I asked for the floor to pay tribute to our distinguished colleague from Algeria, Ambassador Jazairy, after his farewell speech. I hesitated to do so, coming as I am after another such distinguished figure, South Africa’s Ambassador Minty. Without a prepared text, I may not be able to pay sufficient tribute to this lion of the disarmament community in Geneva and elsewhere. We are in awe of the breadth of Ambassador Jazairy’s activities beyond the CD which include representing his country in the Nuclear Security Summit process and a leading role with the Biological Weapons Convention. Of course, he has left a huge legacy with his Presidency of the CD in 2009 which produced the consensus Program of Work, CD 1864. We wish Ambassador Jazairy the very best in the next chapter of his distinguished career.
It was a pleasure to hear his sage remarks which were followed by the thoughtful speech offered by Ambassador Minty, another lion of the disarmament community, speaking on the work of the New Agenda Coalition. I particularly noted Ambassador Minty’s comment that “nuclear disarmament is inextricably linked to nuclear non-proliferation.”
That truth was at the heart of my comments made at the plenary of February 28 to which our colleague from Iran just referred. It is not my intention to belabor this body with a detailed commentary or repeat my comments of February 28. I will note the reference just made to the U.S.’ “monolithic” stance on Iran and reiterate that U.S. concerns are not those of just my country. I repeat that the concerns over Iran’s nuclear program and non-compliance with its non-proliferation obligations have been the subject of numerous meetings of the Board of Governors of the IAEA and resolutions of the U.N. Security Council.
With reference to the right of countries to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, of course all countries have that right under the NPT. In fact, my Secretary of State pledged $50 million for peaceful uses programs and challenged the international community to match that with another $50 million. But I repeat, with rights come responsibilities.
With regard to nuclear disarmament, I am as always, honored to represent a President who has devoted his energy and his government to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. I pointed on February 28 to the contrast between Iran’s words on nuclear disarmament and its actions. Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are indeed inextricably linked.