Rejecting Multilateralism Risks ‘Sliding Back on a Terrible Trail Tread Before’, First Committee Hears in General Debate
Global Security Environment ‘on Verge of Irreparable Rift’, Speaker Says
Multilateralism is under immense pressure, but it must not succumb to unilaterialism at a time when the world needs to unite around a global system that ensures security for all, speakers in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today as the general debate continued.
The international security environment is “on the verge of an irreparable rift”, Lebanon’s representative said. For many countries, whose very existence is at stake, the fear of a possible nuclear war is increasing. If the world abandons its commitment to multilateralism in favour of unilateralism, “we risk sliding back on a terrible trail that has been tread before, and its end is well known”, he said.
Oman’s delegate said unilateral acts of sabotage that exceed the Security Council’s mandate undermine peace and security, with dire consequences for millions. The speaker for Cuba condemned the imposition of unilateral coercive measures to limit or impede the peaceful use of nuclear energy, as illegal actions that violate the right of all States to social and economic development.
“Sadly, the ever-increasing threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction continues to shatter our hopes for a peaceful world,” said Lesotho’s delegate, calling on the international community to act collectively to discharge its moral responsibility to ensure that every human enjoys the right to peace and the sanctity of life.
Against this backdrop, Iraq’s delegate called for a non-discriminatory, legally binding document to prevent the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States. At the regional level, nuclear-weapon-free zones are a step forward to achieve the ultimate goal of completely eliminating these weapons, he said.
Iran’s representative said that Israeli nuclear weapons remain a grave threat and obstruct the establishment of a zone in the Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. He urged the international community to hold the Israeli entity accountable and called on all nuclear-weapon States to halt modernization plans, as well as initiate negotiations for a comprehensive convention, and provide unconditional security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.
Pakistan’s delegate, meanwhile, reaffirmed the need for equitable and balanced disarmament measures that ensure each State’s right to security, with no individual State or group of States gaining advantages over others. Noting an unprecedented increase in military expenditures and rising Power rivalries, he characterized the global security landscape as grim. In South Asia, he proposed the establishment of a strategic restraint regime premised on conflict-resolution, nuclear and missile restraint, and conventional arms balance.
The representative of India, describing his country as a “responsible nuclear-weapon State”, reiterated a commitment to maintaining credible, minimum deterrence with the posture of no-first-use and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States. He urged the immediate start of talks in the Conference on Disarmament on a fissile material cut-off treaty.
The First Committee will meet again at 3 p.m., on Monday, 9 October, to continue its general debate.
REIN TAMMSAAR (Estonia), aligning himself with the European Union, underscored that the nuclear rhetoric of the Russian Federation — a permanent member of the Security Council — is irresponsible and unacceptable. That country’s deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure constitute war crimes. Yesterday’s strike on a café in the Ukrainian city of Hroza, which killed 50 people, is an appalling testimony of that. There are also signs that the Russian Federation is once again ramping up its shelling of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, including grain facilities and energy infrastructure. These attacks are committed using drones provided by Iran. He went on to spotlight a rapid and extensive build-up of China’s nuclear arsenal, calling on it to join future arms-control agreements.
OUMAROU GANOU (Burkina Faso) deplored the current international security situation. The proliferation of nuclear weapons, the threat of terrorism and the increasing militarization of outer space are all serious threats to collective security. The only way to address them is to move towards genuine disarmament. Burkina Faso is committed to supporting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and welcomes the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, including in Africa. Such areas deserve to be expanded. Once a haven of peace, his country has been confronted with indiscriminate terrorist attacks since 2015, he said, wondering where the small arms and lights weapons in the hands of thousands of terrorists come from. He highlighted the importance of combatting the arms trafficking and implement the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). At the same time, he also stressed the need to guarantee the right to self-defence and the acquisition of weapons for that purpose. Any disarmament effort must strike a balance between legitimate defence needs of States and the objective of arms control.
