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Informal Working Group re-established

Mia Gandenberger | Reaching Critical Will
3 March 2014

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) met on Monday, 3 March 2014 to adopt draft decision CD/WP.579 on the re-establishment of the Informal Working Group (IWG) for the 2014 session. After the adoption, the delegations of Mexico, India, France, Pakistan, Australia, and the United States took the floor.

The draft decision adopted today contains some changes compared to the draft introduced on 3 February 2014 and CD/1956/Rev.1. Three preambular paragraphs have been added referring to the CD’s agenda contained in CD/1965, stressing the importance of adopting and implementing a programme of work “at the earliest possible date in its 2014 session,” and referring to the rules of procedure , in particular rule 29.

In paragraph 2 dealing with the responsibilities of the CD President, “delegate his responsibility to” has been replaced with “shall be assisted by” a co-chair. In paragraph 5 the reference to the intersessional period between the 2014 and 2015 sessions has been deleted as well as paragraphs 6 and 7 of the first draft circulated in February 2014.

After the adoption, Mexico’s delegation warned about the CD becoming an end in itself and the representative of India pointed out that the work of the IWG does not reduce the responsibility of the CD to agree on a programme of work. India, France, and United States referred to CD/1864, that last programem of work agreed on in 2009, as a good starting point for future consensus. Pakistan reiterated that while member states of the CD have different priorities with regard to items on the CD’s agenda, security is paramount for any of those issues. Ambassador Woolcott, vice co-chair of the re-established IWG, underlined there should be no illusions about difficulties of agreeing on a programme of work within the IWG, but with almost a full year ahead, some progress might be achieved.

In the afternoon session the Ambassador of Ukraine addressed the CD and spoke about the current situation in his country. He described the events of the weekend and underlined the demand for an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory. He argued that the “act of invasion” presented a breach of the UN Charter as well as a serious threat to the territorial integrity of his country. The Ukrainian Ambassador also recalled several agreements between Ukraine and the Russian Federation and referred member states to a briefing note that was circulated to Missions in Geneva yesterday.

Expressing their support for the Ukrainian position and calling for a diplomatic solution, the United Kingdom, United States, France, Poland, and Germany took the floor.

The Russian Ambassador, while not agreeing with raising this issue in the CD, acknowledged that the current situation is an extraordinary one. He pointed out that the agreement of 21 February between Ukraine, Russia, and the European Union presents a solution that is not being implemented. He also referred to the statement delivered by Mr. Lavrov today in the Human Rights Council on this issue.

High-level segment

The statements delivered as part of the high-level segment of the CD will be discussed in a separate report that will be circulated on Thursday, 6 March after the segment has concluded.

Next plenary meeting

The next plenary meetings as part of the high-level segment will be held on Tuesday, 4 March at 10.00, Wednesday, 5 March at 11.00, and Thursday, 6 March at 10.00.

Agenda

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