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General Assembly, 64th Session, First Committee,General debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items
07 October 2008 / 11:03

H.E. Ambassador Ahmed A. Al-Jarman
The Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations

Mr. President,

At the outset, I wish to commend you, Mr Chairman, on your election to lead this important Committee. I am confident that your broad diplomatic experience will contribute positively to our debates concerning developments on the questions of disarmament and the strengthening of international peace and security.
My delegation also supports the statement made by Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

As a result of the emergence and escalation of many situations of tension and conflict, as well as the growing lack of collective security, the First Committee meets this year in an atmosphere of suspicion and uncertainty. This lack of security is aggravated by the threat of existing weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, as well as by the attempts of certain States that do not have such weapons to acquire them. Such States are attempting to acquire the aforementioned weapons within the conceptual framework of security and deterrence, ignoring various regional and international multilateral conventions and agreements that prohibit such weapons and that call for their elimination. The challenges to international peace and security are not limited to the race by States to acquire various kinds of weapons. There is also the issue of arms trafficking, as well as the danger of sensitive weapons that can fall into the hands of extremists and non-State actors.

We are concerned by the concurrent horizontal and vertical strategic arms proliferation, as well as by the increase in annual expenditure on these arms, at the expense of investment in global development. We wish to reiterate the importance of the multilateral implementation of the 13 steps agreed at the 2000 Review and Extension Conference of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the only effective way to achieve our common goals in the fields of disarmament and non-proliferation.

Therefore, we call for the launching of a serious process of international security cooperation based on respect for the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter.

This year we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the opening of the NPT for signature and we look forward to the success of our preparatory work for the 2010 Review Conference. We wish to reinforce the NPT goals within an international process, based on the rule of law and multilateralism. There should be commitment to the following: first, urging the nuclear States to enter into serious negotiations, accompanied by a strengthening of political will, so that military arsenals can be eliminated gradually, systematically and multilaterally within the framework of the disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation conventions and protocols and within a specific time frame. Secondly, to require those countries that do not possess such weapons but seek to acquire them to reconsider their position and policies in that respect. Thirdly, to reinforce the efforts aimed at reaching an unconditional and effective international instrument that would guarantee safeguards for States that do not possess nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and also to underscore the right of such States to access modern nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Fourthly, to strengthen efforts for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to enter into force soon, and to make progress in prohibiting the development and stockpiling of bacteriological and toxin weapons.

The United Arab Emirates, which since its formation has pursued peaceful relations based on cooperation with its neighbours and on the principle of the peaceful settlement of conflicts coupled with respect for international law, considers that disarmament, non-proliferation and a security balance are at the top of its foreign policy priorities.

Thus, as we are concerned over the recent crisis regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, we urge all parties, especially Iran, to make every effort and to be sufficiently flexible politically, in order for that sensitive dossier to be settled diplomatically and peacefully. That would eliminate all concerns and misgivings about the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and in order to avoid escalating the present situation in the Gulf region. In that connection, we call on the international community to bring pressure to bear on Israel to dismantle and eliminate all its non-peaceful nuclear activities and to accede unconditionally to the NPT, being the only State in the region that has not yet acceded to it, and to submit all its nuclear and civilian installations to the full scope of IAEA control in accordance with the relevant resolutions under international law in order to create a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

My country wishes to implement the principle of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as one of the three pillars of the NPT — together with nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation — in order to preserve the regional and international balance of security. It wishes to reiterate its firm commitment to the reinforcement of peace and non-proliferation through its accession to the instruments of the NPT and the CTBT and the prohibition of chemical weapons. We also wish that efforts and proposals regarding the peaceful use of nuclear technology be pursued under IAEA controls and safeguards.

We would like the countries that are advanced in that field to respond without discrimination to the needs of developing countries with regard to nuclear energy, especially by providing financial and technical support and granting such countries access to nuclear material and equipment as well as scientific and technological information for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Our peaceful nuclear programme represents a practical and responsible model of transparency in providing energy needs through our commitment not to enrich and not to reprocess, thanks to the help of some friendly countries and institutions and under the control of the IAEA.

In conclusion, we look forward to stronger international efforts aimed at spreading preventive diplomacy and a culture of peace and dialogue and at rejecting conflict. Such efforts should seek to enhance the principle of respect for the sovereignty of States and non-interference in their internal affairs and rejection of foreign occupation, in addition to the peaceful settlement of disputes. We hope that our debates here will achieve progress in all aspects of disarmament, so as to create a global environment free from all threats, where all human, economic and environmental efforts serve the economic and social development plans throughout the world.