KHALIL HASHMI (Pakistan), noting an unprecedented increase in military expenditures and a growing arms race to build and modernize new weapons, stated that the global security landscape represents a grim picture. The combination of new military blocs and rising great Power rivalry is fostering asymmetries and undermining strategic stability in some regions. The largest nuclear Powers have failed to comply with nuclear disarmament obligations. Pakistan continues to support negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention, as well as legally binding negative security assurances, and a treaty prohibiting the weaponization of outer space. The proposed treaty banning only the production of fissile materials remains flawed and seeks to perpetuate present asymmetries by excluding existing stocks that can produce thousands of new nuclear weapons. He reaffirmed the need for equitable and balanced disarmament measures that ensure each State’s right to security, with no individual State or group of States gaining advantages over others.
In South Asia, the region’s largest State continues its “repression of the right to self-determination” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, defying a dozen Security Council resolutions. The continued transfer of abundant weapons and sensitive technology has emboldened this State to “impose its hegemony” and “well-advertised ambition” to emerge as a dominant Power in the region and beyond, he said. Pakistan proposed establishing a strategic restraint regime premised on conflict resolution, nuclear and missile restraint, and conventional arms balance. The proposal remains on the table. While maintaining a capability of minimum credible deterrence against all forms of aggression, Pakistan remains committed to the goal of a peaceful and stable South Asia, he said. Such a peace can build from the resumption of negotiations to resolve outstanding disputes with India and to achieve a balance of conventional and strategic military capabilities.
ABBAS KADHOM OBAID AL-FATLAWI (Iraq), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, called for a non-discriminatory and legally binding document that would guarantee and prevent the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States. The ultimate goal is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. To that end, nuclear-weapon-free zones are a step forward. The absence of such a zone in the Middle East has a negative impact, and Iraq calls for its establishment in line with relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions as well as decisions of the 1995, 2000, and 2010 NPT Review Conferences. This cannot be done without the Israeli entity joining the NPT as a non-nuclear partner and placing all its nuclear installations under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards regime.
MATETE NENA (Lesotho) said these are uncertain times and the need to ensure global security has never been greater. The situation requires action towards the universal objective of ridding the world of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. “Sadly, the ever-increasing threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction continues to shatter our hopes for a peaceful world,” despite the adoption of numerous resolutions on the issue. Nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in the modern-day world, and conventional weapons bring untold sorrow to development countries. The international community must act collectively to discharge its moral responsibility to ensure that every human race enjoys the right to peace and the sanctity of life. Lesotho is committed to the African nuclear-weapon-free zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty). He called on all to join hands in bridging the gulf between rhetoric and action and fast-track the NPT’s implementation. He urged the nuclear-weapon States to sign and ratify the TPNW to ensure that humanity lives in peace without fear of extinction.
DANG HOANG GIANG (Viet Nam) said that his country and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are committed to preserve Southeast Asia as a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Weapons do not cause war, but the arms race and lack of transparency bring about mistrust and tension among countries. The best way to rebuild that trust and ease tension is for each country, big and small, to uphold fundamental principles of international law and the UN Charter. In this spirit, Viet Nam has consistently supported all initiatives aimed at consolidating all instruments of disarmament and arms control as well as the non-proliferation regimes, thus contributing to international and regional peace and security. Viet Nam has acceded to all relevant multilateral treaties.
ANUPAM RAY (India) said his country, as a “responsible” nuclear-weapon State, has committed through its nuclear doctrine to maintain credible and minimum deterrence with the posture of no-first-use and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States. India also supports the immediate start of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a fissile material cut-off treaty. As a major space-faring nation, India has vital development and security interests in outer space and believes it belongs to “all of us” as an arena for cooperation, not conflict. In that vein, he supports the negotiation of a legally binding instrument in the Conference on Disarmament on the prevention of an outer space arms race.
He said that evolving technologies should not be stigmatized. He prefers an approach that accounts for the positive impact of such technologies and their evolution. Noting the disparity in cyberpreparedness among Member States to tackle threats, however, India has proposed developing a global cybersecurity cooperation portal anchored by the UN to enhance capabilities. He also emphasized the illicit transfers of conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons, to terrorists and non-State actors as a grave concern. Responding to Pakistan’s statement on Jammu and Kashmir, he said that these territories, as well as Ladakh, are and will remain part of India.
