Seventy-eighth Session,
4th Meeting (AM)

With Debate Intensifying in First Committee, Speaker Says It Will Support Ukraine during Unprovoked Aggression for ‘as Long as It Takes’

Degraded Global Security Caused by West’s Selfish Ambitions, Russian Federation Delegate Says 

Without Ukraine’s right to self-defence, there will be no sustainable peace and security in Europe, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today as it continued its general debate.

“Russia’s rhetoric on the unprovoked, unjustified and illegal military aggression against Ukraine has jeopardized the principles of collective security,” Portugal’s representative said, affirming that her country will continue to provide support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.  “We are deeply concerned with Russia’s announcement of a nuclear weapons deployment to Belarus,” she added.

Finland’s representative warned that each violation of existing normative regimes decreases the predictability of behavior and trust — the building blocks of a rules-based international order and multilateralism.  The international arms-control, disarmament and non-proliferation architecture is at a crossroads, she stressed, demanding that the Russian Federation immediately cease its military actions and return to compliance with the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START Treaty) and Treaty on the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

The international security and disarmament system that has served the world so well for so many decades is under unprecedented strain, as Moscow’s illegal war of aggression tramples underfoot the UN Charter, said the United Kingdom’s speaker.  The bad faith of a handful of countries blocking meaningful progress should not detract from the majority’s determination.

Similarly, Austria’s representative rejected the notion that these intensifying geopolitical trends are “outside of our control”.  Everyone in the General Assembly shares a responsibility to speak up and unite against these negative trends, to strengthen treaties and mechanisms, and to refocus on multilateral cooperation and international law.  A security paradigm based on nuclear deterrence is “neither sustainable nor morally acceptable or legitimate” because it positions the security of nuclear-weapon States above that of everyone else.

For its part, Ukraine’s delegate underscored that the world is paying a far greater price for peace and stability after the Kremlin’s violation of the global security system.  Nuclear blackmail has been part of Moscow’s playbook, she said, noting that the Russian Federation’s army has mined the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and continues to illegally prevent Ukrainian workers from fulfilling their obligations. “At the global level, we must all invent a more compelling deal than security assurances,” she said.

The Russian Federation’s representative stated that the roots of worsening international security conditions lie in the “extremely selfish ambitions” aggressively implemented by the United States-led West, to the detriment of other nations’ interests.  In violation of the United Nations Charter, the United States and its allies are trying to impose their will on the behaviour of other States to consolidate hegemony and replace international law with a “rules-based order” comfortable for them.

The First Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., on Thursday, 5 October, to continue its general debate.


EDUARDO ALCIBIADES SÁNCHEZ KIESSLICH (Mexico), speaking on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition, urged nuclear-weapon States to implement all their disarmament obligations in a manner that strengthens accountability, enhances transparency, and increases mutual confidence, including to regularly monitor progress. He called for improved reporting by nuclear-weapon States through a standard detailed format, including specifics on modernization plans, capabilities — such as the quantity, type and status of nuclear warheads — delivery vehicles, doctrinal issues, risk reduction and de-alerting measures, quantity of fissile material, and the number and type of disarmed weapons and delivery systems.  He spotlighted disarmament’s humanitarian imperatives, noting the disproportionate and gendered impact of radiation exposure on women and girls.

He expressed support for universalizing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) regime as fully consistent and complementary to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  Noting a growing deficit in the implementation of NPT article VI and other disarmament-related commitments by nuclear-weapon States, he urged them to fully implement their obligations without delay and redress the imbalance with non-nuclear-weapon States.  Moreover, any presumption of indefinite possession of nuclear weapons runs counter to the Treaty’s purpose, and any threat to use nuclear weapons is contrary to the UN Charter.

