Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

Kyiv 20:31

Statement by HE Mr. Pavlo Klimkin, Minister for Foreign Affairs Ukraine, at the UNSC Ministerial meeting on the Non-Proliferation of WMD

22 September 2017, 09:03

Mr. President,

I thank you for convening today’s meeting on this highly important issue at the request of the delegation of United States. I also appreciate the substantive briefing by the Under-Secretary-General Izumi Nakamitsu.

For years, the international community has been working persistently to establish a rule based international order to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. A whole range of international instruments were elaborated to this end, especially in the area of non-proliferation.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty has become a key element of this system of collective security. Was it a major achievement? I say “Definitely yes”. By today, 191 states have adhered to the Treaty.

Is it an ultimate success? I am not certain. Almost 50 years ago after its entry into force, a possible use of nuclear weapons still remains a threat.

Furthermore, some states are still aspiring to create their own nuclear weapon capabilities.

In addition to this, the Chemical Weapons Convention for the first time in many years is blatantly trampled in Syria.

I cannot but mention the growing risk of the most dangerous materials falling into the hands of non-state actors — either intentionally or as a result of neglect or oversight.

Mr. President,

The mere fact that today we have to discuss again how to enforce Security Council resolutions aimed at preventing the spread of WMD clearly proves that the existing system of established norms and principles is eroded. It refers not only to proliferation. It is an indication of a broader problem, namely — insufficient implementation of international law and its systematic violations.

The current state of affairs can suit only those, who seek to undermine the very foundations of the international order. A lack of real accountability for defiance of international norms only encourages further breaches.

The DPRK is probably the most appalling case. Despite numerous decisions by this body, the regime continues its nuclear and missile programme keeping the entire region and its own people hostage. It looks like the North-Korean leaders are prepared to sacrifice its own people starving them to death just to satisfy their rampant ambitions.

We know how it feels from our own history when the Soviet rulers created handmade famine in Ukraine selling grain for gold, used slave labour in camps to build up military capacity, tested nuclear weapons on its own troops just to see how they work.

Nuclear ambitions of the DPRK and its recent actions in defiance of Security Council decisions is an open challenge to the entire international community. Pyongyang`s provocative policy has a destabilizing effect on the whole non-proliferation system.

In the Middle East the use of chemical weapons — something that was considered unthinkable less than a decade ago — now represents a very clear danger.

The task is therefore to reverse this precarious trend and prevent the world from sliding into the state of lawlessness. We must stand united to achieve a universal adherence to rules that we ourselves created.

How do we ensure implementation of the Council resolutions to prevent spread of the most dangerous and destructive weapons?

How do we bring violators to account?

Indeed, unconditional and faithful implementation of relevant resolutions is a key prerequisite to reduce the level of the threat and to prevent new provocations.

Yet, the Council is not always united and staunch in taking necessary measures for effective, rather that formal, response.

Breaches of the nuclear non-proliferation regime as well as use of other WMD, such as chemical weapons, should be treated by the international community as a clear and ever present danger.

That is why I urge Council members to put aside differences and to use every tool available to ensure full compliance with relevant decisions. In the absence of political will to do so, the situation can spiral out of control.

There should be an unavoidable accountability for each and every violation.

The risks in this area arise not only from gaps in national legislation but also from the rapid development of science and technology, as well as e-commerce along with a lack of awareness among academia, industry and civil society. Thus, strengthening cooperation in preventing proliferation of WMD and related materials, as well as building synergies among all stakeholders, including relevant international, regional, sub-regional and non-governmental organizations, is absolutely essential.

Continuous outreach activity, comprehensive analysis and in-depth investigation of possible incompliance remain important components in ensuring comprehensive implementation of prohibitions and restrictions in place.

Mr. President,

No part of the globe is immune to the risk of proliferation.

When in the 1990 ies Ukraine voluntarily dismantled the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, we did so being convinced in supremacy of such fundamental international principles as inviolability of international borders and states’ territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Two decades later we still hold dear those principles. Yet we came to realize that they are not sacred to everyone. We were too naïve.

I want to stress in this regard that violations of international law, including in the non-proliferation sphere, constitute the single most significant threat to the international peace and security.

The use of WMD is all but one of the most visible and high-profile manifestations of the dire straits that the whole system of international law is in right now.

As you all know, Ukraine is confronting aggression by the nuclear weapon state. Brutal violation of the international obligations, including under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, by the permanent member of this Council, who signed to the assurances of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, undermined the whole UN-based security system. One can also recall in this regard the obligation of nuclear states contained in 2010 NPT Review Conference Final Document “to fully respect their existing commitments with regard to security assurances”.

More than three years ago Russia performed not just the act of the military aggression against Ukraine.

By violating the Budapest Memorandum, it also demonstrated that a solemn promise of a nuclear power to respect independence and sovereignty of Ukraine, to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with the UN Charter is worth nothing.

The Russian narrative that it did not breach the Budapest Memorandum since nuclear weapons were not used against my country is yet another cynical manipulation of facts.

Just think of the impression it made in the eyes of states seeking to bolster their deterrent potential.

Just think of the impact to the global non-proliferation architecture.

Yesterday’s drill on launching a massive nuclear-missile strike that was conducted during the “ZAPAD 2017” exercise, does not inspire confidence in Russian “peaceful” foreign policy. It hardly can be considered as contributing to strengthening of the international security in general and the non-proliferation regime in particular.

That is why we are convinced that the issue of providing non-nuclear-weapon states with effective negative security guarantees is a no trivial matter. The global non-proliferation regime will benefit immensely from enforceable security guarantees.

Let us all be frank on this: empty proclamations do not convince anyone anymore.

Mr. President,

The international community has collective responsibility to restore respect for international law and to find lasting solutions to the most urgent threats to global peace and security. It is therefore the ultimate responsibility of the Security Council to spare no effort in order to achieve this overarching goal and to prove that non-proliferation system effectively works. Otherwise, the world map will be redrawn by newly emerged nuclear weapons actors.

It is this Council that has to remain determined and precise in preventing such a scenario to become our tomorrow’s reality.

I thank you.

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