GALINA NIPOMICI (Republic of Moldova), associating herself with the European Union, noted that her country, as Ukraine’s neighbour, has to counter daily hybrid threats to its security and stability. In light of this, it is working to strengthen its resilience. This includes improving responding to cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. The country has also managed to preserve peace in the Transnistrian region, where Russian troops are illegally stationed. The Republic of Moldova remains committed to a peaceful resolution of the situation in that region. To that end, the Russian Federation should completely, unconditionally and immediately withdraw its troops from the territory of the Republic of Moldova, she said. In addition, the ammunition stocks from the warehouse in Cobasna must be evacuated or destroyed.
ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia) said that three decades have passed since his country declared its territory as nuclear-weapon-free. Mongolia continues to relentlessly support the international community’s efforts for the disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones is an integral instrument in those efforts. His country successfully hosted the International Conference of the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security in June for the eighth consecutive time. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu highlighted that the “Ulaanbaatar Dialogue” mechanism is becoming a significant platform for establishing peace and security, and in strengthening confidence-building measures in Northeast Asia.
NOEL WHITE (Ireland) said that the Committee’s session is overshadowed by the Russian Federation’s ongoing illegal invasion of Ukraine — the appalling crimes, nuclear threats, and occupation of a Ukrainian power plant, which must be returned to full and exclusive Ukrainian control. He called on Moscow to resume full implementation of its obligations under the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). This accord’s verifiable reduction of deployed strategic nuclear arsenals contributes to international and European security. Dublin is also concerned by Iran’s nuclear activities, which continue to raise very serious proliferation risks. Tehran should return to full cooperation with the IAEA and satisfactorily clarify outstanding issues. This year saw the final destruction of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles — a testament to the transformative impact of multilateralism. Nevertheless, he regretted the re-emergence of chemical weapons use, including in Syria and elsewhere. Ireland proudly led consultations to agree to a political declaration on strengthening the protection of civilians from the humanitarian consequences arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. To date, 83 States have endorsed the declaration.
MOHAMMAD GHORBANPOUR NAJAFABADI (Iran) called on nuclear-weapon States to halt all plans to modernize existing weapons, cease the development of new systems, and refrain from constructing new facilities for production and deployment. These States must eliminate nuclear weapons, initiate negotiations for a comprehensive convention, provide unconditional security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States, and maintain a taboo against their use or threat of use. Regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran fulfilled its commitments while the United States unilaterally withdrew, violating Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) and imposing sanctions. Iran negotiated in good faith to fully implement the JCPOA but awaits the return to compliance of the United States and European participants. Countries calling for unilateral Iranian compliance must stop violating their own NPT obligations, including by preventing nuclear sharing. Iran stands ready to conclude JCPOA negotiations, but a resolution depends on the commitment of all parties to their obligations.
In the Middle East, the Israeli regime’s nuclear weapons remain a grave threat and obstruct the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone. He condemned the illegitimate and irresponsible call for a “credible nuclear threat against Iran” and urged the international community to hold the Israeli regime accountable by renouncing its nuclear weapons, acceding to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon party, and subjecting all its facilities and activities to comprehensive IAEA safeguards. For its part, Iran remains “fully committed” to implementing its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA.
OUMOU DIALLO (Guinea), associating herself with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, underscored that no State can carry out a nuclear war and emerge victorious. The funds invested in nuclear weapons could be used to finance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. For its part, Guinea ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Pelindaba Treaty. It also took part in an African regional seminar on the universalization of the TPNW. To tackle the proliferation and illicit flow of small arms and light weapons, the country established a national commission, which developed an ambitious action plan. Guinea also tabled several proposals to regulate the circulation and illegal trade of such weapons as well as to promote disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
NATASCIA BARTOLINI (San Marino) joined the condemnation of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, deploring that “unfortunately, today the risk of nuclear weapons use, either deliberately or by accident, is higher than at any time since the cold war”. Her country is committed to a world free of nuclear weapons. In that regard, the TPNW, which has more than 90 States signatories, is an important instrument. She is pleased by the growing number of signatories. All States should sign and ratify it, as this Treaty constitutes an effective measure for nuclear disarmament and complements the NPT. The rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have led to concerning levels of autonomy in conflict, with autonomous weapons systems able to independently choose and attack targets without human control. “Substituting human decisions about life and death with software and digital systems is morally and legally unacceptable,” she warned, noting the Secretary-General’s call to adopt a treaty to prohibit and regulate autonomous weapons systems by 2026.
BOŠTJAN MALOVRH (Slovenia) said that yesterday marked another tragic milestone, as a devastating Russian missile struck a café and grocery store in Hroza, Ukraine, resulting in the loss of at least 50 civilians. This reprehensible act is a clear war crime and demands accountability. He regretted that the Russian Federation continued its nuclear rhetoric. This is unacceptable, he said. The same goes for the recent announcement of Moscow on deploying nuclear weapons to Belarus. “The fundamental task for our generation must be to preserve and strengthen the NPT for future generations.” On conventional weapons, he said small steps could be essential. As such, reporting to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms can improve transparency and confidence. Slovenia regrets that the Conference on Disarmament remains open only to some UN members. He appealed to it to ensure inclusivity and multilateralism in its work, including the full participation of States not members of the Conference.
ANOUPARB VONGNORKEO (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) reiterated concern over rising global military expenditures, which continue to fuel tensions rather than restore peace and security. As unexploded remnants of cluster munitions continue to obstruct development efforts and pose major threats to women and children, he urged the international community to further assist his country to achieve its national goal of “Lives Safe from unexploded ordnance”. The TPNW’s entry into force is one of the most important developments towards eliminating nuclear weapons. He reiterated the need to continue strengthening that regime and for the international community to fully implement all treaties concerning weapons of mass destruction. On ICTs, he supported a single-track approach to negotiations to ensure no country is left behind, especially developing countries that often face capacity and resource constraints.
HADI HACHEM (Lebanon), associating himself with the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, underscored that the international security environment is on the verge of an irreparable rift. For many countries, whose very existence is at stake, the fear of a possible nuclear war is increasing. Lebanon presided over the third session of the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction in 2022. The Israeli entity – the only non-NPT nuclear-weapon party in the region – must comply with international non-proliferation obligations. This is a prerequisite for peace and security in the region. Lebanon also reiterated its commitment to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and the importance of its universalization. Regrettably, these weapons were used against it in the 2006 war. If the world drops its commitment to multilateralism for unilateralism, “we risk sliding back on a terrible trail that has been tread before, and its end is well known,” he said.
HARUNA BAZIRONDERE ISABIRYE (Uganda) expressed his country’s commitment to promote global peace and stability based on equality of security for all. Disarmament is fundamental to securing a nuclear-weapon-free future. To that end, the failure of the last NPT Review Conference was regrettable. All parties must be steadfast in implementing the Treaty’s three pillars. He implored nuclear-weapon States to reduce military spending and devote resources to development. Uganda supports the CTBT as well as nuclear-weapon-free zones, including the one in Africa. Unregulated flows of conventional weapons undermine security. All States, especially arms-producing countries, should embrace the Arms Trade Treaty and prevent the spread of such weapons into wrong hands. In this regard, his country supports the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. These arsenals pose a threat to Uganda’s human security and its fragile economy. They also deter investments in his country.
YURI GALA LÓPEZ (Cuba) emphasized that the complete elimination of nuclear weapons is more than a long-standing and legitimate aspiration, but a question of humanity’s survival. He advocated for the TPNW’s universalization to codify the illegitimacy and illegality of nuclear weapons in international law and to ban their existence and all forms of nuclear testing. He also condemned the imposition of unilateral coercive measures to limit or impede the peaceful use of nuclear energy, as illegal actions that violate the right of all States to social and economic development. Regarding ICT, he rejected their use to undermine the political order of States and to finance or commit violence or terrorist acts. In this vein, he denounced the use of these platforms from the United States territory against Cuba.
KHALID ALRUBKHI (Oman), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab Group, expressed concern over the impediments that prevent the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. This constitutes a violation of the NPT provisions and outcome documents of its Review Conferences. Current challenges require steps to free the region from such weapons and achieve a lasting, comprehensive and just peace based on a two-State solution. Unilateral acts of sabotage that exceed the mandate of the Security Council undermine peace and security and have dire consequences for millions of people, he said. On information and communications technologies (ICT), Oman’s digital defence centre has developed standards to regulate private-sector operations in this area based on international obligations.
MAJDI MOHARRAN (Saudi Arabia) stressed the centrality of the NPT in global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. In this regard, balanced implementation of its three pillars is vital. His country acceded to the Treaty and spares no effort to work towards its universality. Peace and security cannot be achieved by possessing lethal weapons. He underscored the need to invest in human capital. Deterrence leads to greater military spending at the cost of development. Riyadh believes the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones is a sure step towards a world free of those weapons. The Israeli regime should accede to the NPT, thereby contributing to security and stability in the Middle East. He stressed States’ right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. In that, developed countries should assist less developed ones. Regulating the flow of conventional arms should not restrict States’ right to acquire such weapons for self-defence.
ETRIT BEKTESHI (Albania) condemned the Russian Federation’s unjustified and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine as a serious challenge to the international rules-based order, common shared values and democratic principles. He supported IAEA’s contribution to maintaining the security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, in light of occupation by Russian troops. Moreover, he affirmed the Conventions on Chemical and Biological Weapons as very important multilateral instruments, and called on Syria to fully cooperate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in a transparent and verifiable manner. He also underscored the risk of terrorist groups and non-State actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction, as a real and serious threat to international security. In closing, he emphasized the importance of gender equality and youth inclusion in disarmament discussions and processes.
Right of Reply
The representative of China, speaking in exercise of the right of reply and responding to a statement made yesterday by Japan’s delegate, said that international concern about the discharge of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water is science-based because it has biological and natural hazards. His country’s position has been consistent. Tokyo should heed this concern and respond with sincere communications. He also called for an international monitoring arrangement in which neighbouring countries and other stakeholders can participate.
The representative of Israel, in right of reply, rejected Iran’s allegations against her country as “no less than absurd”. Quoting IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, she said, “I strongly condemn this disproportionate and unprecedented unilateral measure which affects the normal planning and conduct of Agency verification activities in Iran and openly contradicts the cooperation that should exist between the Agency and Iran.” IAEA’s experience demonstrates that shutting out Agency inspectors affects its essential verification mandate. She said the Director General goes on to call upon the Iranian Government to reconsider its decision and to return to a path of cooperation with the Agency. This, said Israel’s speaker, was said this three weeks ago, not three years ago or three months ago. Iran is lying. Iran attempts to destabilize the region using every tool at its disposal, including terrorism, missile and rocket attacks, and attacks on merchant ships. In closing, she demanded that Iran’s delegate use her country’s official name, the State of Israel.
The representative of the Russian Federation, in right of reply, stated that any attempts by the delegation of the Republic of Moldova to disparage the peacekeeping efforts of the Russian Federation in Transnistria are unacceptable. The Russian Federation continues to play the role of co-mediator and guarantor of the process, in line with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova. This is reflected in the Russian-Moldovan agreement of 2001. There is a lack of political will from Moldovan authorities to solve the Transnistria issue, and dialogue between Chisinau and Tiraspol continues to break down. The Russian Federation is not denying its responsibility to dispose of the ammunition depot in Cobasna and is ready, after settling the situation in Ukraine, to think about practical steps to that end.
He said the Russian Federation rejects the accusations regarding its special military operation in Ukraine. The accusers’ only goal is to divert attention from the criminal actions of the Ukrainian armed forces. Ukraine and its Western supporters point to the losses and suffering of one side only, which is hypocritical. Since February 2022, due to the actions of the Ukrainian military, 5,000 peaceful citizens, including almost 200 children, have been killed in Donbass, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. The accusations of the forced deportation of Ukrainian citizens to the Russian Federation strive to explain that millions of them are fleeing from the crimes of the Kyiv regime. Since the beginning of the special operation, 5.5 million people have entered the territory of the Russian Federation, while only 4 million Ukrainians went to European Union countries.
The representative of the United States, in right of reply, said he wanted to respond to the Russian Federation’s demand that his country withdraw its nuclear weapons from Europe, the existence of which Moscow’s delegate called “escalatory”. The Kremlin is so far opposed to including so-called “non-strategic” nuclear weapons in arms control. Washington, D.C., believes that doing so is in the best interest of both sides and the world. The number of nuclear warheads his country maintains in Europe has not changed despite the Russian Federation’s destabilizing actions since 2014. The small number of these warheads is far lower than the thousands of the so-called “non-strategic” nuclear warheads possessed by the Russian Federation, none of which are covered by any treaty.
