by H.E. Mr. Rudolf Joó Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Hungary to the Conference on Disarmament
Geneva, 15 March 2001
Mr. President, it is a great pleasure to see you in assuming the important office of President of the Conference on Disarmament. At the outset, let me congratulate you on the creative manner you have conducted our proceedings. I would also like to express the appreciation of my delegation to your predecessor, Mr. Christopher Westdal, for his tireless efforts to bring our deliberations closer to consensus. I wish also to pay respect to the Secretary General of the Conference, Mr.Vladimir Petrovsky and his deputy Mr. Enrique Roman-Morey. Let me also express the gratitude of my delegation to all the Secretariat staff for the assistance they unfailingly provide to the work of the Conference. Also, I cordially welcome those colleagues who have recently joined us and wish them every success in their work.
Mr.President, today the CD is concluding its second month of deliberations in the 2001 session, without being able to adopt a program of work. Although we know that progress has been made under successive presidencies as a result of collective efforts, the advance gained so far clearly has not been sufficient to reach a breakthrough in our work; we are still unable to start genuine negotiations. This is a deplorable situation Mr. President, whatever the explanation of its fundamental causes can be. My delegation fully shares the view expressed in your introductory statement, that current stalemate cannot continue indefinitely without damaging the credibility of this body.
Among several useful proposals, CD document 1624 has indicated a possible way out of the impasse, in outlining the composite nature of a future agreement. Like many of the delegations in this chamber, we continue to see the Amorim text as a sound basis for the resumption of the substantive work of the Conference.
My delegation also aligned itself to the statement of the EU presidency, which exactly a month ago confirmed: „The immediate launch of the FMCT negotiations, as well as dealing with both nuclear disarmament and the prevention of an arms race in outer space within subsidiary bodies whose mandate shall need to be both pragmatic and substantial in order to be accepted by all – these three parts together constitute the basis today for an agreement to begin our work.
Mr.President, The resumption of FMCT negotiations continues to be a high priority for Hungary. Our standpoint has clearly been stated during the NPT Review Conference and repeated at the last session of the First Committee in New York. The Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty is of critical importance to disarmament, non-proliferation and international security. Its necessity was also confirmed by the Final Document of the NPT Conference. Therefore, the start of these negotiations should be the next step on the way.
Hungary supports all practical suggestions and initiatives, which can move the cause of the Cut-off Treaty into the right direction. For this reason, we welcomed whole-heartedly the seminar on “The Verification of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty” held yesterday in this building at the joint initiative of the German delegation and of UNIDIR. Mr.President, Hungary is committed to multilateral security arrangements; therefore we strongly support the pursuit of negotiations at the conference on Disarmament, maintaining the unique role of this forum in international diplomacy today. In the same spirit, we attach great importance to other non-proliferation and arms-control negotiations, which take place outside the CD.
Mr.President, at this point let me make a few observations concerning the activities of the Ad Hoc Group negotiating a protocol to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Since Hungary chairs the Ad-Hoc Group, our special commitment to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion needs no detailed explanation. Our assessment is that significant progress has been made to reach this objective. The results achieved so far are encouraging and make us believe that the Group is in a good position to complete the negotiations in a timeframe enabling it submit the Draft Protocol for adoption at a special conference to be held prior to the Fifth Review Conference in November-December 2001. We call upon States parties to redouble their efforts to implement the relevant decisions of the Fourth Review Conference and make the political decisions necessary for this. Against the background of the stalemate in other multilateral disarmament fora, including the CD, the adoption of the protocol would gain even greater significance by demonstrating the determination of the international community to counter the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Mr.President, My country remains interested in engaging with other states to counter the humanitarian difficulties caused by anti-personnel landmines. Last year Hungary co-chaired the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction in carrying out the provisions of the Ottawa Convention. The support and the interest we received during the Standing Committee meetings encouraged us to deepen and further develop the international program of stockpile destruction.
It was in that sense that last February, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada, organized a regional APL expert seminar in Budapest. The topic of the seminar was the destruction of the so-called Butterfly Mines, developed in the former Soviet Union, and stockpiled in many countries of the region. Based on our experiences, we believe that global initiatives in respect of anti-personnel mines can best be implemented by securing cooperation at the regional level. For this reason we continue to be committed to various regional efforts.
Mr.President, The uncontrolled proliferation and destabilizing accumulation of small arms and light weapons fuels regional conflicts in which civilians are increasingly the victims of violence. Illicit and irresponsible transfers, in the region of conflict in Europe, means increased danger to the neighbouring countries as well as to the civilian population living there. Large –scale and uncontrolled arms availability hinders post-conflict recovery of states, slows down the process of stabilization and multiplies the costs of every peace settlement.
Hungary favours effective and widely acceptable measures to prevent destablizing flows of small weapons. We believe that concerted efforts are needed to develop norms, guidelines and practical measures covering all aspects of this issue. These include, among others, improvement of national controls on the traceabilitiy of small arms, increased transparency, reinforced export control mechanisms and enhanced cooperation among national agencies at regional and wider international levels. In order to make the current system more effective we favour regionally focused approaches based on universally accepted principles.
Mr. President, the negotiations on the issues I have just mentioned are held outside the Conference on Disarmament. The challenges at those fora are also enormous and the international community is still awaiting their accomplishment. This fact obviously does not reduce the proper responsibility of the CD, as the sole standing negotiating forum on disarmament. On the contrary, substantive progress in any of the negotiations mentioned before could even underline further the imperative need to move this Conference out of the current deadlock.
Mr. President, we do not think that the CD lacks good ideas and proposals about the way ahead. What we really need is the political determination to implement them. At this point let me reiterate our willingness to support all initiatives which are able to bring the CD closer to consensus. I would also like to pledge the continuous cooperation of my delegation with all efforts aiming at the commencement of a genuine dialogue in the Conference.
Monsieur le Président, J’ai demandé la parole non seulement pour confirmer la position de la Hongrie sur les questions liées au travail de la Conférence du Désarmement, mais également pour prendre congé de ce forum distingué. Très prochainement, j’assumerai de nouvelles responsabilités en qualité de fonctionnaire international au siège de l‘UNESCO à Paris. Avant de quitter mon poste d’Ambassadeur, je tiens à exprimer mes remerciements aux délégations représentées à la Conférence pour leur coopération et les excellentes relations nous avons pu nouer en dépit de la brièveté de mon séjour à Genève.
Monsieur le Président, pour conclure, permettez-moi d’èvoquer ici un souvenir personnel. Peu de temps après notre accréditation à Genève, en tant que nouveaux Ambassadeurs, Vous et moi-même nous nous sommes rencontrés par hasard, à l’issue d’une réception se tenant quelque part dans ce Palais. Nous avons cherché, tous deux, la sortie de cet immeuble dans les couloirs encore inconnus pour nous. Si mes souvenirs son exacts, après quelques hésitations, nous avons parvenus à trouvé le bon chemin pour sortir du bâtiment qui nous est apparu, à cet instant, comme un véritable labyrinthe.
Monsieur le Président, de toute évidence, quitter le cercle vicieux dans lequel se trouve la Conférence du Désarmement, depuis des années, constitue une tâche incomparablement plus complexe. Néanmoins, malgré une série de déceptions, nombreuses sont les délégations qui pensent, qu’il existe et qu’il doit exister une sortie de ce labyrinthe. En prenant congé de la Conférence, je souhaite sincèrement, que ce forum, dans son propre intérêt, trouve le plutôt possible une sortie.