S T A T E M E N T
BY H.E. MR. L.ERDENECHULUUN, MINISTER FOR
FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MONGOLIA AT THE 
CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT

                 23 May 2001

 

Mr. President,

 1. It is a distinct honour and privilege and, indeed, a pleasure for me to be amongst the disarmament colleagues and share with you Mongolia’s perception and views on some key issues related to international security, arms limitation and disarmament.  

 2. This year is special for the Mongolian people as it marks the 80th anniversary of the people’s revolution and the 40th anniversary of our membership in the United Nations. I mention these events not solely because of their historical significance for my people, but also because of their relevance and role in shaping my country’s foreign policy. One of its priorities has always been the strengthening of international peace and security, promotion of the disarmament process with a view to attaining the ultimate goal of general and complete disarmament. 

 3. But as the world enters the new century and, indeed, the new millennium does it find itself closer to that collective goal? Has the international community succeeded in making the global disarmament process a sustainable one? And do we live now in a world less or more safe? There is, I am afraid, no simple answers to these questions. As we review the progress in the area of arms limitation, disarmament and non-proliferation, our reaction can at best be termed as mixed. While there has been certain movement forward in some areas, there has been little or no progress in others.

 4. The 2000 NPT Review Conference in its Final Document included a number of agreed conclusions and recommendations related to nuclear disarmament. For the first time ever all the nuclear-weapon States made “an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to total nuclear disarmament to which all States parties are committed under Article VI”. The Conference also agreed on the necessity of establishing in the Conference on Disarmament an appropriate subsidiary body with a mandate to deal with nuclear disarmament. It called for an immediate establishment of such a body. The Conference also called for further efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally and for further reductions of non-strategic nuclear weapons based on unilateral initiatives as an integral part of the nuclear disarmament process. A call has been made for the engagement, as soon as appropriate, of all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear arsenal. These constitute an important statement of purpose and, if translated into practice, will open the way to practical nuclear disarmament measures.

 5. With respect to the strategic arms reductions Mongolia underlines the importance of an early entry into force of the CTBT and START II treaties. We also look forward to further practical steps leading to substantial and meaningful reductions in nuclear arsenals within the START III process and other multilateral negotiations with an involvement of the other nuclear states.

 6. In the context of the CTBT, Mongolia looks forward to the upcoming  Conference to be held this fall in New York to facilitate the entry into force of the CTBT. The importance of its earliest possible entry into force becomes even more compelling in the light of the activities that could seriously undermine the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

 7. The credibility of the CTBT and other international instruments prohibiting weapons of mass destruction depend to a great extent on the effectiveness of their verification regime. We welcome the efforts aimed at ensuring the reliable operation of the existing control and monitoring systems under the CTBT and the CWC and undertaking measures to improve the verification mechanism of BWC.

 8. A growing emphasis placed of late on nuclear weapons in military doctrines is a cause of increasing concern. It is, therefore, only natural that countries like Mongolia favour the adoption of such steps as de-alerting of nuclear weapons, removal of nuclear warheads from delivery vehicles, joint undertakings by the nuclear-weapon powers of a pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. These are essential safety measures that would reduce the risk of unauthorized or miscalculated use of nuclear weapons. In addition, provision should be made for legally binding negative security assurances to non-nuclear States-parties to the NPT as has become customary for NWS in signing Protocols to nuclear-weapon free zone treaties. In this context, Mongolia welcomed the proposal by the Secretary-General to convene a major international conference aimed at identifying ways of eliminating nuclear dangers. We hope that this timely proposal will be given serious consideration by the international community with a view to determining its optimal scope and timing.

 9. My delegation also believes that it is important for the Conference on Disarmament to engage in earnest negotiations on an early conclusion of a universal and verifiable Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty. Pending the negotiation of that treaty we would welcome a moratorium by the nuclear-weapon-States on the production of weapons grade fissile materials and for greater transparency through disclosure of their present stocks. Better still, we would urge the United Nations to establish a Register for all stocks of weapons grade fissile material. This would help establish an important balance with the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

 10. Mongolia emphasizes the vital importance of preserving the spirit of the ABM Treaty, a cornerstone of strategic stability, the validity of which has not lessened over the years. Bearing in mind the fact that undermining the treaty could trigger an uncontrollable nuclear arms race, Mongolia welcomed last year the US decision to postpone the deployment of a National Missile Defense System. The recent US proposals for a new defence policy, including the establishment of missile defences would inevitably impact upon global security and strategic stability. While welcoming the readiness of the US Administration to consult with others regarding their plans to deploy NMD, Mongolia believes that such consultations should fully take into account broader security context and implications of these plans and the necessity of preserving the global strategic stability.  

 11. Mongolia shares the legitimate concern of the world community over the global proliferation of small arms and light weapons which are the principal instruments of death wherever conflicts and wars occur. We hope that the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, scheduled for this summer will result in practical measures designed to tighten control, curb the spread and destroy surplus weapons.

 12. Well over a decade after the demise of the Cold war the world has been witnessing a new surge in defence spending accompanied by a booming new business in arms exports, disturbing signs of shift in military doctrines and priorities underlines, in our view, the urgent need to agree on the objectives, agenda and timing for convening the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament (SSOD IV). It could assess both the achievements and setbacks experienced over the past years in the global disarmament efforts and chart a new vision in the early years of the new century towards further reduction and elimination of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction as well as control, limitation and elimination of some categories of conventional weapons.

 13. Mongolia strongly advocates consolidation of existing and establishment of new nuclear-weapon-free zones, which serve as an important component of nuclear non-proliferation with a positive impact on regional security and stability. We believe that the principles and guidelines on the establishment of NWFZs adopted by the UN Disarmament Commission in 1999 will play a significant role in that regard.    

 14. As is known, Mongolia declared in 1992 its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone that was widely supported by the international community. Since then we have come a long way. As a follow-up to its declaration the Parliament of Mongolia adopted in February 2000 a law on Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status thus institutionalizing it at the national level. The General Assembly at its 53rd and 55th sessions adopted resolutions (53/77D, 55/33S) on “Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status”. At the last session of the General Assembly the P5 made a joint statement providing security assurances to Mongolia in connection with its nuclear-weapon-free status. We consider it an important step along the road to institutionalizing that status at the international level.

 15. Last but not least, I wish to emphasize the vital role played over the years by the Conference on Disarmament, the sole multilateral negotiating body of disarmament issues, in concluding a series of multilateral arms control and disarmament treaties. It is of crucial importance now to break the ongoing deadlock, that has captured the CD for over the last few years, through display of the necessary political will with a view to starting discussion of substantive issues on its agenda. In this regard, Mongolia considers the Amorim proposal contained in document CD/1624 as a sound basis for further consultations. At the same time our position is flexible and we are ready to consider any proposal that may facilitate the start of a substantive work within the CD. We  see no problem with starting negotiations on fissile material cut-off treaty and concurrently move to promote other disarmament objectives.

 16. Mongolia stands committed to our concerted efforts towards a safer world.