Ambassador Wood: Unbalanced Resolutions Will Not Advance a Middle East Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Explanation of Vote Before the Vote at the 70th UN General Assembly First Committee on Draft Resolution L.2, “The Risk of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East”
New York City
November 2, 2015
As delivered by Ambassador Robert A. Wood
Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

Mr. Chairman, my delegation will vote “no” on draft resolution L.2, “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.” As we have reported to this Committee many times before, our vote is based on the fact that such unbalanced resolutions will not advance a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. Progress toward a regional zone agreement will require the engagement and constructive participation of all concerned states. Singling out one state for criticism—while ignoring the substantial security concerns and compliance challenges that remain in the region—will simply not advance this goal.

Be assured that the United States continues to strongly support universal adherence to the NPT and the goal of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. We have been clear that this worthy goal is enormously complex and achievable once essential conditions are in place.

Notwithstanding these challenges, we remain committed to supporting efforts to convene a conference on the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. Getting there requires that the regional states agree on acceptable arrangements. Politically motivated resolutions will only move the regional states farther apart and undermine the trust and confidence necessary for resuming dialogue. We continue to believe that the only way to make meaningful progress is through face-to-face dialogue between the regional parties. The United States stands ready to actively support such discussions, but the impetus must come from the region itself. We encourage all the regional states, including the sponsors of this resolution, to call for renewed regional dialogue, so that real progress can be made toward a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.