Seventy-eighth Session,
3rd Meeting (AM)

Doomsday Clock Stands at 90 Seconds to Midnight, Closer Than Ever to Global Ruin, First Committee Told as General Debate Continues

Preventing Weaponization of Fast-Emerging Technologies Also Discussed

The risk of nuclear weapons use is real and it is crystal clear that as long as they exist, the world will never be a safer place, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today, as it continued its wide-ranging general debate.

“The doomsday clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight — the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been,” warned Liechtenstein’s representative, condemning the Russian Federation’s nuclear sabre-rattling in the context of its aggression against Ukraine and denouncing its decision to deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus.

She said that the threat of nuclear weapons use was the animating force behind the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the reason for her country’s signature.  The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been essential in preventing nuclear proliferation for over five decades, but its implementation gap, especially in Article VI, constitutes a serious risk to the Treaty’s normative strength and ultimately to a world free of nuclear weapons, she said.

Adding to that was Egypt’s delegate who warned that rising global geopolitical tensions and the deteriorating international security environment “cast their gloomy shadow”.  He rejected an arms race, not only with weapons of mass destruction, but also conventional weapons, including in outer space and cyberspace.  This dismal reality emphasizes the urgent need for the total, irreversible and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.

Canada’s speaker pointed out that massive, global and consequential events, like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian Federation’s illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine, stopped being unprecedented and started shaping the modern context of international peace and security.

The representative of Morocco said that the existential threat of nuclear weapons use, following the global pandemic, must not allow another health crisis.  No State can deal with the consequences of nuclear weapons use, he said, adding that those arsenals do not guarantee regional or global stability.

Also dominating today’s debate was preventing the weaponization of fast-emerging technology.  The Netherlands’ speaker said it is in the fundamental interest of the entire UN membership to develop clear norms for responsible behaviour.  On military artificial intelligence (AI), he invited others to join the more than 60 States that have agreed to a call to action on responsible development and deployment.  Regarding lethal autonomous weapons, he supported negotiation of a legally binding instrument, and on cyberspace, he urged a permanent institutional dialogue.

The speaker for the Czech Republic said that flexible international instruments can be a viable way to manage emerging and disruptive technology and AI.  They need not necessarily be legally binding, but if widely respected and implemented, they can bring about more value and effect than unfulfilled treaties.  The country endorses the newly issued Political Declaration on Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy.

The First Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., on Wednesday, 4 October, to continue its general debate.


NEDRA MIGUEL (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), expressed opposition to the modernization of existing nuclear weapons and the development of new ones, and reiterate the need to eliminate the role of nuclear weapons in strategic doctrines and security policies.  She called on States not yet party to the cornerstone Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to adhere to it without further delay or conditions.  The NPT’s effective implementation also requires the negotiation of a treaty that prohibits the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and concrete measures to reduce the nuclear risk.  The entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is equally fundamental.

Regarding biological and chemical weapons, she emphasized the importance of universalizing the adherence of all States to the relevant treaties.  Concerning arms and light weapons, she expressed hope that the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) can effectively respond to illicit trafficking and the unregulated arms trade.  On outer space, she supported negotiation of a treaty preventing an arms race in that domain and the adoption of global transparency and confidence-building measures.

JULIEN THOENI (Switzerland)said that arms control has been eroding, with several agreements suspended or denounced and a new arms race looming.  The Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine has played a central role in undermining the rules-based international order.  He called on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory without delay.  Spotlighting A New Agenda for Peace, he outlined the areas that deserve special attention by the First Committee, stressing the imperative to restore confidence that States will abide by agreements.  Of particular concern is the violation of Security Council resolutions in the context of illegal drone transfers from Iran to the Russian Federation and probable munitions transfers from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  He urged the Russian Federation and the United States to re-engage in arms control talks, and on China to participate in those efforts.

