First Committee Considers Constraints on Dual-Use Technology Exports, Divergent Proposals for Countering Cyberspace Threats
The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), having approved nearly 50 drafts thus far on nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, outer space (disarmament aspects), and conventional weapons, focused today on positions regarding other disarmament measures and international security, on which voting is set for Thursday, 3 November.
The representative of China introduced a draft resolution on promoting international cooperation for peaceful uses, “L.56”. He said insufficient attention has been paid to the unreasonable restrictions on developing countries’ access to technology. The draft notes with concern that undue restrictions persist on such exports and urges States, without prejudice to their non-proliferation obligations, to take concrete measures to promote international cooperation in materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes and not to maintain restrictions incompatible with their obligations.
Pakistan’s representative expressed support for “L.56”, saying that recovering from the pandemic, mitigating climate change and realizing the Sustainable Development Goals are all connected to the “absorption” of new technology. No unjust restrictions should be placed on developing countries’ access, he said, adding that the status quo needs to change.
Of a different view, the representative of the Czech Republic, on behalf of the European Union and its member States, said that “L.56” forces a dichotomy between peaceful use of technology and export control efforts, which supports non-proliferation and prevents sensitive materials to be exported to “users of concern”. Moreover, the Secretary-General’s report on the matter finds no evidence that existing controls are “excessive or undue”.
The representative of France introduced “L.73” on the establishment of a programme of action on responsible State behaviour in information and security technology (ICT). By its provisions, the General Assembly would express concern about malicious activities aimed at critical infrastructure and establish the action programme to address threats and support States’ capacities. She said such a plan would bolster States’ resilience, reduce the digital gap, and allow for best practices exchanges and consultations with the private sector.
“Why this year? Why this document?”, asked the representative of the Russian Federation. There are still three years left before the mandate of the Open-ended Working Group ends. The authors of “L.73” are trying to impose an unagreed proposal on the international community and satisfy their own political ambitions while disregarding the rest of the world.
Instead, he introduced “L.23/Rev.1” on developments in the field of information and communication technology. By its terms, the Assembly would call on States to engage with the Open-ended Working Group and make recommendations on regular institutional dialogue after 2025. A vote for this resolution is not a vote for his country, but a vote for the Group, he said. The position that “L.23/Rev.1” seeks to undermine the Group’s work is “untenable”, because “a loving mother would not harm its child.”
The representative of Canada, speaking also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said that “L.23/Rev.1” intends to sow discord among Member States. It cherry picks language from other resolutions that its sponsors know cannot be accepted. It is deliberately divisive and undermines the progress made by States so far.
Several delegates also deliberated another Russian Federation-sponsored text on strengthening and developing the system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements, “L.66”. According to its text, the Assembly would call on all Member States to give serious consideration to the negative implications of undermining arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements and their regimes for international security and stability, as well as for progress in the field of disarmament.
This resolution’s sponsor is the biggest violator of norms, said the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer. Its stated aim is to maintain the efficient and consensus-based nature of disarmament control, but the Russian Federation abuses those rules and instead turns consensus into a veto power. To let that country’s behaviour, which is “an affront to everything we do here”, go unchallenged, will green-light an international order based on the use of force.
The representative of Mexico, on the other hand, expressed support for “L.66”, of the view that all mechanisms in the disarmament machinery should be strengthened. He noted, however, that operative paragraph 8 is factually incorrect, as not all agreements and forums work on consensus — which should be the aspiration, not a veto right paralyzing the treaty bodies’ work.
Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote on conventional weapons were representatives of Cuba, Singapore, Russian Federation, Israel, Egypt, Switzerland and Poland.
Exercising the right of reply on conventional weapons were representatives of Israel, United States, Türkiye, Syria and the Russian Federation.
When the Committee opened for action on its cluster on other disarmament measures and international security, general statements were made by representatives of Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt, Syria and Belarus.
Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote were representatives of Egypt, Malaysia, Cuba, Japan, United States, Ukraine, Pakistan, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Netherlands, Iran and Nicaragua.
Speaking in right of reply in this cluster was the representative of the Russian Federation.
The First Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 3 November, to continue consideration of all draft resolutions and decisions before it.
