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First Committee of the 54th General Assembly

Statement by Mr. Alexander Slaby, Director of the UN Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PraqueNew York, 20 October 1999 Statement by Mr. Alexander Slaby, Director of the UN Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague Mr. Chairman, First, I would like to join other

  • Statement by Mr. Alexander Slaby, Director of the UN Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Praque

    New York, 20 October 1999

Statement by Mr. Alexander Slaby, Director of the UN Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague

Mr. Chairman,

First, I would like to join other delegations in congratulating you and other bureau members on the election to your important posts. The Czech delegation wishes you, Mr Chairman, and all of you participating in the work of the First Committee much success in exercising our responsible work on drafting and examining resolutions related to disarmament, nonproliferation and enhancing international security on our planet. I can assure you, Mr Chairman, of our support and cooperation.

Though the Czech Republic has aligned itself with the EU statement, I would like to briefly refer to the country's approach to some issues discussed at this forum.

One of the most important challenges facing the international community is undoubtedly the task of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means with the aim of achieving a complete ban on their use. Our ultimate objective has been and remains a world free of nuclear weapons.

In connection with the nearing Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to be held in 2000, we believe that prompt steps are needed to overcome certain stagnation in negotiating treaties promoting nuclear non-proliferation and to resume a constructive approach to these talks in particularly on the part of nuclear-weapon states. Efforts should therefore focus on achieving clear, practical and realistic measures in nuclear disarmament in the next millennium.

With a view to this, we regard the achievement of true universalization of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a speedy ratification connected with the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty one of the most imperative tasks of the day. In this light we welcomed the ratification of the CTBT Treaty announced by France and the United Kingdom, but, at the same time, the Czech Republic regrets the decision of the United states Senate to reject ratification of the nuclear test ban treaty. We take into account President Clinton´s pledge to abide by the treaty´s provisions and invite other countries which are about to ratify it to go on with the process. Resuming nuclear tests, that is not what upcoming millennium needs at all. Therefore, the Czech Republic recalls the Final Declaration of the recent Vienna conference of the CTBT States-Ratifiers and its call upon all States that have not yet ratified or even signed the treaty to do so.

We are joining international community in pushing forward on a START series. An early ratification of the START 2 treaty could have kicked of negotiations on START 3 the outcome of which is expected to reduce arsenals by 80 per cent if compared with a cold war period. Also fissile material cut-off negotiations on the soil of the Conference on Disarmament, which is envisaged in the Principles and Objectives Document of 1995, could greatly contribute to speeding up the process of nuclear disarmament in all its fields. Thus ad hoc group on FMCT should be re-established during the very early stage of the CD 2000 session.

We fully identify with those who describe the mentioned non-proliferation initiatives including the NPT, CTBT and START Treaties along with the Cut-off Treaty, the trilateral US, Russian and IAEA initiative related to fissile military material, known as the Plutonium Disposition Agreement and the Back-end of the Nuclear Cycle final solution as the potential four basic elements of nuclear peace and security.

As far as the Chemical Weapons Convention is concerned the world has made a step forward in the efforts for the elimination of existing stockpiles of chemical weapons and associated production facilities. That contributes to the gradual reduction of the threat of use of these inhuman weapons and strengthens international as well as regional stability. Nevertheless, it is necessary to recall again that there are still many countries which have not yet signed or ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention and to continue to support the efforts aimed at the achievement of universalization of the Convention.

The Czech Republic attaches great importance also to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, in particular to an early and successful result of negotiations on the Verification Protocol. We appreciate the work of the Chairman of the ad hoc group of experts and share his view that the 16th session of the group has at least made some progress in some issues, e.g. the question of investigations. At the same time we regard as necessary that the 17th session of the group to be held in November - December 1999 should advance as much as possible, in particular with the compliance measures, investigations, definitions, criteria and objectives as well as the negotiations of Article X. We support the efforts of EU countries and other states to prepare the draft Protocol in the first half of 2000 and thus to provide for its approval before the 5th Review Conference.

Mr. Chairman,The Czech Republic voices its support for all measures taken in the field of conventional weapons aimed at greater transparency. We have been consistently meeting our obligations concerning notifications to the respective registers and supporting their extension to cover other kinds of weapons. The concern of the international community about illicit transfers of small arms and light weapons is fully shared and supported by the Czech Republic, which takes all necessary measures to prevent such activities.

We are part of the international efforts aimed at removing anti-personnel landmines and banning totally their use. By recalling the statement of the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Kavan delivered at the GA General Debate I would like to add that after its ratification of Protocol II to the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention last year, the Czech Republic has completed the process of ratification of the so-called Ottawa Convention. The Czech delegation has been informed that, literally tomorrow in the afternoon, it receives from Prague the instrument of ratification. The Czech U.N. Permanent Representative will deposit the instrument with the U.N. Secretary General within a few days. We approach with full responsibility the compliance with all commitments arising out of it, in particular in the field of the country's participation in international activities within demining and assistance to mine victims as well as an early destruction of existing stockpiles of mines. A true universality of the Convention is a conditio sine qua non in that efforts.

Mr. Chairman,The Czech Republic has welcomed the enlargement of the membership of the Geneva Conference on Disarmament by another five countries. We sincerely congratulate them on this success. But, at the same time, we are of the opinion that the membership of the Conference on Disarmament may not be denied to other countries sincerely wishing and able to participate in its work. We are equally convinced that the enlargement of the CD membership will continue and that the interest of countries striving for active involvement in the process of disarmament, including the Czech Republic, will be met. At the same time we express the hope that the Conference on Disarmament will succeed in overcoming continued stagnation and in opening matter-of-fact negotiations not only on the Treaty on the Complete Ban on the Manufacture of Fissile Material for Military Purposes, FMCT, but also on other topical problems of arms control and disarmament, including nuclear weaponry, and security safeguards for non-nuclear-weapon states.

Mr. Chairman, The Czech Republic shares the hope that our joint efforts focused on disarmament, non-proliferation and international security, bringing first results in the solution of questions of gradual elimination of weapons of mass destruction and certain conventional weapons, will be given fresh and strong impetus at our present deliberations. We share the hope that the stagnation of the disarmament process will be overcome and that another step forward will be made within this process towards a stabilized and peaceful world order.