Statement by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on behalf of the NAM during a meeting of the UN General Assembly to commemorate and promote the day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons
New York, September 26, 2019
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has the honor of speaking on behalf of the 120 Member States that make up the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), in a session as important as today’s, to promote and commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
First, let us express our gratitude for your call to this High Level Meeting, as well as to the Secretary General, His Excellency Mr. António Guterres, for his participation, which is a clear example of his support for the cause of nuclear disarmament.
Nuclear disarmament has historically been the top priority of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Hence, we use this opportunity to reaffirm the position of principles of the Movement in the field of disarmament, including nuclear disarmament, as well as the non proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects.
Since its establishment in 2013, the Member States of the Movement have celebrated and promoted September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
In this regard, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) considers the annual commemoration of this International Day as one of the most effective ways to focus international public attention on the risks and threats posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the need for their completely elimination, with a view to mobilizing international efforts to achieve our common goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, in the light of the advantages of nuclear disarmament for development and for international peace and security.
That is why we reiterate that the organization of the International High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, in line with the decisions of this General Assembly, will provide an important opportunity to examine the progress made in the field of nuclear disarmament and to further promote such noble objective, while emphasizing on this issue the need to successfully ensure that the Conference adopts a substantive final document.
During the Ministerial Meeting of the Movement Coordination Bureau, held in July 2019, in the city of Caracas, Venezuela, the Ministers emphasized that progress in nuclear disarmament and nuclear non proliferation in all its aspects is essential to strengthen International peace and security. At the same time, they stressed the importance of ensuring that efforts aimed at nuclear non proliferation are carried out simultaneously with those aimed at nuclear disarmament.
Similarly, on that occasion the Ministers reaffirmed their intention to redouble their efforts to eliminate the threat posed to the human species by the existence of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons. In this regard, they expressed their determination to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons.
As long as nuclear weapons exist, the risk of their use, the threat of use and proliferation will persist. Any use of nuclear weapons constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as a crime against humanity. It is a proven fact that any use of nuclear weapons would have humanitarian consequences of catastrophic proportions. Therefore, the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only and absolute guarantee against their use.
In this regard, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) expresses its deep concern about the slow progress towards nuclear disarmament and the lack of progress by nuclear weapon States regarding the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, in accordance with its relevant multilateral legal obligations. Therefore, we reaffirm the need for nuclear weapon States, who are primarily responsible for nuclear disarmament, to take urgent and concrete actions aimed at achieving this goal.
The time has come to adopt a new and comprehensive approach to nuclear disarmament. The international community is waiting for the total elimination of nuclear weapons: it is imperative that concrete and systematic progress towards this objective be achieved. In this regard, we continue to express our deep concern regarding the long delay in the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East, so we firmly call on the Secretary General of the United Nations along with the three co-sponsors of the 1995 resolution concerning the Middle East to fully implement it, without delay, taking into account that the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty is intrinsically linked to the implementation of this resolution.
However, we take this opportunity to highlight the importance of General Assembly decision 73/546 on the convening of a Conference on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and we call to all States of the region, without exception, to actively participate in this Conference and negotiate in good faith to get to a satisfactory conclusion of a legally binding Treaty on the establishment of that Zone. We emphasize that the 1995 resolution about the Middle East, as well as other relevant decisions on this matter, taken in the framework of the Review Conferences, remain in effect until the establishment of the Zone has been achieved.
By reaffirming the absolute validity of multilateral diplomacy in the field of disarmament and non proliferation, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) reiterates its determination to promote multilateralism as a fundamental principle of negotiations in that area. In this context, we have taken note of the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that took place on July 7, 2017, within the framework of the United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to ban nuclear weapons, with a view to its total elimination. We hope that, upon entering into force, the Treaty will contribute to the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Similarly, the Member States of the Movement, always at the forefront of nuclear disarmament, call for urgent and prompt initiation of negotiations in the framework of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on effective nuclear disarmament measures to achieve total elimination of nuclear weapons, in particular, a general convention on nuclear weapons, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 73/40, which establishes, among others things, a gradual program for the total elimination of nuclear weapons within of a certain term.
Likewise, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) also reiterates its concern about the improvement of existing nuclear weapons as well as the development of new types of nuclear weapons, as contemplated by the military doctrines of some nuclearweapon States, including the Review of the nuclear position of the United States and its National Security Strategy, in violation of their legal obligations in the context of nuclear disarmament. Hence we highlight, once again, that these refinement efforts, as well as the manufacture of new weapons of this type, also violate the commitments made by the nuclear weapon States during the Review Conferences of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty ( NPT) and during the conclusion of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (TPCEN). Regarding the latter, and taking into account the special responsibility of the nuclear weapon States to make the entry into force of this Agreement a reality, we take this opportunity to express our concern about the decision of the United States not to seek the ratification of the TPCEN, according to the announcement contained in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.
Finally, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) welcomes the meetings and activities that the United Nations carries out on September 26 in commemoration of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and we appreciate the participation of all Delegations at this important meeting. We extend an invitation to Member States, the United Nations system and civil society, including non governmental organizations, academy, parliamentarians, the media and all persons to celebrate and promote the International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons through all kinds of educational and public awareness activities.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.