Right of Reply
The representative of Israel, in exercise of the right of reply, said that any attempts to divert attention from Syria’s deplorable acts will not succeed. It is evident that its residual chemical capabilities should be fully dismantled. Any other course will allow it to continue its shameful patterns and rehabilitate its chemical weapons programme.
The representative of the United States responded to the statements made by the Russian Federation’s delegate in the Committee’s cluster on other weapons of mass destruction, and Cluster 3, on outer space (disarmament aspects). He regretted that the rights of reply had not taken place right after each cluster. It was important that all States have the opportunity to speak.
On Cluster 2, he said that the Russian Federation continued to accuse the United States and Ukraine of using biochemical weapons, without evidence. It also continued to deny that it used such weapons in the United Kingdom with the Skripals and inside the Russian Federation in the case of Alexei Navalny. The Russian Federation continued to refuse to work with OPCW and the international community. Another example of its behaviour was its contempt for international organizations and unrelenting campaign of disinformation. Its baseless and shameless allegations cannot be taken seriously, he said, adding that the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine poses the greatest threat to the world since the Second World War, and the international community should respond firmly.
On space, the Russian Federation continued to raise accusations about United States space activities, he said. Like with other issues, it did not talk about its own culpability. It never addressed the anti-satellite missile it tested, which was a further sign that the Russian Federation had plans to fight a war in outer space.
The representative also raised a point of order, saying that the Russian Federation often exceeded its time limit, the last time going 1 minute and 30 seconds over time. This is another example of that country’s disrespect for norms.
The representative of Türkiye, in response to the Syrian delegation, said that country’s use of chemical weapons with devastating humanitarian consequences and its growing sense of impunity does not reflect well for its heinous claims. The OPCW Technical Secretariat also confirmed that. He invites the Assad regime to comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The representative of Syria said Israel is in a weak position, always taking the desperate course to detract attention from the crimes against humanity and the war it is committing. Such attempts will not put aside its long history of flouting international law and hiding the fact that it occupies others’ land. He advised Israel to save its efforts and concentrate instead on acceding to all treaties related to mass destruction weapons and to stop wasting the Committee’s time.
On Türkiye, he called that country by its proper name, unlike how it referred to Syria in an inappropriate way. Türkiye lied about Syria, while covering its activities with terrorist organizations, all on the Security Council’s list. With Türkiye’s assistance, these organizations used chemical weapons and targeted his people and army. That delegate must not have read the related reports, but Türkiye was in strong alliance with those groups. It poses a threat to regional and global peace and security with its facilitating of terrorist training.
The representative of the Russian Federation said the United States refused to clarify the specific and founded accusations it made. He rejected any baseless accusations made under the topic of chemical and biological weapons and outer space. On these, he gave a complete explanation in the previous meeting, so there is no need to repeat it. Regarding military and biological activities, particularly those by Washington, D.C., on Ukrainian territory, his “founded and specific” questions were presented to the United States in full accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. He rejected any attempt to question these convincing arguments and evidence. During the special military operation in Ukraine, the Russian Federation had received documents and witness statements that threw light on the Pentagon’s actions in developing these kinds of weapons, in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. If that programme was peaceful, as they claim, they should clarify the situation and give other Member States information from investigations on Ukrainian territories. He asked why the United States is blocking any attempts by the Russian Federation to reach the truth and does not respond to its specific questions.
The representative of Türkiye rejected as baseless the allegations against his country by the representative of the “Syrian regime”. It is unacceptable that that “regime”, which has lost its legitimacy, is using the First Committee to distort the facts.
The representative of Syria, speaking on a point of order, reminded the current speaker to use proper diplomatic language and to refer to countries by their proper names.
The Committee Chair urged all representatives to respect that custom.
The representative of Türkiye, resuming his remarks, said that, “even if it doesn’t make any difference”, Syria is desperately trying to draw attention away from the human suffering on its territory. Its crimes against humanity, violations of international law and war crimes have been documented in countless United Nations reports. Therefore, Syria and the Syrian regime are in no position to lecture anyone on counter-terrorism and international law.
