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Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament

Norway had the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament from 13. June to 8. July. The Conference is suffering from being unable to agree on a programme of work since 1997. Some of the problems that the Conference are faced with are addressed in the opening and closing statements by the Norwegian President, ambassador Wegger C. Strømmen

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OPENING STATEMENT
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT
AMBASSADOR WEGGER CHR. STRØMMEN OF NORWAY
ON 16 JUNE 2005


Distinguished Colleagues,

We live at a time when terrorists have demonstrated that they are willing to use any method and any opportunity to kill innocent civilians, anywhere in the world.

At a time when terrorists are seeking access to nuclear material and weapons of mass destruction.

At a time when non-state actors are trading in nuclear material and other components that may threaten peace and stability.

At a time when, for the first time ever, we witness defection from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

At a time when there has been cast doubt about compliance with the NPT-provisions by States parties.

At a time when the process of nuclear disarmament is too slow and not sufficiently transparent.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Taken the dangerous global security situation into account one should assume that the appropriate international response would be to enhance joint efforts to address the problems. But is that the case?

No. We are faced with an extraordinary paradox: the gap between real threats and active pursuit of solutions has widened. Obviously, some progress has been made, like the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Moscow Treaty. But at the multilateral arena we have become paralyzed. Last month the NPT Review Conference ended with a final report in which we agreed who had been present, but with no single substantive recommendation. This has not happened since 1990, but I dare say that we needed joint international action even more in 2005 than 15 years ago.

And what about the Conference on disarmament? As you know we may soon celebrate a decade without agreement on a programme of work for the conference.

Distinguished Colleagues,

People outside this chamber must wonder. Do not members of the CD find nuclear disarmament, prohibition of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapon purposes and all the other issues on our agenda important enough to pursue?

It may not be so hard to explain that different Governments have different security priorities. But it is harder to explain that we keep these priorities hostage of each other, to the extent that we end up in total deadlock and impasse.

Distinguished Colleagues,

We keep telling each other that ”the CD must solve its problems”. But this has become an obscure approach. The CD has no problem to solve. What is the CD? The CD is a conference room, a secretariat and a number of Government envoys.

The CD is a potential tool. No more. No less.

We must stop believing that the impasse of the CD can be resolved by clever procedural drafting exercises among ourselves.

Distinguished Colleagues,

The passivity in this chamber is nothing but a reflection of insufficient political willingness in a number of capitals to negotiate treaty law, as we are mandated to do, in the disarmament field. I am convinced that if new or additional political willingness is mobilized in these capitals in favour of arms control negotiations, they will let us, the delegates here in Geneva, know.

As your president I will be at your disposal, at any time. Please let me know if you have news from your capitals. I will spare no effort and stand ready to conduct any kind of consultations you may wish to have on a possible programme of work. But I hope they could be based on, even the slightest, modification of existing instructions and positions on the outstanding issues which we all are familiar with.

Meanwhile, I intend to convene 4 formal plenary meetings, in addition to this one. They will take place on Thursday 23. June, Tuesday 28. June, Thursday 30. June and Thursday 7. July. As customary, delegations are invited at every meeting to make statements about issues relevant to security and disarmament, including so called ”new issues”. If delegations wish to make statements on the four subject matters from the CDs agenda identified in the ”food for thought”-paper, without prejudice to any order of priority between them or their priority in relation to other issues and bearing in mind that all of CDs agenda items are of utmost importance, I encourage these delegations to do so in the following order: matters related to nuclear disarmament at the meeting on 23. June, fissile material cut-off on 28. June, outer space on 30. June and security assurances on 7. July. If delegations find it more appropriate to make statements following the order of the adopted agenda of the CD they are of course most welcome to do so in the order they prefer.  

I thank you all.      

CDopeningstatement.doc

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CONCLUDING STATEMENT
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT
AMBASSADOR WEGGER CHR. STRØMMEN OF NORWAY
ON THURSDAY 7. JULY

 

Distinguished Colleagues,

Today is the last plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament under the Norwegian presidency.

