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First Committee of the 56th General Assembly

  Krátký přehled o bilaterálních vztazích <<   Vztahy k SRN patří k prioritám české zahraniční politiky. Je to dáno historicky, geograficky (Německo je naším sousedem s nejdelší společnou hranicí v délce 810 km), i intenzitou současných politických, kulturních

  • Statement by Mr. Pavol Sepelak, Representative of the Czech Republic to the First Committee of the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, General Debate

    New York, October 10, 2001


Statement by Mr. Pavol Sepelak, Representative of the Czech Republic to the First Committee of the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, General Debate

Mr. Chairman,

It is with special pleasure that I can congratulate you on your election as Chairman of this Committee. Your task will not be an easy one, but I am convinced that you will manage our work with all diplomatic skills and qualities necessary for achieving the best possible result of our work. My delegation is committed to cooperate with you towards this end.

The Czech Republic has aligned itself with the statement made by distinguished ambassador of Belgium on behalf of the EU and the associated countries, nevertheless, allow me to elaborate on some specific issues of special interest to my country.

Mr. Chairman,

My country, as the whole international community, all peace loving nations and people has been shocked and appalled by the most brutal and devastating terrorist acts in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania from 11 September 2001. We resolutely condemn all forms of terrorism and express our profound solidarity and the deepest sympathy to the United States and its people.

It is clear that the newly emerging perception of security risks and threats will influence our outlook on disarmament issues, primarily on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery. It will require us to further develop the relevant international mechanisms and legal instruments to prevent terrorists from obtaining, or even using, any kind of weapon of mass destruction. The Czech Republic, therefore, will support all efforts aimed at strengthening all international non-proliferation regimes, taking special account of non-state actors, and will execute responsible export policies on the national level.

Mr. Chairman,

The Czech Republic has always been a proponent of clear, practical and realistic steps in nuclear disarmament and supported measures aimed at non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. We therefore believe that the achievements of the Sixth Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) should not be lost and would like to highlight the importance of implementing the practical steps agreed in the final document of this Conference. We renew our call for the universal adherence to the Treaty as well as for the full compliance by all its States Parties.

We also repeat our commitment to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and hope that all states will maintain existing moratoria on nuclear testing as long as the CTBT has not entered into force. We welcome the progress achieved in the ratification process and in the work of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBT Organization, particularly in building the International Monitoring System. The Czech Republic continues to be actively involved in the development of the monitoring and communication networks.

Mr. Chairman,

In spite of tremendous efforts and high aspirations, we have not succeeded in establishing the verification mechanism for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) of 1972. The Czech Republic was supportive of the compromise text of the draft of the Verification Protocol but we view the outcome as a political reality. Now, as we consider other options, we should not lose what has been achieved. We do believe that the mandate of the expert group remains in force and that many elements of the draft verification protocol can be used in our further work. We hope that the forthcoming Fifth Review Conference will give rise to new prospects for the credible verification of the BTWC. Joint precautions against the danger of bio-terrorism will have to receive a high priority.

The functioning of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), entrusted with the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, in general meets our expectations. The OPCW, in terms of its membership, must become a truly universal institution and focus on the verification activities. The current budgetary situation of the OPCW must not lead to, and in our view does not justify, any verification activities restrictions. The credibility of the convention must not be undermined.

We are seriously concerned about the increased risk of proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. Priority must be given to preventive measures aimed at developing an internationally recognized instrument regulating this area. In this regard, we strongly support efforts aimed at finalisation and universalisation of the MTCR proposed International Code of Conduct.

Mr. Chairman,

As I have already mentioned, we are of the view that the new situation will necessitate rethinking of security concepts that will ensure stability and security in the world. Any such concept will have to include the continuation of the disarmament process, arms control and non-proliferation. We also perceive the strengthening of defense capacities against a potential attack as an absolutely legitimate step any government can take. Given the complexity of the missile defense issue and its security impact on the world community, we support all efforts undertaken with a view to achieving an understanding between both parties to the ABM Treaty. The latest rounds of bilateral consultations between the United States and the Russian Federation have sparked off hopes that it may be possible reach an agreement on a new strategic framework which will correspond to the latest developments in the global security situation.

Yet again, I have to express our concern and disappointment over the continued political paralysis of the Geneva Conference on Disarmament. We stress the importance of approving the programme of work to resume negotiations and so that this sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum does not slip into irrelevance. In this connection, I would like to repeat our call for launching negotiations on substantive issues, particularly on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT). As to the expansion of the Conference, we maintain our interest in becoming full-fledged member and invite members of the Conference to act constructively on this issue.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite justified increased focus on weapons of mass destruction and their non-proliferation, we should not lose conventional weapons from our sight. The Czech Republic supports the eradication of illicit transfers of small arms and light weapons in accordance with the Programme of Action of the UN Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. Although the approved document does not completely fulfil our expectations, it contains a whole range of measures that need to be implemented as early as possible both at the national and regional levels and on the global scale. The Czech Republic is prepared to cooperate and contribute to the follow-up process on the regional and the global levels by providing assistance and joining the discussions on additional instruments. It is clear that the political will of the member states, forthcoming approach and unified interpretation of all provisions and their consistent implementation will be of crucial importance.

I would also like to voice the Czech Republic=s support for full implementation of the Ottawa Convention which it ratified in 1999, as well as all final documents from the meetings of the States Parties to the Convetion. It is my pleasure to inform this august forum that in June 2001 we completed the destruction of all stockpiled mines covered by the Ottawa Convention.

The Czech Republic will also do its best to achieve a positive outcome of the Second Review Conference on the Certain Conventional Weapons to be held in December this year. Regarding the proposed agenda we will give our support to all proposals that enhance the applicability of the CCW. Especially we are ready to support proposals to extend the scope of the CCW to cover non-international armed conflict and to begin the process of considering how the CCW should deal with the issue of explosive remnants of war.

Mr. Chairman,

This Committee has a unique opportunity to address specific issues prescribed to it by its agenda in a multilateral fashion. We believe that it is necessary to approach these topics from the overall perspective of the rapidly changing world due to political, economic but also technological developments. All credible and efficient steps undertaken in the areas of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation have to take these factors into consideration. This challenge lies ahead of us. The Czech Republic wants to play its part in building a safer world.

Thank you.