Assistant Foreign Minister: Failure to Establish Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons Increases Tension and Hinders Peace

Assistant Foreign Minister: Failure to Establish Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons Increases Tension and Hinders Peace

Geneva / Information Office / February 25

The State of Qatar took part in the High-Level Segment of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on Tuesday, with a delegation chaired by HE Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater.

Delivering the statement of the State of Qatar at the meeting, HE the Assistant Foreign Minister underlined that the State of Qatar pursues a clear and unwavering national policy on disarmament, which reflects its positions underpinning peace, in the belief that all efforts on disarmament in the world need to be supported, which would enhance international peace and security, release much needed considerable resources to attain sustainable development. This would also preserve the environment, avert the risk of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorist and extremist groups and it would as well remove the fear that disturbs the human existence.

Her Excellency said: "The State of Qatar has acceded to various major international disarmament conventions and passed the necessary national legislation to ensure their full implementation. Since its establishment in 2004, Qatar's National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons remains engaged in providing advice to competent government authorities on issues of arms embargo and disarmament, working towards achieving the objectives set forth in the relevant international convention to which the state has acceded and developing plans and programs to raise awareness and education on disarmament dimensions".

Her Excellency noted that the National Committee is keen to consolidate its relationship with organizations and stakeholders concerned with disarmament on the basis of professionalism, credibility and transparency. The Committee has been hosting numerous conferences and seminars on disarmament, in coordination with the Doha Regional Centre for training on agreements related to weapons of mass destruction that was established in December 2012, and which is the first of its kind in the Middle East and Asia.

"The States Members of the Conference on Disarmament, especially at this difficult and complex time with increase threats and crises, have a primary responsibility to break the deadlock in the conference. It is important to demonstrate political will and flexibility to reach a balanced and comprehensive work program that takes into account the security concerns of all countries, consistent with the rules of procedure of the conference. Otherwise, the credibility of the conference, its role as the only multilateral forum for negotiating disarmament as well as its ability to support and enhance international peace and security, would be doubtful," HE the Assistant Foreign Minister said. 

HE Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater said: "In light of the paralysis of the Conference on Disarmament for more than two decades, the State of Qatar believes, along with several States Members and non-member States, that it is necessary for the Conference to review the expansion of its membership to be more effective and more representative, in line with the conferences rules of procedure regarding consideration of Conference membership within regular intervals. We therefore call on all Member States to overcome political differences and appoint a special rapporteur on expanding the membership of the conference".

In this regard, HE the Assistant Foreign Minister reiterated the State of Qatar's willingness to become a member State in the Conference on Disarmament. For this purpose, an application for membership was sent to the Conference Secretariat in June 2012 out of Qatars belief in the important role that the conference can play in the future, building on previous conventions and achievements in the field of disarmament.

HE Al Khater noted that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Achievements made so far must be maintained and strengthened by identifying areas where progress is possible, reconciling different approaches to disarmament and by seeking compromises when necessary.

She said: "The 2020 NPT Review Conference will provide an opportunity for the States parties to the Treaty to unequivocally reaffirm their commitment to this historic treaty, by promoting its goals and by nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Moreover, moving forward with efforts to make the Middle East free of nuclear weapons and other mass destruction weapons is consistent with the international communitys obligations and responsibilities, especially the sponsors of the 1995 resolution as they have the obligation to implement the decisions of the 2010 conference and other relevant resolutions".

"Amid the regional and international tensions, the State of Qatar believes that the international community needs, today more than ever before, to implement this resolution as a necessary step towards achieving the universality of the comprehensive safeguards system. Moreover, the establishment of this region represents a comprehensive regional approach to address nuclear proliferation as the fact of addressing individual States has proven to be selective and discriminatory and that it causes an imbalance in the regional balance of power," HE Al Khater Added.

She noted that the failure to establish a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction based on the 1995 resolution, which is mainly linked to the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, will affect the credibility of the treaty, the review process, the entire non-proliferation regime, and would call into question the intention of nuclear States to establish a zone free of these weapons in the Middle East. This would increase tension, instability and hinder the attainment of peace and the path to sustainable development in the Middle East region.

"Accordingly, we stress the importance of the conference held last November under the chairmanship of Jordan in accordance with UN General Assembly Decision 73/546 and hope that efforts will continue to achieve the desired goal of the conference, which will contribute to strengthening peace and security at the regional and international levels," Her Excellency underlined.

HE the Assistant Foreign Minister affirmed the legitimate right of States, especially developing countries, to a peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the standards and procedures of the IAEA, under its supervision and in line with the comprehensive safeguards system which is the main legal tool for verifying peaceful Nuclear activities and ensuring the highest safety and security standards.

In conclusion, HE Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater reaffirmed the State of Qatar's keenness and commitment to sustaining its support for disarmament and international security issues and implementing all its obligations in this area to ensure further increase of security and peace at the regional and international levels.