(New York, 23rd August 2016)
Let me take this opportunity to join other speakers in commending the Malaysian Presidency for convening this timely open debate on“Challenges in addressing proliferation of WMDs, their means of delivery, and related materials.”
We wish to express our appreciation to the Honourable Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia for chairing this meeting and to the Secretary-General for his opening remarks this morning.
The need for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is now more urgent than ever.
As the international community continues to be confronted by the menace of terrorism, with the increasing threat of destabilization of established states, the danger of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related material falling into the hands of non-state actors will have unthinkable consequences.
Our urgent attention must be focused on this grave issue. There is dire a need to enhance coordination of efforts at national, sub-regional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and the threat it poses to international security. UNSC resolution 1540 (2004), a key component of the global non-proliferation architecture, underlines the importance of promoting dialogue and cooperation among States in addressing the threat posed by proliferation of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery. This open debate is an important step in this direction.
Strengthening the disarmament treaty regime is essential to ensure a rule-based regime for nuclear disarmament. In this connection, we wish to recall and reiterate our support to the key recommendations of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) (2006) specifically the paramount value of multilateralism and the overall importance of treaties and international law in reaching the goal of disarmament. Apart from key instruments in the field of disarmament such as the NPT, other legal instruments, namely, the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material Convention and the International Convention on the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism, which address specific situations involving the access to nuclear material by non-state actors, provide a comprehensive normative framework for international cooperation to address that challenge.
We also welcome the work carried out by Spain, as Chair of the 1540 Committee, to comprehensively review resolution 1540. This debate will, no doubt, make rich contributions to the ongoing comprehensive review process, that is expected to come up with proposals for Member States to strengthen the implementation of resolution 1540, by end of this year. The review process must address new challenges that have arisen such as the utilization of information and technological developments, particularly on the internet for proliferation purposes. Challenges being faced by developing countries with regard to capacity building and training needs in achieving the objectives of UNSC resolution 1540 must also be addressed.
Sri Lanka’s commitment to the elimination of the threat posed by nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is reflected in the international treaty obligations we have undertaken in the field of disarmament.
It is our belief that a transparent, sustainable and credible plan for multilateral nuclear disarmament is required in order to achieve the ultimate goal of a world free of weapons of mass destruction.
The total elimination of weapons of mass destruction is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of these weapons. In this regard, all States have an obligation to negotiate in good faith to achieve the objective of total elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
In this regard, we wish to reiterate the centrality of the NPT, including the 2010 NPT Action Plan and the 13 Practical Steps to disarmament, agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference and the importance of adherence to all other principal legal instruments in this field.
I thank you Mr. President.