The ground-based intermediate range missile Moscow developed in material breach of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is intended to deliver such warheads, he said. The Russian Federation is also developing and testing other systems not covered by any treaty, including a nuclear-powered, nuclear-tipped cruise missile, and a nuclear-powered, nuclear-tipped underwater vehicle. President Putin reported only days ago that the latter underwent further testing. The United States will act responsibly and work towards global nuclear stability. It is the Russian Federation that is escalating tensions.
The representative of Pakistan, in right of reply, said that Jammu-Kashmir is not part of India. According to UN resolutions, it is a territory in dispute yet to be resolved based on the wishes of Kashmir people through a free, fair plebiscite. Jammu-Kashmir is among the oldest Security Council agenda items. For seven decades, India has violated the relevant Council resolutions and denied the right to self-determination. India’s actions in 2019 further jeopardized regional security, and more recently, its massive acquisition of weapons is provoking an arms race in South-East Asia. India should not mislead the Committee with disinformation.
The representative of Japan, in right of reply, responded to China’s statement regarding the discharge of Advanced Liquid Processing System-treated water. Japan has always provided detailed explanations to the international community based on scientific evidence in a transparent manner. Tokyo has continued these efforts while undergoing the review by the IAEA, which has the authority to establish, adopt and apply safety standards in nuclear energy. The water being discharged is water further diluted and sufficiently purified, he said. The Government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company are conducting monitoring and have not detected any anomalies. IAEA has confirmed and publicly stated that the level of tritium in the discharged water is below the threshold. Japan is ready to discuss the matter further in a relevant forum, but not the First Committee with no relevant expertise.
The representative of Syria, in right of reply, said that, since his country joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013, it has fully cooperated with OPCW and swiftly destroyed all chemical-weapon stockpiles. He rejects hostile propaganda against his country. The Israeli entity’s speaker is in no position to lecture on countries’ human rights records. The Israeli regime is the only one in the Middle East that has a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. The possession of those weapons threatens regional and international security. The Israeli regime has occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, and has for decades flouted UN resolutions and the international community’s calls to withdraw from that territory.
The representative of Iran, in right of reply, noted that the Israeli representative has consistently disseminated misleading, baseless and fabricated claims against his country. They serve to deflect attention from the transgressions against international law, including acts that have been condemned as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression. The regime’s continued engagement in unlawful activities, such as assignations of several Iranian nuclear scientists, terrorist attacks against Natanz nuclear facilities as well as cyber and kinetic attacks against sovereign States are concerning. The Israeli regime is the only one in the Middle East that has not acceded to relevant international treaties on weapons of mass destruction. The gravest threat to regional stability is posed by this regime’s nuclear weapons.
In addition, the Israeli regime’s attempts to depict Iran’s exclusively peaceful nuclear activities as a destabilizing factor lack credibility. Israeli disregard for international law is exemplified by the proposition of a so-called “credible nuclear threat” against Iran, articulated by the Israeli Minister during the recent high-level General Assembly debate. He called on the international community to hold the regime accountable. “Unacceptable statements” were made about Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme. There is a robust and continued verification and monitoring by the IAEA within the country’s nuclear facilities. Its missile programme aligns entirely with its international commitments, he said. Iran also rejects any insinuations about its involvement in the war in Ukraine.
The representative of Moldova, in right of reply, said that her country’s calls for the withdrawal of the Russian armed forces from its territory were made in line with its neutrality status under the Istanbul outcome document of 1999 and General Assembly resolution A/RES/72/282.
The representative of Israel, in right of reply, rejected the accusations in Iran’s statement and affirmed that actions speak much louder than words. Iran continues to destabilize the Middle East and the global arena, she said.
The representative of Iran, in right of reply, rejected the Israeli regime’s “baseless allegations” and strongly condemned its irresponsible behaviour. Israel has repeatedly demonstrated its disregard for international law and been responsible for numerous attacks in Iran, including on its peaceful nuclear facilities to critical public services. The Israeli regime has violated 29 Security Council resolutions, he said, urging the international community to hold it accountable.