Stressing that IAEA’s safeguard systems were crucial to ensuring the peaceful character of nuclear activities, he called on Iran to fully comply with its safeguards obligations and to refrain from further activities related to uranium enrichment.  He was concerned about the ballistic‑missile launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and called on that country to engage in good faith in diplomatic talks for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

Mr. BANDIYA (Nigeria), speaking in his national capacity and associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, expressed dissatisfaction over the failure of the tenth NPT Review Conference to have produced a consensus outcome document.  The NPT was an essential foundation for nuclear disarmament, crucial for efforts to halt the vertical and horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Nigeria had co-sponsored the resolution leading to the adoption in 2017 of the TPNW.  He hoped the Treaty’s entry into force in 2021 heralded an era in which nuclear weapons were eliminated.  He encouraged those States that had not yet signed the Treaty to do so, underscoring that all States parties must observe all pr ohibitions identified in that instrument without reservation. He added a call for the implementation and enforcement of all treaties pertaining to the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, refuted the groundless allegations levelled against his country.  The Polish delegation was peddling propaganda, he said, adding that Poland had been buying up more and more advanced missile systems from the United States.  He had heard more and more calls for the development of NATO's nuclear infrastructure and its deployment further to the East.  In Poland, for instance, for many years now, there had been talks about involvement in joint nuclear missions.  The Russian Federation was not planning to introduce physical nuclear warheads on Belarus’ planes, nor was it going to transfer those to Belarus territory.  Training for Belarus officers would occur in Russian Federation training centres under existing agreements.  The Russian Federation would be tracking closely the recent statement by the Polish Government regarding an official request to the United States about the deployment of American nuclear weapons on Polish territory, as that would be highly destabilizing.

The representative of Egypt, also exercising the right of reply, and responding to the statement made by Canada’s speaker requesting Egypt to ratify the CTBT, said that Egypt actively participated in the negotiations leading to the Treaty and has signed it.  It was known that the reason why Egypt had not continued its efforts in that direction was the ongoing imbalance in the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, particularly in the Middle East, as nuclear facilities continued to work outside the comprehensive safeguards regime of IAEA.  Furthermore, NPT Review Conferences had confirmed the importance of achieving the Treaty’s universality, but that had not yet been achieved.  Egypt, therefore, urged all States to uphold the commitment to do so, as well as their commitment to step 10 of the 2010 NPT Review Conference action plan.

The representative of Syria rejected the European Union’s assertion regarding his country’s lack of commitment to its obligations under the NPT.  Syria actively cooperated with IAEA and had spared no effort to resolve pending issues.  The Agency’s annual reports on its safeguards regime all indicated Syria’s full commitment to its measures.  That includes inspection missions, the last of which had taken place this month, despite complications arising from the spread of COVID-19.  Anyone “keen on upholding the non-proliferation regime” should take note of the party that possessed a large nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, was not a party to the NPT and did not subject its weapons or nuclear facilities to the IAEA comprehensive safeguards regime.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected statements by the European Union, France and others.  It was shameful that those countries “dance to the tune of the United States” in their pursuit of a hostile policy towards his country, he said.  Pyongyang had the sovereign right to build its military capacity to cope with the political and military landscape that the United States had created on the Korean Peninsula.  That country was staging military drills with the Republic of Korea and Japan, and under such unsettling circumstances, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was compelled to organize military drills to check the reliability of its deterrents and send a strong military warning.  It was the United States and its vassal States that posed a grave danger to the global non-proliferation regime through the establishment of the trilateral security pact among Australia, United Kingdom and the United States.

The representative of the Netherlands said he wished to respond to the Russian Federation’s “unfounded accusation” that NATO’s nuclear‑sharing arrangements were in breach of the NPT.  Those arrangements had been and would continue to be fully consistent with the Treaty.  The United States maintained full custody over its nuclear weapons deployed in Europe, in line with the Treaty’s articles 1 and 2.

For information media. Not an official record.