On the challenges posed by emerging technology in conflict domains, he welcomed that those existing and potential threats are now receiving greater attention.  Improving transparency, be it in cyber- or outer space, nuclear arsenals or “bio” risks, is a priority to building trust.  The international community must be able to rely on a fully functioning disarmament machinery if it is to meet the global security challenges.  The Conference on Disarmament has been unable to agree on the elaboration of any new instrument for more than 25 years, and nothing suggests that its paralysis will be overcome in the foreseeable future.  In that, he welcomed A New Agenda for Peace and stressed the need to optimize it, and if necessary, reform the disarmament machinery.

AMR ESSAM (Egypt) said the rising global geopolitical tensions and deteriorating international security environment “cast their gloomy shadow”.  He rejected an arms race, not only in weapons of mass destruction, but also in conventional weapons, including at outer and cyberspace.  This dismal reality emphasizes the urgent need for the total, irreversible and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.  In today’s world where development and climate finance commitments are consistently unmet and more than $80 billion was spent on nuclear weapons last year, ridding the world of those weapons remains the only sound and effective guarantee against this most daunting menace.

He recalled that the first United Nations Special Session on Disarmament, held 45 years ago, defined nuclear disarmament and prevention of nuclear war as the highest priority.  The First Committee will have before it the annual draft resolution tabled by Egypt on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and the draft resolution tabled by the Arab Group on the risk of nuclear proliferation in that region.  Expressing hope that these two drafts, with substantive revisions, be adopted by consensus. A Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is an indispensable asset for regional and international security.  As such, Egypt welcomes the successful convening of the first three sessions of the conference on establishing such a zone.  On the prevention of an arms race in outer space, Egypt and Sri Lanka have tabled an annual resolution, which stresses the need for practical measures, dialogue and negotiations on this increasingly important subject.

TOUFIQ ISLAM SHATIL (Bangladesh) affirmed his country’s commitment to general and complete disarmament as total and unwavering.  This is a constitutional obligation and fundamental tenet of the country’s foreign policy priorities.  In line with the highest standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Bangladesh is constructing its first nuclear power plant to support development.  He reiterated deep frustration over the protracted impasse in the Conference on Disarmament, owing to a lack of consensus.  The situation must be addressed urgently.  Regarding emerging technology, he urged comprehensive frameworks for effective governance, including the responsible and ethical use of artificial intelligence.

MYRIAM OEHRI (Liechtenstein) said that the doomsday clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight — the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been, with nuclear threats at an alarming new level.  The NPT has been essential in preventing nuclear proliferation for over five decades, but its implementation gap, especially of Article VI, constitutes a serious risk to the Treaty’s normative strength and ultimately to a world free of nuclear weapons.  Condemning the Russian Federation’s nuclear sabre-rattling in the context of its aggression against Ukraine, she denounced its decision to station nuclear weapons in Belarus as a clear violation of international law. The risk of the use of nuclear weapons is indeed real, and it is crystal clear that as long as they exist, such weapons will never make the world a safer place.  This is the animating force behind the TPNW, which her country signed.

She said that the UN Charter’s prohibition of the use of force must be enforced everywhere, including when conducted in cyberspace. Liechtenstein welcomes the First Committee’s consideration of cybersecurity.  Despite a common understanding that international law fully applies to cyberspace, activities by States and other actors to move the domain of warfare to cyberspace require that the international community articulate clearly how international law applies to cyberwarfare.  In this regard, she welcomed the announcement of the International Criminal Court Prosecutor that his Office will begin to investigate cybercrimes and produce a cyberpolicy paper.  Liechtenstein has explored, together with partners, the application of the Rome Statute to cyberwarfare, which has resulted in a comprehensive report in 2021.

ROBERT IN DEN BOSCH (Netherlands) said that, regarding the potential of new technology, “we have barely scratched the surface”.  At the same time, there is no excuse for not working together to prevent their weaponization and employ them for common benefit.  The Netherlands and Ghana are organizing consultations on a new resolution on nuclear science and technology and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  It is in the entire UN membership’s fundamental interest to develop clear norms for responsible behaviour.  On military artificial intelligence (AI), he invited others to join the more than 60 States that have already agreed to a joint call to action on responsible development and deployment.  Regarding lethal autonomous weapons, he supported negotiation of a legally binding instrument in the context of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).  Concerning cyberspace, he urged a permanent, inclusive and flexible institutional dialogue to deepen common understanding of the application of international law in that context.

