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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries, Croatia*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Montenegro*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this declaration.

Mr. Chairman,

1. First, allow me to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of the 2011 session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) as well as all members of the Bureau. The EU looks forward to working closely with you to achieve a successful outcome of our session.

2. The EU recognizes the importance of the UNDC as the specialised, deliberative body within the United Nations multilateral disarmament machinery allowing for in-depth deliberations on specific disarmament issues. The EU welcomes the work carried out last year by both Working Group I, dealing with “Recommendations for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons”, as well as Working Group II, deliberating on the “Elements of a draft declaration of the 2010s as the fourth disarmament decade”. We look forward to working closely with you, Mr. Chairman, and with the Chairmen of the Working Groups, giving also consideration to the “Practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons“, before concluding our three-year cycle.

3. The EU welcomes a renewed momentum in global disarmament and non-proliferation as illustrated, among others, by the successful 2010 NPT Review Conference and the entry into force of the New START Treaty, as well as by important events in the field of conventional arms, such as the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. We reaffirm our commitment to treaty-based arms control and disarmament and underline the need to renew multilateral efforts and to strengthen and reactivate multilateral instruments. Within this context, we aim to make the best possible use of the UNDC.

Mr. Chairman,

4. Reinforcing the non-proliferation regime should be a key priority for all States in order to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The proliferation of such materials to non-state actors is one of the greatest threats to our common security. The EU therefore is an active supporter of the rigorous implementation of UNSCR 1540 and 1887. The EU currently works on a new Decision providing financial assistance in facilitation of its work.

5. For the EU, the NPT remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and an important element in the responsible development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Hence, the EU welcomes the adoption by consensus of the final document of the 2010 Review Conference and is highly committed to the implementation of all the action plans related to the three treaty pillars. The EU is also committed to the full implementation of the understandings reached at the NPT RevCon concerning the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East and the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery in that region.

6. As to the Seminar in support of the process leading to a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery to be organised in 2011, the EU is actively engaged in its preparation and calls upon all States in the region to participate in this seminar in the most constructive spirit.

7. Universal adherence to and rigorous implementation of all obligations of the NPT are key to international security. The treaty’s regime is particularly challenged by the nuclear proliferation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The EU deplores that Iran continues to fail to address serious concerns on the nature of its nuclear programme. Iran ´ s refusal to fully cooperate with the IAEA and to implement the Additional Protocol contrary to the relevant resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council, precludes the resolution of outstanding issues, in particular those pointing to a possible military dimension. Thus, the IAEA remains unable to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities and remains concerned about possible undisclosed activities, which might also be related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. The EU reiterates its commitment to seek a comprehensive, long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations in accordance with UNSCR 1929. The EU High Representative has continued her efforts to engage Iran into a phased approach of confidence building but, so far, Iran has not shown readiness to take up this opportunity.

8. The EU highlights the indispensable role of the IAEA in verifying States’ compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations. The EU reiterates its call for the universal conclusion of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols, which together form today’s verification standard. The EU also stresses the key role of the Agency in ensuring a responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in the best safety, security and non-proliferation conditions, by countries wishing to develop their capacities in this field. In this context, the EU supports the further development and the implementation of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle.

9. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is of crucial importance to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The renewed political commitments to pursue ratifications of the CTBT, in particular by Annex 2 States, and recent progress in the build-up of the its verification regime give new impetus to our efforts to achieve the earliest possible entry into force of this key treaty. Pending the entry into force of the treaty, we urge all states to abide by a moratorium and to refrain from any actions that are contrary to the obligations and provisions of the CTBT.

10. Regarding the Conference on Disarmament, the EU attaches great importance to the immediate commencement of negotiations on a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (FMCT), including verification provisions, on the basis of the mandate contained in document CD/1299. Pending entry into force of such a Treaty, we call upon all states concerned to declare and uphold an immediate moratorium on the production of such material. The adoption of the 2009 Programme of Work contained in document CD/1864 demonstrated that the start of negotiations on an FMCT is within reach. During its first special session devoted to disarmament, the General Assembly attached great importance to the participation of all states possessing nuclear weapons in the negotiating body which is now the Conference on Disarmament. The EU welcomed the High-Level Meeting in September 2010 aimed at the revitalisation of the CD and stands ready to contribute to further efforts in ensuring effective follow-up to it.

