Entrenched Belief in Nuclear Deterrence as Defence Keeps Fear of Annihilation Alive, First Committee Hears in Thematic Debate
Mistrust Looms Large in Disarmament, Non-Proliferation, Speakers Say
Today’s world is one of “nuclear giants and ethical infants” that know more about war than peace and killing than living, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today as it began its thematic debate on nuclear weapons.
In the face of “a bad propensity to flirt with suicidal tendencies”, the world is experiencing the worst aggression seen in recent times, Sri Lanka’s representative said. An entrenched belief in nuclear deterrence as a defence strategy, alongside a lack of progress on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is preventing humanity from reaching a world free from the fear of nuclear annihilation.
Trust has always been a scarce commodity in disarmament and non-proliferation, the Netherlands’ delegate noted, but it is now extremely low due to the current security environment. A mere call to rebuild trust would be too simple. The international community must make use of mechanisms already in place, from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States alike should be more transparent about their arsenals, doctrines and risk-reduction measures, in order to rebuild trust.
Similarly, Malaysia’s representative urged States to overcome the deep trust deficit. He went on to say the grand bargain underpinning the NPT cannot remain a distant dream and constantly deferred by considerations of strategic stability among nuclear-weapon States. It is imperative that all NPT obligations and commitments are fully implemented. He also urged the remaining Test-Ban Treaty’s Annex II States to sign and ratify the Treaty.
The representative of Belize, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) viewed the nuclear disarmament imperative through a humanitarian lens, highlighting the need for accountability to victims and expressing support for positive obligations included in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
The Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Adedeji Ebo, said in remarks to the meeting ahead of an informal interactive dialogue with delegations that to reduce the human cost of weapons, States must recommit to the humanitarian imperative underpinning disarmament efforts. He encouraged them to universalize treaties banning inhumane and indiscriminate weapons, including the Conventions on Cluster Munitions and Certain Conventional Weapons, and the Mine-Ban Convention.
Joining the United Nations Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs was Flavio Damico, speaking for the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean. He noted that more than five decades have passed since the international norm gave rise to the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, pioneered by the Latin America and the Caribbean region through the Treaty of Tlatelolco. That norm, he said, holds even great significance given the current global security condition.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 16 October, to continue its thematic debate on nuclear weapons.
ADEDEJI EBO, Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, recalled many delegations’ concerns during the general debate regarding the deteriorating international security environment. States flagged the unacceptably high threat of nuclear weapons use, compounded by improvements to stockpiles. Many expressed deep concern about the implications of skyrocketing military spending for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They questioned the viability of existing norms and governance frameworks for cyber- and outer space, artificial intelligence and biotechnology.
He urged States to reinforce the barrier against nuclear weapons use, accelerate progress towards their elimination and buttress the non-proliferation regime against a growing array of threats. The international community must pursue accountability for the implementation of disarmament commitments while strengthening the non-proliferation regime, in light of technological advances. Also, States must recommit to the humanitarian imperative underpinning disarmament efforts to reduce the human cost of weapons. He encouraged States to universalize treaties banning inhumane and indiscriminate weapons. As technology evolves at light speed, States must take action against the potential extension of conflict to cyberspace, outer space, and the development of lethal autonomous weapons systems.
FLAVIO DAMICO, Special Representative of Brazil to the Conference on Disarmament, speaking for the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, stressed the “indisputable” importance of multilateralism and international law. The need for coordinated responses through multilateral organizations, namely the United Nations, is evident. More than five decades have passed since the international norm gave rise to the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones, pioneered by the Latin America and the Caribbean region through the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Given the current global security condition, this international norm holds even greater significance. The establishment of such zones represent regional efforts aimed at strengthening the disarmament and non-proliferation regimes and, thereby, reinforcing collective endeavours for peace and security.
The Protocol to the treaty is a mechanism for nuclear-weapon States to make legally binding commitments to not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against States parties. The Agency recently launched dialogues with France, the Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States towards such assurances. The Agency is working to present a draft resolution on undertaking a comprehensive study of nuclear-weapon-free zones in all their aspects. Although the draft is not tabled this year, the Agency will continue to seek consensus on this important initiative. Such a study will support the establishment of new zones.