Action — Conventional Weapons
The representative of Cuba, in an explanation of position, said that his delegation abstained on the draft resolution titled “Transparency in armaments” (document A/C.1/77/L.48) as it lacks balance and emphasizes small and light weapons to the detriment of other categories. Turning to the draft resolution titled “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” (document A/C.1/77/L.50), on which it joined consensus, he said that Cuba’s position on the adoption of the outcome document of the Programme of Action’s eighth biannual review conference remains valid. It falls on the review conference to decide by consensus next steps to be taken regarding polymer and 3D weapons. Gender-based rights should be considered in other platforms. Nor does Cuba favour including language on human rights or international humanitarian law.
The representative of Singapore, referring to the draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions” (document A/C.1/77/L.68), said that, while his country supports all initiatives against the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines, legitimate security concerns and the right to self-defence cannot be disregarded. A blanket ban on cluster munitions and anti‑personnel mines could be counter-productive, he said, affirming Singapore’s commitment to work with the international community towards a durable, effective and inclusive solution to this issue.
The representative of the Russian Federation, emphasizing that his country has no plans to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty in its current state, said it is unacceptable that some countries are sending military equipment to conflict zones, as seen when Western countries send such material to the Kyiv regime to attack Donbass and other parts of the Russian Federation. Turning to the draft resolution titled “Countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices” (document A/C.1/77/L.41) and its preambular paragraph 8, he said that women’s full involvement in countering improvised explosive devices is not in line with the Russian Federation’s legislation. There are no female participants in current armed actions, he said, adding that that preambular paragraph 8 risks interfering with the internal affairs of States. Moreover, language on gender issues should only be included in gender-related General Assembly resolutions.
The representative of Israel said that his delegation will support “L.50”, as well as the draft resolution titled “The Arms Trade Treaty” (document A/C.1/77/L.39) and the draft decision titled “Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus” (document A/C.1/77/L.51). He cautioned, however, that the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons contains no mandate regarding ammunition.
The representative of Egypt explained his delegation’s votes on “L.41”, “L.48” and “L.68”. On “L.41”, Egypt joined consensus, as explosive devises were the preferred weapons of choice by terrorist and illegal armed groups. However, he had strong objections to preambular paragraph 15 as it undermined the value of the resolution. Moreover, the provisions should be interpreted in a way that did not prevent legitimate weapons transfers. On “L.48”, he supported transparency in armaments, but transparency mechanisms should be non-discriminatory and apply to all States, and their scope should encompass conventional weapons, as well as nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. The Middle East was a special case where transparency and confidence could not be guaranteed. Egypt will continue to abstain on this draft resolution and has highlighted its reservations for several years. On “L.68” on cluster munitions, Egypt abstained in light of the unbalanced selection of instruments, including outside the United Nations. Moreover, the draft lacks clear definitions, which was deliberately designed to fit the producing capacities of some States.
The representative of Switzerland, on “L.41”, said that, due to her delegation’s deep concern about the growing humanitarian challenges of improvised explosive devices, prevention of their unlawful use is essential. Switzerland joined consensus, with the following consideration: the humanitarian consequences of unlawful use of those devices are not dependent on the status of the actor, whether an illegal armed group or a State, and when preventing the use of improvised explosive devices, any measure must comply with international law, as noted in the resolution.
The representative of Poland, explaining her country’s support for “L.40”, underlined its commitment to the implementation to the Mine Ban Convention. Anti-mine actions help achieve sustainable development, but the current environment faces challenges, such as in Ukraine. The recent Human Rights Watch report states that the Russian Federation used mines, including on agricultural fields. “L.40” does not deal with the complexity of threats facing Ukraine by Russian troops, which use victim-activated booby traps against civilians, among other things, she said. She called on the Russian Federation to adhere to the Geneva Protocol and international humanitarian law, and to stop its attacks against civilians.
General Statements — Other Disarmament Measures
CAMILLE PETIT (France) introduced “L.73” on the establishment of a programme of action on responsible State behaviour in information and communication technology (ICT). Such a plan would bolster States’ resilience and reduce the digital gap. Its establishment would follow the conclusion of the Open‑Ended Working Group’s mandate in 2025. The programme would allow for best practice exchanges, and State support in effective implementation and consultation with the private sector. The experience of the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons was a reference point for her, as its usefulness has been not contested. The draft resolution is proposed this year to stimulate discussions and be ready at the end of 2025. The resolution asks the Secretary-General to collect States’ views to avoid duplication and allows for States not present the Working Group to make their views known. The reports should be as inclusive as possible, and she called on the Secretary-General to cooperate closely with the Working Group’s Chair. Lastly, financing would be based on voluntary contributions. In her national capacity, she said France was ready to contribute financially, as was the European Union.