Mr Chairman,

11. In this three-year cycle (2009-2011), the EU has underlined that the UNDC should devote adequate attention to conventional weapons, including the full implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).

12. The EU is strongly committed to improving the international and regional responses to the harmful and destabilising effects of unregulated transfers of conventional weapons and their diversion to the illicit market, Thorough legislation in the area of transfers of conventional weapons is already in place in the EU and is implemented by all EU Member States.

13. The EU strongly supports the concept of an international Arms Trade Treaty and is actively participating in and promoting the process leading towards its realisation. The EU welcomes the positive results of the sessions of the Preparatory Committee held in New York in July 2010 and February-March 2011 ahead of a UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty to meet in 2012 to elaborate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms.

14. In addressing the challenges of illicit trade in small arms and light weapons the EU remains committed to working with all UN Member States within the framework of the 2001 UN Programme of Action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. The EU continues to consider this international instrument as the main multilateral framework to respond to challenges posed by the illicit trade and excessive accumulation of SALW. In the run-up to the 2012 Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action, we look forward to participating in the discussions of the forthcoming Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts in May 2011.

15. The EU believes that the Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts to be held in May 2011 could be an occasion to apply a pragmatic and results-driven approach in enhancing the implementation of the PoA. In this regards, marking and tracing of SALW seems to be a pertinent and substantial issue to discuss. We are also convinced that time is ripe for a more strategic assessment of the efforts that the international community has spent to address the risks posed by the illicit trade and excessive accumulation of SALW. The 2012 Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action should provide the occasion for UN Member States to assess thoroughly the level of implementation of the UN PoA, eleven years after its adoption, to consider its adequacy to respond to SALW-related threats, and to take the right decisions to further improve the UN PoA and speed up its implementation.

16. In the view of the EU, international cooperation continues to be a key element in ensuring the full implementation of relevant international, regional, sub-regional and national instruments aiming at preventing SALW illicit trade and excessive accumulation. Guided by the its 2005 SALW Strategy, the EU continues to support third countries’ efforts to tackle trafficking in SALW. We assist third States and regional organizations in their implementation of the UN Programme of Action as well as other relevant instruments, such as the International Marking and Tracing Instrument and the UN Firearms Protocol. We also continue to work on the elaboration of innovative tools and practices to prevent the illicit trade of SALW, in particular via air.

17. Transparency in military matters, including international arms transfers and military spending, continues to be in our view a major confidence building measure that deserves further attention. The EU reiterates its strong support for the UN Register on Conventional Arms and the UN Standardised Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures. We encourage all UN Member States to contribute to the success of both instruments by regularly submitting their national reports. We are equally convinced that in order to remain relevant the UN Register on Conventional Arms should also include an additional category devoted to Small Arms and Light Weapons.

18. The EU welcomes the substantial progress achieved in the universalisation and implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction. The financial and political support provided by the EU and its Member States to mine action has been substantial. Our support has focused on the promotion of the universalisation of the Convention, assistance to State Parties in complying with their obligations, including stockpile destruction, clearing mined areas, risk education and assisting victims. The EU is committed to implementing the Cartagena Action Plan and is working on a specific Decision to support it.

19. The EU remains firmly committed to responding to the humanitarian problems caused by cluster munitions. The EU considers it essential to make strong commitments in this area, which are likely to have concrete results on the ground vis-à-vis the victims of these weapons and thus to have a true humanitarian impact.

20. Furthermore, the EU welcomes the adoption of the Vientiane Action Plan 2010-2015 at the first Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Vientiane (Lao PDR) in November 2010.

21. The EU remains firmly committed to preserving and developing the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), which constitutes an essential part of international humanitarian law. We look forward to the 4th CCW Review Conference in Geneva, November 2011. A successful Review Conference will review, clarify and strengthen the existing obligations and their implementation. In our view, it should make progress on, or take into conclusion, the issues currently under discussion. It should also set perspectives for useful future work.

Mr. Chairman,

22. In conclusion, we wish you full success in your endeavours and assure you of the complete support of the EU Member States in this process.

* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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