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Intervention of the Deputy FM, I. Amanatidis, during the Conference on Disarmament (UN, Geneva)
At the outset I would like to congratulate you on the assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament and to wish you all the success in your endeavors.
It is indeed an honour for me to address once again the Conference on Disarmament, the single permanent negotiating forum for disarmament, which has from its inception, set the framework for numerous important multilateral treaties that guided the global community through détente, to the post-Cold War environment. In today’s turbulent world, the Conference on Disarmament is called to once again stand up to the challenges the international community is confronted with. Today it is more important than ever that the longstanding deadlock is broken by restarting negotiations on pivotal issues such as the Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty (FMCT), which is after all the 'next logical step' towards nuclear disarmament and at the same time, to address other pressing issues in the field of disarmament.
We believe that Resolution 71/259, titled “ Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”, voted in the UN General Assembly, is guiding the process in the positive direction as it calls upon states to “. . . consider and make recommendations on substantial elements of a future non-discriminatory, multilateral internationally and effectively verifiable treaty, banning production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. . .”
At the same time we cannot ignore the fact that deliberations during the 71rst UNGA were also divisive. That was the case of the Resolution 71/258 “Taking forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations” which established a negotiating mandate for a legally binding treaty aimed at banning nuclear weapons.
In our view it is high time we left behind the current inertia of this important negotiating forum and take advantage of important initiatives regularly tabled in the UN First Committee. As in previous years, Greece, along with the rest of the EU member states, supported Resolution 71/259 on the "Treaty Banning the Prohibition of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or other Nuclear Explosive Devices (FMCT)". We remain steadfast in the belief that, in the effort to achieve in the long run a world free of nuclear weapons, the way forward towards complete and verifiable nuclear disarmament is through a realistic step-by-step approach. An appropriate first step would be a fissile material treaty.
Allow me now to turn to an issue to which Greece attaches great importance, given that we are the longest-standing observer of the CD, since 1982. I am referring to the question of enlargement, which is foreseen in Rule 2 of the CD Rules of Procedure, according to which "The membership of the Conference will be reviewed at regular intervals". We are of the view that there is no reason or moral justification to exclude UN member States from disarmament discussions, all the more so because of the universal nature of the United Nations. In a time when universal challenges require collective solutions through global partnerships, it is indeed an anachronism to restrict participation in negotiations on disarmament issues to only sixty five countries. It is equally counterproductive to hold Enlargement hostage to bilateral issues which have absolutely no relevance to the subject matter of the Conference on Disarmament.
In conclusion, Mr. President, given the multiple challenges which the world is facing today in the field of global security, we believe that the CD cannot afford to remain in constant deadlock and should finally begin substantive work, through the adoption of a Programme of Work. Recent initiatives in the First Committee, the inauguration of the 2020 NPT review cycle and the increasingly fragile global security environment, have set the stage for a constructive outlook.
Greece stands ready, as a responsible member of the international community, which participates in all of the principal instruments in the field of disarmament, to contribute constructively, in order for the CD to shed its stasis.
Thank you Mr. President.