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Opening Statement to the Conference on Disarmament
January 26, 2010

Opening National Statement of US Delegation
Delivered by Garold N. Larson
Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.
United States of America

January 26, 2010

Thank you, Mr. President.

As this is the first time I am taking the floor this year, allow me to begin by congratulating you on assuming the post as the first President of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) during the 2010 session, and to thank you for your extensive efforts already this year. I wish to assure you and all members of the P6 of my Delegation’s full support for your collective efforts throughout this year.

I am taking the floor just over one year after the inauguration of President Obama who, in his first year in office, repeatedly has shown the commitment and leadership of the United States in addressing global nonproliferation and disarmament challenges, the latter of which include matters on which the Conference on Disarmament has been entrusted a prominent role.

Mindful of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament,” the United States reaffirms its full support for the Conference on Disarmament (CD) and urges the CD to carry out promptly its role as the premier multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. In September last year, speaking as President of the UN Security Council, President Obama underscored that, “In January, we will call upon countries to begin negotiations on a treaty to end the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons.” We recall the international community’s unanimous support for UN General Assembly resolution 64/29 (2009) which urged the CD to agree early in 2010 on a program of work that includes the immediate commencement of negotiations on such a treaty.

Our delegation also reiterates its support for the program of work adopted by the CD in 2009, CD/1864, which the international community welcomed by consensus through UN General Assembly resolution 64/64 (2009). It is imperative that we work together and begin substantive work in 2010 at the earliest possible date. We also believe that the Conference should build directly on the foundation created by the program of work adopted here last May. We share the conviction of those urging that the CD promptly re-establish the working group called for by UNGA Resolution 64/29(2009) to negotiate an FMCT, and to re-establish three additional working groups to undertake active and substantive discussions on other core elements of the CD’s agenda, without prescribing or precluding the outcome of those discussions. We urge all member states of the CD to support the prompt adoption of such a program of work early in our session, and to support its full and immediate implementation.

This, Mr. President, is perhaps the most pivotal time for the CD in many years – CD 1864 is tangible evidence that the members of this body can forge a consensus that points a way forward while preserving our rights and obligations to protect and promote our respective national security interests. Those who claimed that the CD in recent years had become an anachronism without the necessary will to fulfill its mandate were disabused of that notion in May of last year. It is now our opportunity – indeed, our responsibility – to demonstrate that this was not an anomaly and that the CD remains an effective instrument for maintaining peace and security.

Let us act soon to adopt a new program of work based on last year’s consensus in CD/1864.

Thank you, Mr. President.