VERONIKA STROMŠÍKOVÁ (Czech Republic) warned that the Russian Federation frequently and in various forums attempts to prevent Member States from addressing its invasion of Ukraine, claiming that it has nothing to do with arms control, disarmament or non-proliferation. This is false.  Moscow’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, policy of coercion, intimidation and blackmailing undermine the balance and integrity of the whole non-proliferation and disarmament system, which has decades-long norms.  The decision to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus goes even beyond threatening rhetoric and leads to further escalation.  Further, for the first time in history, a nuclear power plant is held by the occupation forces of an aggressor State, with all the ensuing risks.

She said her country believes that the NPT can and must be the vehicle for comprehensive nuclear disarmament.  The slow progress in this direction is driven by the overall precarious security environment and corresponding lack of political will. These factors will not be remedied by creation and adherence to alternative international instruments. On emerging and disruptive technology and AI, she said that flexible international instruments can constitute a viable way ahead.  They need not necessarily be legally binding, but if widely respected and implemented, they can bring about more value and effect than unfulfilled treaties.  To this end, her country endorses the newly issued Political Declaration on Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy.

SALIM YOUSFI (Morocco) stressed the importance of fostering conditions for disarmament instead of an arms race.  The existential threat of nuclear weapons use following the global pandemic must not allow another health crisis.  No State can deal with the consequences of nuclear weapons use, he said, adding that those arsenals do not guarantee regional or global stability. He regretted the unfruitful outcome of the latest NPT Review Conference and called on all States to strike the balance of the Treaty’s three pillars.  He welcomed the holding of recent conferences on establishing a Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, stressing the importance of such zones.  He noted that the CTBT, which has his country’s full support, has not entered into force 27 years after its adoption.  He also highlighted the need to govern the international community’s action in cyberspace.  Morocco has ratified five treaties related to outer space, with a view to preventing an arms race there.

CAROLYN RODRIGUES BIRKETT (Guyana) said nuclear weapons have no place in the world and their use and threat of use are contrary to the UN Charter.  She demanded that all nuclear-weapon States urgently comply with their legal obligations and commitments, including in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. States should ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which is complementary to the NPT.  The Annex 2 States of the CTBT should ratify it and enable its entry into force. She drew attention to the continued proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition in the Latin American region. The illicit small arms and light weapons trade has devastating impacts on the region’s socioeconomic development and must be stopped.  These Governments have embarked on an ambitious road map to tackle the illicit trade, but these efforts require the support of weapons-producing States to safeguard against the illicit diversion.  She urged exporting States to ensure proper export controls and improve the implementation of existing instruments.

ARRMANATHA CHRISTIAWAN NASIR (Indonesia) called on the Conference on Disarmament to immediately commence negotiations on various disarmament instruments and to maintain a spirit of consensus.  He urged the CTBT’s Annex II States to immediately ratify the Treaty and for the TPNW’s universalization to close loopholes in the implementation of disarmament measures.  He further called for prompt action to curb the illicit trade and use of conventional weapons and underscored the centrality of international cooperation, training, and capacity-building.  On outer space and autonomous weapons, he supported collective action to implement norms and address gaps in legal frameworks, in order to bring greater benefits to humanity and address emerging threats.

ABDULRAHMAN ABDULAZIZ F. A. AL-THANI (Qatar) warned that the global security environment is volatile, and international solidarity and the value of the UN Charter are being tested by traditional and non-traditional security threats.  The world is changing rapidly, requiring dialogues to make rules acceptable to all, including arms-race-prevention and arms control. He called for the restructuring of the international security architecture, emphasizing that “every State has an equal right to security”.  Possession and development of nuclear weapons increase global security risks, he said, expressing support for the nuclear-weapon-free zones across the world, particularly its establishment in the Middle East, where, due to power imbalances, there are ongoing nuclear activities not subjected to the NPT. Such zones promote global non-proliferation and build confidence.

