U.S. is Prepared to Ensure a Strong, Relevant, and Robust CD

Anita
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Anita E. Friedt delivering the U.S. Statement at the Conference on Disarmament

Statement delivered by the United States to the Conference on Disarmament

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Anita E. Friedt

Geneva, Switzerland
June 25, 2013

 

Mr. President,

Let me first congratulate Iraq on its assumption of the Conference on Disarmament Presidency.  The United States fully supports your efforts.

Mr. President, the United States stands with those who seek real and rapid progress on arms control and disarmament.   For as President Obama declared at the Brandenburg Gate on June 19th, “Peace with justice means pursuing the security of a world without nuclear weapons — no matter how distant that dream may be.”

In his address to the people of Berlin, the President announced additional steps to align U.S. nuclear policies to the 21st century security environment.  The new guidance he has given to the Department of Defense will result in a further reduction in the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy.

After a comprehensive review of our nuclear forces, the President has determined that we can ensure the security of the United States and our allies and partners and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent while safely pursuing up to a one-third reduction in deployed strategic nuclear weapons from the level established in the New START Treaty.  The U.S. intent is to seek negotiated cuts with Russia so that we can continue to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures.

For more details on the President’s new nuclear weapons guidance, I refer colleagues to the White House’s June19 Fact Sheet, “Nuclear Weapons Employment Strategy of the United States,” and request that this document be circulated as an official CD document.

In Berlin, the President also highlighted additional concrete steps the United States will take toward our ultimate disarmament goals and identified concrete steps leading in that direction.  He committed the United States to working with our NATO allies to seek bold reductions in U.S. and Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.  The President announced that we will host a summit in 2016 to continue our efforts to secure nuclear materials around the world, and reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to work to build support in the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and called on all nations to begin negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

Further, the President emphasized our recent strengthened efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and reduce the number and role of America’s nuclear weapons.  Because of the New START Treaty, we’re on track to cut American and Russian deployed nuclear warheads to their lowest levels since the 1950s.

Mr. President, the ambitious endeavors announced in Berlin are the latest in a series of concrete steps the President has made to advance his 2009 Prague agenda.  We take these actions in recognition of our responsibilities and the interest we all share in reinforcing the international nonproliferation regime.

Our work here in Geneva is another important component of our efforts to uphold our shared responsibilities and strengthen the nonproliferation regime.  We can make substantial contributions to these efforts through hard work in the CD, but that requires not more talking for its own sake but focused and concerted action to move us forward.

Indeed, from its inception, the CD was designed to be a negotiating body.  It has fulfilled that role in the past, but unfortunately, it has failed consistently in recent years to live up to its promise.

It is disappointing that, for the better part of a generation, this Conference has failed to produce any concrete multilateral arms control agreement of any kind.  In particular, the Conference continues to fall far short of its clear mandate to begin immediate negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

We have yet to take even the key first step to adopt a substantive Program of Work for the Conference that would allow us to make concrete progress on an FMCT, as opposed to more talk without action.

This is not what the broader international community expects of us, or what we should expect of ourselves.

Though the CD has fallen short to date, the United States remains committed to achieving the shared long-term goal of nuclear disarmament, and we remain focused on achieving concrete progress through practical steps.  As President Obama said in Berlin, a key step to achieving that goal starts here in Geneva with negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.  This treaty is long overdue and necessary to set the foundation for further actions along the long road to disarmament.

The U.S. delegation is prepared to roll up our sleeves and start working now with each of you to ensure a strong, relevant, and robust CD that is fulfilling its mandate and building on its legacy as the preeminent multilateral disarmament forum.

Thank you, Mr. President.