Remarks to the UN’s First Committee on a Vote to Consider Adding a Russian Draft Resolution to the Committee’s Agenda 

Ambassador Robert Wood
U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament
New York City
October 26, 2018

AS DELIVERED

  • Remarks Before the Vote

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for your efforts to try and find a consensus way forward on this issue. With regard to the Cameroonian resolution, I would note that that issue was clearly on the agenda of the First Committee. This recent attempt by Russia to put this very politicized resolution on the agenda is something different. And so we think it is very important to adhere to the rules of procedure on this matter. Otherwise – as my colleague from the United Kingdom said – this committee will just not be able to function. And, so, I think comparing the two issues – the Cameroonian resolution, which, again, had been approved by the First Committee, and it was basically because it was on the agenda but it was not submitted in a timely fashion. I think there was – that is a different situation than what happened yesterday, when a new agenda item was being proposed – a new text – that was briefed to the media before it was to First Committee, that clearly has political overtones. I think, Mr. Chairman, that it is important that we stick to the rules of procedure in this matter. Thank you.

  • Remarks After the Vote

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m not going to comment on the vote itself – I mean, countries obviously have to make sovereign decisions. I think it’s unfortunate that our colleague from the Russian Federation used very inappropriate language to describe countries’ various positions on this issue. I think that just is another example of how Russia likes to use a heavy hand, and to intimidate countries to take certain positions. It’s quite unfortunate. I just took the floor to, again, make the point that for the last five and a half years the United States has tried to engage Russia on this issue of your INF Treaty violation. For the last few years they have categorically denied having produced or tested a Ground Launched Cruise Missile. It’s only recently that they admitted to having produced a Ground Launched Cruise Missile, but then maintain that it did not violate the range limits of the Treaty. We presented them with information to the contrary, but they continued to deny being in noncompliance with the Treaty. As I’ve said, we’ve raised this for five and a half years to try to resolve the issue. But instead of responding to our engagement, we received denials and ridiculous accusations that it is the U.S. that is violating the Treaty. On an issue of this importance to my country’s national security, I would submit that other countries would not tolerate such violations by another party to a treaty. The United States has been extremely patient with Russia, and our hope is that Russia will do the right thing and destroy that Ground Launched Cruise Missile. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.