SOPHEA EAT (Cambodia) called on all nuclear-weapons States to sign the Protocol to the Treaty on a nuclear weapons-free zone in South-East Asia.  She also strongly encouraged Member States to join the TPNW and the 44 countries in Annex II of the CTBT to ratify it without delay.  As one of the world’s countries most affected by landmines, explosive remnants of war and cluster munitions, Cambodia thanked the international community for its contributions and continued support for its goal of a landmine-free country by 2025.  Moreover, she appealed for outer space, artificial intelligence and cutting-edge technology to be used for human prosperity, not superiority.

ANTONIO MANUEL REVILLA LAGDAMEO (Philippines), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, regretted the persistence of dangerous nuclear rhetoric and the modernization of nuclear arsenals.  Only elimination of those weapons can shield the world from devastation.  His country ratified the TPNW, he said, urging States to renew their commitments to the NPT, particularly Article VI.  The Philippines also remains committed to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, as well as to the full implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions.

On conventional weapons, he reported that, last year, Manila ratified the ATT and CCW Protocol V.  On AI, he called for legal rules to prevent its weaponization and for responsible use of emerging technology overall.  To that end, the Philippines — in partnership with like-minded States — has submitted a draft CCW Protocol VI to regulate autonomous weapon systems.  On disarmament aspects of outer space, he reaffirmed his country’s commitment to a legally binding instrument to prevent an arms race therein, advocating for its peaceful use.  There is a merit to convening the Conference on Disarmament, he added.

BERENICE LOW (Singapore), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), urged all NPT States parties to redouble efforts in the next review cycle to achieve substantive and concrete outcomes.  While welcoming the ratification of the CTBT by two States this year, she underscored that its entry into force is long overdue.  In this vein, Singapore supports nuclear-weapon-free-zones and remains committed to the zone in South-East Asia.

Turning to nuclear safety, she reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has helped Singapore develop its integrated nuclear security sustainability plan.  On the peaceful use of outer space, she noted that an open and inclusive international framework is imperative.  Singapore commends the efforts of the United Nations to that end, as well as to develop international cyber norms.  The tactics and sophistication of actors in cyber space have become increasingly novel.  Her country will implement the 11 voluntary norms of responsible State behaviour therein. Among other initiatives, her country will convene the annual Singapore international cyberweek in October.

CAROLYN SCHWALGER (New Zealand) encouraged all countries to join the TPNW and affirmed her country’s commitment to working with others on the Treaty’s positive obligations regarding assistance for survivors and environmental remediation for State parties. Coming from a region with a harmful nuclear-testing legacy, New Zealand will play a core role in other resolutions, including on the CTBT and the Southern Hemisphere Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. She condemned any use of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions and called on all countries to join the relevant Conventions and for all transfers and production of these weapons to cease. Regarding autonomous weapons, New Zealand is co-sponsoring a resolution for the Secretary-General to seek input from a broader range of States and entities beyond the CCW’s membership. Along with identifying ways to address international legal questions, States should meaningfully accelerate progress towards appropriate and binding international rules and limits.

SURIYA CHINDAWONGSE (Thailand), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, underscored that modernization and proliferation of weapons fuel conflicts and instability between and within States.  While regretting lack of progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he pointed to an increased number of TPNW and CTBT States parties.  In this vein, he hoped that outstanding issues with nuclear-weapon States pertaining to the signing of the Protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty will be resolved.  Thailand is committed to keeping South-East Asia free of all weapons of mass destruction and is actively engaging in various initiatives to that end.

He welcomed the adoption of A Global Framework for Through-life Conventional Ammunition Management, reporting that his country is accelerating its ratification of the ATT.  As a State party to the Mine-Ban Convention, Thailand has successfully reclaimed 99 per cent of its previously mine-contaminated areas. Turning to outer and cyberspace, he stressed that upholding the principles of international law in these areas is crucial.  He highlighted the importance of multilateralism.  “Let us collectively strive towards a more secure and peaceful world,” he said.