LI SONG (China) introduced “L.56” on promoting international cooperation on peaceful uses in the context of international security, which was co‑sponsored by 21 countries. Peace and development are the theme. The international community seeks to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction but protect the right to use science and technology for peaceful purposes, however, for years, insufficient attention has been paid to the unreasonable restrictions facing developing countries in their access to technology and equipment. Last year, the resolution was adopted for the first time, he noted. The draft reflects the common interests of developing countries, with core language from the Non-Aligned Movement and principles from the Group of 77 developing countries and China and is based on true multilateralism, he said, calling on all countries to support it. On “L.23/Rev 1”, China, a co-sponsor, noted that a certain country again requested a vote on preambular paragraph 2 containing a reference to “a community of shared future for humankind”. China firmly opposed such overbearing and exclusionary practices and called on States to vote in favour of preambular paragraph 2 and the draft as a whole. Yesterday, these notions by a small group of countries were defeated by an overwhelming majority. He urged those countries to “get over their cold war mentality and ideological bias and return to true multilateralism”.
Mr. PADILLA (Cuba) said that his delegation would vote in favour of the draft resolutions submitted by the Non-Aligned Movement, namely “L.4”, “L.5”, “L.8”, “L.10” and “L.23/Rev.1”. Among other things, he said that disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation agreements should impose no restrictions on the transfer of materials or technology for peaceful purposes to the Global South.
KOSTANTIN VORONTSOV (Russian Federation) expressed disappointment that “L.23/Rev.1”, which his delegation introduced, is being put to a vote, apparently for purely political reasons. The draft complements Singapore’s draft decision to endorse the first annual progress report of the Open-Ended Working Group on Security of and in the use of ICT. Any attempt to say that “L.23 Rev 1” seeks to undermine the work of that group is “untenable”. “A loving parent will not harm their child,” he said, adding that Western countries are promoting an alternative mechanism. It is not the Russian Federation’s fault that this topic is becoming more and more politicized every year, he said, emphasizing that a vote for “L.23 Rev 1” is not a vote for his country, but rather a vote for the Open-Ended Working Group’s efforts to continue.
AIDA KASYMALIEVA (Kyrgyzstan), speaking on “L.14”, said that by establishing an international day for disarmament and non-proliferation awareness on 5 March would help raise the awareness of weapons of mass destruction, especially among young people. Its commemoration would be an opportunity to develop the critical‑thinking skills required to achieve a more robust international order.
HEIDAR ALI BALOUJI (Iran), referring to “L.56”, said that it is a globally accepted norm that all countries have the right to participate in the exchange of equipment, materials, science and technology for peaceful purposes. Unfortunately, the track record of putting those norms into practice is far from perfect, he said, pointing to export‑control regimes established by small groups of countries in recent decades. Unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States are just one example of actions that hamper the development of targeted countries. He added that the sheer existence and advancement of weapons of mass destruction pose a threat to international peace and security.
NOUF UTHMAN S. ALKHALIFI (Saudi Arabia) said that his delegation will, as in years past, join consensus on “L.18”. He underscored the role of women in his country, where they are on an equal footing with men in employment and financial terms and where they have reached the highest positions. Going forward, Saudi Arabia aims to provide suitable employment for women in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation, including at the United Nations.
General Statements — Other Disarmament Measures
Mr. SIDDIQUE (Pakistan), on “L.56”, said that technical developments influenced every aspect of people’s lives. Science and technology should be harnessed for the progress of all. Recovering from the pandemic, mitigating climate change and realizing the Sustainable Development Goals are all connected to the absorption of new technology, which is only possible if no unjust restrictions are placed on developing countries’ access. Discriminate exception born of political interests undermine legitimate export regimes. The status quo needs to change. The draft resolution enjoyed Pakistan’s strong support and he encouraged all States to vote in its favour.