MARISKA DWIANTI DHANUTIRTO (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, decried the lack of progress by nuclear-weapon States in eliminating their nuclear weapons. Rather, they are improving and developing new models. The strategic dialogue between those States also is limited. Noting the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) until 2026, she urged a renewal of commitments in line with its framework. Reaffirming the Movement’s principled positions on nuclear disarmament, the Group strongly calls on the nuclear-weapon States to comply with their legal obligations and undertakings and to eliminate their nuclear weapons in a transparent, irreversible and internationally verifiable manner.
She also emphasized that nuclear disarmament is not conditional on confidence-building measures or other disarmament efforts, adding that nuclear risk-reduction measures cannot be a substitute for nuclear disarmament. The Movement welcomes the convening of the three sessions of the Conference on establishing a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other mass destruction weapons, and calls on all in the region to actively participate in it to bring to a conclusion a legally-binding treaty. She demands that Israel renounce possession of its nuclear weapons and accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) without precondition and further delay.
DANG HOANG GIANG (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), stated that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are best addressed through strengthening multilateralism and enhancing cooperation, with all countries fulfilling their obligations and commitments responsibly. Strong political will among Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) States parties is essential in preserving the credibility and integrity of the Treaty, he said, urging nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their disarmament obligations and commitments through measurable, time-bound actions and reporting. He further expressed support to the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament and reaffirmed the ASEAN collective position against nuclear tests.
He urged the nuclear-weapon States to unequivocally commit not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States and within nuclear-weapon-free zones. He reiterated ASEAN commitment to preserving the Southeast Asian region as a nuclear-weapon-free zone, expressing hope that Member States will support an updated resolution on the zone, to be tabled by ASEAN.
EDUARDO SANCHEZ (Mexico), speaking on behalf of the States parties and signatory States to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), expressed grave concern that nine States still possess some 13,000 nuclear weapons. Many of these weapons are on high alert and ready to be launched within minutes. The fragility of the current international context exacerbates the risks that these weapons will be used, underscoring the precarious nature of the nuclear status quo. Past experience of the use and testing of nuclear weapons has demonstrated the unacceptable humanitarian and environmental consequences caused by their immense destructive capability and indiscriminate nature. Threats to use nuclear weapons are inherent in deterrence doctrines.
The establishment of a legally binding regime on the prohibition of nuclear weapons is necessary to prevent a nuclear arms race and achieve nuclear disarmament. A complete ban on nuclear weapons is the most effective legal means to prevent proliferation, and the TPNW is the embodiment of such an objective. Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, all nuclear-weapon States and other States in possession of nuclear weapons must commit to never use or threaten to use these weapons under any circumstances. He urged the nuclear-weapon States to reinvigorate their efforts to fully and urgently implement Article VI of the NPT, as well as the actions and commitments agreed at NPT review conferences. All States which have not yet done so are encouraged to join the Treaty without delay and preconditions.
CARLOS FULLER (Belize), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), expressed concern that Member States, despite their declared intentions, have not made progress in nuclear disarmament. He urged Member States to redouble their efforts in the Conference on Disarmament to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Nuclear risk-reduction measures are not enough. He urged all NPT States parties to consider voluntarily implementing the commitments from the tenth Review Conference, despite the absence of a consensus document. In that connection, he emphasized the shared risk posed by nuclear weapons and the importance of political will to enhance collective security.
He said that CARICOM States, as parties to the Treaty of Tlateloco, are proud to be part of the first nuclear-weapon-free zone encompassing a highly populated region — Latin America and the Caribbean. He noted that nuclear-armed States spent $89 billion on nuclear arsenals in 2022, while the Sustainable Development Goals and climate financing are underfunded. There must be a shift in focus towards prevention, peace and sustainable development. CARICOM views the nuclear disarmament imperative through the humanitarian lens, he said, highlighting the need for accountability to victims, while expressing support to the positive obligations entailed in TPNW.
MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH HMOUD (Jordan), speaking on behalf of the Group of Arab States, stressed the importance of fulfilling basic disarmament commitments in light of the present major geopolitical upheaval. Noting that nuclear-armed countries have adopted doctrines that allow the use of those weapons, he underscored that nuclear sharing also runs counter to the NPT spirit. While confidence-building measures are important, they are no substitute for a binding international agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons. Their use or threat of use are a violation of the most elementary principles of international law. He reiterated the importance of international action to strengthen and universalize the NPT and TPNW, as nuclear-weapon States have refrained from pinning down a timetable for international commitments. He called on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Annex II States to join the Treaty, and on countries outside the NPT to join it and to cease operating facilities that run counter to the Treaty.
In the Middle East, he stressed the international responsibility to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone and insisted on practical and immediate action through the Group’s annual draft resolution on the topic. Failing to do so would harm the credibility of the NPT. He also expressed concern regarding the security danger from Israel’s refusal to join the NPT, as the only remaining party in the region that has not done so and refuses to subject its installations to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
MOHAMMED LAWAL MAHMUD (Nigeria), speaking for the African Group, said the total elimination of nuclear weapons must be the overall objective of the United Nations. The resistance by the nuclear-weapon States to give up these arsenals is deeply concerning. The Group is disappointed at yet another failed Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, which represented an opportunity for nuclear-weapon States to reignite their NPT commitments and save humanity from the possibility of any devastating humanitarian consequences. The persistent failure of Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conferences is eroding the credibility of the Treaty itself.
He noted the central role of nuclear-weapon-free zones and expressed the Group’s commitment to the Pelindaba Treaty, which bans the stationing and testing of nuclear explosive devices in the entire African territory. However, the total elimination of nuclear weapons remains the only absolute guarantee against their use or threat of use. The Group stressed the urgent need for the planet to be free of nuclear weapons. He recalled the historic entry into force of the TPNW and urged nuclear-weapon States and those under the so-called “nuclear umbrella” to seize the opportunity to sign and ratify it as soon as possible.
STEEN HANSEN, Minister Counsellor of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said that upholding and preserving the NPT is a key priority. He expressed the bloc’s resolute support for its three pillars and deeply regretted that no consensus report was adopted at the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the eleventh review, owing to an unconstructive attitude of some States parties. The Russian Federation’s actions and threats to use nuclear force are dangerous and unacceptable. He recalled that last year, Moscow signed up to the joint statement by the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon States, reaffirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. It reiterated this commitment in a joint statement with China on 22 March. He condemned the announced deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus as inconsistent with the commitment Minsk made in the Budapest Memorandum. Belarus can still make the choice to reverse its decision to host Russian nuclear weapons.
He called for concrete progress towards the full implementation of the NPT’s Article VI, through the overall reduction of the global stockpile of nuclear weapons, considering the special responsibility of States that possess the largest nuclear arsenals. The reduction of deployed strategic nuclear arsenals under the New START Treaty, enhanced by its robust verification mechanism, contributes to Article VI implementation. The Union calls on the Kremlin to immediately return to compliance with that Treaty. Given the rapid and extensive build-up of China’s nuclear arsenal, he urged Beijing to join future arms control agreements and respond positively to calls for an arms control dialogue as a first step. On non-proliferation, he urged Iran to reverse its nuclear trajectory and return to its legal obligations, and on Syria to bring into force the Additional Protocol to the IAEA safeguards agreement, in line with the NPT. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Ms. SARAN (South Africa) said the increase in the number of States that emphasize nuclear deterrence and place greater reliance on nuclear weapons in their military and security doctrines is a growing concern. In order for geopolitical relations to stabilize, nuclear-weapon States should renew trust among themselves and commit to eliminating their nuclear arsenals in a time- bound and verifiable manner. There is a need to break the status quo of non-action by these States. South Africa hopes that the TPNW will catalyse much overdue progress in nuclear disarmament. She called on States that have not ratified it to do so.
ANDY ARON (Indonesia), noting that the threat of nuclear war has become ever present with more than 12,900 nuclear weapons in the possession of nuclear-armed States, said “inaction is not an option”. He called on the nuclear-weapon States to follow through on their NPT obligations and stressed the need to strengthen the nuclear disarmament architecture, bring into force of the CTBT, universalize the TPNW and institutionalize nuclear-weapon-free zones. He emphasized the immediate need to commence long-overdue negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons, as well as on a legally binding instrument to protect non-nuclear-weapon States from nuclear threats, and a balanced treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. “Our commitment to pursue nuclear disarmament should be guided by the spirit of multilateralism,” he added.