LESLIE NORTON (Canada) said that massive, global and consequential events, like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian Federation’s illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine, stopped being unprecedented and started shaping the modern context of international peace and security.  Moscow’s reckless and unprovoked nuclear rhetoric is also a stark reminder that “we cannot take for granted that nuclear weapons will not be used”.  Within the disarmament machinery, the inability to produce an outcome document or final report is no longer the exception.  It is the expectation.  Disagreements and fissures, and the increasing use of consensus as a de facto veto, have seriously challenged the once-common understanding of a shared purpose in creating a safer and more peaceful world for all.  In this new era, Canada will continue to prioritize the voices and experiences of victims and survivors.  “Those who have lived through some of the most heinous attacks in history have lessons to teach us and stories to share, whether we are talking about the 1945 atomic bomb survivors, or the thousands of individuals killed by small arms and light weapons every year,” she said.

ADAM KUYMIZAKIS (Malta) called on States not yet party to the NPT to adhere to its terms and to join as non-nuclear-weapon States.  He also affirmed that the TPNW is fully compatible with and complementary to the NPT, including by strengthening the IAEA safeguards system.  It also recognizes the gender impact of nuclear weapons by mandating age- and gender-sensitive victim assistance.  He urged all CTBT Annex II States to ratify the Treaty, which has already been extremely effective through its verification regime and monitoring mechanisms.  On other weapons of mass destruction, he strongly condemned chemical weapons use by any actor, including Syria, and noted that there has been no substantial progress towards dismantling the country’s chemical weapons programme.  Regarding conventional weapons, he urged all Member States to join the ATT and fully implement the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons.  Emphasizing the important role of civil society and women’s peace movements in disarmament, he expressed support for their participation in all relevant forums.

MERETE BRATTESTED (Norway) warned against any use of nuclear weapons, as it brings about catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences.  A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.  “We cannot allow the threshold for nuclear use to be lowered,” she said. The Group of Governmental Experts to further consider nuclear-disarmament-verification issues, chaired by her country, produced a substantive consensus report.  Her delegation has tabled a resolution for the General Assembly to support the Group’s work.  She called the Russian Federation and China to engage in a substantial dialogue on nuclear arms control and risk reduction measures and urged Moscow to resume implementation of the New START Treaty.

She said there is broad agreement that international law is applicable and essential to cyberspace.  There is no need for specific legal instruments.  Rather, continued discussions are needed to deepen understanding of how international law applies and to foster cooperation to strengthen compliance with the globally agreed framework.  Norway supports establishing a permanent programme of action, as an inclusive and action-oriented mechanism to advance responsible State behaviour in cyberspace.

VANESSA WOOD (Australia) called on the Conference on Disarmament to make real progress towards negotiations for a fissile material ban.  As a confidence‑building measure, nuclear-weapon States should declare and uphold a moratorium on producing that material for nuclear weapons.  Australia was affected by nuclear testing, and in that context, urges all States to urgently ratify the test-ban Treaty and to co-sponsor this year’s CTBT resolution.  She also urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to not resume nuclear testing and condemned its ongoing development of illegal and destabilizing nuclear and ballistic-missile programmes.  On chemical weapons, she called on all States parties to that Convention to recommit to eliminating those weapons and ensuring they are never used again.  She emphasized, in closing, that inclusivity and diversity are vital in responding to international security challenges.  In that, she reiterated support for the participation of people of all genders and the incorporation of views from youth, civil society and academia in the disarmament community’s work.

TIJJANI MUHAMMAD BANDE (Nigeria), speaking for the African Group, said that multilateral diplomacy remains the only forum for addressing disarmament, non-proliferation and international security.  The Group reaffirms the central role of nuclear-weapons-free zones in the consolidation of the NPT, as well as their significance in addressing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation across the world.  The Treaties of Pelindaba, Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Bangkok, the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone and Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status notably contribute to the overall objective of a world free of nuclear weapons, as they enhance global and regional peace and security.  In this context, the Group reaffirms its commitment to the Treaty of Pelindaba, declaring Africa as a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  This prohibits, among other things, the stationing of nuclear explosive devices and their testing in the entire continent.