DENNIS FRANCIS (Trinidad and Tobago) introduced “L.18”. Tabled by his country since 2010, he said it underscores women’s valuable contribution to disarmament and the prevention and reduction in armed conflict and violence. The resolution encourages Member States to better understand the negative effects of armed conflict, particularly of small arms and light weapons, and the importance of disaggregated data. He supports women’s meaningful participation in disarmament at all levels and calls on States to empower them to participate in the design of arms control measures. The draft also recognizes the instrumental role played by civil society, he said.
ABDELRHMAN MOHAMED FARID HEGAZY (Egypt) said the use of ICT is a great opportunity from which all States can benefit, but without a reliable regime, it might lead to another arms race, posing security threats, particularly to developing countries. States must continue to support the Open-Ended Working Group towards a successful conclusion of its mandate. Egypt, together with France, co-sponsored draft resolution “L.73” on a programme of action on responsible behaviour in ICT. As a developing country, Egypt shared the view that an action plan should avoid duplication.
VIKTOR DVOŘÁK, representative of the European Union, in its capacity of observer, addressed “L.66” on strengthening arms control, introduced by the Russian Federation. The current situation of the global arms‑control architecture was deeply concerning. The Union continued to provide political and financial support to multilateral institutions to uphold treaties, promote adherence and help build capacities. The Union will remain an important partner of the United Nations, not only in words, but principally in deeds. Currently, the world faced the most significant challenge with the Russian Federation’s aggression. Upholding the international rules-based order is more important now than ever. To let that country’s behaviour go unchallenged will allow an international order based on the use of force. The Russian Federation’s behaviour is “an affront on everything we do here”.
Continuing, he said the Russian Federation, as the main sponsor of “L.66”, is the biggest violator of norms. It used nuclear rhetoric, violated the Budapest Memorandum, attacked the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, violated International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) norms, used anti-personal landmines, cluster munitions, propaganda, disseminated unfounded claims and more. It showed its intentions in this Committee, the Conference on Disarmament and during discussions on the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions. The stated aim of this resolution is to maintain the efficient and consensus-based nature of disarmament control, but the Russian Federation abused those rules and turned it into a veto power, as they did at the tenth NPT Review Conference. The international community must ensure accountability and no impunity. Issues related to non-compliance have not been included by the main sponsor, whose attempts to violate the integrity of international organizations was also deeply concerning. The Union supports the OPCW Technical Secretariat financially and technically, and through adherence to the Convention. It also denounces Syria’s continued violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention and chemical weapons use.
ADIB AL ASHKAR (Syria), on “L.56”, said that States, regardless of their level of scientific advancement, should have access to the peaceful use of technology and science. The thoughts behind the resolution are to remove unjustified constraints in terms of export controls that fall on developing countries. Export control regimes in the areas of non-proliferation should enhance peace and security. Over-imposing unjustified controls has negative effects, just like unilateral coercive measures. As a main co-sponsor, he invites all States to vote in the draft’s favour.
The representative of Belarus, expressing support for “L. 56” introduced by China, said that global efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction should not hamper international cooperation in the exchange of material, equipment, information and technology for peaceful uses. He rejects the use of unilateral coercive measures by States or groups of States against third parties.
The representative of Canada said he will vote in favour of “L.66” because his country believes in a rules-based international order and upholding disarmament and arms control agreements. Its vote in no way indicates support for the Russian Federation’s activities and tactics, he said, adding that if the Russian Federation wants to strengthen disarmament treaties and agreements, it should end its illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine. Turning to “L.56”, which Canada will oppose, he said that effective export controls allow for the peaceful uses of sensitive items while ensuring that non-proliferation obligations are met. Canada sees no benefit to creating a new non-proliferation system.
Speaking also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand on “L.23/Rev.1”, he said it appears that the text, presented by the Russian Federation, is intended to divide Member States on the question of ICT in the context of international security. It cherry picks language from other resolutions and contains paragraphs that its sponsor knew could not be accepted by several States. It is deliberately divisive and undermines the Open-ended Working Group and the progress made by all Member States thus far, he said, adding that Australia, Canada and New Zealand will vote against it.
