Follow-up discussion from the high-level meetings

Gabriella Irsten | Reaching Critical Will of WILPF

The Conference on Disarmament met on Tuesday, 6 March to hear statements from representative of Algeria, the New Agenda CoalitionIran, United Kingdom, United States, and Nigeria.


FMCT as a tool towards nuclear disarmament
All delegations taking the floor gave tribute to the outgoing Algerian ambassador Idriss Jazaïry. In Ambassador Jazaïry’s last statement to the CD, he stressed that the majority of members see nuclear disarmament as the priority and that starting negotiation of a fissile materials cut-off treaty (FMCT) “is an integral element” towards elimination nuclear weapons. He also argued that “[w]hen confronted with such huge stockpiles of destructive material, any international agreement in this regards that does not consider the question of the stockpiles would be of limited utility.” South African Ambassador Abdul Minty delivered a statement on behalf of the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) supporting negotiations on an FMCT and argued that it should “serve both nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation”. He also emphasized the importance of the linkage between nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and said that “progress on both fronts is therefore required”.  

Farewell statement from Ambassador Jazaïry
Ambassador Idriss Jazaïry deliberated on the so-called “policies of nuclear deterrence,” which he believes decrease any possibility of the elimination of nuclear weapons. He expressed his hope that the nuclear weapon states will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their military policies.

On the issue of the stalemate in the CD, Ambassador Jazaïry stated, “We should now pause and consider alternative solutions to find the way out of the impasse.” He also supported the CD Secretary-General’s call to hold a high-level conference and appoint special coordinators to review the CD agenda and procedures. However, he still believed “that new discussions on the agenda or on procedural issues as well as the transfer of the negotiation outside the scope of the Conference are unlikely to solve the substantial issues.”
Being one of the driving forces behind CD/1864, Ambassador Jazaïry emphasized his belief that this document remains the most “logical basis to engage in the search for a solution to our dilemma.” He also reiterated his suggestion from 31 January 2012 that a simplified programme of work could provide discussions in the CD.

Continued debate on the Middle East
Bothe the Algerian and the NAC representatives expressed support of further establishment of nuclear weapon free zones. Ambassador Jazaïry spoke on the possible zone in the Middle East, and stated that “the fact that one State from the region remains outside the treaty [NPT] and disposes of a nuclear arsenal is a source of tension because of the strategic unbalance it brings in the region.”

Mohammed Hassan Daryaei from the Iranian delegation delivered a reply to the US statement delivered on 28 February. Mr. Daryaei expressed disappointment that the US “chose to hastily react to our well-intentioned and constructive statement based on its monolithicstance versus Iran’s peaceful atomic programmes.” He continued by arguing that it seems that the “US foreign policy has long been taken hostage by its false and fabricated assumptions about Iran,” and that the US negative reaction on Iran’s statement on 28 February might give the “impression that the US is behind and supportive of all of these problems and challenges in the world[.]”

Mr. Daryaei argued that Iran is working with the IAEA and that inspections of Iran’s peaceful atomic programme, even beyond Iran’s current obligations, have not shown any evidence of the contrary. He believed that with its comments from the US delegation last week, it “intends to divert the attention of this body from the main problem of the CD, which is lack of progress in nuclear disarmament.”

Mr. Daryaei reiterated Iran’s right under the NPT to engage in peaceful uses of nuclear energy. He continued to question the US engagement in nuclear disarmament because of “baseless and biased allegations” towards Iran and other US activities, such as vertical proliferation, shared research between nuclear weapon states, deterrence policies, deployment of hundreds of nuclear weapons, military alliances and nuclear umbrellas, and the transfer of nuclear technology to non-NPT members in the Middle East that are operating outside IAEA safeguard monitoring,

US Ambassador, Laura Kennedy replied that the claimed US monolithic approach is false and stated that “the concerns over Iran’s nuclear program and non-compliance with its non-proliferation obligations have been the subject of numerous meetings of the Board of Governors of the IAEA and resolutions of the U.N. Security Council.” She continued by expressing support to the peaceful use of nuclear energy by any state but highlighted that this right comes with responsibilities.

Next meeting 
The next plenary meeting will be held on Thursday, 8 March at 9:30 am, when the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) will deliver its annual International Women’s Day statement.