LEONARDO BENCINI (Italy) pointed out that the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine has directly impacted the work in multilateral forums, including non-proliferation, disarmament and arms-export control.  The global security environment has greatly deteriorated.  “However, far from deterring us, the challenges that this war is bringing to the rules-based international order motivate us even further to reaffirm our unswerving commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and international law,” he said.  Effective, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament can be achieved through a progressive approach based on concrete measures.  Trust and cooperation among nuclear-weapon States is essential and must be restored.

He urged Moscow to cease its irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and threats, return to full implementation of the New START Treaty and revoke its decision to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus.  Italy presided over the ninth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention.  Despite the tense global context, the Conference reached consensus on a final document and established a working group to strengthen the instrument’s implementation.  This success proves that good results can be achieved through dialogue among all sides.

ANN-SOFIE NILSSON (Sweden) condemned the Russian Federation’s continued war of aggression against Ukraine, urging it to immediately cease all military activity and withdraw its troops from the entire territory of its neighbour.  The international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation architecture is under severe pressure, she said.  Mistrust among States remains and dangerous rhetoric has hardened.  The withdrawal from global arms control agreements, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the expansion of nuclear arsenals with a lack of transparency raises serious concerns.  Sweden’s aim has consistently been to defend, promote, safeguard and strengthen the international architecture and will continue to promote the full implementation of all obligations within the three pillars of the NPT.  The entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the conclusion of negotiations of a fissile material cut-off treaty remain imperative.

She highlighted several proliferation challenges, including the situation in Iran regarding its nuclear safeguards agreement, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s development of its nuclear-weapon and ballistic-missile programmes.  Syria is still to reveal the full extent of its chemical-weapons programme and fully comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention. Moscow has so far failed to respond to the international community’s demand to disclose the circumstances around the assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny in 2020, she added. The Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Convention is a key achievement for disarmament, peace and security and must be adhered to.  Sweden continues to support several States, including Ukraine, in clearing mines, raising awareness, supporting victims, educating on risks and advocating for mine action.

ALI CHERIF (Tunisia) emphasized nuclear non-proliferation as an “absolute priority”, and invited all States to accede to the NPT to rid humankind of the nuclear threat.  He reaffirmed the CTBT and called on States to ratify it and to declare and maintain a national moratorium on experimental explosions of nuclear weapons.  Stressing the important contribution of nuclear weapon-free zones to international security, he deemed Israel’s continued refusal to participate in negotiations a serious threat and violation of relevant UN decisions and resolutions.  Regarding conventional weapons, he stated that the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) will make an important contribution to address their illicit trade, without prejudging the legitimate right of States to legally acquire conventional weapons and munitions for self-defence and security.

KHRYSTYNA HAYOVYSHYN (Ukraine), aligning with the European Union, warned that the global disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control architecture has been dramatically deteriorating in recent years.  In 2014, the Russian Federation, a nuclear-weapon State, occupied part of her country’s territory and started an armed aggression in betrayal of security assurances under the Budapest Memorandum.  In 2022, Moscow launched a full-scale war against Ukraine and repeatedly threatened to use its nuclear weapons.  It announced a decision to deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus.  This is a vivid example of failure of security assurances, which Moscow promised to Ukraine through the Budapest Memorandum.  “At the global level, we must all invent a more compelling deal than security assurances,” she said.  After the Kremlin’s violation of the global security system, the world is paying a far greater price for its peace, stability and security.

The nuclear blackmail has been part of Moscow’s playbook, she said, noting that the Russian Federation’s army continues to illegally prevent Ukrainian workers at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from fulfilling their obligations and has already mined the plant.  She warned that constant missile attacks by Moscow in the immediate vicinity of Ukrainian power plants can lead to hitting the reactor’s components.  The Russian Federation has used various types of banned conventional weapons in Ukraine, and drones transferred by Iran to Moscow in violation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015).  Almost a third of Ukraine is contaminated with mines and explosive remnants of war.  Thousands of Russian Federation explosives threaten civilians, including children.  It may take more than 30 years to completely clear Ukraine of these devices.  Among the critical issues for Kyiv is demining, including the creation of a production base in Ukraine for clearing the Ukrainian territory of Russian Federation mines and providing assistance to and rehabilitation of victims.

