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Statement on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation

Statement by Representative of Slovenia to the UN Security Council Ambassador Samuel Žbogar at the open debate on Maintenance of international peace and security, Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation

Thank you very much Madam President,

I would like to welcome you in the Council. I would like to thank Secretary General Guterres, Executive Secretary dr. Floyd and Director Ms. Mukhatzhanova for their valuable insights today.

As many of the members of the Council recall today, a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. Achieving a world without nuclear weapons remains our common and ultimate goal.

However we are deeply concerned about the continuous erosion of international architecture of non-proliferation.

Madam President,

Let me therefore make three points for today:

First, there is a need to uphold and further strengthen the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. In the current complex global security environment this is urgent. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) remains the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation architecture. Non-proliferation obligations under the NPT, and the relevant Security Council resolutions should be consistently implemented.

The safeguards system presents an indispensable role in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. We will continue to support the IAEA in its efforts of ensuring that States are honouring their international legal obligations to use nuclear material and technology for peaceful purposes only.

At the same time, we deeply appreciate the CTBTO’s role in detecting non-proliferation violations and upholding the global norm against nuclear testing. The efforts of the Executive Secretary dr. Floyd for CTBT universalisation are bearing fruit as reported by dr. Floyd this morning. We very much welcome the continuation of these efforts and at the same time, we regret Russia’s revocation of ratification of the treaty.

Secondly, we need to end the deadlock of nuclear disarmament. The last two NPT Review Conferences have failed to demonstrate any progress in the field of nuclear disarmament, while bilateral arms reduction treaties have been slowly waning away, most recently with Russia’s suspension of the New START Treaty.

How to end the deadlock? An NPT based step-by-step approach combining bilateral and multilateral elements seem to be the most feasible way forward. For this reason, Slovenia supports the 22 incremental steps outlined by the Stockholm Initiative for nuclear disarmament.

As long as nuclear weapons exist, the risk of their use remains real. Slovenia is especially concerned with the lowering of thresholds for the use and threats of use of tactical nuclear weapons. Maintaining an option for the first use of low yield weapons in nuclear doctrines is irresponsible and simply wrong.

Thirdly, Ms. Mukhatzhanova reminded us today of the relevance of the Security Council resolution 984 by which the Council recognized security assurances of the nuclear-weapon States against the use of nuclear weapons on non-nuclear-weapon States. It also affirmed that the Council will act immediately in the event that non-nuclear States are victims of an act or object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used. We expect that the Council members are able to renew this commitment to NPT member states.

Finally, Madam President,

Women remain understaffed in the fields of nuclear policy, disarmament and non-proliferation. We know that women are powerful agents of change, and perhaps their full inclusion in nuclear decision-making processes can empower us all to bring about the long-awaited break-through in nuclear disarmament efforts towards a world without nuclear weapons.

Thank you.

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