He underscored the importance of continued respect of the inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and stresses the central role of IAEA through its continued technical support and cooperation.  It also maximizes the use of science and technology for socioeconomic development.  While reaffirming the importance of the work entrusted to the Conference on Disarmament, the Group expresses its concern at the years-long impasse, which has prevented the forum from fulfilling its mandate as the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum.  The Group calls on it to resume substantive work without further delay.  It will submit three resolutions during this session, namely on the Pelindaba Treaty, the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, and the prohibition of the dumping of radioactive wastes.

SANITA PAVLUTA-DESLANDE (Latvia) joined others in condemning the Russian Federation’s aggressive behaviors and breach of international law, expressing full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.  Moscow, through its repeated irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and forceful seizure and militarization of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, threatens regional and global nuclear safety and security.  Equally, the Kremlin’s announcement to deploy its nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus contradict international non-proliferation norms.  She called on the Russian Federation to return to fulfilling its obligations under the New START Treaty.  Likewise, the international community cannot disregard the rapid growth of China’s nuclear arsenal and production of fissile material.  The nuclear arms control framework should address Beijing’s nuclear capabilities.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Russian Federation, exercising the right of reply, rejected “all unjustified accusations” by Western countries regarding its “special military operation” in Ukraine.  The United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, he said, are using Kyiv as an instrument to combat the Russian Federation and to prevent the emergence of a truly multipolar world with centres of power independent of Washington, D.C.  By preparing Kyiv for war and “pumping it full of weapons” for many years, the United States and its allies are only fuelling the conflict, provoking an controlled spread of weapons around the world and significantly increasing the threat of a direct military clash between nuclear Powers.

The representative of Iran, in right of reply, categorically rejected attempts by the European and some other States to establish a link between the alleged use of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles in Ukraine and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015).  In letters to the Council and the Secretary-General, his delegation rejected the baselessness of these allegations about Iran’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.  Instead of making false allegations, those delegations should comply with obligations under the resolution, including refraining from action that undermines its implementation.

On Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, IAEA conducts robust, continuous verification and monitoring activities at Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran maintains a constructive relationship with the Agency to resolve outstanding issues.  But, facts should not be distorted or presented selectively. The illegal withdrawal of the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action (JCPOA) seems to be overlooked.  There should be a clear distinction between Member States’ legal obligations under the safeguards and voluntary commitments.  Monitoring activities related to the JCPOA have not been voluntary and are not linked to the Agency’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.  Iran’s missile programme is developed domestically to build defence capabilities, fully aligned with its international commitments.

The representative of Syria, in right of reply, rejected the statements from Canada and Malta as “baseless allegations” and “propaganda” against his Government.  His country does not possess such weapons, and it has abided by all its obligations and eliminated its stockpile when it acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2018.  Syria rejects the use of such weapons anywhere, at any time, under any circumstances, and by whomever.  The NPT programme must not become an attempt to pressure countries or be used selectively to serve political agendas.

The representative of Ukraine, in right of reply, categorially rejected allegations against his country, stating that there is only one aggressor and one victim.  The war began in 2014 when Moscow started armed aggression against Ukraine. The Kremlin also violated international law and legal instruments, including the Budapest Memorandum, which provided the Russian Federation’s security assurances to Ukraine.  Citing numerous documents, including General Assembly resolutions and an International Court of Justice decision, he called for the withdrawal of the Russian Federation’s forces from Ukraine’s territories and on Moscow to stop its aggression.

He said that the Russian Federation’s so-called referenda have no validity under international law and no legal implications for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.  There is clear evidence that the Russian Federation’s armed forces committed war crimes. Ukraine exercises the right of self-defence, and its armed forces’ main task is to repel the Russian Federation’s forces from his country.  Military support provided by other countries help stop Moscow’s aggression and liberate all Ukrainian territories occupied by the aggressor.

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking again in right of reply, stated that the “absolutely baseless and propaganda-oriented statements” from Ukraine only confirm the “whole hypocrisy” of Kyiv’s policy.  While the Committee hears appeals in favor of peace, Ukraine’s statement “clearly demonstrates” that Kyiv is not really interested in peace, but rather in continuing the conflict and accusing the Russian Federation without seeking ways to settle the crisis.

For information media. Not an official record.