Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
Let me begin by congratulating you and other members of the Bureau on your election to the Chairmanship of the First Committee. I assure you the full support and cooperation of the Maldives delegation as you steer the Committee’s work.
The Maldives aligns itself with the statements delivered earlier by the distinguished Representative of Indonesia on behalf of NAM.
One of the primary principles of the United Nations, as enshrined in the very first Article of the Charter, is to maintain international peace and security. To ensure that conflicts are resolved, not through violence, but through dialogue and mediation. Therefore, global disarmament and non-proliferation must remain at the forefront of the United Nation’s work.
In 1945, we bore witness to the destruction and tragedy unleased by nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then, their destructive potential has increased many times over. A nuclear war fought today would end human civilization. As long as nuclear weapons exist, so does the possibility of their use – either by design or by miscalculation. The world will never know peace until and unless all nuclear weapons are abolished.
The Maldives has always advocated for disarmament and non-proliferation. We do not manufacture weapons, nor do we aspire to do so in the future. We are among the original signatories of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Maldives has also acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the UN Arms Trade Treaty, to voice our favor for the removal and withdrawal of military forces and weapons.
The Maldives welcomes the First Meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was held in June 2022, where the Vienna Declaration and Action Plan had been successfully adopted. Further, we were encouraged to see the leaders-level meeting of the “Friends of the CTBT” held in the sidelines of UNGA77, where major powers reiterated the pressing need to pursue the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty’s entry into force.
We are hopeful that these actions will set the course for a world free of nuclear weapons. The Maldives also welcomes the convening of the United Nations Disarmament Commission in April 2022. This Commission has the sole power within the UN multilateral disarmament system to consider various problems in this field and submit concrete recommendations to the General Assembly. We look forward to the 2023 Session of the UNDC and hope more substantive proposals are put forward.
The Maldives firmly believes that true security and strength can only be achieved through investments in the well-being of our people and our environment. Yet, every day, we see numerous countries pour billions to military expenditure and the acquisition of weapons, diverting resources away from crucial issues such as poverty, education, and climate action.
Maintaining international peace, upholding the principles of humanity and realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can only be achieved through disarmament.
In times of heightened international tensions and conflict, there is a false belief that security can only be achieved by taking up arms. Not only is this perspective dangerous – it is also primitive. As outlined in the Secretary-General’s agenda for Disarmament, armed conflicts have become longer, more frequent, and more devastating. The existence of nuclear weapons compounds the danger inherent in these conflicts to the extreme.
Since 2019, the Maldives has ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the Cluster Munitions Convention, and the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. The Maldives welcomes the entry-into-force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in January 2021. We also welcome the first meeting of State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which took place in June 2022.
Therefore, the Maldives urges all countries to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons. In this regard, we emphasize the significance of achieving universal adherence to the CTBT and implore all countries that have not yet signed and ratified this Treaty to do so. The Maldives also calls on all states to refrain from excessively spending on their military and to redirect resources towards more pressing social and economic initiatives such as addressing the climate crisis and paving the way for post-pandemic global recovery.
Disarmament is not a naïve or a utopian vision. With the requisite commitment and political will, it is a goal that can be realized. If we succeed, we will have made the world safer and more peaceful. Therefore, let us work together, with firmer resolve, to turn our aspirations for a nuclear free world, into a reality.
I thank you.