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Ambassador Kennedy: Statement at August 14, 2012 Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament
August 14, 2012

Statement by Ambassador Laura Kennedy

U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament
U.S. Special Representative for Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Issues

Conference on Disarmament
August 14, 2012

We appreciate the background paper produced by UNIDIR.  With regard to the agenda item on “New types of Weapons of Mass Destruction and radiological weapons”, I note the UNIDR paper’s comment that discussions on this topic have remained “inconclusive” over the years.  I also note the Indian Ambassador’s comments on how various types of radiological elements or sources have been handled by respective regimes.  While the U.S. is happy to engage on today’s topics at our plenary, I also note that, in fact, there have been no new types of WMD indentified in the 64 years since the definition of WMD was set out in 1948.  I would also strongly urge that theoretical discussions don’t distract us from the very real issue of  the proliferation of WMD, whether with regard to states which may violate their obligations or non-state actors.

Several speakers have referred to the UN Program of Action (PoA) to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons.  Let me stress that the U.S. we will support efforts to strengthen implementation of the existing PoA at the Review Conference on the UN Program of Action when it meets in New York later this summer. (August 27 – September 7).

Let me turn to the comment just offered by the Representative for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – and the Olympics – who said that her government was “disappointed but not discouraged” by the failure to reach a consensus ATT text.  Although I was not among those colleagues who worked long and hard on ATT in the hot and humid New York City last July,  I can subscribe to that sentiment.  We too were “disappointed but not discouraged’ that there was not sufficient time to reach consensus on a text.

We will continue to support an Arms Trade Treaty because we believe it will make a valuable contribution to global security by helping to stem illicit arms transfers.  To achieve this goal, we will continue to look for ways for the international community to work together to improve the international arms transfer regime so that weapons aren’t transferred to people who would abuse them.

Finally, let me offer congratulations to our friends and colleagues from Pakistan on their Independence Day today.  I also offer similar congratulations to India and the Republic of Korea who celebrate their Independence Days tomorrow.