MARWAN ALI NOMAN (Yemen), aligning the Arab Group’s statement and that of the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized the importance of achieving a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.  He highlighted Israel’s non-participation in the NPT and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system, which contributes to regional instability and an arms race.  He regretted the failure of the tenth NPT Review Conference to adopt an outcome document, and called for unity “to overcome the differences and to promote multilateralism for the sake of a world free of nuclear weapons”.

Turning to the ongoing conflict in his country caused by the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist militias, he pointed, in particular, to landmines and explosive devices they planted.  These threaten the lives of thousands, including women and children, as well as global shipping lines.  Yemen seeks international support to address this issue. He urges that pressure be put on the Houthi militias to cease their destructive actions, as well as on the Iranian regime, which supplies these weapons.  Iran must cease its interference in Yemen’s internal affairs.  On small arms and light weapons, he stressed the need to implement the Programme of Action to prevent armed groups from acquiring those weapons, which fuelled conflicts.  Additionally, he underscored the importance of building cybersecurity capacities and international support for least developed countries in this regard.

AHMAD FAISAL MUHAMAD (Malaysia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), condemned the constant upgrading of nuclear arsenals and the false logic of deterrence.  Concerned about the consecutive failures of the NPT’s ninth and tenth Review Conferences, he said it is essential to repair the “prevailing trust deficit among States parties”.  Calling for the maintenance of limits on the deployment of strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems, he said the fate of the world cannot be allowed to rest precariously on the judgement of nuclear-armed States.  Malaysia and South Africa will co-chair the informal working group on universalization of the TPNW, he said, also calling for support for the annual resolution tabled by his delegation concerning the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on the legality of the threat of use of nuclear weapons.

OUTI HYVÄRINEN (Finland), noting that international arms control, disarmament and the non-proliferation architecture is at a cross-roads, observed that each violation of existing normative regimes decreases the predictability of behaviour and trust, the building blocks of a rules-based international order, and multilateralism.  She condemned “the unjustified and illegal war of aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine”, and expressed firm support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, as well as its right to self-defence.  She demanded that the Russian Federation immediately cease its military actions.

She urged the Russian Federation to immediately return to compliance with the New START and Treaty on the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, and to fulfil all its Treaty obligations.  She urged China to be more transparent on its nuclear policy and to engage in efforts to reduce nuclear risks.  Sounding the alarm over the re-emergence of the use of chemical weapons in recent years, she condemned their use, which violates international law.  The perpetrators of chemical attacks must be brought to account.  Regretting the lack of a consensus outcome at the fifth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), she expressed support for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)to preserve the universal ban on chemical weapons.  She also reiterated Finland’s support to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC).

VLADIMIR YERMAKOV (Russian Federation) stated that the roots of the worsening security conditions lay in the “extremely selfish ambitions” aggressively implemented by the United States-led West, to the detriment of other nations’ interests.  In violation of the UN Charter, the United States and its allies are trying to impose its will on the behaviour of other States to consolidate hegemony and replace international law with a “rules-based order” comfortable for them. Washington, D.C., has an “insatiable craving for unchallenged global dominance” and is attempting to undermine a “more just, multipolar world”, he added.

He said that the United States-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bloc grossly flouting the principle of equal and indivisible security, undertook a “malicious expansion” into the post-Soviet area and forced the Russian Federation to take necessary measures to protect its external security borders. As the West raises the stakes under slogans of inflicting a Russian Federation “strategic defeat” and “two-way nuclear deterrence” of the Russian Federation and China, ideas about an immediate and complete ban on nuclear weapons or artificial deadlines to reach “nuclear zero” are counterproductive.  Progress in nuclear disarmament can only be achieved through step-by-step and consensual measures, accompanied by consistent improvements in the political and military climate, and respect for all parties’ security interests.  It is necessary to drastically reduce the conflict potential between major military Powers and ensure a long-overdue overhaul of the international security architecture.

