United Nations Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.
  • العربية
  • 简体中文
  • English
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

Statement by Ambassador Mohan Pieris at the First Committee Thematic Debate Cluster 2 - Other Weapons of Mass Destruction

Tuesday, 17 October 2023
H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieris
New York

78th UNGA - Statement by Sri Lanka at the First Committee Thematic Debate
Cluster 2 - Other Weapons of Mass Destruction

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. I wish to make the following observations in my national capacity.

Mr. Chairman,

Today, the world finds itself in a state of profound instability. Conflict rages across multiple fronts. Civilians – including innocent children - are enduring immense suffering no human should ever encounter. As the UN Secretary-General himself said, the number of armed conflicts that exist today is the highest ever after the Second World War.  Both inter-state and intra-state conflicts coupled with superpower rivalries, dominate the security landscape. The international security environment is in a state of crisis.

Thus, it is at this exact moment in history that we should reinvigorate efforts to eliminate all existential threats posed by all weapons of mass destruction. Their possible use in an already fraught global environment would not only exponentially increase human suffering but would also exponentially increase global tensions as well. The international community must not only uphold both the CWC and BWC, it must strengthen the implementation and verification of both treaties by all countries, in order to avoid the shocking devastation that would result from the use of these weapons.

Mr. Chairman,

We note with satisfaction the results of the 9th BWC Review Conference and the agreement reached by States Parties to the Convention, enabling the establishment of the Working Group on the Strengthening of the Convention. The lack of a verification mechanism has been a serious lacunae in the implementation of the BWC. We note with interest that the Working Group is mandated to address measures on compliance and verification, which has the potential to contribute to multilateral negotiations to conclude a non-discriminatory legally binding Protocol.

At the same time, Sri Lanka calls for increased international cooperation, scientific-technical exchange, and exchanges in toxins, biological agents, equipment, and technology for peaceful purposes in alignment with the Convention. The peaceful use of biotechnology has great potential and should not be hindered.

Mr. Chairman,

Sri Lanka attaches great importance to the Chemical Weapons Convention and stands for its full, effective, universal, and non-discriminatory implementation. We welcome the historic milestone of the complete destruction of declared stockpiles of chemical weapons under OPCW verification on 07th July 2023. As a multilateral, legally binding treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, along with a verification regime and the promotion of peaceful use of chemicals, the CWC is a pointer to the direction that other treaties on WMDs should evolve.

Our nation is steadfastly committed to the Convention having become a state party in 1993. We incorporated the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, No. 58 of 2007, with a view to implementing the Convention. Sri Lanka established a National Authority to serve as the National Focal Point for the effective liaison with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and other state parties. Our country identifies and registers every entity in the chemical industry, provides import recommendations and issues permits to scheduled chemical users. In this regard, Sri Lanka supports the efforts of the OPCW in developing best practices in the area of chemical safety and security and counterterrorism aspects of international trade in chemicals that will make a significant and effective contribution towards global efforts against terrorism.

We believe that the Fifth Review Conference held from 15 – 19 May 2023 provided an opportunity to take stock of the work done by the OPCW in the last five years and also make recommendations for future work under the convention. However, it was unfortunate that there was no consensus among the States Parties for the outcome report. We also recall with regret the non-adoption of an outcome document at the Fourth Review Conference.

Mr. Chairman,

With regard to the UNSC resolution 1540, we note the Open Consultation of the 1540 Committee on the Comprehensive Review of the Status of Implementation of Resolution 1540 (2004), held in New York on 31 May – 2 June 2022 and the subsequent adoption of resolution 2663 on 22 December 2022. We wish to stress that any review of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) should strictly abide by the UN Charter, as well as relevant international legally binding instruments including the mandate of resolution 1540, and be based on the main focus of the resolution which is to prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery by non-state actors.

Mr. Chairman,

Sri Lanka remains committed to ridding the world of all weapons of mass destruction. In this regard, we also reiterate the need to prevent the emergence of new types of WMD and underline the need to monitor the situation and pursue international action as required. We, therefore, welcome the adoption of GA Resolution 75/31 entitled “Prohibition of the Development and Manufacture of new types of WMD and new systems of such weapons: report of the Conference on Disarmament”.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman