Press Release: Germany ready to ask General Assembly to push disarmament negotiations

Jul 27, 2011

Ambassador Wittig welcomes today’s debate in the General Assembly on the revitalisation of the multilateral disarmament machinery: “We reiterate that the Conference on Disarmament must immediately start negotiations of a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT). The FMCT is a litmus test: is the international community serious about disarmament efforts? If the Conference on Disarmament is not in a position to start its substantive work until the end of the current session [later this summer], Germany and partners are determined to ask the 66th General Assembly [in fall] to consider ways on how to begin FMCT negotiations. Patience is a virtue, continued passivity is not.”

Today the General Assembly holds a plenary meeting on revitalizing the work of the Conference on Disarmament. Many delegations have expressed frustration about the deadlock in various pillars of the multilateral disarmament machinery. 

It is of particular concern that the Geneva Conference on Disarmament has been unable to fulfil its task – which is the negotiation of disarmament and non-proliferation instruments – for more than a decade now. Many consider the beginning of negotiations of a fissile material cut-off treaty to be the next logical step, if not a litmus test for the seriousness of international disarmament efforts.
The Secretary-General organised a High Level Meeting on the revitalisation of the work of the Conference on Disarmament and on how to take forward multilateral disarmament negotiations on 24 September 2010. “Agenda item 162” was subsequently added to the agenda of the General Assembly. Germany and 48 other States requested to have a debate under this agenda item.
Today’s debate comes at a crucial moment as the Conference on Disarmament continues to be blocked. While we are still sufficiently ahead of the next session of the General Assembly, we need to prepare for possible steps and ask the General Assembly to push disarmament negotiations. The debate underlines once more the momentum towards resuming the substantive work in multilateral disarmament diplomacy.

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