He called for a universal, legally binding protocol applying to all articles of the BWC and an effective verification mechanism.  A “military biological programme” in Ukraine with support from the United States and affiliated bodies violates the BWC .  Moreover, the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanisms for Investigation of Alleged Use of chemical and biological weapons should be strengthened.  Regarding outer space, the Russian Federation has favoured, for decades, preserving it for exclusively peaceful activities on equal footing and to the benefit all humankind.  He urged all Member States to co-sponsor and support the draft resolution on information security, which would establish a global intergovernmental register to exchange information on cyberattacks and other such incidents.

ALEXANDER MARSCHIK (Austria) deplored the dysfunction of multilateral bodies established to foster peace and security, such as the Security Council and the Conference on Disarmament. Some in these fora are content with continuing to  work in the same manner.  Repetition provides a sense of security.  Annual meetings with the same procedures and statements serve as “group therapy to reassure and comfort us with a false sense of stability”.  He urged everyone to not fool themselves and open their eyes to reality — an intensifying geostrategic competition which is eroding the arms control and management framework.  He rejected the notion that these geopolitical trends are “outside of our control”.  All in the General Assembly share a responsibility to speak up and unite against these negative trends, strengthen treaties and mechanisms and refocus on multilateral cooperation and international law.

He said that one key issue demands a paradigm shift, namely, the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons. The nuclear taboo was challenged by the Russian Federation, a permanent Council member and a depository of the NPT.  A security paradigm based on nuclear deterrence is “neither sustainable nor morally acceptable or legitimate”.  It puts the security of nuclear-weapon States above the security of everyone else.  “We simply never know if nuclear deterrence works in any particular crisis, but we do know for sure that it can fail,” he said.  The TPNW is a landmark instrument and represents a paradigm shift — joining it is one concrete step States can take to strengthen the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) said that the international security architecture continues to bear the detrimental impacts of strategic instability, erosion of arms control mechanisms, constant increase of military expenditure and weaponization of newly emerging domains.  The integrity of the conventional-arms-control regime has been undermined by Azerbaijan.  Referring to the recently launched a large-scale offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh in breach of international law and a ceasefire agreement, he stated that Azerbaijan’s attack involved indiscriminate shelling and use of prohibited munitions, resulting in casualties and infrastructure damage.  “Within only a week, this barbaric policy of ethnic cleansing forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh,” he said.  He pointed to the premeditated and well-planned character of the large-scale aggression preceded by a heavy military build-up and a disinformation campaign.  The UN’s Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention warned against military action and emphasized the need to prevent violence and sustain regional peace.  The international community should consider these factors when contemplating arms trade deals with Azerbaijan. 

Noting Armenia’s commitment to the full, comprehensive and effective implementation of the NPT, as well as support for implementation of the CTBT.  He also underlined the importance of strengthening UN monitoring, fact-finding and reporting capacities as a crucial tool for timely identification of the risks of dangerous escalation and prevention of further atrocities.

AIDAN LIDDLE (United Kingdom) warned that the international security and disarmament system that has served the world so well for so many decades is under unprecedented strain.  Most egregiously, the Russian Federation’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine tramples underfoot the UN Charter.  His delegation remains determined to defend and strengthen the regimes inherited from forebearers.  “We must maintain the record of non-use of nuclear weapons since 1945 and our determination to prevent their further spread,” he said.  There is cause for optimism in several key diplomatic processes, including the ninth Review Conference of the BWC and the group of governmental experts on lethal autonomous weapons within the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).  Such processes demonstrate the continued vitality of the arms control and disarmament community.  The bad faith of a handful of countries blocking meaningful progress should not detract from the majority’s determination.

