Statement by Ambassador Laura Kennedy
U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament
Conference on Disarmament
August 7, 2012
Mr. President, let me recall my statement on negative security assurances which I made on June 12. I would like today to return to some of the points I made at that time about the value of nuclear weapons free zones. We believe that the most appropriate way of implementing legally-binding negative security assurances is through adherence to the relevant protocols to established nuclear weapon free zone treaties.
We have long supported properly crafted nuclear-weapons-free zones (NWFZs), which when rigorously implemented under appropriate conditions, can contribute to regional and international peace, security and stability. Such treaties in our view can only be negotiated on a regional basis with compliance by all regional parties and under appropriate conditions unique to each region. They provide valuable regional support to the NPT and the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, as the 2010 Review Conference final document recognized.
Let me just touch on two zones today, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
I appreciated the comments made by our new colleague from Indonesia, Ambassador Yusup, on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. As one of the members of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council (P-5), the U.S. remains strongly committed to signing the Protocol of the Treaty of Bangkok. Work is continuing so that ASEAN and the P-5 can reach that mutual goal of signature. We believe that such a step will make an important contribution to the global non-proliferation regime and to regional and international security.
With regards to the Middle East, the United States continues to support the goal of a Middle East WMDFZ in common with many of the speakers today, including our distinguished former CD President, Egyptian Ambassador Badr. We recognize that practical conditions will need to be in place to realize this long- term effort, including regional peace and security and full compliance by regional states with nonproliferation obligations. We also recognize that the impetus for a MEWMDFZ must come from the region since it cannot be imposed from outside. The United States is lending its full support to the facilitator of the Conference on a MEWMDFZ, the distinguished Finnish Undersecretary, Ambassador Laajava. Regional states now have the primary responsibility to ensure that this Conference can be carried out in an unbiased and constructive manner to allow the participation of all of their neighbors.
We also offer a special salute to Mongolia in this 20th anniversary year of its declaration of its nuclear-weapons free status. We support the measures taken by Mongolia to consolidate and strengthen this status, reflecting its unique geographic position.
Finally, let me say that I listened very attentively to the statement of our friend and colleague, Japanese Ambassador Amano. Let me note that our Ambassador to Japan attended the Hiroshima commemoration ceremony in Japan, as he has in the past, which he described as “powerful” and “very moving.” I have also attended meetings with the Hibakusha. We all bear witness to the innocent victims of war, all wars, around the world. Let me close with a reference to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, a vision fervently embraced by my President, President Obama.