[Disarmament] Conference on Disarmament, Statement by H.E. Amb. Hajnoczi
Allow me at the outset to commend you and your team for your leadership and efforts and assure you of the full support of my delegation. I also would also like to take this opportunity and congratulate Mr. Michael Møller for his appointment as Acting Secretary General of the CD. And I thank all six Presidencies of 2014 for their joining efforts towards overcoming the deadlock of the CD.
We share the strong belief in multilateralism that the UN-SG has expressed when he addressed the CD in January, stating that “a functional machinery can and must contribute substantially to international peace and security.” The Conference on Disarmament was established with a concrete mandate to negotiate multilateral treaties in the area of disarmament, which are of crucial importance for global security. In this regard, the continued deadlock of the CD should be of greatest concern to us. We have supported all efforts that would facilitate an agreement among member states of the Conference to overcome the impasse. We hope that the discussions in the re-established Informal Working Group will be able to assist efforts in this regard. I thank Amb. Gallegos and Amb. Woolcott for their continued leadership in this process.
We are pleased to see that the discourse on nuclear weapons has significantly developed during recent years. A 21st Century discourse on nuclear weapons must be comprehensive and take all aspects of nuclear weapons into account and include all communities and stakeholders that can contribute to this fundamental issue of human security.
The two international conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons in Oslo and Nayarit were pivotal for addressing the humanitarian consequences of a nuclear weapon explosion and the risks that this horrific scenario could become reality.
Austria has announced to host the third international conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons later this year. We are convinced that this debate plays a crucial role in underscoring the urgency of progress leading to the irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons. We are furthermore convinced that there is strong and growing momentum to firmly anchor the humanitarian imperative in the discussions about nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament.
The information gathered and the experience shared during the humanitarian conferences provide an important input into the work of the relevant multilateral fora mandated to advance nuclear disarmament for the achievement and maintenance of a world free of nuclear weapons. The Non-Proliferation Treaty is crucial in this regard. As the Austrian Foreign Minister, Sebastian Kurz, stated in his announcement of the Vienna Conference: “Nuclear disarmament is a global task and a collective responsibility. As a State Party committed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), Austria wants to do its share to achieve the goals of this treaty.“ Austria looks forward to working together with interested partners and to their suggestions during the preparations for the Conference. We deem it essential that the conference will demonstrate the shared commitment of the international community to advance the nuclear weapons discourse, no matter which approach individual states follow on the question of how to achieve and maintain a world free of nuclear weapons. We look forward to the active participation in the discussions at the Vienna conference later this year that is commensurate to the urgency of achieving that shared objective.
During the past year, a number of important initiatives were launched that have contributed to building momentum for multilateral nuclear disarmament. The Open-ended Working Group on “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” has clearly demonstrated that cleavages can be overcome through transparent, credible and trustful dialogue and a focus on shared objectives.
The OEWG has produced a substantive consensus report, which offers a range of options and suggestions on how to move forward by addressing various building blocks for a world free of nuclear weapons. The OEWG report, which was transmitted to the CD, provides a full range of ideas and suggestions on how to advance in the area of multilateral nuclear disarmament. We urge this body to consider these ideas and suggestions seriously.
The high level meeting of the UNGA on nuclear disarmament in September last year demonstrated that the urgency of this issue gains political support and awareness. Austria was pleased to underscore the importance it attaches to this matter through the participation of Federal President H.E. Heinz Fischer.
The Group of Governmental Experts established to make recommendations on possible aspects that could contribute to a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices will commence its work shortly. All these initiatives in the framework of the UN follow the same objective, and are mutually reinforcing and fully complementary with the goals and objectives of the NPT, its 2010 conclusions and recommendations for follow-on actions, as well as with the CD mandate.
We cannot see any benefit in limiting the membership to the CD. Looking at the last 16 years of stalemate, it has clearly not been a concept for success. Why not try differently and follow the successful concept of many other multilateral decision-making processes – based on inclusiveness and partnership? We support the call by the informal group of observer states to the CD. We strongly believe that a multilateral forum that negotiates treaties on vital human security issues should be open to all UN member states and provide for active civil society involvement.
Today, we will hear a statement by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, an NGO that conducts important work on the links between disarmament, development and human rights, including the equal presentation and participation of women and men. WILPF offers relevant contributions for the discussions in this forum. However, we cannot benefit from their input except for once a year, given that the CD keeps the voices of civil society out of its discussions. This should be corrected before civil society representatives themselves will turn away from this forum all together. Effective multilateralism also equals a participatory approach – and security for the people will never be achieved without the people. All options for reforming the CD structures and working methods should be explored.
I thank you.