He stressed London’s commitment to supporting a new agenda for arms control, with  multi-domain and multi-capability and draws together a wider set of actors. The open-ended working group on reducing space threats norms and elaborating rules and principles of responsible behaviours has achieved progress.  Building on that, his delegation is tabling a resolution to create a second open-ended working group for that domain.  It is “unknowable” how the international security environment will evolve in the coming years, but the Governments and peoples of the United Nations have the agency to affect it, he said.  Next year’s Summit of the Future and any processes that may emerge from it could be an opportunity to come together to look afresh at the challenges, with an open mind, and the range of possible solutions.

RÓBERT CHATRNÚCH (Slovakia), associating with the European Union, noted the impact of the Russian Federation’s brutal war of aggression on European as well as global security.  . He is concerned about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which continues to be illegally occupied by Russian Federation forces.  On the new NPT review cycle, more prominence should be given to strategic and nuclear risk reduction efforts, as well as to promotion of transparency and accountability.

Expressing support for early commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty in the Conference on Disarmament, he called on relevant States to declare a moratorium on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and devices.  He voiced concern about the continued development of nuclear and ballistic-missile programmes by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the escalation of Iran’s nuclear programme.  Additionally, he called on the international community to recommit to the Chemical Weapons Convention.  This year, his country has successfully fulfilled its obligations under the article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and destroyed all such stockpiles, in line with its stipulated deadline.

GHASAQ SHAHEEN (United Arab Emirates), aligning with the Arab Group and Non-Aligned Movement, called for intensified multilateralism to achieve disarmament goals.  It is crucial to bolster the universal nature of the NPT and its implementation.  Her country has completed an agreement with IAEA, also signing an additional protocol, to guarantee the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  Nuclear-armed States must cooperate with IAEA, she said, expressing concern about Iran’s nuclear programme and noting that the Agency’s reports cite a lack of adherence to the agreements signed by that country.  She looked forward to the fourth session of the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction to be chaired by Libya.  She expressed concern about Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s continued development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. 

TIÉMOKO MORIKO (Côte d’Ivoire) urged adherence to all commitments under the NPT and universalization of the TPNW, including an increase in its scope. Nuclear-weapon States and others must join.  He also called on the eight States in CTBT Annex II to ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.  As conventional weapons are a major security challenge for Africa and elsewhere, he called for the ramping up of the means to implement the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons and the ATT to bolster developing countries’ technical capacities and to regulate the conventional arms trade.  Regarding outer space, preventing an arms race and weapons deployment in that realm is another priority.  He called for common responsibility and for States with significant outer space capabilities to refrain from inappropriate actions and to adopt responsible behaviours.  On cybersecurity, he urged the establishment of a permanent, inclusive and action-oriented mechanism to respond to rapid evolutions.

DIEGO PARY RODRÍGUEZ (Bolivia) said that geopolitical tensions have generated uncertainty and instability and led to the world’s polarization based on hegemonic interests.  Sustainable development, climate change and other priorities receive negligible financing, yet the major Powers have increased their military spending, to the detriment to multilateralism.  Coming from a region committed to the disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, his country reiterates that the complete elimination of nuclear weapons is an imperative for international peace and security.  He expressed commitment to the full and effective implementation of all the provisions of the NPT, and called upon countries, primarily nuclear-weapon States, to adhere to it to achieve the total elimination of those weapons.  He rejected the argument by some States that nuclear weapons can enhance security and serve legitimate military purposes.  He urged States to sign and ratify the TPNW, as it will allow progress in the full and effective implementation of NPT’s article VI.

MOHAN PIERIS (Sri Lanka), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, acknowledged that the current precarious state of international security, marked by intensified super-Power rivalries is leading to chaos in various domains.  He is concerned about the increased frequency and intensity of nuclear rhetoric and efforts to weaponize different domains, including cyberspace and outer space.  Noting with regret that the last two NPT Review Conferences failed to reach consensus on an outcome document, he urged the Member States to make every effort to bridge the gaps between the different perspectives and build trust. He underscored the importance of multilateral disarmament, which has “brought a beacon of hope for humanity to save us from global annihilation”.