AMR ESSAMELDIN SADEK AHMED (Egypt) expressed deep concern over the grave threat to humanity from a few States continuing to possess nuclear weapons. Rising global tensions and modernization of nuclear arsenals has increased the risk to one of the highest levels ever of the intentional or accidental use of those weapons. This nightmare is unnerving and distressing. In the Middle East, he reaffirmed the importance of the conference on establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone, which aims to reach arrangements, freely arrived at among all in the region, through consensus and an inclusive, institutional process. It is a genuine endeavour to achieve a longstanding agreed international commitment in a non-discriminatory manner without singling out any State in the region.
GERARDO PEÑALVER PORTAL (Cuba) said that the world seems to have forgotten the consequences of the atomic bombs dropped by the United States on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of people. It is appalling that 13,000 nuclear weapons exist today — more than enough to destroy the entire world. In addition, these arsenals are being modernized. His country regrets that the last two NPT Review Conferences failed, further distancing humankind from a world free of nuclear weapons. Against this background, he applauded the entry into force of the TPNW as the first international norm to codify the illegality of nuclear weapons in international law by categorically banning their existence, and he called for its universalization. Cuba is proud to be in a region free of nuclear weapons. It rejects a military posture based on deterrence, as well as attempts to legitimize the status quo. Cuba also rejects unilateral measures, such those imposed by the United States against his country, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
PETER MOHAN MAITHRI PIERIS (Sri Lanka) warned that “we are in a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants”, knowing more about war than peace and killing than living. In the face of a “bad propensity to flirt with suicidal tendencies”, the world is undoubtedly experiencing the worst aggression seen in recent times. Sitting in the Committee’s “artificially tranquil environment” can make delegates feel detached from the actual human suffering these abominable weapons cause, he said. This generation literally has the power to end time for all humanity by destroying the past, the present and future. Recalling the experience of a young girl, Ms. Matsumoto, who described the suffering in Nagasaki, he said the devastating effects of nuclear weapons are truly an existential threat to humanity. An entrenched belief in nuclear deterrence as a defence strategy and a lack of progress on the NPT's first pillar of disarmament prevents mankind from reaching a more peaceful world, free of the fear of nuclear annihilation. He further called on States to join his country in ratifying the CTBT and TPNW.
AMANDA GORELY (Australia), acknowledging Israel’s right to self-defence, expressed condolences for all those affected, both Israelis and Palestinians. She warned that the global trend in the reduction of nuclear weapons stockpiles is at risk of reversing, as exemplified by the Russian Federation’s actions, including its illegal invasion of Ukraine and nuclear threats. Australia calls on the Russian Federation to end the war in Ukraine and cease “actions that take us further from a world free of nuclear weapons”. She urged nuclear-armed States to declare and uphold a moratorium on fissile material production, while highlighting the importance of the CTBT entry into force. “The principle and practice of transparency is indispensable for nuclear disarmament,” she said. She condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s ongoing development of illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and expressed concern about Iran’s failure to adequately address IAEA safeguards issues.
AHMAD FAISAL MUHAMAD (Malaysia) stated that the international community’s efforts to advance peace, security and sustainable development remain blighted by unacceptable nuclear risks. All military policies and doctrines featuring nuclear weapons rest fundamentally on the real threat that they can and will be used, inflicting catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences. The grand bargain underpinning the NPT cannot remain a distant dream, constantly deferred by considerations of strategic stability that hold sway among nuclear-weapon States. States parties must overcome the deep trust deficit. It is imperative that all NPT obligations and commitments — particularly of nuclear-weapon States — are fully implemented. He also urged the remaining CTBT Annex II States to sign and ratify that Treaty.
Mr. MARGARIS (Greece) regretted that the first preparatory committee for the eleventh NPT review concluded without a factual report. He stressed the vital importance of an immediate commencement of negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty within the Conference on Disarmament. Asserting that "a nuclear accident anywhere, is a nuclear accident everywhere", he said the repercussions of the nuclear tragedies of 1986 and 2011 still “affect our common conscience”. It is crucial, therefore, for every country to prioritize and adhere to the highest standards of safety and security in the nuclear industry. He urged all States to implement the IAEA safeguards agreements.
