Almost interactive discussions at the CD
28 January 2015
On Wednesday, 28 January 2015, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) held discussions on the conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, the model nuclear weapons convention, and a fissile aterial cut-off treaty (FMCT). Austria, Costa Rica, France, United States, Germany, Ireland, and the Russian Federation delivered presentations and Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Belarus, India, Costa Rica, Chile, United Kingdom, Algeria, Spain, Pakistan, Canada, and China participated in the ensuing discussion. The Permanent Representative of Canada, Ambassador Elissa Golberg, shared some departing remarks and Finland delivered a general statement.
Presentations on how to advance agenda items
- Austria informed the CD about the Third Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons that took place in Vienna on 8-9 December 2014. Ambassador Alexander Kmentt outlined the main conclusions from the Chair’s summary and introduced the Austrian Pledge, in which the Austrian government commits itself to “identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.”
- Costa Rica presented the model nuclear weapons convention, which was submitted to the UN General Assembly by Costa Rica and Malaysia. Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez outlined the model treaty’s main elements, including scope, stages of disarmament and destruction of nuclear weapons, and verification.
- France and the United States outlined their national views on an FMCT, including their views on the aspects that need to be taken into consideration with regard to scope, verification, and possible negotiations.
- Germany drew attention to the so-called four core issues of the CD agenda and the “building-blocks” approach to nuclear disarmament.
- Ireland highlighted the paper introduced to the 2014 Preparatory Committee of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by the New Agenda Coalition on Effective Measures to implement Article VI of the NPT.
- The Russian Federation recalled the Chinese-Russian Draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT).
Highlights from the discussions
- Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Belarus, India, Costa Rica, and Chile welcomed the Vienna Conference and the outcomes outlined in the Chair’s summary.
- Costa Rica and Mexico announced that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States will endorse the Austrian Pledge tomorrow, after formal confirmation by the heads of states.
- In responding to questions, Ambassador Kmentt of Austria stressed that the existence and possession rather than the use of nuclear weapons are the problem, and that therefore elimination of nuclear weapons is key.
- The United Kingdom reiterated that it will retain a “credible minimum nuclear deterrent” as nuclear weapons provide “strategic stability” and security. Currently, its nuclear submarines carry 40 warheads, no more that 8 operational missiles, resulting in no more than 120 operationally available warheads in total.
- In response to the UK’s statement, Algeria expressed confusion about the recognition of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons while stressing the stability and security they ensure. Mr. Kehlif hoped that further discussions would shed light on how nuclear weapons could provide stability.
- During the debate following the presentations on an FMCT, member states recalled existing positions, criticisms, and concerns.
- Belarus suggested creating a questionnaire to collect member states views on aspects and scope of an FMCT.
The next plenary will be held tomorrow, 29 January at 10:00 in the Council Chamber.