Highlighting Sri Lanka’s recent ratification of the CTBT and accession to the TPNW, he said his country will be the host for South Asia the next on-site inspection Integrated Field Exercise, which will bring together more than 180 technical experts and other participants from around the world.  Lamenting the delay in the CTBT’s entry into force, he warned that this may hinder progress in achieving nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  Turning to cybersecurity, he said is concerned about the lack of effective regulatory oversight in that realm, which could compromise global security, including through espionage and disinformation.

GABRIELA GONZÁLEZ (Uruguay), noting that her country is a non-nuclear-weapon State, stressed the importance of adhering to the CTBT and ensuring its early entry into force.  All States must maintain the moratorium on nuclear tests.  The use of conventional weapons in conflict zones is a particular scourge in the Latin American region, she said, noting how this has led to countless civilian deaths.  Diversion of these weapons has serious consequences in her country.  She called for a new global framework to deal with existing gaps in the normative agreements concerning management of munitions through their lifecycle.  It is crucial to build capacity and support for the Global South.  She is committed to the ATT and appreciates for the work of the open-ended group.  In another matter, she urged the international community to come together to tackle the malicious use of information and communications technology (ICT).

ANA PAULA ZACARIAS (Portugal) said that, without Ukraine’s right to self-sovereignty and territorial integrity, there will be no sustainable peace and security in Europe.  Russian Federation rhetoric on the unprovoked, unjustified and illegal its illegal military aggression against Ukraine has jeopardized the principles of collective security.  Hence, her country will continue to provide support, standing with Ukraine for as long as it takes.  Portugal is also deeply concerned about the Russian Federation’s announcement of nuclear-weapons deployment to Belarus.  She urged every State to adhere to the NPT and to ratify the CTBT.  She called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cease illegal activities — including nuclear tests and ballistic-missile launches — and abide by international obligations, while re-engaging in credible and meaningful dialogue towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  On Iran, she encouraged the resumption of negotiations to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as the best available option to ensure a peaceful nuclear programme and the fulfilment of IAEA obligations on all open issues.

RAMÓN EMILIO FLORES (Honduras) echoed concerns over increased military spending and called for such expenditure to be used for the common welfare in areas of urgent social need and the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  His country has consistently reaffirmed its commitment to disarmament by acceding to international and regional instruments.  The possible use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is legally unacceptable and morally repugnant.  The only way to end the risk posed by nuclear weapons is their complete elimination.  Honduras is a State party to the Tlatelolco Treaty and supports initiatives aimed at establishing other nuclear-weapon-free zones.  The complementarity between TPNW and NPT is tangible and contributes towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  In his country, the circulation of illicit weapons is not abstract, it is real, he said, calling for the implementation of the relevant Programme of Action.

EVANGELOS SEKERIS (Greece) aligning with the European Union statement, stated that the global community is at a crossroads with the collective security mechanisms under duress.  He pointed the slow pace of disarmament negotiations due to the war in Ukraine.  Emphasizing the importance of taking stock of recent developments and finding ways to overcome current obstacles, he underscored the urgent need to revitalize multilateral disarmament negotiations, particularly after the disappointment of the previous NPT Review Conference.

He said his country recognizes the significance of a fissile material cut-off treaty and fully supports the work of IAEA.  He spotlighted the personal engagement of its Director-General to ascertain that nuclear safety and security is guaranteed at the nuclear power plant in Ukraine.  Concerned about the lack of progress in reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, he noted that the prospect of missing this window of opportunity will have detrimental effects for regional and global stability. In closing, he welcomed the progress being made on the small arms and light weapons Programme of Action.