CAMILLE PETIT (France) noted that her Government has taken considerable unilateral disarmament measures within the framework of the NPT, including irreversible dismantling of facilities for producing fissile materials for nuclear weapons, the complete dismantling of its ground-based component, halving the number of nuclear weapons, reducing the sea-based and airborne component by one third, and closure of the Pacific test site. She strongly condemned the violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, and its use of irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, as well as attacks on energy infrastructure, including nuclear. Further, she deplored Moscow’s suspension of its participation in the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and voiced concern over the announcement that it might reconsider its ratification of the CTBT.
Mr. ESCAIG (Sweden) noted that the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament highlighted the need to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons use. While it is no substitute for disarmament, risk reduction measures can enable disarmament progress by lowering tensions, building trust and paving the way for additional practical steps. Sweden also emphasizes the need for the entry into force of CTBT and urges the remaining Annex II States to ratify it. The recent announcement by the Russian Federation regarding a possible reconsideration of its CTBT ratification is concerning. A recent success story is nuclear disarmament verification. The International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification and the Quad Nuclear Verification Partnership continue to deliver concrete insights into future verification requirements. “Be ambitious but realistic,” she said, adding that reducing the risk of nuclear weapons use is urgent.
ROBERT IN DEN BOSCH (Netherlands) noted that rebuilding trust, which is extremely low due to the current security environment, will require Member States to make use of mechanisms already in place or “still in place”, such as the CTBT and New START. Trust has always been a scarce commodity in disarmament and non-proliferation. Given the circumstances, a mere call to rebuild trust would be too simple. He re-emphasized a call on the Russian Federation to immediately return to compliance with New START and to fulfil its obligations. The inability to reach a consensus on concrete recommendations to the Preparatory Committee for the 2026 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference is regrettable, he said, voicing support to the Chair’s working paper recommendations. Noting that all nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon States need to report regularly on their undertakings, he called for increased transparency on nuclear arsenals, doctrines and risk-reduction measures to rebuild a climate of trust. Four of the five nuclear-weapon States have declared a moratorium on the production of fissile material. “Now, it is a matter for the fifth and last to do the same,” he added.
Mr. HIMMLER (Germany) stating that, since last year, several events have aided the deterioration of international security and continued a downward trend in arms control and disarmament. “Do we, under these circumstances, still believe that progress on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation can be achieved?” Germany says yes, he said. He highlighted the need for concrete steps to be taken towards this goal, urging the Russian Federation to reverse its decision to suspend implementation of the New START Treaty, and respond to the United States’ repeated offers for renewed dialogue on arms control. He likewise called on China to open up to dialogue with the United States about its nuclear programme and their joint responsibility for strategic stability.
NICHOLAS CLUTTERBUCK (New Zealand) said that reversing the perilous state of the global security environment requires urgent and meaningful nuclear disarmament progress. Turning to the New Agenda Coalition’s (NAC) resolution on accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments, he said it lays out a way forward in response to global concern about rising nuclear rhetoric and the risk of nuclear weapon use. Expressing deep disappointment with the lack of progress at Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conferences and this year’s Working Group and preparatory committee, he pledged to work with the New Agenda Coalition partners to push for the implementation of the NPT nuclear disarmament obligations. New Zealand sponsors key resolutions on nuclear disarmament, including on the Test-Ban Treaty, the TPNW, as well as on a nuclear-weapon-free Southern Hemisphere. It also co-sponsors the text on the legacy and humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, among others.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in exercise of the right of reply, rejected allegations against his country by the European Union and Australia. The Union should make judgements impartially and objectively. It is obsessed with an anachronistic cold-war mentality and bloc diplomacy and blindly dancing to the tune of the United States, which is indulging in hegemony and high-handedness. It is untenable that the Union is seeking peace and security at the cost of the security interests of other countries. On Security Council resolutions against his country, the Union should look closely at the UN Charter principles, such as respect for sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. He urged Brussels to understand the security environment facing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He cited the United States’ aircraft carrier’s port of call in the Korean Peninsula in the wake of its maritime interdiction drills with Japan and the Republic of Korea. The Union should come to its senses, lest it become “a ball boy of the United States”. Australia is not qualified to lecture on non-proliferation. It must stop its partnership with the United States, which seriously undermines the global non-proliferation regime.