On this occasion I regret to report to you that the Presidency has received no indications from any delegation that we are closer to a resolution with regard to a programme of work for the conference. This important outstanding issue has to be transferred to the in-coming President, the Ambassador of Pakistan, who I know are as keen as any of us to undo the knot that keeps the Conference deadlocked.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Four weeks ago I encouraged all of you to make statements on nuclear disarmament, fissile material cut off, outer space, security assurances and so-called ”new issues” on specific dates in order to facilitate a more orderly debate. The response has been remarkable. The national views of a great number of Governments are now on record in a systematic manner. I take this opportunity to thank all of you who participated in the discussions.

I can not judge whether the debate has brought us closer to a programme of work. Nonetheless, the records now show that there is a strong interest in addressing the real substantive issues. This is how it should be, at a time when we all are confronted with new and increasingly dangerous security challenges.

Distinguished Colleagues,

I encourage the up-coming presidencies and all interested delegations to study the records from the last four weeks to examine whether any issue is ripe to bring forward to a more in-depth study. The plenary meetings of the CD are also public and I equally encourage civil society and academia to analyze the records from their particular perspective and assist all of us in identifying prospects and opportunities – obviously bearing in mind that not all delegations have expressed themselves on all of the topics under discussion. The exercise was in no way meant to be scientific or exhaustive. Nevertheless, a broad range of views were expressed. Suggestions and proposals were made. Positions were explained. All this deserve further attention.

Distinguished Colleagues,

I will know hand over the Presidency to Pakistan. Before doing so I want to thank all of you for valuable support and encouragement. I thank the entire secretariat for assisting me in the most professional manner. The interpreters have been busy and deserve our admiration. I am also grateful to the group coordinators and other participants in the presidential consultations. You have all been outstandingly supportive and cooperative.

I thank you all.         

CDopeningstatement.doc

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

CONCLUDING STATEMENT
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT
AMBASSADOR WEGGER CHR. STRØMMEN OF NORWAY
ON THURSDAY 7. JULY

 

Distinguished Colleagues,

Today is the last plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament under the Norwegian presidency.

On this occasion I regret to report to you that the Presidency has received no indications from any delegation that we are closer to a resolution with regard to a programme of work for the conference. This important outstanding issue has to be transferred to the in-coming President, the Ambassador of Pakistan, who I know are as keen as any of us to undo the knot that keeps the Conference deadlocked.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Four weeks ago I encouraged all of you to make statements on nuclear disarmament, fissile material cut off, outer space, security assurances and so-called ”new issues” on specific dates in order to facilitate a more orderly debate. The response has been remarkable. The national views of a great number of Governments are now on record in a systematic manner. I take this opportunity to thank all of you who participated in the discussions.

I can not judge whether the debate has brought us closer to a programme of work. Nonetheless, the records now show that there is a strong interest in addressing the real substantive issues. This is how it should be, at a time when we all are confronted with new and increasingly dangerous security challenges.

Distinguished Colleagues,

I encourage the up-coming presidencies and all interested delegations to study the records from the last four weeks to examine whether any issue is ripe to bring forward to a more in-depth study. The plenary meetings of the CD are also public and I equally encourage civil society and academia to analyze the records from their particular perspective and assist all of us in identifying prospects and opportunities – obviously bearing in mind that not all delegations have expressed themselves on all of the topics under discussion. The exercise was in no way meant to be scientific or exhaustive. Nevertheless, a broad range of views were expressed. Suggestions and proposals were made. Positions were explained. All this deserve further attention.

Distinguished Colleagues,

I will know hand over the Presidency to Pakistan. Before doing so I want to thank all of you for valuable support and encouragement. I thank the entire secretariat for assisting me in the most professional manner. The interpreters have been busy and deserve our admiration. I am also grateful to the group coordinators and other participants in the presidential consultations. You have all been outstandingly supportive and cooperative.

I thank you all.         

CD. Closing statement.doc


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