Right of Reply

The representative of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, rejected the allegations levelled at his country by Western States as an affront to its sovereignty.  These countries are questioning his country’s justified exercise of its legitimate right to self-defence, while the United States continues its unabated military provocations.  Highlighting the criminal track record of the United States and its NATO allies, which committed crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan, he said that country’s Indo-Pacific Strategy has increased the threat of armed conflict in the region.  His country and the United States are technically at war, he said, describing Security Council action as nothing more than a demand to surrender all sovereign rights to the United States.  His country has never recognized Council resolutions that infringe upon the rights of a sovereign State.

The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, exercising its right of reply, strongly rejected Russian Federation allegations of Ukraine developing biological or chemical weapons as another example of Russian propaganda to distract from its war of aggression against a sovereign Member State.  The Russian Federation, he said, is trying to divert attention from its atrocities in Ukraine by seeking to normalize its occupation and shift the blame onto countries that support Ukraine.  Moreover, not only the West, but also the much wider General Assembly membership has condemned Russian Federation aggression through several resolutions.  The international community will hold the Russian Federation accountable for its aggression against Ukraine, including nuclear risks.  The Russian Federation is solely responsible for putting the safety of nuclear facilities at risk, endangering the population of Ukraine and neighbouring countries.  He called on the Russian Federation to immediately drop Nazi-related references to Ukraine and such absurd rhetoric.

The representative of the Russian Federation, in right of reply, rejected baseless accusations made by the European Union and stressed that his delegation can use the right of reply under the General Assembly rules of procedure, and will use it only once under each agenda item.  The European Union should closely follow its status as an observer.  Regarding the Budapest Memorandum, it is one component of the packaged agreements.  The Russian Federation unfailingly adhered to it.  The United States and its Western allies simultaneously interfered in the internal and external affairs of Ukraine to force Kyiv towards its Western-oriented future.  The West sharply raised the stakes and contributed to the bloody coup in 2014.  The radicals who seized power in Kyiv provoked an acute crisis within the country, he said.  Refusing to recognize the interests of a significant part of Ukrainian society, they split it.  This called into question the existence of Ukraine as a single viable State.  Ukraine’s unity and territorial integrity were destroyed by Kyiv’s own destructive policy and interference by the West.  The Russian Federation’s obligations under the Budapest Memorandum do not apply under the circumstances.

The representative of the United States, speaking in right of reply, said that the Russian Federation represents a threat to the international order.  It violated the UN Charter, the territorial integrity of a neighbour by invading Ukraine, threatened the possible use of nuclear weapons and is no longer participating in its latest strategic bilateral Arms Control Treaty with the United States.  “This is not the result of a United States-Russia divide, but a division between fact and fiction”.  The Russian Federation, she said is essentially obstructing UN work through its unfounded war in Ukraine, which has led to the tragic loss of lives.  On the visa matter, the Russian Federation admitted that the visas have been issued.

The representative of Syria, exercising the right of reply in response to statements by the delegates of Sweden, Italy and Portugal, said that what has impeded the outcome document of the fifth States parties conference of the CWC is the insistence of some on using the forum for serving their narrow interests by inserting controversial paragraphs concerning the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism.  Condemning Western politicization, he said OPCW must remain neutral and rejected all allegations that his country has used chemical weapons.  Syria has adhered fully to its obligations under the CWC since acceding to it in 2013.

The representative of the Russian Federation rejected accusations from the United States that have no basis in reality and are another attempt to accuse his country of all mortal sins.  This attempt to impose their will on other States undermines the possibility for the international community to act on consensus and take into account the interests of all States.

The representative of the United States reiterated that her country is committed to upholding its obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreement.  Concerns related to host country matters, including visa issuance, should be discussed in the Host Country Committee.  Her country has taken necessary steps to resolve issues raised by Moscow. Dialogue among five nuclear Powers is vital and her country constantly supports it.  The United States already addressed the Russian Federation’s position on facts versus fiction.  If the Kremlin stops its invasion of Ukraine, the war will end and people will stop dying. This is the reality all can accept.

For information media. Not an official record.