The representative of the Russian Federation cited accusations by a number of Western nations against his country, which are “nothing more than the latest element of a brazen anti-Russian campaign”. His country’s doctrines on nuclear deterrence are laid out with the utmost clarity and are purely defensive. The present international security situation has deteriorated to a perilous level due to the West’s culpability. Given the belligerent rhetoric from those capitals, he stressed that the Russian Federation was compelled to address mounting strategic risks, including the United States’ and NATO’s dangerous expansion threatening his country’s core interests, balancing on the brink of direct military confrontation.
He noted that Washington and its allies seem confident in their ability to control escalation and project force on Moscow — a dangerous delusion fraught with catastrophic consequences. “This is why we sent our signals and warnings to the West,” he said, adding that “it’s not a threat. It’s the classic logic of deterrence.” Moscow’s suspension of the New Start Treaty is the logical outcome of a profound degradation of Russian-American relations for which Washington is to blame. That Government ignored the principle of indivisible security and relations based on trust, directly violating the central quantitative limitations under the Treaty and providing the Kyiv regime with military, technical and intelligence assistance.
The representative of Israel, in right of reply, rejected the Non-Aligned Movement’s claim that her country is a threat to the region, and pointed to the recent terrorist atrocities committed by Hamas. Such organizations are the real threat. She is concerned about Iran’s continuous violations of its IAEA safeguards obligations and its lack of cooperation with the Agency on investigations related to undeclared nuclear activities.
Reflecting on dark times marked by tragic loss of life, she stressed the evil nature of Hamas, a proxy for Iran. “All you need in order to destroy everything that is good in this world is hate,” she said, stressing that “hate will not prevail, because of the people of Israel, who stand in its way.”
Exercising his right of reply, the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic responded to the European Union representative’s statement on his country’s cooperation with the IAEA. The item under consideration by the Agency’s governors on implementing the safeguard agreements in the Syrian Arab Republic “represents one of the negative aspects of the use of some countries of this Agency to serve their own political interests”. The Syrian Arab Republic has transparently cooperated with the IAEA and “spared no efforts” in settling all matters. The Agency’s annual reports attest to this. There is clearly a mix-up of legally binding commitments and voluntary procedures. This, he said, is an attempt at political manipulation.
The representative of China, in right of reply, stressed that his country keeps nuclear arsenals at a minimum level to defend its security. Beijing will not participate in a nuclear arms race with any country. He promised his country will not use nuclear weapons in any nuclear-weapon-free zone. China improves its strategic capacity because of the need for national defence, for modernizing aging arsenals and for making nuclear equipment safer. Other nuclear-weapon States do the same thing. As long as anyone does not use nuclear weapons against his country, Beijing will not do so. China is the only “P5” nuclear Power that declared non-use against other States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. Whose policy is more transparent than this, he asked. Some nuclear-weapon States claim that they are transparent about the quantity of nuclear weapons they possess, but will not promise no-first-use.
The representative of Iran, in right of reply, categorically rejected the baseless and unfounded allegations levelled against his country by the representative of the Israeli regime — which totally fit that regime’s practice after seven decades of occupation of Palestinian territory. In that time, the regime has committed all four core crimes of international law: crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing. Stressing that millions of Palestinians have been displaced worldwide, their homes and farms demolished, with tens of thousands killed, he recalled that parts of Lebanon and the Syrian Golan remain under occupation. He stated that “targeted killing — a term which this regime has invented” for its terrorism, assassinations within occupied Palestinian territory and on foreign soil — remains official policy.
It is not surprising, he said, that those who demand that Iran unilaterally implement the Joint Programme of Action wilfully ignore all wrongdoing by that regime, including its failure to comply with non-proliferation agreements and refusal to submit its military nuclear programme to IAEA safeguards. Ironically, that regime — with its long history of clandestine and covert operations — accuses Iran of violating the Joint Programme of Action, “the same accord whose destruction they helped facilitate with the previous United States Administration”. Recalling the Israeli Prime Minister’s threat of Iran’s nuclear annihilation, his country took it very seriously, as “words have meanings”.