Remarks by Jeffrey L. Eberhardt, Alternate Representative, U.S. First Committee Delegation, at the Thematic Discussion on Regional Disarmament and Security, New York, NY, October 30, 2013

Jeffrey L. Eberhardt, Alternate Representative, U.S. First Committee Delegation
New York, NY
October 30, 2013


Mr. Chairman, as an Atlantic and Pacific state, the United States has an enduring interest in maintaining peace and prosperity across many regions. We have seen the value of strengthening partnerships and cooperation with regional and other inter-governmental organizations. We have seen the fruits of our labors in regions that have enjoyed almost unparalleled periods of peace, prosperity and stability. These efforts are most effective only when regional parties meet their commitments fully.

We all understand that nuclear disarmament will not be achieved quickly, but we have a common obligation to continue making progress in that direction, step by step. This includes progress on nuclear agreements, but also regular dialogue and cooperation among both the nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The NPT’s pillars – nonproliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses – are mutually reinforcing, and all States Parties have an important role to play in strengthening each of them. Years of experience have affirmed that nonproliferation and disarmament initiatives at the global and regional levels are mutually reinforcing. As we all know, effective global norms and instruments are implemented at regional, sub-regional and national levels. At the same time, these efforts can build momentum towards initiatives at the global level. We must continue to develop and broaden a culture of transparency, which in turn will contribute to developing the confidence necessary for further disarmament steps.

Mr. Chairman, we commend the many regional efforts by states to demonstrate their commitment to all three of the NPT’s pillars, including through establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and the South Pacific. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned, and in accordance with the 1999 United Nations Disarmament Commission guidelines, enhances global and regional peace and security, strengthens the global nuclear nonproliferation regime, contributes to the goal of nuclear disarmament, and facilitates regional cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The United States recognizes the important role that we and the other NPT nuclear-weapon states can play by signing and ratifying the relevant treaty protocols. This is an essential part of our work to advance the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan and an area we continue to prioritize.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and many member states also deserve a great deal of praise for ongoing efforts to coordinate the application of nuclear techniques to address many development challenges at the regional level. The United States is proud to continue its strong support for these activities, including by now contributing over $30 million to specific projects through the Peaceful Uses Initiative – much of which has been designated to regional technical cooperation projects in the areas of human health, food security, water resource management, and nuclear power infrastructure development.

Mr. Chairman, the United States welcomed the opportunity to participate in the Second Conference of States Parties to the Treaty of Pelindaba last year, where we reaffirmed our commitment to the Treaty and also welcomed the important work of regional organizations like the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development, and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology, Forum for Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa, and the African Commission on Nuclear Energy. The United States looks forward to learning more about how we can develop new partnerships to assist these organizations’ efforts to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, while also building states’ capacity to implement international safety, security and safeguards standards.

Mr. Chairman, the United States sees great value in collaborative approaches across the whole spectrum of arms control initiatives, including conventional arms, biosecurity, and nuclear security. In last year’s statement, the United States noted its significant role, alongside our European partners, in post-Cold War Europe. We have made a serious investment in building the current security architecture in Europe. As you may know, the three-pillared regime in Europe – the Open Skies Treaty, the Vienna Document 2011 on confidence- and security-building measures, and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe – together contribute to greater confidence for all of Europe and provide a foundation for stability in our strategic relationships. The CFE regime remains important to the United States, and for European security as a whole, despite the fact that Russia ceased implementation of its CFE obligations in December 2007. After trying for several years to convince Russia to resume implementation, in November 2011, the United States and our NATO Allies that are party to the Treaty, as well as Georgia and Moldova, ceased carrying out certain obligations under the CFE Treaty with regard to Russia. In the face of today’s security challenges, we and NATO Allies are committed to finding a way forward to preserve, strengthen, and modernize conventional arms control, based on key principles and commitments. We must adapt and improve our efforts to meet our current and future security needs, and do it in a way that is efficient and effective for all countries involved.

