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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
By
H.E. MR. LAURO L. BAJA, JR.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Open Debate on Resolution on Non-Proliferation
of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism
Security Council Chamber, 22 April 2004

 


Mr. President,

Thank you for convening this open meeting on the draft resolution on Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism. We accept and respect your technical veto on statements exceeding four minutes. It is fortuitous that your first speaker on the subject comes from the country which does not produce WMD, which has therefore nothing to proliferate, but which finds itself under the same obligations as other countries which do produce and has the capacity to produce WMD. I believe a great majority of your speakers, and of the UN membership, are in this similar and unique position.

It is also unique that while the measures mentioned in the resolution are directed to non-state actors, states have the onus to implement them.

My delegation therefore appreciates the timeliness of this open debate and the value of listening to the views of the general membership who would be implementing the resolution. Those who are to be bound should be heard. This is an essential element of a transparent and democratic process and is the best way to proceed on a resolution that demands legislative actions and executive measures from the UN’s 191 member States. In this regard, we acknowledge the initiative of the co-sponsors who presented the resolution to regional groups and discussed with them and other interested parties what is in the text and what is not in the text.

Mr. President,

We approach the subject through the prism of measures to combat terrorism, which constitutes threat to international peace and security. We believe that other states also do and that is why there is a consensus not only among the members of the Security Council but also in the general membership of the UN of the serious threat posed by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons (WMDs) falling into the hands of non-State actors that could be used for terrorism.

There is also general acceptance that there is a gap in existing non-proliferation regimes to address this threat. Addressing this serious threat now is the common ground from which we are all building on. A clear and present danger that non-state actors will take advantage of this gap requires exceptional responses.

We are aware that existing multilateral obligations on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons emanate from multilateral treaties that have resulted from negotiations in which all parties had closely examined and had agreed to be committed to their provisions. This resolution deviates from time-tested modes of creating multilateral obligations but my delegation essentially regards it as an exceptional measure to address a new and urgent potential threat not covered by existing treaty regimes. The Council is moving to a new phase of combating terrorism and if it is to play a crucial role, as it should, in combating this threat to international peace and security, its members will have to display extra measures of flexibility and realism in the issue.

Mr. President,

We note the positive elements which have been stressed by the co-sponsors of the draft, and which will help us support it, namely, the incorporation of the fulfillment of the obligations in relation to arms control and disarmament, peaceful settlement of disputes, and non-retroactivity of the resolution. We are also assured that the draft does not prelude future multilateral agreements on the subject, does not infringe on existing treaty regimes, nor hampers international cooperation in materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purpose, and does not ipso facto authorize enforcement action against states which fail or are unable to comply with the obligations decided under the resolution. We receive and accept these as articles of faith.

However, we seek further clarity in the definition of the mandate of the proposed committee. Based on the divergence of ideas on the timeframe of the Committee, it is clear that the co-sponsors have different ideas on the scope of the role of the Committee. We believe that the time frame of the Committee will be more easily decided once its mandate is clarified and agreed upon.

Mr. President,

Finally, we hope that the draft resolution on this item could be adopted by consensus to signify the seriousness and strong desire of the Council and the international opportunity to counter the threat posed by WMD falling into the hands of non-state actors. An authoritative pronouncement exerts an independent influence on state behavior even it imparts strong message to its intended recipients – the non-state actors. Council efforts to address the proliferation of WMD will enjoy greater resonance if the general UN membership could own such efforts. In this way, the law on the books will be the law on the ground.

Thank you.

 




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