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The start of a series of high-level speakers addressing the CD

Gabriella Irsten | Reaching Critical Will of WILPF

The Conference on Disarmament met in a short plenary on Thursday, 24 February to listen to Ms. Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh.

For the third year in a row, Ms. Moni addressed the Conference on Disarmament to outline Bangladesh’s views on multilateral disarmament negotiations. Ms. Moni expressed her support to the CD, stating that Bangladesh believes “that nuclear disarmament issues should be negotiated by this Conference, as it is the only body with membership of all nuclear capable states, rather then looking for alternative arrangement.” However, she also emphasized the growing changes in the world, such as people’s aspiration for democracy and development and the current economic crises, arguing that “in the midst of these upheavals and tectonic shift, disarmament seems like an island in splendid isolation, tranquil and unaffected.” She furthermore emphasized the inter-dependence of economic, social, and environmental agendas, recognizing the need for the Conference to become more open and accessible to other relevant stakeholders.

She raised her concern that the current expansion of states’ arsenals, military expenditure, and modernization of weapons of mass destruction will only worsen insecurity and uncertainty. As Bangladesh is signatory to all major multilateral disarmament treaties, Ms. Moni also gave support for establishing legally-binding negative security assurances and highlighted that the establishment of nuclear weapon free zones could be an interim step towards this goal. She also saw value in starting negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty that includes existing stocks and called to the “major space-faring nations to avert weaponization of the outer space.”   

Finally she highlighted the importance of putting a stop to the proliferation of conventional arms, such as through the current arms trade treaty process and by “putting an end to the inhumane and unauthorized use of anti-personal landmines”.

Notes from the gallery 
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is also a strong supporter of highlighting the connections between disarmament, development, human rights, and the environment and will dedicate its International Women’s Day Seminar this year to considering ways to bring disarmament issues into the Human Rights Council and other human rights mechanisms. This event will be held on 7 March 2012 from 13:00–15:00 in the Palais des Nations, Room IV. Please contact disarm@wilpf.ch for more information.

Next meeting
The next plenary meeting will be held on Tuesday, 28 February at 10:00 am, when high representative of Kazakhstan, Jordan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Kirgizstan, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Indonesia will address the Conference.