Also in the western hemisphere, the Organization of American States Member States are working together using workshops and exercises to enhance their bio-incident readiness and response capabilities. Since 2009, the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism has led several bio-incident management exercises aimed at raising awareness of biosecurity threats. By conducting table-top exercises designed to simulate a bioterrorist scenario, participating Member States are able to identify the challenges, vulnerabilities and areas of opportunity in their contingency planning and threat mitigation. These activities, which include workshops to support the design and development of a National Biosecurity Emergency Response Plan, serve as a bridge to strengthen coordination between government officials and representatives from a number of agencies involved with emergency response. As a result of the success and benefits of the OAS/CICTE Secretariat’s work, the program is expected to expand throughout the region, where Member States have specifically requested further assistance in drafting and/or reviewing their national emergency response plans related to bioterrorism. In the next phase, this program intends to employ regional best practice exchanges for countries to share experiences and tools, drawing upon expertise from public and private sector experts from around the world.

In East Asia, the regional nonproliferation and disarmament architecture has steadily developed and increasingly matured to address the challenges to the global regime. The ASEAN Regional Forum (or ARF) now holds an annual Inter-Sessional Meeting on Nonproliferation and Disarmament focusing on each of the three NPT pillars. This new structure has led to periodic workshops in the ARF offering opportunities for concrete cooperation on topics such as UN Security Council Resolution 1540 implementation, nuclear forensics best practices, and biosafety and biosecurity. In addition, the East Asia Summit has emerged as a premier forum for discussing regional security and nonproliferation issues, and these topics have featured prominently in the last two summits.

The Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction consists of member countries and international organizations from around the world with the aim of preventing terrorists from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction. It has allocated over $21 billion worldwide since its inception in 2002, pairing GP member programs with countries in need of WMD security enhancements. In 2012, the GP broadened the areas for future work to include nuclear and radiological security, biosecurity, scientist engagement, and facilitating the implementation of UNSCR 1540. With its enduring mission, expanded geographic scope, and increased financial and organizational resources, the Global Partnership now serves as a model of what can be accomplished when nations with a shared vision collaborate to achieve a common goal.

Mr. Chairman, developing partnerships between regions and international organizations is also key to moving ahead. One such example of effective regional cooperation is the effort of some States Signatories of the CTBT to work together to increase the capacity of other states within their region to effectively participate in establishing the Treaty’s verification regime. This is being achieved through joint regional exercises as well as workshops to share best practices. In some cases, regional groups are discussing ways to share resources through the creation of Regional Data Centers that receive and distribute monitoring data and products.

We also commend the efforts of international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, World Organization of Animal Health, and Food and Agriculture Organization, for their partnership in our shared global health security mission. Working together, we will accelerate progress on preventing, detecting and responding to biological threats, whether naturally occurring, accidentally released, or intentionally produced.

Mr. Chairman, we know from history that strong partnerships take sustained effort. We still have challenges. Many delegations have mentioned proliferation crises in the Middle East and Northeast Asia and concerns regarding strategic stability in South Asia. The United States fully supports the goal of a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and we stand by our commitment to work with the states of the region to convene as soon as possible a conference on the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. We have worked tirelessly with Ambassador Laajava, the UK, Russia, and the UN to make a meaningful Conference a reality, but WMD-free zones cannot be imposed from the outside. We continue to believe that direct engagement among the states of the region on key conference issues is needed to move this process forward.

The United States continues to work to mitigate the threat of proliferation or use of nuclear weapons in South Asia. To further this goal, we have regular ongoing senior level dialogues with both India and Pakistan, covering a range of issues including on nonproliferation, disarmament, and strategic stability. Although we recognize that neither country is likely to eliminate its nuclear arms in the foreseeable future, we continue to work to bring India further into the global nuclear nonproliferation mainstream, and continue to encourage Pakistan to play a responsible role in the global nonproliferation community. Both India and Pakistan are regular and active participants in the Nuclear Security Summit process, are partners in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and have taken important steps to strengthen their respective export controls.

As we face global challenges together, we should not forget that relationships and interconnections shape our collective work and activities, and we can make real progress. A month ago, the international community reached a significant landmark with UN Security Council Resolution 2118 and the September 27 decision of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Executive Council. Together, they enable a strong international partnership to eliminate chemical weapons from Syria and end this threat to the Syrian people.

We know the path to general and complete disarmament remains a long one. We have discussed and debated many issues during this session, and it is critical that we continue our work together. The way forward may require challenging negotiations and diplomacy; however, even when we disagree, we can patiently and persistently continue to move ahead. As noted in our previous statements, the United States is firmly committed to fulfilling our obligations and working with the international community to take the next steps. Of course, all Member States have a role to play in disarmament, and we look forward to working with you to achieve that ultimate goal.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2013/209