The representative of Egypt, noting his country’s strong desire for closer cooperation in the nuclear field, said that his delegation will vote in favour of “L.56” due to the high priority it puts on the inalienable right to peaceful uses. Export controls should be open and transparent for participation by all States. Turning to “L.14”, he said that Egypt will join consensus, but cautioned against creating more international days regarding total elimination of nuclear weapons as Member States might start losing interest.
The representative of Malaysia said that his delegation’s vote in favour of “L.73” is predicated on the potential value of the proposed programme of action. However, that initiative should not distract from the progress made by the Open-ended Working Group. Malaysia will also vote in favour of “L.23/Rev.1” given the importance of the work of that Group. Turning to “L.54”, he said that now that the work of the Open-ended Working Group is well under way, Member States must ensure the fulfilment of its mandate in full.
The representative of Mexico said that his delegation will vote in favour of “L.66” because all mechanisms which make up the disarmament and non-proliferation architecture must be strengthened without exception. He noted, however, that operative paragraph 8 is not factual, as not all agreements and forums conduct their work based on consensus. Consensus should be an aspiration, not a veto right that paralyses the work of treaty bodies.
The representative of Cuba said he will join consensus on “L.54” and continued to work towards binding norms to combat misuse of ICT. However, he reiterated his reservations, including the excessive and unbalanced references to the report of the Open-ended Working Group and unsupported language. The participation of all Member States should be guaranteed, which is in itself a confidence-building measure.
The representative of Japan said he will vote against “L.56”, as it created unnecessary conflicts and undermined efforts to implement effective export controls. These controls prevented the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction, which was at this moment in time particularly important. Rigorous export control also fostered confidence between trade partners, while not impeding trade and investment. This draft could undermine international cooperation in the field of science and technology for peaceful uses, which is why Japan has no other choice than to oppose it.
The representative of the United States will vote “no” on “L.56”. China has repeatedly said in this Committee that it is imperative that the developed world answer the call of the Global South. However, to ensure the world enjoys equitable access to new technology, it also needs to be protected against their misuse. These vital export controls are designed to ensure safe access and avoid exports to terrorists, which are not undue restrictions on exports. The Secretary-General’s report, called for in last year’s resolution, cites no evidence that the non-proliferation regime hampered countries’ economic development. His delegation reviewed every country report, but there are no such examples. The country reports do reflect a lack of consensus as half of them disagree with the resolution’s premise.
On “L.23”, he said that the Russian Federation wants to exploit Member States’ support for the Open-ended Working Group. That country says the text is neutral, but it uses controversial text and undermines consensus-driven work. The draft serves no purpose besides undermining the working group.
The representative of the Russian Federation, explaining his position on “L.73”, said he does not like the proposed programme of action. It is yet another attempt, driven by purely political interests, to undermine the Open-ended Working Group on ICT and impose an “unagreed” proposal on the international community. Why this year? Why this document? There are still three years left before the Working Group’s mandate expires, and this will only lead to a prejudice about the Group’s outcome. Certain colleagues want to bury the Group’s format and replace it with something befitting them, including a non-consensual decision-making mechanism. Consensus allows all States to participate in the decision-making process on an equal basis, but France’s document lack such provisions. After the Working Group’s mandate expires, the international community should direct its efforts towards the future, taking into account new developments and consider new norms, and not look back, as this draft proposes. Its authors only satisfied their own political ambitions and disregarded the rest of the world.
The representative of Ukraine, explaining its vote on “L.66”, said he supports strengthening systems of arms control and treaties. However, the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression, in violation with international law, its attempted annexation, and more, was condemned by Assembly resolutions. The Russian Federation has been a “serial violator” of arms control regimes and agreements for years. Its aggression is the reason behind Europe’s decreased security landscape, since its action in Crimea in 2014. That country has already demonstrated that its legal obligation as a nuclear-weapon State to respect non-nuclear-weapon States’ territorial integrity means nothing. With this resolution, the Russian Federation tries to present itself as compliant with existing agreements, but the condemnation of the General Assembly shows otherwise.
The representative of Pakistan, discussing “L.73”, said that consensus is the best way to approach international security issues, and ICT is no different. Duplicating the work of the Open-Ended Working Group is unnecessary, and any new structures or mechanisms should be the result of organic and consensual processes. Priority attention should go towards forging new norms for ICT, with the mechanisms to implement those norms to be determined later.
