Statement by Marcie B. Ries, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, on Agenda Item 97: General and Complete Disarmament, in the First Committee

Marcie B. Ries
Deputy Assistant Secretary 
Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance 
New York, NY
October 15, 2010




AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The United States Delegation is especially pleased today to join with the Russian Delegation in presenting to the First Committee for its consideration a joint draft resolution regarding the New START Treaty.

In April 2010, the United States and the Russian Federation signed the New START Treaty, which will further reduce and limit the number of strategic arms for both sides, and renews U.S.-Russian leadership on nuclear issues.

The draft resolution that we are proposing notes the continuing development of a new strategic relationship between the United States and the Russian Federation, expresses support for the commitment shown by the United States and the Russian Federation to the further reduction of strategic offensive arms, and recognizes the importance of the contributions made by the Russian Federation and the United States to nuclear disarmament as part of their commitment under Article VI of the NPT.

This draft resolution expresses the hope that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty will enter into force at an early date, recalls that both the Russian Federation and the United States have stopped the production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons, and supports the early commencement of negotiations for the conclusion of a verifiable treaty to end the production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.

In this context, the draft resolution also expresses appreciation for the implementation by the United States and the Russian Federation of their 1993 Agreement Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons as an expression of a commitment to their NPT Article VI responsibilities, and welcomes their commitment to the implementation of the 2000 Agreement Concerning the Management and Disposition of Plutonium Designated as No Longer Required for Defense Purposes and Related Cooperation.

Finally, this draft resolution invites the Russian Federation and the United States to continue to notify their nuclear arms reduction activities to other UN member States, notes the growing expectations of the international community that progress will continue to be made on nuclear disarmament, and calls for member States to make an active contribution to the disarmament process.

Mr. Chairman, when President Obama spoke in Prague in April 2009 about his vision of a world without nuclear weapons, he recognized the need to create the conditions to bring about such a world.

The New START Treaty is an important step in achieving reductions in nuclear weapons, and this Resolution recognizes that achievement. However, the United States and the Russian Federation alone cannot create all the conditions necessary. Others must play their part, as well.

In that regard, we note that the Conference on Disarmament continues to be deadlocked over a program of work that would launch negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), as well as substantive discussions on other disarmament topics.

If we are serious about realizing a world without nuclear weapons, we must start now by initiating work on a treaty to end the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

It remains our strong preference to negotiate an FMCT in the CD. However, the patience of the international community is swiftly running out. If efforts to start negotiations in the CD continue to stall, then interested states may have to consider other options for moving this process forward.

Mr. Chairman, the entry into force of the CTBT represents another essential step on the path toward a world without nuclear weapons. The United States has reaffirmed its commitment to this treaty, and has increased its level of participation in all of the activities of the CTBTO’s Preparatory Commission in preparing for the entry into force of the CTBT. We believe that the United States, and all states, will be safer when the test ban enters into force, and we are preparing actively for the reconsideration of the treaty by the United States Senate.

Mr. Chairman, our Delegation hopes that our colleagues will join in supporting the draft resolution on the New START Treaty, proposed jointly today by the United States and the Russian Federation, as a means of recognizing the singular achievement of the New START Treaty, and that other governments will join the United States and Russia in creating the conditions necessary for nuclear disarmament. Our Delegation looks forward to collaborating successfully with other delegations on this draft resolution, as well as on the remaining work of this session.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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PRN: 2010/219