Statement Delivered by
Ms Laila Shareef, Second Secretary
at the First Committee’s Thematic Debate on Nuclear Weapons
12 October 2017
Thank you Mr Chair,
I wish to thank the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and other high level officials for their comprehensive briefing today on the “current state of affairs in the field of arms control and disarmament and the role of international organizations with mandates in this field”.
Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to humanity. The elimination of these weapons is an immediate and a moral imperative for the world. Our shared efforts towards realising a nuclear weapons free world are as old as the United Nations. And we have made significant progress. The Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1968, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1996, and the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, that was adopted by the General Assembly in July this year, are some of the visible examples of the successes that have been achieved by our collective efforts. Yet, we have to go beyond these diplomatic efforts to ensure that our vision for a nuclear weapons free world are realised. It is time for some bold political decisions. It is time for the States that possess, or have the intention to acquire, nuclear weapons capability, to dismantle their nuclear weapons programmes and to renounce the possession of nuclear weapons. It is time for the countries listed in Annex 2 of the ctbt to ratify the Treaty, so that it will enter into force at an early date.
There is broad consensus in the international community and in the global public on nuclear disarmament. This was most clearly demonstrated with the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This Treaty marks a new phase in the seven decades long effort to prevent nuclear war. It is the only single global Treaty that prohibits nuclear weapons development, production, possession, use, the threat of use, and stationing of another country’s nuclear weapons on a State party’s national territory.
The Maldives is a State Party to the npt and the ctbt. The Maldives has never produced any armaments or weaponry of any type, nor do we have the desire to do so in future. We believe that it is our moral obligation to pave towards strengthening and enforcement of a global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.
The on-going developments in the Korean Peninsula are troubling. The recent tests of ballistic missiles are a clear violation of international law and the Resolutions of the Security Council. Such actions pose a grave challenge to the international non-proliferation regime. It also poses a serious threat to the region as well as international peace and security. The Maldives welcomes the efforts to find a peaceful solution through the multilateral framework.
The UN, and the Security Council in particular, can do more to accelerate the global efforts in reaching to a nuclear-free world. The Council has, to date, passed two landmark Resolutions, the first in 2009, and the second in 2016, both of which represent significant and positive shifts in making the Council more responsive to the global public opinion in favour of bringing an end to nuclear tests, and an eventual end to the nuclear proliferation. These Resolutions bring us a step closer to our desired goal where nuclear weapon will no longer be the most crucial aspect of a country’s national security deterrence.
The Maldives hopes, with your support, of course, to get elected to the Security Council, at the election to be held in June 2018, for the term, 2019-2020. If elected, we will bring nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation to the center-stage of the Security Council’s discussion. The aim will be to focus the Council’s attention to the growing risk of nuclear weapons reaching terrorist groups, and close whatever gaps there are in the proliferation and the spread of nuclear weapons technology. With your support, the Maldives hopes to propel the global political commitment towards creating a facilitating environment to ensure that the 2020 npt Review Conference is a successful one.
A nuclear weapons free world is humanity’s shared destiny; to reach there, we require all countries to be united in its response and to craft shared solutions. The Maldives will always be your trusted partner in shaping the shared solutions.
I thank you.