The representative of Australia, associating with the European Union, Japan and the United States, said the international community should focus on strengthening non-proliferation arrangements that safeguard legitimate trade and sustainable development. She is concerned that “L.56” presents a distorted picture of export control regimes and risks undermining them. Australia will vote against “L.56” and calls on others to do likewise.
The representative of the United Kingdom is concerned that “L.56” asserts that non-proliferation measures place undue restrictions on technology transfers. However, there is no convincing evidence that that is the case.
The representative of France, noting that her delegation will vote in favour of “L.66”, is concerned that the Russian Federation is waging a disinformation campaign as a prelude to the use of weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine. She calls on the Russian Federation to get back on the track of responsible behaviour and implement its disarmament obligations.
The representative of Brazil, commenting on “L.54”, hopes that Member States can at least agree on a proper venue for the Open-ended Working Group. Supporting that body’s report will allow Member States to focus on its recommendations. Turning to “L.73”, he said there are merits to discussing a programme of action for cyberspace as long as it complements the Open-ended Working Group. The new version of the text addresses that concern. Regarding “L.56”, he said that as a developing country, Brazil favours any initiative that promotes and protects the right of Member States to fully participate in the exchange of materials and knowledge for peaceful purposes.
The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union and its member States, fully supported “L.55” and the Open‑Ended Working Group, as well as the First Committee. However, he would vote against “L.23/ Rev.1” on developments in ICT in the context of international security. He had concerns that the draft had no value and undermined the Working Group Chair. Also, there was an imbalance in the preambular portion in the selection of reports chosen on the topic. It also incorporates the phrase “shared future of a community for mankind in information space”, which was never agreed upon by delegations.
The representative of Iran explained his negative vote ahead of consideration of “L.73” on a programme of action on ICT. He said he had serious reservations about its establishment. Since 2018, the Open-Ended Working Group faced opposition, and “L.73” is an initiative by the United States with the same mandate. Iran has consistently asked for an end to the paralysis. The Open-Ended Working Group is inclusive and should continue to fulfil its mandate. Such proposals, as contained in “L.73”, are premature and not consensual. The United States shows irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace, and together with allies like Israel, is behind a range of malicious acts against Iranian infrastructure.
On “L.18”, he said he will join consensus on the draft as a whole and wishes to put on the record that it is in line with his country’s Constitution, laws and regulations. However, he will abstain on all paragraphs that do not reflect consensual approaches.
The representative of the Czech Republic, on behalf of the European Union and its member States, said she would vote against “L.56”. The divergent views expressed regarding last year’s resolution are not reflected in this year’s text, thus forcing a dichotomy between peaceful use of technology and export-control efforts. Export controls support non-proliferation. These multilateral regimes prevent sensitive materials from being exported to users of concern. Clear guidelines give exporting States clear assurances. The regimes are based on non-discriminatory criteria, to which all States can adhere. Moreover, outreach was done to address issues of Member States and to answer questions of those outside such accords as the Wassenaar Agreements.
She said that this negative approach could undermine international trade, scientific and technological cooperation, which requires robust export controls. The Secretary-General’s report found no evidence that existing export controls are excessive or undue. Given the important contribution of these controls to peace and security, the frameworks should not be undermined. She called on States to vote against “L.56”.
The representative of Nicaragua explained his vote in favour of “L.23/Rev.1”, which was due to its incorporation of important capacity‑building elements to be discussed in the Open-Ended Working Group, which ensure inclusivity and transparency. Nicaragua will join consensus on “L.54” and welcomes its adoption without a vote. He will vote against “L.63” on a programme of action on ICT, as this would impede the work of the Open‑Ended Working Group, and undermine its efforts three years ahead of time, as well as create a parallel process and jeopardized the format of an “equal footing” for all. He said he will vote in favour of “L.56”, which is a timely resolution for developing counties, the peaceful use of technology, and international cooperation.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that is country is fulfilling its disarmament, arms-control and non-proliferation obligations to the fullest. It is the United States and its allies which are standing in the way of that regime, he said, inviting those countries to focus on real work to strengthen international arms control instruments. He rejected any accusations regarding the Russian Federation’s special military operation in Ukraine, saying that it is being carried out in full accordance with international law.